Those were my seats the last time that I saw premier league football live at Craven Cottage.
It’s that time of year again commentists, futbol is kicking off! I’m aware that Mr. Balls and others dislike the EPL but it’s what’s on my teevee on Saturdays and the good La Liga games are on at 1 pm here which is naptime. I like me some early morning sports so the English league suits me just fine I completely understand if people are burnt out by futbol due to the super fantastique World Cup that we just witnessed but I’m not. Normally I would be but this year is different for me. The team I support got promoted and will be on television every Saturday. It means I do not have to find a stream through some backwater provider.
This is the third installment of the biased/half assed preview and since everyone is a little burnt out I thought that I’d do it a little differently this year. I know there are some history aficionados within our midst so I thought I’d focus on the stadia of the clubs in the Premier League with a small thought on what is going to happen this year.
Arsenal F.C (London)
Stadium – The Emirates (2006) Capacity 59 867
This is the 3rd biggest stadium in England and fairly new as English football stadiums go. It was ready for the 2006 season and wasn’t mired in too much red tape. Prior to this they were at Highbury that could hold 60 000 people until the English FA made it mandatory that stadiums were all seated. This is an argument that still goes on to this day. That decision made the capacity at 34 000 so they built themselves a new one. I went to Highbury in 2001 and it was a fantastic atmosphere, a real old school vibe that got me hooked on the game live. It seems to me when I watch matches at Emirates on television the soul has been sucked out of the place.We will see that a lot going forward.
In the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter as Arsenal has the most expensive ticket in the league but have such a huge fan base that it continually sells out.
In evil doer news one of the owners of the club Usmanov is looking to sell his stake at the club to the Kroenkes. These fucking guys again? Perhaps they will move the Gunners to LA in his new stadium when 1 hour intercontinental travel can happen.
This season Arsene is indeed out, and the new guy Unai Emery is in. I think that this is a change that had to happen as the Gunners were under-performing and had tuned their manager out. Will we get a pissed of Ozil after the falling out with the national team? Is this the season that Petr Cech calls it a career? They brought in Bernd Leno from Levurkusen for a hefty price so it looks like his days are numbered.
A.F.C Bournemouth, (Bournemouth, Dorset)
Stadium – Dean Court, now known as Vitality Stadium (1910) Capacity 11 450
The Cherries have done well during their stint in the Premier League as this will be their fourth campaign. They’ve built up enough of a nest-egg to expand this small old stadium. They’re looking to build a new ground but it seems to be tied up in studies, and a bunch of red tape. They definitely have to increase capacity as this is a tiny place worlds away from the top of the league. That being said, how great would it be to watch The Cherries beat a top club there? The atmosphere would be electric.
They finished 12th last season which for a club this size is a great result. They beat Arsenal at home last year and beat scummy Chelsea 3-0 so they definitely have a few upsets in their repertoire. They have made 1 signing since transfer season started and have been extremely quiet. Did you know Jermaine Defoe still plays? Did you know he plays here? Neither did I.
Brighton and Hove Albion F.C. (Falmer, East Sussex)
Stadium – American Express Community Stadium (2011) Capacity 30 750
Nice shiny new stadium for the Seagulls a few years back and then promotion happened a year ago and everything is looking up in this coastal party town. I do enjoy the Seagulls flying on the seats of this barn, classy touch. This was formerly known as Falmer Stadium, but then American Express bought the county and now all things are called American Express, and there is only Taco Bell. Demolition Man was a great movie.
Red tape? Petty battles between counties? You bet
Planning permission was given by the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove in June 2002, with the intention of the stadium being ready for the 2005–06 season. The plans for the stadium were opposed by neighboUring Lewes District Council and local residents. While the stadium lies completely within Brighton and Hove, part of the north-east of the site is in Lewes. Bennet’s Field, as it is known, is now used for parking. (wikipedia)
It really couldn’t have that important probably just a bunch of NIMBY’s but it eventually went through.
This season they look to stay up for a second consecutive season after a 15th place finish last year. They have added 2 players that had helped Fulham gain promotion last year in Oliver Norwood and David Button. (We didn’t want them anyway). I feel that this could be a tough season unless they learn how to play on the road. They only had 2 victories away from American Express County Stadium sponsored by American Express. American Express.
Prediction: 16th, they will be in a relegation battle all year.
