Useful Notes / English Premier League

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England's beautiful game.

"Some people tell me that we professional players are soccer slaves. Well, if this is slavery, give me a life sentence."
Sir Bobby Charlton

The richest and arguably most prestigious of the world's Footy Leagues, and certainly one of the most high-profile sports events worldwide. But first, a history lesson.

By the end of the '80s, English football was in a bit of a state. Hooliganism was rife both at home and abroad—the French called it le malaise Anglais, the English Disease. Liverpool fans had been blamed for the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985 and English clubs had been banned from all European competition. Revenues and attendance were plummeting and many of the stadia were crumbling, poorly maintained or hopelessly old fashioned, this being one factor in the horrific Bradford City stadium fire of 1985. Tall fences were installed to stop hooligans from invading the pitch, but this practice was stopped after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, when 96 people (most of them Liverpool fans) were crushed to death. The best English players began moving abroad, mostly to Italy or Spain, which were seen as having the best leagues at the time.

There was some light in the gloom, though. England's national team made the top four in the 1990 World Cup, the same year in which the post-Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe was lifted. Manchester United promptly won the now-defunct European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1991. After the Hillsborough Disaster, Lord Taylor produced a report which forced all top-level clubs to make their stadia safer, more pleasant places to watch a game (done by removing any lawn seating entirely and having all seating be in chairs) and to take measures to clamp down on hooliganism. Slowly, attendances started to rise as parents began taking their children again, and "normal" non-violent fans were no longer put off.

Then into the mix came the dawn of satellite television, in the form of Sky TV (still the main British satellite broadcaster). Sky's presence and the increasing quality of the English game meant that TV revenue from football skyrocketed from £6.3m in 1986 to over £44m in 1988. The biggest clubs in the top division felt they weren't getting a big enough slice of the cake, and that The Football League, who had been organizing English football since 1888, weren't doing enough to help, so in the summer of 1991 they decided to break away and form their own league.

The Premier League debuted for the 1992/93 season with 22 members, while The Football League was left with the lower three divisions, now confusingly renumbered so that the second tier of English football would be "Division One". Promotion and relegation between the Premier League and Division One was maintained, and fans didn't notice any immediate difference beyond the change of names and new logos. Later, a new sponsorship deal with the Football League muddied the waters even further, so that the tiers now read "Premier League -> The Championship -> League One -> League Two".

But sure enough, money started to flow into the Premier League clubs thanks to Sky's TV revenues, while the number of foreign players began to increase dramatically, particularly after 1995, when a test case at the European Court of Justice established that footballers were not exempt from European Law regarding free movement of labour and services: any EU-citizen footballer could play at any EU club with no restrictions, and any EU footballer could move to another club freely once his contract was up. The case - known as the Bosman Ruling after Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman who took the case to court - had a massive effect on football throughout Europe, but particularly in England where the Premier League rapidly became the richest league.

In the mid 2000's, the Premier League overtook Spain's La Liga to become the highest ranked league in Europe according to UEFA. However, recent resurgence from La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga, spearheaded by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and VFL Wolfsburg, and underachievement from PL teams means that there's been a power shift. Despite the small size of a lot of England's stadia compared to Europe, the quality of the English game is extremely high and total club revenue annually (as of 2015) is £3.3 billion! The Premier League's revenue is the fourth highest anywhere in the world, behind the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA - and with a new £5 billion television licensing deal, it's only likely to get richer.

There are problems, of course. The highest-placing teams get the most money, which is logical, but tends to mean that success is self-perpetuating, and the so-called "Big Four" - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City (Liverpool in place of City until about 2009) - dominate the top four positions in the league, which in turn means they all qualify for the Champions League and accumulate even more money. At the other end of the table, smaller clubs promoted to the league usually struggle and are often relegated in their first season. Some clubs have tried breaking their way into the leading pack by spending big in the hope of making up the difference with money earned by getting into the Champions League, but at best have only achieved minor, temporary success, and at worst have undergone total financial meltdown and rapidly fallen away into lower-league obscurity (Leeds United, Portsmouth and Bradford City being the main examples of this).

