Is football killing itself? And is there a cure?

The recent weeks have been an unsettling time for football managers, players, and supporters alike. First the Board of West Bromwich Albion decided that Steve Clark was not taking their club where they would like, and then the joke club in N17 decided that although he had the best win percentage of any previous Premier League manager for Spuds, and sitting 7th in the league and 5 points off the top 4, it was time for AVB to leave. I am no fan of AVB but you have to question the sense of the Board for removing him.

This season for the first in a long time there is an argument to say four of seven teams could make the Champions League spots, of those seven teams two are financially doped and therefore can demand qualification from their managers, if Everton, Liverpool or Spurs say to their managers that the minimum requirement is Champions League qualification they may as well give up before the season starts.

There is also the vicious cycle of players wages, represented here:


This becomes worse when we start talking about Champions League Money, and therefore clubs with ambitions to be in the Champions League need to gamble on wages over and above the normal cycle. This is why Champions League money is so important, UEFA by their promotion of the Champions League have left themselves with a dead duck of a competition called the Europa League which does not generate the TV rights that the Champions League does, they have extended the pool of clubs able to enter the Champions League to strengthen their premier competition but it has been at the expense of their other competitions.

A lot of the criticism of the current situation of a Big 4 of Premier League Clubs is seen by many fans as a result of the Premier League full stop, so with this in mind I went off and did a bit of a review of the Top 4 finishes going back 42 years, 21 post Premier League seasons and 21 pre Premier League seasons. To some extent what I found was a bit of a surprise.

Prior to the Premier League era 19 different teams finished in the top four positions, during the Premier League Era only 13 different teams have finished in the top four. Perhaps not as stark as I was expecting, so i added a final criteria, top four finishes since the Champions League qualification became four teams from the Premier League, only 8 different teams.

No of Top 4 Finishes Pre PL PL Era Top 4 CL
1 7 3 1
2 1 2 2
3 2 3 1
4 1 0 0
5 3 1 0
6 0 0 1
7 2 0 0
8 1 0 0
9 1 0 0
10 0 0 1
11 or more 1 4 2

As you can see the real evil has been that Champions League qualification. I’m sure a similar study of other European Leagues would provide a similar result.

On top of this we have the ability of players to move around Europe, many moons ago a Munich side would have been 90% German, an English side 70% English (except Liverpool), etc. Now we are lucky if we see 50% of players from the country of the team. This in itself is not necessarily the worst thing about modern football but it means that UEFAs premier competition is only going to be won by the Leagues with the biggest resources to attract players from all across Europe especially those whose teams used to be European greats but cannot afford to compete with the bigger clubs.

So what can be done to change this? To make Managers jobs more secure to allow clubs to really build again without fear of losing out on the pot of gold that is the Champions League and to make the domestic leagues more competitive?

For me I would like to see a total overhaul of European Competition. And in a three step process.

1) Re introduce the European Cup Winners Cup, as a straight knock out competition. Winners or Runners Up of the domestic competition only.

2) Reduce the places in the Champions League to 2 spots for each country.

3) Apply the coefficients for the Europa League for each country so we may have four teams in it.

What would this do? In my opinion it would increase the quality of the Europa League and hence increase the prize money and rights on offer. The Europa League would also feature teams that are traditionally big European clubs. This would probably also reduce the money on offer in the Champions League but that may be no bad thing as it will reduce the need of so many clubs to retain Champions League status.

One thing is for certain the gravy train will not last forever, the money BT have paid to secure Champions League rights indicates that the gap will only widen in the future. This cannot be a good thing for domestic football and the managers that work in it as the task becomes more impossible.

Gooner in Exile


83 Responses to Is football killing itself? And is there a cure?

  1. bob says:

    i would produce a salary cap on earnings,to also include bounces(goals scored clean sheets kept)and when thats all done price freeze on match day tickets!

  2. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers, Blimey GiE, that’s quite a post, I’ll have to read it through again to get the various nuances.

    On the subject of players wages, this morning’s Telegraph has Mesut Ozil seventh in a list of the highest earners in the Premiership, on a staggering £180,000 a week, can this be true?

  3. Norfolk Gooner says:

    That’s a great masthead, I’m trying to work out which beach it is. Holkham maybe?