Burnley F.C. (Burnley)
Stadium – Turf Moor (1883) Capacity 22 546
Turf Moor is fantastic. It is probably my 2nd favoUrite ground in the league.You hear of players getting the turf moor flu as it is a tough place to play. It’s old and cramped which would make it a great place to watch a game. It was originally a cricket ground in 1833 whch then became the home of Burnley FC in 1883 where in their first game they lost 6-3 and since that day Burnley FC has been devising ways to keep the game boring and play strong defense. In 1888 in the 1st League game ever played there they beat Bolton Wanderers 4-1 with Tom Poland scoring. This showed us 2 things, the first being that Bolton has always been awful and secondly that Eastern Europeans were still taking jobs back then.
They are in Europe! They finished an amazing 7th last year and are in Europa League qualifying right now facing Aberdeen which they played the 2nd leg this past Thursday and if I forget to go back and see the score then this will still be here. I didn’t forget they beat the sheep shaggers 3-1 so they move on in Europe.
The only player that I recognize is Aaron Lennon, son of Julian.
Prediction: 13th playing in Europe so early in the season may be a detriment to this small club
Cardiff City (Guess)
Stadium – Cardiff City Stadium (2009) Capacity 33 290
Prediction: 20th, see you later, Swansea is a better outfit than you and they’re in shambles.
Chelsea (West London)
Stadium – Stamford Bridge (1877) Capacity 41 631
First of all the stadium is in Fulham and not in Chelsea. They’ve been looking for a new site for years which also won’t be in Chelsea but at least it will be out of the neighboUrhood. I’ve been to Stamford Bridge, it sort of sinks into the ground like the big house in Ann Arbour. You could definitely walk past it and not notice as it is behind a bunch of houses, there is a hotel there but it probably has bedbugs and you end up lke the guy in Oceans 13.
There’s a mural there with the current squad painted on which has a seat so you can take a picture with the team. I did it, while flipping off Frank Lampard and John Terry. Yeah, I was a 35 year old badass.
These guys had a terrible season last year even if they did win the FA Cup and comrade Abramovich mustn’t be pleased. In fact it got to a point with the UK government and Roman that they denied his visa and he was prepared to walk away from the club. This transfer season the Blues have really just strengthened the bench by signing Jorginho. Truth of the matter is that this team will go as far as Edin Hazard takes them, he is the engine in the blue machine. New manager Sarri has just added Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola to his coaching staff which will make the locals happy. Without them having to play in the Champions League they will have more time and energy to concentrate on the Premier League title.
Prediction: 3rd, and I hate them for it. Move out already!
Crystal Palace F.C. (South London)
Stadium – Selhurst Park (1924) Capacity 26 309
This is an old school stadium with old school supporters. I believe that NBC did a special on Palace a few years back called “Behind the Badge”. In researching this lovely stadium there is still a grocery store attached to it which is nice and quaint. The ground had one stand for the longest time but in their 1st match they had 25 000 fans and lost to Sheffield Wednesday in a Twbs 1-0 encounter.
From Wikipedia : The ground remained undeveloped until 1969, when Palace were promoted to Division One (then the highest tier of English football) for the first time. The Arthur Wait Stand was built, and is named after the club’s long-serving chairman, who was a builder by trade and was often seen working on the site himself. Arthur Wait was notable for overseeing Palace’s rise from the 4th to the 1st Division in the 1960s. The Whitehorse Lane end was given a new look when a “second tier” of terracing, brick-built refreshments and toilets were provided along the top.
I am suddenly a big fan of Mr. Arthur Wait as he clearly was of the mindset that if you want something done right then you had better do it your damn self.
They have been back up in the Prem for 5 years now and they have been battling every year just to stay up. Last year the brought in the great escape artist manager Roy Hodgson who Fulham fans adore as he helped us stay up for many years. Say what you will about the guy but he knows how to stay up in the premiership with mediocre sides. He was trash for England, Liverpool but works magic when he’s on a budget team. There are rumoUrs that Roy is unhappy with no money for bringing players in this term which would make sense as standng still will surely get them relegated. As of this day they have brought in one guy from Getafe on a free and if I had just saved the club from the drop I would be choked that nothing was coming in.
Will he stay or will he go? This is the question concerning Wilfried Zaha their talisman as without him Palace failed to get a single point last year! There are a few teams that want to sign him and if he goes this will leave Palace with not a whole lot up front except Andros Townsend who I can’t believe is still in the Premiership.