The only way to break into the top four seems to be for a club to be bought by someone with a truly eye-watering amount of spare money to throw around - Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich b(r)ought Chelsea into the top four, and Sheikh Mansour recently did the same for perennial underachievers Manchester City. In Europe they contend against the best teams in the Union of European Football Associations (potentially from as far away as Vladivostok) to win the Champions League, the most prestigious title in world club football. While other associations have their own competitions, the sheer amount of money in European football draws the best players like moths to a flame. The Champions League winners also compete for the less prestigious title of World Club Champion. For clubs in positions five, six and sometimes seven (or alternatively, the League Cup and FA Cup winners if they do not already qualify for Europe), there is the Europa League, which was the UEFA Cup until 2009, less popular but still a good alternative for clubs.

However, the 2015/16 season dramatically bucked this trend, with the adage 'anybody can beat anybody' coming dramatically true: relegation-tipped Leicester stormed to an unexpected first-ever title after several months of imperious form, spearheaded by England striker Jamie Vardy and Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. By contrast, 2014/15 champions Chelsea finished mid-table (10th place, to be exact) following a disastrous first half of the season and the subsequent sacking of their manager, Jose Mourinho, while usual also-rans and mid-table teams West Ham, Stoke and Southampton jostled with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool the for top 4 places.

This trend has, to an extent, continued in 2016/17; while as of 11 games in, the contenders are largely the usual suspects minus Manchester United, there are only two points between Liverpool in 1st on 26 points and Arsenal in 4th on 24, with Manchester City and Arsenal only being separated by goal difference. Tottenham, meanwhile, are only 3 points behind those two on 21 points. This makes the Premier League by far the most entertaining and competitive league in Europe (especially since Bayern Munich, Barcelona/Real Madrid and Paris St Germain usually run away with their respective leagues - in PSG's case, usually by over 30 points, with only Atletico Madrid challenging the Barca/Madrid hegemony, and Borussia Dortmund challenging Bayern Munich). This, perhaps, has something to do with the aforementioned television deal and influx/more even spread of finances.

The influx of foreign players also means that Premier League fans get to watch some of the best players in the world every week, but it also means that English talent potentially gets squeezed out - in 1999, Chelsea became the first English club to field an entirely non-English starting eleven and at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, more than eighty Premier League players took part. Some say this has had a detrimental effect on the national team's talent pool. However, this has again been thrown into doubt in the 2015/16 by title challengers Tottenham, and 2015/16 League Cup and Europa League Finalists and 16/17 pace setters Liverpool, the two being as of October 2016 two of the League's three most in form teams, both contributing five first team players to the one of the most recent England squads. And as might be reasonably pointed out, England teams past have never lacked for talent, just energy after a gruelling season with no Winter break and the ability to play together (the Gerrard-Lampard dichotomy strikes again...).

Despite those problems there is no doubt that the current state of the Premier League showcases a remarkable turn around for football in England since the troubles of The '80s and has helped move England back up to being one of the top footballing nations in the world. It is arguably back ahead of its cousin leagues in Spain and Italy in terms of the quality of football, certainly in terms of attendance and revenue and is now watched all around the world and particularly in the Far East. Now if only the national team could match the Premier League's success...

