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Table Doesn’t Lie At Top Or Bottom But Tells A Few Fibs Round The Middle…

8 years ago
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When speaking with a friend discussing my lack of excitement about this week’s visit of our FA Cup conquerors, I was challenged as to what more I expected than our current 9th place in the Premier League table.

After a lengthy riposte detailing the shortcomings of the board and our Minister of Propaganda, I was reminded of the words of a wise man who once said;

‘The league table doesn’t lie at the top, or the bottom, but it tells a few fibs round the middle.’

In our case it must be Pinocchio himself compiling the standings, as never has a top half position in the table been so misleading. The source of our current gripes is well documented elsewhere on this excellent website but the question I pose is another. Who are we above in Premier League table? Let’s have a look at how those below us have fared.

10th Stoke City

A season of transition for Stoke after growing tired of the baseball capped one’s brand of football. Mark Hughes was under a lot of pressure earlier in the season and is only recently winning round his detractors

11th Crystal Palace

From the tw*t in the hat to the magic hat, Crystal Palace are one club below NUFC who have enjoyed a season far beyond their expectations. But let’s not forget this is a side that elected to change their manager and had never previously survived a season in the premier league.

12th Swansea

After the dizzy heights of silverware and European qualification it has been a disappointing season for the Swans. A long flirt with the wrong end of the table and reports of in-fighting cost Michael Laudrup his job.

13th Hull

A solid season for Hull helping complete the managerial rehabilitation for our former foe from Wearyside. Many pundits’ tips for relegation but organisation and January investment has seen them all but safe for another season.

14th West Ham

Fat Sam with his big fat head may be chewing his gum and as smug as ever but unrest among Hammers gathers pace. Only his appropriately fat salary saved him from the chop earlier on in the season.

15th West Brom

Another club to see a change in the manager’s chair with Steve Clarke paying the price for a rotten 2013. With Lukaku electing to continue his education at Goodison Park, the struggles at the Hawthorns have continued.

16th Aston Villa

Another tripe season for Paul Lambert’s men. Only the goals of star striker Benteke have kept the relegation wolves from the door.

17th Sunderland

Mussolini enthusiast and all-round wingnut, Paolo Di Canio, paid for a dreadful start to the season with his job. Gus Poyet in the league fared little better and was grateful for the 6 points generously donated by the Magpies.

18th Norwich

After a summer spending spree, a very poor season saw NUFC fan favourite Chris Houghton shown the door. The man cruelly dubbed ‘Alan Partridge’ by the national press will need to see his strikers score some goals to avoid the drop.

19th Fulham

An ageing, tired side on their third manager of the campaign. After the elation of a European final in the recent past, the Championship beckons.

20th Cardiff

This Saturday’s visitors, but as anyone who watched their latest visit to the North East, a simply crap outfit. While Malky Mackay was unfortunate to get his P45, Cardiff complete the premier league’s managerial merry-go-round.

A stat that immediately stands out is that 7 of the 11 teams below us elected to change their manager. The debate on trigger happy chairmen is a valid one but the fact remains that 7 boards decided enough was enough and a new face in the dugout was the only way forward. Fulham even took the step twice!

I would argue that only Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Hull City can be pleased with their league seasons and with the current implosion it is not unfeasible only the latter will sit below us in the standings.

Astute observers will notice that two of the list will be/have been involved in cup finals, with both sets of fans having enjoyed a day out in our nation’s capital. For those who have forgotten it’s a match whereby the winner collects one of those shiny objects known as a trophy.

So 9th place, top half, target achieved, doesn’t sound so impressive when you look at what we’re up against does it?

Call me deluded but I expect better than to be happy with being the best of as bad bunch. A bunch that is as bad as any in recent memory. All achieved with turgid, insipid football. The worrying thing is with the announced ‘one or two’ arriving at SJP in the summer where will it end?

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