Prediction: 18th, Roy leaves, Zaha leaves, Palace goes down
Everton F.C. (Liverpool)
Stadium – Goodison Park (1892) Capacity 39 571
From our resident Evertonian King Hippo
Lovely, historic, outdated Goodison Park was born in 1892 and has hosted more top-flight matches than any other stadium in England. Stadium capacity is just a hair under 40K. When completed, it was the first purpose-built football ground in England, and tied for first in the world (with the rush job for Celtic Park in Glasgow). The famous Gwladys Street End stand suffered bombing damage during WWII, as it would surprise nobody to find out that most Nazis, down to Hitler and his most ardent asslickers, would be Redshite fans. Back when English football allowed “standing only” sections, “Fortress Goodison” had its most fearsome reputation, and Everton were enviously referred to as the “Mersey Millionaires.”But times change, and certainly so in Lesser Footy. Even in the Toffees’ mediocre state, fans can often only buy single match tickets with “obstructed views.” With 21st century pricing, that shite gets less and less charming. In conjunction with an ambitious waterfront re-development plan, Liverpool Mayor (and ardent Blue) Joe Anderson has pledged 280m Brexit Bucks in public money (loans, but still WOO!) in support of the Bramley Moore Dock stadium project. Whilst still in the design phase, the new ground is expected to seat around 55K, and be more connected with a “matchday community experience” as downtown/waterfront stadium projects have in Yinzburgh and Cincinnati, for example. Unlike prior stuttering attempts, this one appears to truly be happening. No doubt Goodison will be preserved as a heritage site, and holy museum of English football. It will indeed be a bittersweet day when the Blues actually move. But the time is right.
Anything accomplished by Hippo’s beloved, perpetually disappoint Blues is absolute cherry on the (presumably disgusting English) pudding this season. For Fat Fookin’ Sam, that Gravy Swilling, Hippo Headed (no ofence, me) Thundercunt is gone, along with his useless front office mate.Enter the new, competent, sexy as fuck duo of Coach Marco Silva and Director of Football Marcel Brands (architect of a model project at PSV Eindhoven). Everton will roll with a pressing 4-3-3 (hey, Hippo’s favoured alignment!) In front of me World Cup hero Jordan Pickford. Brazilian winger Richarlison (who played for Silva at Watford, a good player who admittedly cost too much because the Moose Hornets are pissy with us) and timeless Scotsman RB Seamus Coleman are written in stone, with the rest of the lineup somewhat in flux.Young Ademola Lookman would be a natural complement opposite Richarlison, but his head may have been turned on loan to Leipzig. Mason Holgate is likely Everton’s only average or better centre-half, but he has battled minor injuries this summer and not featured in friendlies (in which the defense has looked dreadful). Yerry Mina of Colombia WOO!! Is rumoured to be on his way from Barca, but who knows. And the midfield combo (that I still believe will come good) of Sigurdsson and Tom Davies has yet to take off in attack. Last but not least, the Blues deffo still need a young striker like Michy Batshuayi, and yes, it seems as if I will bleat endlessly about this fucker every transfer window.Bottom line? 7th is really the ceiling, even with Arseholes in turmoil. There is enough vile shite at the bottom that I don’t see less than 9th or 10th regardless, in what is clearly a transitional year.
Fulham FC (West London)
Stadium – Craven Cottage (1896) Capacity 25 700
I am a Fulham member. I will not hide this and the last 4 years have been horrible down in the Championship. I was absolutely ecstatic when they beat John Terry and Villa in the one game playoff. I actually was high fiving everyone in the pub who was really only there waiting for the Champions League game to start.
Craven Cottage is one of the main reasons I became a supporter in 2002. I would travel down to West London to see friends to take in a match and decided I didn’t want to spend an astronomical amount on a ticket, the Cottage was quaint, accessible and the area around it had great pubs for before and after the matches. The cottage is a listed property in the UK and therefore any improvements are a massive headache with even more red tape. It is on the banks of the Thames and there was plans to renovate the Riverside stand before they were relegated 5 years ago. HOWEVAH with promotion brought the plans back and they’re going to go ahead and start very soon. I do suppose it helps that Shad Khan the owner has a fat bankroll.
Holy shit have the Khan’s been spending money in this transfer season! I don’t know what has gotten into them but I am absolutely jacked about who they have brought in. Never in a millon years would I have thought that they would get players with the pedigree of Seri who was about to go to Barca last season or to secure Shurrle on a 2 year loan from Germany. They are in the process of getting Mitrovic from Newcastle who was amazing for the Whites last season after coming over on loan. Even if he doesn’t light the world on fire up front he holds up play so that the wingers can rush forward. They have also added Alfie Mawson from Swansea who was tipped to start for England until a late injury.
Thus far we have kept the kid Sessignon! The big clubs are circling but his twin brother plays for Fulham and his folks don’t want him moving just yet. The reality is that he will get a tonne of playing time in the prem with the Whites and if he moved to a bigger club he would have his ass nailed to the bench.