Current title holders: Leicester City

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    Current members of the League 
  • Arsenal
    Current Manager: Arsène Wenger
    Current Captain: Per Mertesacker
    Current Stadium: Emirates Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 2nd
    Highest Finish: 1st (Only undefeated season in Premier League history)
    A very successful north London club who lifted the crown in 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04 (which was achieved unbeaten), all of which was under Arsène Wenger's management. Wenger has managed the club for one thousand games, reaching the milestone on 22 March 2014 with Arsenal's fixture at Chelsea (against José Mourinho, no less). Stan Kroenke, owner of the NFL's Los Angeles Ramsnote , holds majority ownership of the club. They currently hold the record for the longest uninterrupted stay in the Top Division/Premier League (dating all the way back to 1919/20, when they were promoted under very controversial circumstances following World War I). Their Arch-Enemy is Tottenham Hotspur, a derby that has led to classic matches in both league and cup competitions. Matches against Manchester United and Chelsea are also Serious Business to Arsenal's fans.
  • AFC Bournemouth
    Current Manager: Eddie Howe
    Current Captain: Simon Francis
    Current Stadium: Dean Courtnote 
    2015/16 Position: 16th
    Highest Finish: 16th
    An incredible story in its own right, Bournemouth spent most of their history floating around between the third and fourth tiers, the only exception being a brief spell in the second tier under Harry Redknapp in the late Eighties. By the 2008/09 season they looked doomed to extinction, having started their League Two season on -17 points due to financial problems, but after appointing Eddie Howe as manager not only did they comfortably avoid relegation, they secured promotion the next season, and then promotion to the Championship in 2013. They continued doing better and better until in the 2014/15 campaign, they sealed Premiership status for the very first time by winning the Championship. Started 2015/16 brightly, spearheaded by fearsomely talented striker Callum Wilson. After he was ruled out for most of the rest of the season by injury, they went into a prolonged slump, dogged by injuries. Despite this, however, they managed to reinvent themselves, grabbing a win at Chelsea and, at home, famously beating Manchester United the following week. Despite a drop in performance in March, they managed to ensure survival in their first ever top flight season.
  • Burnley
    Current Manager: Sean Dyche
    Current Captain: Tom Heaton
    Current Stadium: Turf Moor note 
    2015/16 Position: 1st in Championship (Promoted)
    Highest Finish: 18th
    The smallest club to have been promoted to the Premier League until Bournemouth's promotion in the 2014/2015 season. The club is based in a town in eastern Lancashire so small its population would only fill three of Old Trafford's stands. Despite starting their freshman season (2009/10) well, things went horribly wrong after promotion-winning manager Owen Coyle left and they ended up getting relegated shortly after. They got another chance in the Premier League during the 2014/2015 season, in which they had a number of notable feats, including getting a goalless draw against Manchester City, who up to that point had scored in every match. They fought hard to stay in the league, but it was not to be. They guaranteed promotion on 2 May 2016, with a 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers, before finishing the season atop the Championship.
  • Chelsea
    Current Manager: Antonio Conte
    Current Captain: John Terry
    Current Stadium: Stamford Bridgenote 
    2015/16 Position: 10th
    Highest Finish: 1st (Most points (95) in Premier League history)
    Central London-based Chelsea FC is currently owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, making the club one of the wealthiest in the Premier League. The club have won four Premier League titles as of the 2014/15 season, winning it all in in 2004/05 and 2005/06 under José Mourinho, in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti, and in 2014/15 after Mourinho returned from stints at Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Their most recent title was won quite handily, with Chelsea leading almost the entire season. However, following a disastrous start to the 2015/16 season, one that made Manchester United's 2013/14 title defence look heroic by comparison, with Chelsea only one point above the drop zone after 16 games, Mourinho was shown the door not long before Christmas. Interim manager Guus Hiddink managed bring the club's performance from relegation threatened to mid-table, but inconsistency in performance means that it wasn't enough to bring Chelsea to qualify for any Europe competition, their first Europe miss since the 1996-97 season. They did, however, help clinching Leicester's title by drawing against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge (see Always Someone Better below). Although their traditional rivals are Fulham, Chelsea fans tend to look down on Fulham and find either Arsenal or Spurs as their main rival instead. Like Manchester City, fans of other sides find them controversial, due to Abramovich splashing money on Chelsea and Chelsea's penchant for "bus-parking," and relying on the counter-attack.
