RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Tuesday, January 5

S14: Top 14 Worst Seasons By The 7 Clubs Never Relegated From Premier League Since The Beginning (or some shit)

In honor of my increasing fascination/fandom of the world’s football, I’ve decided to (occasionally) resurrect the old Sporting 14 theme for some world’s football (soccer) related lists. I think in my brain at this point I’ll shoot for Tuesday mornings, but I’m honest enough to admit I have no idea what the fuck will actually happen. But when I have time to waste, I usually make up dorksheets of data about dumb shit like this. And what good is the internet if we don’t share our innate ridiculous bullshit with four other people?
Since the Premier League formed from out of the old English First Division, there’s been seven teams that have never gotten relegated. The Premier League was 22 teams at first, but contracted back to 20 after a couple of seasons. Still though, seven teams – Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, and Aston Villa – have never once been relegated in over two decades of seasons. This is notable this season because Aston Villa really sucks, and unless some sort of late season miracle happens, are likely to get relegated (and at the worst of times, as a huge TV deal with huge TV deal money kicks in next season). So I axed myself, “Raven Mack, what are the worst seasons that these seven teams have had since the Premier League started, and how close has anyone been to relegation like this out of those teams before?”
Well, here are your results, in the listing of the top fourteen worst teams from those seven, ranked according to how many points they earned in the table that season. Many seasons, all seven of these teams finished in the top ten, sometimes top 8 even, hoarding the top spots, so even beyond Aston Villa being at the bottom of the table, this year’s Premier League season is notable because the dominance of these teams at the top is not present. Still though, a Chelsea or Liverpool having a down period during a single season is far different than Aston Villa setting themselves up for the tragedy of relegation. But as you look at this stupid list, it’s not exactly surprising either…

#1: Aston Villa2014-15 season, 38 points, -26 goal differential, 3 points above relegation: So the worst performance by any of these teams before this year was Aston Villa last year. They hit a dry spell of 6 straight losses in September-November, and sort of rebounded until the new year rolled around. After a New Year’s Day draw, they dropped seven straight, and got their manager sacked, after falling into the actual relegation zone. They still didn’t exactly get much greater, but a few home wins plus an important away win at Tottenham Hotspur in April kept them clear of relegation. Also, somehow, they made it all the way to the final of the FA Cup, but then got blowed the fuck out by Arsenal, 4-0, at Wembley, to put a painful bow on a rough season.

#2: Aston Villa2013-14 season, 38 points, -22 goal differential, 5 points above relegation: And the second worst season was that same Aston Villa team the year before. They started decently enough, sitting as high as 9th in the table, but once mid-March sprang upon them, they were horrible, losing 7 of their last 9, with only a win in their last home game against Hull City, and a draw in their next-to-last home game against Southampton (as well as the ineptitude of other teams) keeping them from the relegation zone. Early home exits in both the FA Cup and League Cup only helped add to the misery.

#3: Aston Villa2011-12 season, 38 points, -16 goal differential, 2 points above relegation: An early trend-setting season for this current run, as they established their lowest point totals, fewest wins in a season, and worst home record in their 138-year history. I have not mentioned to this point that American lizard overlord billionaire Randy Lerner bought the team in 2006, and has been seen as instrumental in helping run the club into the fucking ground. Also, they’d still been good enough to qualify for European continental competitions, but had finished only 9th the previous season, thus this was their first time in five years not playing international football. So essentially, this is when the shit started to break.

#4: Everton2003-04 season, 39 points, -19 goal differential, 6 points above relegation: Even though this was Everton’s worst season since the Premier League existed (and since), they were still six points clear of relegation, so though a shitty season, not nearly as on the brink as one would expect. This season was also notable due to an 18-year-old wunderkid named Wayne Rooney, who was already linked with a sale to Manchester United, which only made their season more shaky, as opposed to stable. But important to remember Everton’s role in helping Wayne Rooney learn how to be THE WORST HUMAN BEING ON EARTH.

#5: Everton1997-98 season, 40 points, -15 goal differential, 0 points above relegation: Many of the non-Aston Villa listings on this list are by Everton, from various seasons over the past two decades. But never did they flirt as hard with relegation as they did in 2004. Going into the last day of games, they were actually a point down, but Bolton Wanderers lost away to Chelsea, and Everton got a point at home in a 1-1 draw with Coventry City, to move even with Bolton, but five goals ahead of them on goal differential.

#6: Aston Villa2012-13 season, 41 points, -22 goal differential, 5 points above relegation: Perhaps you were reading this and like, “Well, what about Aston Villa’s 2012-13 season?” Here it is. Thus 4 of the worst 6 seasons by these 7 clubs were Aston Villa’s previous 4 seasons. They did make it to the semifinals of the League Cup though. And they were as low as 19th in the table (18 thru 20 get relegated, FYI), but went 5-2-3 in their last ten to rally the fuck out the hole.

#7: Everton2000-01 season, 42 points, -14 goal differential, 8 points above relegation: I’ll be honest, I kinda hate Everton, though I briefly pretended not to hate them because of Tim Howard, but now I think I might hate him too. I am only pro-America when it’s convenient.

#8: Everton1996-97 season, 42 points, -13 goal differential, 2 points above relegation: There are Wikipedia pages for all these seasons, meaning even though I do soccer dorksheetz in down moments, there are dudes (likely dudes) who are filling in all THE IMPORTANT DETAILS OF EVERY EVERTON SEASON THAT EVER HAPPENED. And while I can’t really be casting the first stones in terms of this type of shit, I’d rather all of Wikipedia be a bunch of zines instead of a website. A giant abandoned textile mill full of fucked up Xeroxed zines, so you go to the sports level, walk over to the soccer part, go to England, and start digging through the boxes marked EVERTON to find the one that tells you about this season.

#9: Aston Villa2005-06 season, 42 points, -13 goal differential, 8 points above relegation: An early disappointing season for Aston Villa, with promises of the horrible things to come, which should culminate in their relegation this season. It better. I’m a Swansea fan (adopted, of course, SORRY I DIDN’T GROW UP WITH THIS SHIT I GREW UP WITH CONCUSSION BALL OKAY?) and they’re flirting with the relegation zone themselves, so I hope everybody below them just sucks the shit out of everything the rest of the year.

#10: Everton2001-02 season, 43 points, -12 goal differential, 7 points above relegation: Everton, yawn.

#11: Everton1998-99 season, 43 points, -5 goal differential, 7 points above relegation: More Everton, more yawn.

#12: Everton1992-93 season, 44 points, -21 goal differential, 2 points above relegation: Well, a brief interjection before another Everton yawn is that this was one of the first seasons of the actual Premier League (second), when there were 22 teams, which means they had an additional four matches with 12 possible points, but they still were shitty enough to make this list. Note the 2 points above relegation.

#13: Tottenham Hotspur1997-98 season, 44 points, -12 goal differential, 4 points above relegation: Finally, an appearance on this stupid list by somebody other than Aston Villa or Everton, though I also find the Spurs pretty fucking boring. When I first started “discovering” the Premier League, I briefly flirted with Hotspur fandom, as they had Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey back then. But then I heard that stupid fucking Dan Snyder (who drove me from the concussion ball in the first place) always had eyes on buying a stake in Tottenham Hotspur, so I automatically hated them forever from that point on.

#14: Tottenham Hotspur2003-04 season, 45 points, -10 goal differential, 12 points above relegation: Fucking hate the Spurs. So much so I think less of people who like them. 

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