Prediction: 8th They have loaded up and play sexy futbol
Huddersfield Town A.F.C (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire)
Stadium – John Smith’s Stadium (1994) Capacity 24 500
This used to be known as Kirklees Stadium but due to sponsorship rights a guy named John Smith has deep pockets and wanted the stadium named after him. Actually it’s a beer company and I do like their wares. This is not necessarily rugby country however the stadium has held Rugby League World Cup games on 3 occasions and once for the Union World Cup.
This stadium and its short history is boring and I will go no further.
The club got promoted a season ago and managed to stay up by getting 2 points from 3 games against City and Chelsea. They are definitely a budget club and are more than happy making up the numbers while collecting that sweet tv money. They have had no notable signings but their manager Wagner is known for great organization and hard nosed tactics. They will be in a battle all year.
Prediction: 19th, small club, second season malaise.
Leicester City F.C. (Leicester)
Stadium – King Power Stadium (2002) Capacity 32 500
This is also a boring stadium named after a duty free company in Thailand.
They had a super strange season last year with reaching the quarterfinals in both domestic cup competitions but were beat out by Burnley for a European birth. They haven’t dropped as far down as I had anticipated after shocking the world and winning the league. They sold Mahrez to City this offseason but that was expected. The vultures are circling for big head McGuire due to his success at the World Cup. The fee for him is highway robbery and will pad the coffers for Foxy Footy should they decide to sell. If they can keep the vultures away from him and James Maddison they should have success again this season. Foxy Footy has added Jonny Evans and somehow added the Portuguese defender Pereira which is a coup as Wolves seems to have rights on all Portuguese players which we will touch on later.
Prediction: 9th, still top tier but have to keep their players this offseason
Uggh, I knew that I would get to the next 3 clubs eventually.
Liverpool F.C. (Really?)
Stadium – Anfield (1884) Capacity 54 074
This is one of the most interesting grounds in the Prem as it’s very rich in history, the tour is awesome and even if you dislike the club I still recommend it. It used to be Everton’s home in the late 1800’s until they moved to the blue side of the tracks. They had to move to Anfield from Proiry Road due to the noise at their games. Currently the only noise I hear at an Everton game is my phone going off with Hippo swearing like a sailor about Fat Sam.
The area surrounding the stadium was quite……hmmmm… rich in tradition? Do you like boarded up windows in an apocalypse like setting? Then this is the place for you! Of course with the Red Sox money flowing in they are redeveloping the stadium and area around it.
I like Jurgen Klopp, I rate him as a fantastic manager and love how he has galvanized the team around him. They’re fun to watch and Salah was unreal last year. Going in to this season we will have to see whether he is defended differently or is just so damn talented that he continues to bang in goals. They brought in Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson on a record transfer deal because if you witnessed the Champions League Final you know they need some help on the back end. They also brought in the PED monster Shakiri who was brilliant at the World Cup for Switzerland.
Prediction: 5th, I feel that they are missing something but I am not sure what it is.
Manchester City F.C (hmmmmm)
Stadium – The Etihad Stadium (2003) Capacity 55 097
New stadium, dirty oil money, not interesting.
The mercenaries head in this year looking to defend their title. They had it wrapped up last year by February and eclipsed 100 pts on the year. Most of us around the DFO clubhouse view them as the lesser of the evils when looking at the big clubs in England. We know what they are, and how they go about business. The mercenaries brought in Mahrez from Leicester who has been looking to leave since they won the title.
I realize he plays for a huge club but Kevin De Bruyne is one of the most underrated midfielders in the world. The ginger just changes games at a moments notice and deserves a lot of credit for running the midfield for last seasons champions.
Will Kompany stay healthy this season? He played a lot for Belgium and is getting on in age.
If City does not have success in the Champions League will they let Pep go? He has had domestic success by the boat load but can’t get them over the hump in Europe with all the money that ownership throws at the club.
Prediction: 2nd, they concentrate on Europe and their neighboUrs beat them to the title.
Manchester United F.C. (my nightmares)
Stadium – Old Trafford (1910) Capacity 75 643
This is the biggest football stadium in England and the 11th biggest in Europe. Their manager is the biggest asshole in England.
“Theatre of Dreams”? Seriously? Fuck Man U and their “heritage” with a broken Pimms bottle. The best part of their history was when they had to live with Man City due to World Ward 2 damage to Old Trafford.
From Wikpedia: The stadium’s record attendance was recorded in 1939, when 76,962 spectators watched the FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town.
This is just delicious, the record wasn’t even a Manchester United game. Perfect.
Jose has been pretty upset about the lack of players coming in and there are a bunch of rumoUrs about players leaving. Pogba wants to go to Barca, Zlatan ain’t walking through that door, and the only real name I have seen them sign is Fred. I believe Fred is 56 years old and can’t be killed by ageing or conventional weapons.