  4. kelsey says:

    This is a great post GIE

    I agree that the CL should be a straight knockout tournament,but the TV clubs would argue strongly against it.

    I would reduce the PL to 18 teams with two being relagated.

    Can one cap wages, not sure.

    Wenger tenure at Arsenal amounts to more than all the other PL managers put together bar the present Cardiff manager and if you include him than it is jusy one year more than AW.

    A winter break is imperative as in most of the leadinf European countries be it only 2 weeks as in Spain.

    63% of all current PL players are foreign imports.

  5. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning all, thanks for the banner…I’m assuming Holkham or Brancaster.

    Realised I didn’t explain the table too well, it’s the number of different teams that finished in the top 4 and how many times they have done it.

    So no prizes for knowing that the team with >11 top 4 finishes pre 1992 was Liverpool, I’d be interested if anyone can name the one team that has finished in the Top 4 once since top 4 qualified for CL, and the two teams that have finished in the top 4 only twice in the same era.

    For the record I think most will get the team finishing their once and one of the teams finishing there twice, it’s the other team that achieved that since 2001 that I think most people will be surprised by.

  6. kelsey says:

    What are our results since AW was appointed against the so called top four.four teams pre Abramovich, City and Glaziers and since then.
    As we all money speaks all languages and our record these past few seasons is not very good.

  7. LB says:

    Now that is what I call a fine post.

    A very intelligent read, I haven’t developed my own views on the subject but I am enjoying considering yours this morning.

  8. Gööner In Exile says:

    Kelsey, i think if I posted the top 4 sequentially you can almost see when the financial doping occurs.

    At the start of the once the Abramovich money went into Chelsea you see them appear in the top 4, then usurp us, and join United at the top of the League vying with United. The same happens with City.

    The only thing that has kept Chelsea from dominating is their inability to find a manager who will be in it for the long haul. That could have been Moaninho if Abramovich hadn’t started buying players and demanding their inclusion (Svechenko).

    I fear if City have found a manager prepared to stay for 10 years they will be able to achieve what Chelsea couldn’t.

    The bigger problem presented is the billionaire tycoon owner, with only 4 CL spots it only makes financial sense to have four teams owned by people who see a wage bill of £200k a week as chicken feed. Once you have 5 one of them misses out. At the moment with the other competitors for CL places spending what they earn there is possibility of movement, but what if Villa are sold to a billionaire sheikh, and then one decides to buy Sunderland.

    This is the weakness of FFP, as long as the owners are prepared to turn their overspend into equity the club can outspend their revenue, and if you happen to be the head of one of the worlds largest oil producing nations I doubt that is going to work try you too much.

    This is where FFP is more about protecting clubs future for the fans more than fairness of competition.

  9. Rasp says:

    Excellent GiE, very thought provoking and not written from an ‘Arsenal only’ perspective – we wouldn’t have made the CL many times in the last 10 years if only 2 English teams qualified.

    Something has to be done, spiralling wages just puts control into the hands of the sponsors and affects the football as we saw with the ridiculous scheduling of the man city game.

    The beach in the banner is one in Norfolk – I’d have to go back tony he graphic to identify exactly which one – glad everyone likes it 🙂

  10. I like this Post very much, Gooner In Exile, I’ve had similar thoughts on this subject myself (as Rasp will testify).
    I have thoughts of my own which I shall come back to later as I have stuff to do. Top quality, well done sir.
    Great work with the headline banners, Rasp.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Super stuff. It is refreshing to read a non-AFC specific post.

    You make many interesting points. Like kelsey, I think there are simple but expensive, and thus unlikely, ways forward.

    A firm implementation of FFP.

    Making the CL knockout

    Making the Europa less Micky Mouse – your suggestion is good.

    A winter break.

    A reduction in national teams entered in to the Euro’s and WC.

    Less international friendlies and a return to the Home Championship (Scotland, Wales, England & NI, perhaps to include ROI)

    And here is one a bit left field ….. a total ban on foreign ownership with those clubs in the hands of non-UK citizens sold and returned to British owners. Almost impossible to do given the value of a PL club but sod them – the owners can afford to lose a few mill as PL clubs have become rich men’s baubles.

