Keep your mails coming to email@example.com…
Is there a reason you have decided the measurement of a bad champion is how many points they themselves got compared to their title winning season? Isn’t this utterly ridiculous? So if City had finished two points above us this year, we’d still have been the 4th worst defending champions ever, due to our points total falling? And you attach no relevance to the fact that we were measuring ourselves this year against one of the highest top flight points totals of all time? I’d be interested to see others thoughts on how you’d measure what makes a “bad champion”, as I’d be more inclined to point to how far off the top a side was the following season, rather than how many points less they managed, because as we are always told, each season stands by itself.
Maybe a bit late to the party on this but WTAF is going on with your bad champions list? Points drop-off from one season to the next is a terrible way to determine this as each season has its own context. Are you seriously suggesting that Liverpool’s 3rd place on 69 points is a worse effort than Man Utd’s 7th place on 55 points simply because Liverpool gained an incredible 99 points last season whist Man Utd. won the 2011 title with a decidedly mediocre 80?
So if next season Burnley get relegated on 40 points will you proclaim their season a success as they gained one more point than this season?
James Outram, Wirral
Hi F365, I’ve got to question the position of Liverpool’s season as the “fourth worst title defence in history” – also used as the justification for putting Liverpool 19th in your expectations table.
I can’t deny that based on a comparison of points from one season to another, this is true – but that’s a very misleading statistic to use. Liverpool’s title-winning points total of 99 was way higher than average, so it was always going to be much harder for them to get close to that total.
Mainly, though – points are a far less relevant matrix to use than league position (you don’t qualify for tournaments based on points scored) and if you rank based on that Liverpool beat every other example given (and probably lots of others besides).
Yes, Liverpool’s season was disappointing based purely on expectations at the start of the season, but it certainly wasn’t anything like the fourth worst defence in history.
(P.S. “History” didn’t start in 1992).
There appears to have been some attempt in the past few days since the season ended on Football365 to build a very boring narrative around Liverpool’s season being a failure. From the bad champions article, to topping the Losers of the year and hilariously being “relegated” on the expectation table.
There are two things I find curious about all of this.
Firstly Liverpool fans just aren’t biting in the intended way at this one. The provocation has been thrown out no doubt with the expectation of a barrage of letters and outrage at our club being denigrated but the response has been largely muted.
I think this is because most pool fans are quietly satisfied at our recovery this year and also recognize that the mid season form was largely down to a horrendous injury list. Yes there were factors Liverpool could’ve improved on, having a 4th recognized centre back, some better tactical changes from Klopp but overall I think we see that the club managed this clusterf##k of circumstances pretty well.
In the past Liverpool would’ve truly fallen off a cliff this season. But now we have steadied the ship nicely after a bad year and look ready to return stronger and as one of City’s main challengers next year.
The second interesting thing is the attempt to build up excitement around City’s and Pep’s achievements.
I don’t begrudge City or Pep their success. But again seeing with clear eyes it is not something to set the heart racing or the human spirit soaring. For example, by lunchtime the day after City won the title I logged onto my favorite football website and the two articles relating to City winning the title were the 15th and 19th articles listed. There is no world in which this would be the case if Liverpool, Manu or Arsenal won the league. That is just the reality of City as a football club and no amount of comparing Pep to Fergie will change that.
No matter what way you spin it City and Pep winning the league just means less.
I know writers need to generate clicks and good copy but sometimes the narratives pushed forwards don’t ring true and are quite frankly laboured and tiresome, as my mother used to say, you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, or vice versa.
Besides that keep up the good work and see you all back next year!
My lord, the nonsense on Kane, again.
Dip, to do you a solid back, as an Arsenal fan, Kane is clearly the best striker in the Premier League as of now. In fact, along with Henry, Aguero and Suarez (small sample size but magical), he is one of the best Prem strikers in last 20 years.