Somehow it will all fall together for these guys and they will make a deep run and fight with their neighboUrs until the end.
Prediction: Champions. I only say this because I really do not want this to happen
Newcastle United F.C. (Newcastle)
Stadium – St. James Park (1880) Capacity 52 405
As you can see above this stadium is very weird looking. This is due to them making additions at different times, never being able to secure a move or full rebuild from local councils and a bunch of other bullshit. Newcastle fans are great, they should be a huge club like they were in the past but they are owned by an an extremely rich, strange individual. Mike Ashley would fit in perfectly over here in the NFL. When he took over he did not feel that stadium expansion was in the club’s best interests so he put all further plans on hold.
They sold Mitrovic to Fulham so that made me happy. Rafa Benitez is a good manager but Ashley has been incredibly cheap this offseason and hasn’t added much.
Newcastle fans are great. Their neighboUrs Sunderland who they absolutely despise got relegated again last year from the Championship and Newcastle fans wanted to be there to rub it in their faces. There were so many tickets sold to Magpie supporters that they had to suspend all sales. Brilliant.
Southampton F.C (Southampton, Hampshire)
Stadium – St. Mary’s Stadium (2001) Capacity 32 689
Prediction: 17th Full Jay Cutler on this one.
Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (North East, London)
Stadium – Wembley for now, but new White Hart Lane soon
I have been to Old White Hart Lane. It was like taking a step back in time.
The day prior I attended Fulham v Stoke with my friends and proceeded to get “pass out in the cab” drunk. I had a single ticket to see Tottenham take on West Ham on Sunday afternoon. London derby I thought when originally purchasing the ticket. With just the most raging hangover I trekked across London and made it to the stadium. It’s in a very unique neighboUrhood but there were plenty of pubs so it had that going for it. I tried to have a hair of the dog in one of these dingy establishments but it wasn’t happening. I walked in to the stadium, got to my seat and on the back of them were stickers that said no standing. I was so relieved. Until the game started.
My huge question for the season is that will the players have enough energy to last the season? I have a feeling that they could be in a bit of trouble. They had so many guys play key roles in the World Cup that their starting 11 has had virtually no break. They have re-signed Son, Kane but are shopping Belgians Alderweireld and Dembele. If they get off to a sluggish start they had better snap out of it quickly because by the end of the season they may have no legs left at all.
Prediction: 6th The boys are tired from a strenuous World Cup and an extensive schedule again this year.
Watford F.C. (Watford, Hertforshire)
Stadium – Vicarage Road (1922) Capacity 21 977
Hippo nickname: Moose Hornets
With the tube expansion this venue will soon be a part of the London Underground, so basically it is a distant suburb.
Elton John used to be an owner one of the stands is named after him.
They added Deulofeu from Barcelona so there is that going for them. They have a transfer surplus of 23 million so I expect them to add more so that they can stay up.
West Ham United
Stadium – London Stadium (2016) Capacity 60 000
They moved from the Boleyn Ground at Upton Park to the Olympic stadium and with it their soul was gone. I will just leave this here when talking about Upton Park.
Pour out some liquor for Upton Park what a beautiful spot.
Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club
Stadium – Molineux Stadium (1889) Capacity – 31 700
From wikipedia as we have more to discuss about these guys.
Molineux is currently a 31,700 all-seater stadium but it consistently attracted much greater attendances in earlier times when it housed mostly terracing. The record attendance at Molineux stands at 61,315. Initial plans were announced in May 2010 for a £40 million redevelopment programme to rebuild and link three sides of the stadium to increase capacity to 38,000 seats. The first stage of this project was the Stan Cullis Stand and that was completed in 2012. The next two stages were postponed because the club prioritised funds for development of the youth academy. There are provisional plans for a longer term redevelopment of every stand that could potentially create a 50,000 capacity.
There is something real shifty going on with these guys. There is a Portuguese agent who “hangs out” with the team, represents a large amount of them, represents the manager and they sign a large majority of his players n the transfer window. The whole story is here. This window they have signed Jota, Moutinho, Patricio, Vinaigre, and Jimenez who all have connections to him.
They are also rumoUred to be bringing in Pepe. He is the worst.
Prediction: 12th or 7th as Hippo has his Toffees in 7th.
I understand if this was TLDR for most of you. I am overjoyed that the team I follow is back in the Prem.
I have a thing for old stadiums and it seems that in Europe they preserve a lot of them instead of ripping them down and having Brazzers Stadium in Hertfordshire.
One more week until the Mighty Whites (nawt raycess) crush Crystal Palace.