  12. LB says:

    Hi GIE

    Can you put this bit in slightly more simple terms and when I say simple imagine you are explaining it to someone who has just landed from Mars.

    “as long as the owners are prepared to turn their overspend into equity the club can outspend their revenue.”

  13. Big Raddy says:

    One of the clubs has to be Spurs, Is one Norwich?

  14. Big Raddy says:

    LB 😀 I passed over that sentence!

  15. LB says:

    If I am not careful I am going to end up with my own banner.

    LB’s Weekly Wilshere Whine.

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy one is Spurs (finishing top 4 twice), and the other one finishing in the top 4 once is Everton. The other team finishing in top 4 twice is……?

    LB I’ll try..

    Company has 100 shares.

    When a new owner buys the club he buys those shares (and pays whoever owns them).

    The owner then loans money to the Company to pay for its expenses. Whilst he owns the company this will be shown as money owed to the Director. This is afairlynormal business practice when a person sets up a company.

    At Chelsea and ManCity these loans have reached large numbers, if they were to ever leave the club they can demand these loans were repaid.

    FFP allows plc (like Arsenal) to make a loss of 10% of their revenue and wholly owned clubs (Chelsea and City) to make a 30% loss. However it also states that the club can exceed this loss if the owners are prepared to convert their loans to shares in the club, once converted to shares the owners cannot demand the amounts are repaid and instead can only sell the shares they now own in their place.

    Make sense? Probably not….I’ll do some diagrams 🙂

  17. Norfolk Gooner says:

    A salary cap would cure a lot of ills, if it could be implemented. Sadly it would be all too easy for the billionaire owners to circumvent the rules by paying through third parties into offshore accounts hidden in places like the Cayman Islands.

    The reduction of numbers in the Premiership would be a good idea, but to achieve it would require the turkeys to vote for Christmas.

    Speaking as an England fan, I’d dearly like to see more England qualified players at the top teams, as an Arsenal fan I’d hate it. The attraction of the Premiership to fans and players alike is the quality on display but it will take years for the level of technical skill to rise sufficiently for homegrown players to oust Johnny Foreigner.

    Right it’s time to take my seat for today’s opener, I hope to see Cardiff put one over on the Bin-Dippers.

    C’mon on you Bluebirds, or whatever Mr. Tan is calling you this week.

  18. GunnerN5 says:


    Including 2001/2 – 8 teams have finished in the top 4.

    Arsenal – 12
    Man U – 12
    Chelsea – 10
    Liverpool – 6
    Man C – 3
    Newcastle – 2
    Everton – 1
    Spurs – 1

  19. GunnerN5 says:


    That was a very interesting post, one that stimulates conversation.

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    Spurs twice GN5…..just once Chelsea stopped them from qualifying as a result…..well done on Newcastle.

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    Oops Spurs have finished in the top 4 twice since 2001/2

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    Okay GIE lets see if we agree on this.

    IN the history of the PL 13 different teams have finished in the top 4.

    Man U – 21
    Arsenal -18
    Chelsea -12
    Liverpool – 12
    Newcastle – 5
    Blackburn – 3
    Leeds – 3
    Man C – 3
    Villa – 2
    Everton – 1
    Norwich – 1
    Forest – 1
    Spurs 1

  23. RA says:

    That’s a smashing Post, Big Guy! 🙂

    As GN5 says it is a conversation stimulator, and over a pint the various nuances and conflicting agendas would make for some fascinating ‘discussions’.

    On the other hand, there is the view held by some, and I am one, that holds that the bird has flown the coop and it is all too late,

    There are too many vested interests that would prevent anything other than superficial changes to be made to the current set up.

    It is more likely that, if anything, there will be a tightening of the screw in favour of either the players, through FIFpro (currently taking legal action through the European Courts to remove the contract restrictions caused by the Transfer System) or else in favour of some of the ‘big’ clubs by possibly adopting a breakaway league of the super-wealthy with all the others being relegated to being also rans.

