The world is scorching. The cost of living is soaring, waters are retreating, queues are zigzag, and workers are arresting. There is something strange going on, something deeply wrong. Our planet is off-kilter and here is the resistance: if it is not enough that an England team are winning Football tournaments, then Newcastle United groups are developing troubling symptom great big fizzy pustules of hope. Wake up, people. Wake up and escape. Disaster is nigh.
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The Athletic’s Premier League hope-o-meter is now in its third season of Football Premier League and these results are our most concerning yet. Each year, as the Premier League returns, we ask our subscribers a very simple question: how is your sensation? There are two options, hopeful and negative. From there, we amass a table and then issue it, at which point everyone jokes at how mistaken or pathetic everybody else is and then funs again at crying Geordies.
And, appearance, this is a bit separate for me. I’m taking a hazard here, breaking free from the chains of skill in the interests of public service. For years now decades! I’ve fashioned myself as a Storyteller of Misery. No footballing charade could trouble the northeast of England without me feasting on it like a blood-sucking ghoul. Defeat? I drink it in. Downgrading? Feed me. Desperate ownership? Let my disgusting, depressing adjectives make you leak.
Two years before, Newcastle United was in the lowest four for fan sureness and that was perfect. Last season of Premier League Football, they were 19th and, again, no complaints. I was like one of those AI-powered writing devices, don my unhappiness cloak, input names and expressions like Mike Ashley, Steve Bruce, apathy, how’s the bacon, inertia, ticking along, demotion, conflict and bang, there you go, I’d mixed out 2,000 words on a club going nowhere. It was all so normal. Predictable.
Of course, we comprehend why this has happened. After 14 years of Ashley, Newcastle’s united takeover is the cause of repositioning. And, no, it has not been without argument, but even though the club’s 80 per cent possession by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has brought money to Tyneside, it has not been another version of LIV Golf, nausea out bundles of cash and seeing where the dollars twig. It has been so damn slow. Solid players, serious managers, decent decisions.
If you’re still interpreting at this point, don’t blame me when the four horsemen seem on the horizon, when the plague comes and fires engulf you, although there is an interesting counter-point near the foot of our table. Twelve months ago, Chelsea had the most muscular fans in the Premier League and now they are second-bottom, which just goes to show that money is no assurance. That money can go wrong.
With that welcome jolt of comfort, let us gaze away and stick with the no-hopers because that’s how we roll. Look at Bournemouth! Enjoyment at returning to the top division is not for them, thank you, nor are those heady feelings of likelihood fuelling Nottingham Forest who, after so long away, is sixth on our table. This is ruthless despair, which is exactly the way we like it. Or as Scott Parker put it, we are way short of where we are essential to be. That’s fair the cold, hard facts.
Excluding, beware because while the hope-o-meter delivers a snapshot of a moment, its answers can be irresolute, a siren voice of boom or bust. One of Rafa Benitez’s favoured sayings is, Football is a lie, and though results are facts, statistics are truths and the number of new signings is fact and they often all point on the same track, the creation of a team is a bit like experimentation.
Two years before, West Ham United groups weren’t just feeling low, they were deep. Fewer than nine per cent of our defendants were optimistic and to put that in context, the next most depressing set of fans belonged to West Bromwich Albion with 37.9 per cent. Never one to miss the chance to wallow in disappointment, I wrote this.
They’ve got random owners, an unwise stadium where you’re somehow additional away from the pitch than if you were outside, have barely signed anyone and have just vended their best young player, prompting Mark Noble, the skipper, to say he was cleaned, angry and sad. Ah, and there it is. Newcastle United are someway going to find a way of mucking this up, aren’t they? Night, my oldest friend. Embrace me. The Pope of Mope is back in business. For more to know about Crystal Palace Vs Liverpool Tickets Click here.
Mind you, Southampton fans were most hopeful that season with a still-baffling 98.9 per cent and they over 15th, so perhaps the salient lesson here is to completely ignore unconditionally everything you, our dear readers, say, which is precisely what I’m going to do with the observation section here. Because I’m already flawlessly aware that is a TWAT.
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, those north London competitors, are leading the way, big movers from last time. Arsenal is the great lurcher, stressed to keep pace with their team; hopeful in 2020-21 Premier League when they would go on to finish eighth, thoroughly disappointed last time when they scaled to fifth and top of the pops now. This confidently means that Mikel Arteta will be sacked before Christmas. Tottenham Hotspur, though. Could it be their Premier League season?
And what the hell is incorrect with Liverpool fans? You weren’t far off a quadruple last season of Premier League and still claimed a double, you’ve got an unbelievable manager and incredible players who play incredible football but you’re still only eighth in our table, directly behind Brighton and I’ve got unconditionally no idea what Brighton has got to be so content about. Liverpool was also eighth two seasons of Premier League ago. Last year it was third, but I don’t know. Is it a hint of anxiety? That one day the bubble spurts?
You could say the similar about Manchester City, who are fourth in the hope-o-meter, which is a substantial uptick from ninth and 10th. What clarifies their reserve? Does success distort what success feels like? When you’ve been good for so long when you’re ruling champions, is it balanced by having to do it again to be as good again? Or is it that half-buried City-its peeking out, the knowledge that you, too, were once like the old Newcastle United and a byword for the accident? Maybe I should have asked someone. Too late now.
For the second season of Premier League running, Crystal Palace is boosted with good cheer. Are they just happy people down there? For the second season running Everton are in a demotion position, although their fans are not quite as downcast as a year ago. Manchester United are in 12th, just as they were in 2020-21 and with an almost identical 72 per cent cheerfulness and, in its way, that mid-table position of deep meh expresses quite a story.
Leicester City, Wolverhampton Nomads and Leeds United are on the slide, clubs which have recalibrated in recent months or, in Leicester’s case, unsuccessful to redesign their squad and perhaps there is a trivial concern over identity. Aston Villa is top-half, which sounds about correct, Brentford 11th and Fulham 15th, which textures convincingly optimistic if you know what I mean.
The point is that nobody knows. Not you, not me surely not me, not anybody. But I need some clearness. I crave ordinariness. So for one season of Premier League only, I’ll be digging for Bournemouth. Not to win, but to misplace, to make true their nervousness, to bathe in their mayhem. Give me glorious, stunning monochrome misery any day. At least you know where you stand with that. I can’t deal with hope.
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