RVP, Torres and Drogba have some peak seasons. Rooney played for ages at a high level. I really liked Tevez as a player (low key underrated).
But Kane has it all – probably the most complete striker I’ve seen (since I haven’t seen much of peak Ronaldo or Lewandoski due to Arsenal’s *ahem* absences from the Champions League and I’m too young for prime Shearer). And watching him run, slow? Eric Dier is slow. Per Mertesacker was slow. Dani Ceballos runs in treacle. You won’t confuse Kane for Salah, but his short distance movement is great, he never seems to slow the counter attack down (like Giroud used to do) and who frankly gives a shite if he isn’t a flyer when the rest of his game is so good.
Now, you can dislike him for valid reasons. He has a couple of habits (the backing into one in particular) that he could clean up and win back brownie points. I don’t really like him as a bloke, but that’s me, a partisan fan, and I don’t go around asking Spurs fans to like Wilshire. But you can’t deny the quality.
What’s also insufferable, but not really his fault, is his deification by the PFM/football media class. Fuck. Ing. Hell. The free press he gets, and is getting this summer? Nauseating. The fact that when the backing into thing became something that not just rival fans complained about, the BBC/Sky/whoever (can’t remember) ran some article like ‘Does Harry Kane back into….’ and both-sided it? Maddening.
But ultimately, yes he’s great, and the sooner he leaves for somewhere very far away the better.
Tom (probably only written more emails defending Arteta this season, dios mio) Walthamstow
The mails on Kane struck a chord. I didn’t rate him, thought he was a one-season wonder. And even now, think he is slow and ageing. The truth is, painfully, Kane has those gifts. He doesn’t need the pace because instead of speeding up, he slows the game down. Why did Lampard score so many goals? Even though he worked tirelessly he topped out at a relatively average premier league physical specimen. He had the gift of timing his runs and finding space – similar to that devilish Raumdeuter, Thomas Muller. They have skills that are imperceptible, or at least less perceptible to the fans – definitely when compared with brute strength and elite pace. As much as I hoped a Spurs player wouldn’t, Kane has it. Feels dirty admitting it but they got us in the Champions league so if not now, never. He has elite finishing coupled with the quality to slow the game down allowing him to read and play the right passes. I’d say his lack of pace throughout means an extended peak if anything, he never relied on it.
Saaj (bath time) CFC
In response to Bernard from this morning’s mailbox. He said ‘…50+1 rule and how great it would be’. I’m not sure many understand just how problematic and restrictive it would be to try and implement it in the PL. It effectively stops outside investment and will stifle competition. I know that we should dislike the money clubs but without City and Chelsea it would have just continued with Man Utd and Arsenal who were in the right place at the right time when the CL and PL really started, their earning potential compared to the rest was crazy and without others buying their way in would just have increased relative to the rest. I like having Wolves, Villa or Leeds back, I like that Everton might start to make inroads and upset a few, but it all took some outside sizeable investment to get the ball rolling.
It’s massively political as well, and at times has seen the real demise of clubs whilst there has been regular power struggles. But also look at RB Leipzig to see just how these rules can be circumvented, but is their ascent a bad thing, maybe they are likely to mount a challenge to Bayern, surely it would be good their the fans overall if someone could?.
I’m all for fans to be involved in some things, but the 50+1 rule in an established league is probably the worst thing that could happen. I’m not in favour of it continuing as it is finance wise, needs a bit of an implosion, maybe Real and Barca struggling will have an overall impact, fewer clubs able to be part of the transfer merry-go-round has to reduce the available options for players and the competition for major signings.
There’s a lot wrong with football with the exception of the actual football, that’s great.
Hi Tony, New Forest it is interesting that you end your email with the thought that the disparity in resources is not highlighted often enough. Amongst City fans it is a constant source of frustration that our success is often caveated with how much it cost.