    One passage of the Post slightly puzzled me, can you clarify what you meant by “One thing is for certain the gravy train will not last forever, the money BT have paid to secure Champions League rights indicates that the gap will only widen in the future” as it seems a little contradictory as it reads. Thanks. 🙂

  24. Big Raddy says:

    Watching l’pool and it is no wonder they are the media darlings.

    Certainly they play good football and in Suarez have a superb striker but perhaps having Michael Owen, Mcnanaman, Hansen, Souness, Lawrenson etc etc as the talking heads points to bias.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    RA. As you say, the bird has flown ….

  26. fatgingergooner says:


    Owen is a mug. Only a week or so ago he said Arsenal couldn’t win the league, but then today he says ‘if Liverpool are top of the league at Xmas then nobody can say they can’t win the league’!


  27. Big Raddy says:

    Wow. That is a superb goal from Suarez.

  28. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. My point exactly. Of course he is biased though I happen to agree with him that L’pool can win the league. They won’t but they could

  29. RA says:


    I find Owen somewhat nauseating, personally.

    His statements of the bleeding obvious, as well as his unbalanced bias make me forget my manners because he obviously cannot help being a complete wassock.

  30. Gööner In Exile says:

    RA I guess what I mean is that all that will happen is a widening of the gap between those top 4 and the rest and there must be a few fans questioning why it is they bother going, afterall what is there to support at the start of the season? A mid table finish, in a weird way they’d be better off being bottom at Christmas and have a relegation fight, at least it’s something to support.

  31. LB says:


    Thanks for trying.

    Next question. If the hypothetical company starts off with 100 shares (for the sake of round numbers) how are they affected if the owner converts the debts into shares?

  32. RA says:

    Thanks, GIE.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    And the FIfpro case confuses me, surely if the player wants to be allowed freedom of movement the employer will also be allowed to sack them. How does that help. >70% of their members?

  34. RA says:


    I think it would benefit the ‘bigger’ players.

    For example, hypothetically, if Suarez had wanted to move to Arsenal at any time last year, (under the FIFpro requirements) he would not have had wait for the transfer window, and he could have dealt directly with the Gunners (not Liverpool) and the transfer fee we were prepared to pay ‘Pool, allegedly £40m + £1 🙂 could have gone straight to him.

    At every level players could have put themselves ‘up for sale’, at any time.

    A simplistic view but not far off what the players envision.


  35. RA says:


    GIE might not have seen your question about the shares.

    The mechanics of converting debt into shares is straight forward in its application. In its simplest form companies often have more shares ‘authorised’ than ‘issued’ to shareholders.

    So a company with 1,000 authorised shares of £1 each, of which only 100 were issued, could issue another 400 £1 shares for £400 in exchange for its outstanding loans of (conveniently 🙂 ) £400.

    The Authorised Shares would remain at 1,000, but the Issued Shares would now be 500 Ordinary Shares of £1 each and the loans outstanding would be expunged.

    To explain this I have ignored the accounting conventions in terms of presentation etc.

    By the time I have typed this GIE may have made a much better explanation. 🙂

  36. LB says:

    Thank you for your help RA.

    I now cannot see how the FFP can possibly work.

  37. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB it depends what you think it is there to do?

    It’ll protect the clubs from going under (another Rangers).

  38. Gööner In Exile says:

    But the difference between shares and loan, is that to get their money back they have to sell their shares, and it’s much harder to get their money back that way if say their personal business interests went down the pan.

  39. evonne says:

    GiE – I never even thought about improving other clubs’ managerial continuity; if anything I did the opposite, ie how to bump off Fergie to start with.

    I like your cunning plan, but I’d be surprised if anything like that is implemented. They cannot even agree on goal line technology, let alone CL and Europa cup revolutions. No, cannot see that.

    I am not AVB’s fan, but I think he is all right, nice bloke, decent manager. How many more manager with Levy appoint before someone realizes that he hasn’t got a fecking clue? Him, after last summer, I’ll be very happy to see going down.

    Thanks for the post GiE, good thinking 🙂
    Oh, and a question for you – if I buy a car for 10k and then sell it for 6k part exchange and 5k cash, how much is taxable?

  40. evonne says:

    I knew Scoucers would win today so I caused a major argument at home. The resident Pool supporter doesn’t feel like singing. Good.