  • Crystal Palace
    Current Manager: Alan Pardew
    Current Captain: Scott Dann
    Current Stadium: Selhurst Parknote 
    2015/16 Position: 15th
    Highest Finish: 10th
    A South London-based club who to date have had five separate spells in the Premier League, more than any other team, and suffered immediate relegation in each of the first four (though were a little unlucky to go down in the 1994/95 season, when there was an extra relegation spot due to league reconstruction). They finally averted relegation in the 2013/14 season thanks to manager Tony Pulis, the ex-Stoke coach who has never suffered relegation with any of his teams. Pulis moved on to West Brom afterwards and Palace have further established themselves in the Premier League mix under former Newcastle manager (and ex-Palace player) Alan Pardew, who has succeeded in making them a credible threat to the very top teams, particularly the long suffering Liverpool. After Christmas, however, they suffered an extended collapse, not winning a single league match until the 10th of April, being the last team in the top four divisions to record a win in 2016. Despite this alarming loss of form, they still managed to reach the FA Cup final, where they lost to Manchester United. They really, REALLY don't like Brighton and Hove Albion, and as much as they hate BHA, their hate for Eric Cantona is even worse.
  • Everton
    Current Manager: Ronald Koeman
    Current Captain: Phil Jagielka
    Current Stadium: Goodison Parknote 
    2015/16 Position: 11th
    Highest Finish: 4th
    Liverpool's major rivals from just across town. Spent the first decade of the Premier League constantly fighting relegation, but after David Moyes's appointment as manager in 2002 they often challenged for European places, and managed to break into the Champions League spots (at that time occupied consistently by the "Big Four") in the 2004/05 season (ironically the one of the Four they replaced that year - Liverpool - actually won the Champions League that season, so got a bye into the following season's competition). Roberto Martínez took over as manager after David Moyes left for Manchester United and constructed an extremely talented team that played delightful attacking football. Unfortunately, their defending was correspondingly dubious, especially in the 2015/16 season, where numerous times they took the lead, only to either concede goals and lose or draw, along with a serious problem with playing at home, where they only managed 5 victories all season before Martínez was shown the door before the final game of the seasonnote  something which had a lot to do with Liverpool crushing them 4-0 and rubbing their nose in it spending the last 20 minutes camped outside the Everton trying to get fan-favourite Lucas Leiva to score when he'd only managed 1 goal in his entire Liverpool career, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp caught on camera laughing.
  • Hull City
    Current Manager: Mike Phelan
    Current Captain: Michael Dawson
    Current Stadium: KC Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 4th in Championship (Won playoff, promoted)
    Highest Finish: 16th
    Hull first entered the Premier League (and indeed the top-flight) in 2008. The Kingston upon Hull-based team's debut season was mostly remembered for them doing well until then-manager Phil Brown decided to berate his entire team on the pitch during half-time of one match. After that moment, they barely avoided relegation after failing to win a single home game for the rest of the season (winning only once away, at Fulham) before going down the following year having not won a single game on their travels. Hull returned to the top-flight in 2013 under Steve Bruce's management and finished as runners-up to Arsenal in the 2014 FA Cup after being up 2-0 within 20 minutes. While the Tigers went out of the Premier League on the final day the following season, they quickly rebounded and ultimately achieved promotion after beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the 2016 Championship playoff final.
  • Leicester City
    Current Manager: Claudio Ranieri
    Current Captain: Wes Morgan
    Current Stadium: King Power Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 1st
    Highest Finish: 1st