Our squad is often referred to as being “bigger” than others despite containing 25 players like every other premier league squad. The cost of our players is often highlighted in commentary during the games. The total price of our first 11 is regularly compared to the teams we are playing (but strangely not when we are playing Liverpool, United or Chelsea). “Money bags” or “oil rich” “or billion pound” are often prefixes attached to the official name of the team.
I would be foolish to argue that Manchester City have not spent a lot of money putting together a squad for Pep. However you’d be equally foolish to suggest that we have an unfair advantage in having a rich owner. Financial Fair Play rules restrict that advantage and ensure that Manchester City can only spend what is earnt. I know City has a complicated (and misrepresented) history in regards to this but if we take the Pep period only then the squad has been paid for out of Manchester City’s resources. In this regard both Manchester United and Liverpool have greater resources available than Manchester City.
In any event any defence of Pep is irrelevant here. Pep himself goes out of his way to credit the players and their quality (and subsequent cost) for “his” success. Any attempt to argue that Pep could succeed at Rochdale would probably be undermined by Pep himself in the same way that Michaelangelo couldn’t have painted the Sistine Chapel with a crayon. As a side note if you wanted to purely paint Pep’s success down to how much money he has spent then the transfer fees of Messi, Iniesta, Muller, Lahm, etc should all be taken into account.
Finally as my wise old mum says “just cos something cost a lot don’t mean it is worth something you pretentious muppet”. There are plenty of teams who have spent big on players that have achieved very little not too far from the Etihad. If you took the resources Pep has and divided that by the trophies he has won then there probably isn’t a better value coach working in football today.
All of this costs benefit analysis though is not why I watch football and probably not why you do either. I’m already looking forward to next seasons league tussles and as a forward thinking guy am really excited for 10 years down the line when Peps Money bags City will go head to head with Klopp’s Tranmere and Ole’s Salford City for the EPL title. I have a feeling Big Fee Foden might finally have his breakout season.
Richard (could this week be going any slower), Manchester
Another day, another email from Ebrahim, the Manchester United fan from Seattle knocking Arsenal and/or their fans. At this point they are becoming as much a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth and my 9am coffee. This time, the topic of criticism is Arsenal fans “clutching at straws”. Far be it from me to speak for the entire Arsenal fan base, but the points that he raised as straw clutching appear to be little more than looking for some positives and signs of encouragement, however small, in what the large majority, if not all arsenal fans acknowledge was a season that did not live up to or meet expectations. There is definitely no celebrating of consecutive eighth placed finishes either, so your claims of it all being a bit pathetic are more than a little misplaced.
For what it’s worth, I have seen shoots of progress this season, and although coming eighth and finishing outside of Europe is clearly less than ideal, I can also see the benefits of spending next season only having the league and domestic cups to focus on. The most recent comparable season would be Liverpool, who in 2013-14 had no European football and went on to finish second in the league. Although I am not saying arsenal will finish second next season, it does show the benefits of a reduced schedule for a team in transition if a young coach is given the extra time on the training ground with his players.
I’m not sure what Arsenal have done to upset you so much Ebrahim, but try and lighten up a little or this obsession will eat you alive. You’ve got a European final to look forward to on Wednesday. Enjoy it!
Dave (not sure relegation is likely. If memory serves correctly MUFC have gone down much, much more recently than Arsenal), Arsenal, Basingstoke
Love to Lloyd
Lloyd (Jozi) SA I am so very sorry for your loss and I know every reader of F365 will feel the same.
One of the joys of F365 is its “level-headedness” as you so rightly say and the fact that it is very firmly part of the real world beyond football.
I will not cheapen your email by talking about perspective or setting it against the trifles of sport. I do just want to say that my heart goes out to you. Perhaps some of the Liverpool supporting fans who frequent the site may see fit to share your email with the Club. LFC is horribly familiar with loss and I am sure they would want to offer their support to you in some way.
Carolyn, (sending much love in the direction of Johannesburg) South London Gooner.