  41. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve just installed strobe lights in the bedroom. It makes the wife look like she’s moving during sex.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    The other night, my wife asked me how many women I’d slept with. I told her, “Only you. All the others kept me awake all night!”

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    A government survey has shown that 91% of illegal immigrants come to this country so that they can see their own doctor.

  44. GunnerN5 says:

    Joe says to Paddy: “Close your curtains the next time you’re making love to your wife. The whole street was watching and laughing at you yesterday.”

    Paddy says: “Well the joke’s on them because I wasn’t even home yesterday.”

  45. LB says:

    Ah oop we have got a game at the Cottage.

  46. LB says:

    We did, past tense.

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    Evonne tax=zero

    LB lol….shows City will be liable to drop a few more points away from home.

    Well now we are third, lose Monday and we will be 4th.

    Time for the lads to answer some questions on Monday.


    Thanks for a great post GIE

    I feel i must butt in with regards to FFP.

    Clubs cannot willy nilly convert debt to equity to comply with FFP

    FFP is based on profit and loss account, not balance sheet figures.

    For the first two years of FFP implementation the permitted losses were 45 million euros and in further years this will be reduced further.

    The main danger from clubs like City is 1) advertising and comercial deals which are not “arms length transactions”, or deals with third parties procurred through there vast political and economic power, and 2) the abilty to invest in “assets” such as new training ground or stadia and large youth development were the money is invested is not taken into account for FFP, but which invariably result in future income streams.

    FFP is a good thing for pure self sustaining clubs like Arsenal, but only the future will tell us how beneficial.

  49. Hi de Hi everyone
    Couldn’t understand the post today. Too clever for me, I’m afraid.

    So, sorry for this digression – but here’s the table…

    1 Liverpool 17 23 36
    2 Man City 17 31 35
    3 Arsenal 16 16 35
    4 Chelsea 16 14 33
    5 Everton 16 12 31
    6 Newcstle 17 2 30
    7 Man Utd 17 8 28
    8 Spurs 16 -6 27

    Don’t panic… we’ve got a game in hand.

  50. MickyDidIt89 says:

    A little like Transplant, I feel I must butt in.

    First up, Exile, a really well presented case, and interesting article. Thank you.

    Funnily enough, I was considering writing a post about the future of the beautiful game. However, I have completely opposite take.

    I think Football is highly sustainable, but only, if the gulf between rich and more widens, which it will increase to do exponentially.

    Those in the game with the power are not interested in the Norwich’s or West Brom’s. They are increasingly irrelevant and of interest only to their fans, who are also irrelevant to the those same powers.

    Football, in so many ways mirrors society, and in the West in particular, power and money is more concentrated than ever before, and by a considerable margin. This margin grows wider by the day, and football echoes this.

    As someone said earlier, something or other has well and truly flown.

    Sad diagnosis, but it’s my real life very unfluffy view.

    Now to beat Chelsea on Monday 🙂

  51. Big Raddy says:

    A day when all our direct opposition played teams in the relegation zone. No surprise they all rolled over.

    I’m not worried

  52. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Write the post – it will be interesting

  53. Big Raddy says:

    David Coleman, gone. The voice of my childhood saturday afternoons.

    Thanks David. You were top

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    I agree with Raddy would be interesting to read your view.

    I don’t see how domestic football survives if the rich get richer.

    And even if we are part of the rich I don’t really want it that way.

    The pre premier league top 4s featured Forest, Derby, Ipswich, Norwich, Watford, West Brom, QPR, Crystal Palace, Leeds surely their fans deserve the chance to relive those days in the present, I’d rather a league where we had as much chance of finishing 15th as top, dependent on manager, assembled squad and tactics, than a league where the top teams are there because of their wealth.

  55. Gööner In Exile says:

    Also agree on David Coleman, legend is a word used far too often but he is the voice of sport on BBC for so many of us.

  56. Gööner In Exile says:


    D. Contributions from equity participants and/or related party(ies)

    1. Acceptable deviation can exceed EUR 5 million up to the amounts described in Article 61(2) in a monitoring period only if such excess is entirely covered by contributions from equity participants and/or related parties.

    2. Contributions from equity participants are payments for shares through the share capital or share premium reserve accounts. That is, investing in equity instruments in their capacity as shareholder.