    The Midlands-based "Foxes" had a good run under Martin O'Neill's management in the late nineties, but things went rapidly downhill after he went north of the border for Celtic in 2000. Leicester got relegated to League One in 2008, but they bounced back the following season and spent the next five seasons in the Championship. After being absent from the Premier League for ten years, the Foxes achieved promotion to the top flight following their victory over Sheffield Wednesday on 4 April 2014. In the 2014/15 campaign, they ensured continued top-flight status with a miracle run to rival Sunderland's from the year before, starting the month of April 7 points below safety and winning seven of the nine games remaining to ensure survival. A calamitous pre-season followed, where 3 players, including manager Nigel Pearson’s son, were recorded having a racist orgy with Thai hookers culminated in Pearson losing his job. The club swiftly appointed Claudio ‘The Tinkerman’ Ranieri, former Chelsea boss, who had never won a top flight title in his 28 year career as a manager. Despite all the oddsnote , most notably the now infamous 5000/1 odds of the side winning the league, the squad made up of mostly bargain buys, cast-offs and supposed has-beens managed to defy all logic and reason to win the 2015/16 title, the first league title in the club's history, and in the eyes of many, a victory for passion and teamwork over money and power in football. Their start to the 2016/17 season hasn't been quite so successful, losing on the opening day to Hull and getting trounced 4-1 by both Liverpool and Manchester United, but they do seem to be doing reasonably well in Champions League.
  • Liverpool
    Current Manager: Jürgen Klopp
    Current Captain: Jordan Henderson
    Current Stadium: Anfieldnote 
    2015/16 Position: 8th
    Highest Finish: 2nd
    The second most successful club in English football, who have won the League 18 times and the European Cup 5 times, but have never won the Premier League in its present form, their best performances being runners-up in 2002, 2009 and 2014. Formerly known as the club most likely to come third in any competition you care to name, before a nosedive in 2009-10 season put paid to that. Periodically threaten a return to the glory days and had a good record in the Champions League under Rafael Benítez, winning in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007, usually playing with attacking verve and style, but never quite succeed (usually because the defence isn't quite so effective). Their home stadium of Anfield was medium sized by footballing standards at 45,000, but renowned for its raucous atmosphere, something that makes it a hard place for opposing teams to come, leading to the nickname 'Fortress Anfield' - and now following a 9,000 seat expansion to 54,000, it's even noisier than ever. Owned by Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox, succeeding the widely despised Hicks and Gillette, who drove the club into bankruptcy. Almost won the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14 with irresistible attacking football that their rivals away via strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, before quite literally slipping up at the last moment with the title in their grasp. Following an abject finish to the 2014/15 season and a poor start to 2015/16, Rodgers was replaced by charismatic German Jürgen 'The Normal One' Klopp, who has managed to solve Liverpool’s consistency issues, after a season that involved them doling out heavy beatings to established powers both domesticallynote  and continentallynote . Whilst a few inconsistencies remainnote , as well as a chronic inability to keep a clean sheet, many people believe that Klopp can turn the club around and lead Liverpool to their first league triumph since 1990.
  • Manchester City
    Current Manager: Josep "Pep" Guardiola
    Current Captain: Vincent Kompany
    Current Stadium: Etihad Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 4th
    Highest Finish: 1st
    Perennial underachievers and league Butt Monkey until being bought by Arab Sheik Mansour, after which the team became serious contenders, winning the 2011-12 title under Roberto Mancini and the 2013/14 title under Manuel Pellegrini, capitalising on the faltering at the end of the season of a previously rampant Liverpool side. Fans of other teams find City as controversial because of the team's overwhelming wealth and despite their secure position at the top end of the Premier League, they have yet to translate it to European success, the standard by which every top club is ultimately judged. Had a mixed 2015/16, hanging around at the top of the table, but being overshadowed by surprise title challengers Tottenham Hotspur (usually scrapping for fourth place at best) and Leicester City (who everyone honestly expected to be relegated). Despite this, they did well in Champions League, going as far as the semi-finals before being eliminated by Real Madrid. Have a persistent problem playing against Liverpool, especially at Anfield, the only stadium they've failed to win at since the Mansour takeover, and in general since 2003.
  • Manchester United
    Current Manager: José Mourinho
    Current Captain: Wayne Rooney
    Current Stadium: Old Traffordnote 
    2015/16 Position: 5th
    Highest Finish: 1st (Have won the most Premier League titles (13))