    3. Contributions from a related party include:
    a) Capital contributions being a contribution by a related party: that is an unconditional gift made to the reporting entity by a related party which increase the reporting entity’s equity without any obligation for repayment or to do anything in consideration for receiving them. For example, a waiver of inter-company or related party debt constitutes a capital contribution, as it results in an increase in equity; and/or
    b) Income transactions from a related party: the amount to be considered as a contribution will be no more than an amount equivalent to the difference between the actual income in a reporting period and the fair value of the transaction(s) in a reporting period as already recognised in the calculation of the break-even result (see part B(1)(j)). The monies must have been received by the reporting entity, rather than just some form of promise or commitment from the related party.

    4. The following types of transaction are not ‘contributions from equity participants and/or related parties’:

    i) Positive movement in net assets/liabilities arising from a revaluation;
    ii) Creation, or increase in the balance, of other reserves where there is no contribution from equity participants;
    iii) A transaction whereby the reporting entity has a liability in that the entity has a present obligation to act or perform in a certain way;
    iv) Contributions from owners in respect of instruments classified as liabilities.

  57. RA says:

    Not that I think this is the time to get too deep into the FFP regs but LB has a point about doubting its successful implementation.

    For example, one of the penalties for not complying with the regs, due to be fully implemented in 2015, is banning clubs who do not comply from making transfers for a period.
    Now that would seriously hurt the clubs.

    Guess what? Yup, the clubs forced UEFA to back down – and that ban – as a transgression penalty, has been dumped.

    Also, each country in Europe can be subject to very different tax regimes, and without going into details, that can be very advantages, dependent on where a club is based, when calculations are made about FFP conformity.

    In addition, as you will already know, City have ‘negotiated’ a massive ‘sponsorship’ deal with the national airline, and UEFA have still not made a ruling about something that is clearly not an ‘arms length’ commercial deal.

    In Spain the local government often advance to certain clubs for political and not commercial reasons. Oh dear!!

    To sum up — FFP is like Gouda cheese – full of holes.

  58. RA says:

    advantages = advantageous (tut, tut) 🙂


    Yes GIE, the premise within the rules is that of balance sheet transactions.

    Debating wether the rules are stringent enough is one thing. But never the less, the break even parameters of the rules are based on income generated through trading actvity less normal allowable expenditure.

    I apologise if I come over argumentative on this point but it would be remiss of me to let this go. I do not want the non accountants going away with the wrong idea.

    Clubs can not bypass FFP by simply pumping cash into the Clubs bank account, spending it on players and wages, and then converting to equity.

  60. Gööner In Exile says:

    I agree TMHT but it is away out for some and they will use it. Abramovich has already converted some I believe pre FFP years. I think it has had a effect but a club like Monaco spending as it did in the summer is not going to be subject to the requirements because they were not in European competition. Similarly contracts agreed prior to the FFP regulations are not included…so at City, that’s Aguero, Toure, Kompany and some others probably too (Silva, Dzeko etc).

    The teeth it will have will not come in the next year or so.


    GIE, I agree completely with your 7.08.

    Sorry for coming over all serious, but for some reason FFP makes me put on my spectacles and best Y Fronts. haha

  62. GunnerN5 says:

    Paddy & Mick find 3 grenades, so they take them to a police station.
    Mick: “What if one explodes before we get there?”
    Paddy: “We’ll lie and say we only found two.”

  63. MickyDidIt89 says:


    6:25 “I don’t see how domestic football survives if the rich get richer”.

    They survive in the same way as Bideford FC survive. The team I went to see this afternoon. Within their means.

    I don’t know how many of the current 90 odd league teams survive because of other people’s money (debt), but if they only survive because of record low interest rates on this debt, they’re finished if another ’08 crash comes, and it will, and it will be far worse.

    Mine is a tragic view, but real, and it’s not possible for me to discuss this without boringly bringing economics into it. Sorry very doomy 😦

    Not on laptop much as house full.

  64. TT says:

    Thank you very much for an informative article, GiE. You clearly have thought much about this.

    Sorry for a basic question, which demonstrates how new I am to the world of the Premier League: how many years has it been since the PL gets four teams in the CL please? Wikipedia says since the 2009-2010, but I find that not so long ago. Can that be correct?

  65. Gööner In Exile says:

    TT 2001-02 was first season Newcastle a United qualified for CL in 4th spot under Robson, and again in 02-03 when finishing third.

    Liverpool fell out of top 4 that season there place taken by Chavs who were bought by Abramovich in the following summer and haven’t left top 4 since, neither have United and Arsenal. Liverpool came back in the following season and stayed until 2009.

    City’s new owners did not have an immediate effect, but in reality their first season of ownership did not give them much time to make an impact having taken over in August 2008.

  66. GunnerN5 says:

    We have several wise accountants on AA so I won’t even try to enter that part of the discussion but I would offer that I am thrilled about the amount of money flooding into the PL.

    Why would I say that?

    Well over the past decade I have witnessed some of the best football I have seen in my life. Money, and the common market, has meant that the PL has been like a magnet and has attracted some of the best talent in the world who have been assembled together in several high quality squads

    This season may end up being the best of the best, as half way through the season any one of 6 to 8 teams can win the championship – and we fans are the beneficiaries of that quality and intense competition.

    Maybe I’m short sighted as I have no idea if it is sustainable but in the meantime I, for one, will continue to reap the benefits.

  67. TT says:

    Thanks, GiE. If I had read GN5 12:41 carefully, I might have inferred the answer.

    Unless I have misread, it’s time to correct Wikipedia:

    “As of the 2009–10 season qualification for the UEFA Champions League changed, the top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the UEFA Champions League, with the top three teams directly entering the group stage. Previously only the top two teams qualified automatically.”

    That should read 2001-02, right?


    Since its quiet and I am suffering from insomnia…Christmas hey??, dont you just love it?

    To help you all have a great one, I would very much enjoy the liberty of giving you Terrys guide to Christmas gifts.

    Your Beloved Spouse: I reccomend you buy her nothing. This is a no lose situation. On the one hand this will either make her realise that you should not be taken for granted, or, she will go ape, walking out and taking the kids with her. This will allow you to throw a crazy party, and yes, actully enjoy yourself. (Note: When she opens nothing, make sure you are wearing a crash helmet and cod piece)

    The Extremly Old: We all love granma right? Since the older generations have a tendency to forget, I sugest giving granma a loan of cash so she can buy that zimmer shes always wanted. The key is to give her a £50 note, and then 10 Minutes later “Oh no gran, i have forgotten to ask you to sign the loan contract, silly me” I reccomend the contract states £500. After all, its Christmas, and we dont want to be greedy.

    Young kids: Buy them something cheap they will really enjoy, and at the same time interesting enough to stop them pestering whilst your busy getting pissed. I usually go for a box of matches, but if you regard this as to risky, then some boxing gloves will go down well. Kids really knock them selves out with that one

    Teenagers: This one is really easy. Half a pound of Hashish is the order of the day. However, been a responsible parent, you dangle the goods in front of them and when they go for the snatch, proceed to roll up yourself, smoking the lot in front of them. After getting high as a kite you will invariably laugh at everything they say and come over as a right Tool. If this dont put them off drugs nothing will, plus you have the added bonus of having a great time.

    Parents: Turn up round there house crying and distraught that you have no money. This should garner enough sympathy to get the cash to loan granma

    Friends and aquintances: Only send cards to those who owe you something. A “Happy Christmas Fred, P.S. dont forget that £100 you owe me, dont force me to send the boys round” tends to carry a nice and correct festive spirit.

    If you think “sod it” and like me refuse to buy anbody anything, then I recommend that all wanting parties be given an “Evil Stare”. People tend to leave you alone after that.