    The most successful club in English football, who have won the top League a record 20 times, with their 13 Premier League titles all being won under Sir Alex Ferguson. The Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, holds a controlling stake in the team; however, supporters have unsuccessfully attempted to buy out Malcolm Glazer, the family patriarch and owner of the club until his death in 2014, since he saddled the club with massive debts. After Ferguson’s retirement, the club has been in a bit of a flux. First, Ferguson’s chosen successor, former Everton boss David Moyes, was sacked after leading United to their worst ever Premier League finish (7th), which meant the club failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time since 1990. Afterwards, Dutchman Louis van Gaal was brought in to bring back winning ways, and Champions League. He managed the former in his second season (An FA Cup victory), and the latter in his first (4th). However, his reign at the club will always be remembered for his very boring style of football designed to neutralize opponents rather than attack them, to the derision of everyone, particularly the clubs fans. Despite the aforementioned FA Cup victory, van Gaal was sacked two days later after failing to obtain Champions League football. Currently managed by former Chelsea manager Jose 'The Special One' Mourinho.
  • Middlesbrough
    Current Manager: Aitor Karanka
    Current Captain: Grant Leadbitter
    Current Stadium: Riverside Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 2nd in Championship (Promoted)
    Highest Finish: 7th
    One of the "North-East Three" along with Newcastle and Sunderland. Were controversially relegated for failing to fulfill a fixture in 1997, but came back the following year and lasted over a decade, generally finishing mid-table (although they reached the finals of the UEFA Europa League (then the UEFA Cup) in 2006, losing to Sevilla in the finalsnote ) before eventually going down in 2009. Achieved promotion on the final day of the 2015/16 season, drawing Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1.
  • Southampton
    Current Manager: Claude Puel
    Current Captain: José Fonte
    Current Stadium: St Mary's Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 6th
    Highest Finish: 6th
    South coast club who were regular fixtures (albeit usually struggling against relegation) until some epic mismanagement saw them relegated in 2005, and then again in 2009. Rebounded with back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012, though promotion-winning manager Nigel Adkins was controversially axed simply because the owners didn't think he was high-profile enough. However, the new boss, Mauricio Pocchetino, famous for his foul in the 2002 World Cup, helped Southampton climb into the top half of the table. They continued their good form during the 2014/15 season, they turned into unlikely title challengers under the management of Dutchman Ronald Koeman, and though they fell away, finished respectably. Losing yet more star players to clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool didn't seem to impede them again, despite a dismal period from late November to early January (where they only obtained 4 points from a possible 24), they turned it around to finish in their highest ever position and qualify for the Europa League group stage.
  • Stoke City
    Current Manager: Mark Hughes
    Current Captain: Ryan Shawcross
    Current Stadium: Britannia Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 9th
    Highest Finish: 9th
    Top-flight mainstays from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire until the mid-80s, when they were relegated after an infamously awful 1984/85 season. They then spent the next two decades bouncing between the second and third tiers, before Tony Pulis bought them back into the Premier League in 2008. They've consistently finished in the mid-table since then, though their somewhat ugly footballing style and failure to progress saw Pulis get sacked in 2013. Now managed by Welshman Mark Hughes, who is steadily cleaning away their thuggish reputation by buying former Barcelona players Bojan and Ibrahim Affelay, former Inter Milan attacker Marko Arnautovic and highly rated starlet and talisman of the Swiss national team, Xherdan Shaqiri. This last in particular caused a lot of double takes since Shaqiri is the exact opposite of Stoke's stereotypical kind of player, being tiny even by the standards of tiny technical players at 5'6'', which had led to him being dubbed 'the Magic Dwarf'. They are generally the team from mid-table that the big teams worry about. Also well known for the meme “But can he do it on a cold rainy Wednesday night at Stoke?”
  • Sunderland
    Current Manager: David Moyes
    Current Captain: John O'Shea
    Current Stadium: Stadium Of Lightnote 
    2015/16 Position: 17th
    Highest Finish: 7th