    Happy Christmas Everyone

  69. Sorry Gooner In Exile, I meant to get back to you much earlier, just been so busy.
    Football is dying as a spectacle because it is becoming far too sanitised, and the sport’s ethics have been decimated. It is a strange twisted logic when you can legitimately claim to have had a better season finishing fourth with no cups than a club finishing fifth having won the FA Cup and League Cup. I know it hasn’t happened – yet – but that would still be the case if it did. Arsenal for example have always had a great affinity with the FA Cup, but such is the clamour for CL, the FA Cup has lost all relevance.
    Sure the little clubs still dream of drawing one of the big guns, but it doesn’t quite have the same level of excitement when the big guns rest the big names and put a second-string out.
    All the recent match-fixing revelations, and the fact that people believe most cup draws to be rigged has and will do a lot of damage, because people can never be sure they’re watching the genuine article, and further still it throws the whole history of the game into doubt. How many titles or cups have been bought throughout the years? Professional footballers were being arrested in the early 1960’s for match-fixing, so how many escaped detection? Every week in every league across the world we see shocking officiating from referees who for all anyone knows could quite readily have accepted a ‘bung’. There are enough dodgy results every Saturday afternoon in the English leagues to suggest corruption is rife in our national sport, especially with the amounts of money available. If a journeyman like DJ Campbell can pick up £70,000 for getting himself red-carded, who knows how many others are at it.
    Plus at a time when the television money from Sky/BT is becoming ever more lucrative, instead of rewarding fans for years of what is often long-suffering loyal support, clubs are unscrupulously rinsing them even more, and it doesn’t just apply to Arsenal.
    Perhaps it was inevitable that football was going down the corporate path, and that allied with all-seated stadia has priced out thousands upon thousands of passionate supporters, and even if safe standing does get the green light, those fans aren’t suddenly going to find the money to attend matches.
    Jimmy Hill started the ball rolling (no pun intended), and Rupert Murdoch got his grubby hands on it, and it has never been the same since. Though in terms of putting clubs into astronomical debt by forcing them into all-seater stadiums, South Yorkshire Police have a lot to answer for.

  70. RockyLives says:

    Fascinating Post GiE and a very interesting discussion.

  71. arnie says:

    Great, great stuff, GiE. Fantastic research, well thought out and well written. Unfortunately too late in to contribute, apologies. Actually, like many of us, the events this week has made me think hard about the way the EPL is going, and being lazy, I was hoping someone knowledgeable and more capable that me would write a post. Hence, this is a fantastic Christmas gift for me, GiE. A counter view fro Micky will be even better. Maybe I will pen down someting on this theme in the new year. Thank you, GiE, great stuff 😀 😀 😀

  72. arnie says:

    Micky: Acknowledging my role as one of the “bastards”, a very late thank you for the Christmas card!!!! 😛

    And just to wish you merry Christmas from sunny Florida:

  73. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ha ha Arnie

    You are off my “Bastards List”. Great card, thank you 🙂

  74. MickyDidIt89 says:


    If I may make a suggestion, perhaps to restore your faith in what football is all about, go down to your local Club. All is, in fact, very well.

    For example, my local side, Bideford AFC, state on their website that they have a proud record in the FA Cup, having reached the first round proper on no less than three occasions.

    Not technically a Trophy, I grant you, but oh how the faithful celebrated 🙂

  75. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Terry “Tinsel” Transplant,

    Some very sound festive advice there, although I suspect you see Christmas more as an opportunity to “get even” 🙂

    I’d say we’ve received around 200 cards, of which about 190 are in reality to my wife and children with my name tagged on. That leaves 10 more or less dedicated to me. 6 of those went straight into the bin as they were “Season’s Greetings” not Christmas cards, leaving me the sum total of about 4 🙂

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The house is alive. Bye.

  77. Gööner In Exile says:

    WATA your theory is proven by Dalgleish at Liverpool sacked having won the Carling Cup am coming runners up in the FA Cup but not qualifying for CL. He prioritised the trophies and paid for it with his job.

  78. VCC says:

    Merry Christmas to you too Mr. transplant. I see your in the festive spirit once again.

    This is your favourite time of the year. 😉

  79. evonne says:

    How much does a club receive for winning the league cup, £150k? and how much for the FA cup, £2mil?

    So lets compare the figures above with £20m+ for playing in the CL. No brainer really. You want to win cups, then you need to spend big on players. To get money for players you need large income, which CL guarantees

  80. Morning all

    Is it too early for snow 😉

  81. GiE – I’m truly sorry that my head is so full of other stuff that I can’t get it round reading your post but I’m certain it’s very good.

  82. New Post ………………

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