    Deadly rivals of Newcastle from just across the county, and relatively regular members of the Premier League since 1996. Challenged for the European spots for a few years in the early 2000s under Peter Reid, but otherwise have generally finished lower mid-table, along with being relegated after two really awful seasons in 2003 and 2006. Spent the past few seasons looking almost certain for relegation before rallying under a new manager to finish safely; First Paolo Di Canio came in at the end of the 2012/13 season, where they obtained 8 points from their last 7 games to secure safety. The following season, after the appointment of Gus Poyet in October, they won 4 of their last 6 games to avoid relegation (which had looked near-certain for most of the season. Unfortunately, another bad run in 2014/15 saw Poyet sacked, with Dutchman Dick Advocaat hired on a short-term contract to help the team survive relegation. While he succeeded, becoming much loved by the fans (who clubbed together to get a massive bouquet of flowers for Advocaat's wife when she reversed her decision to make him retire at the end of the 2014/15 season), a poor start to the 2015/16 season led to his parting company with the club and the safest of safe pairs of hands, Sam 'Big Sam' Allardyce, coming in to guide Sunderland to better fortunes, eventually escaping relegation again after beating Everton 3-0.note . During the pre-season, Big Sam left to become England Manager, and so he was replaced by former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes.
  • Swansea City
    Current Manager: Bob Bradley
    Current Captain: Leon Britton
    Current Stadium: Liberty Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 12th
    Highest Finish: 8th
    Became the first Welsh club to ever play in the top division after being promoted in 2011. After almost being relegated out of League Two in 2003 (which would have caused the club to fold due to the financial difficulties they faced at the time), they enjoyed a meteoric rise to the Premier League thanks to their attacking, possession-focused tactics. Having established themselves as consistent mid-table finishers in their first two seasons, Swansea earned their first major piece of silverware when they won the League Cup in 2013, qualifying for the Europa League in the process. They started the 2015/16 season well, but slumped significantly after the first few weeks, eventually leading to the sacking of intensely popular and widely admired manager Garry Monk, who had gone straight from retirement from playing for Swansea to management and had, at the end of the previous season, been tipped for the England job. An upturn in performance following Guidolin's recruitment managed to bring Swansea to safety. After a rough start to the following season, Guidolin was shown the door, and replaced by former USA boss, Bob Bradleynote 
  • Tottenham Hotspur
    Current Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
    Current Captain: Hugo Lloris
    Current Stadium: White Hart Lanenote 
    2015/16 Position: 3rd
    Highest Finish: 3rd
    A north London club and Arsenal's main rival. The Spurs were relatively unremarkable for the Premier League's first decade, usually finishing in a mid-to-low position, but became regular challengers for the Champions League first under Martin Jol, and then under Harry Redknapp, though to date have only actually made the top four twice, in 2010 and 2012 (and failed to qualify for the Champions League in the latter after sixth-place Chelsea won it). The 2013/14 season saw Spurs selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world record £85.3 million and sacking Andre Villas-Boas after a rocky start. In addition to loathing Arsenal, Spurs also have fierce derbies against West Ham United and Chelsea. They usually play exciting and attractive football, played by a young and talented team (they have the youngest squad in the division, albeit only by a fraction, with Liverpool close behind). They finished a season in which they had challenged for the title, ahead of traditional powers Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea, by being absolutely dismantled by an already relegated 10-man Newcastle, while Arsenal defeated Aston Villa to pip them for second in the final standings.
  • Watford
    Current Manager: Walter Mazzari
    Current Captain: Troy Deeney
    Current Stadium: Vicarage Roadnote 
    2015/16 Position: 13th
    Highest Finish: 13th
    Enjoyed success under Graham Taylor in the 80s, and he took them back to the top-flight in 1999, only for them to be immediately relegated. They were promoted again under Adrian Boothroyd in 2006... and got immediately relegated again. Have since done reasonably well in the Championship, though repeatedly fell short of promotion, before finally winning promotion in the 2014/15 campaign. Following the surprise sacking of their previous manager, Sanchez Flores joined the club and faced the prospect of bedding in half a dozen new signings, almost all of whom spoke different languages. Despite this and consequently being tipped for relegation, he managed to perform beyond expectations and keep Watford in the top flight. Despite a great start to the season that saw them in 7th by Christmas, as well as an appearance in an FA Cup Semi-Final, an abject second half of the season was enough for Watford’s owners to decide that Flores’ time was up and the two parted company at the end of the season.note  Walter Mazzari has since led them to one of their most successful starts in the top division in their history, keeping three square clean sheets, though a 6-1 thrashing at Anfield dampened the optimism somewhat.
  • West Bromwich Albion
    Current Manager: Tony Pulis
    Current Captain: Darren Fletcher
    Current Stadium: The Hawthornsnote 
    2015/16 Position: 14th
    Highest Finish: 8th
    West Midlands-based club, who spent much of the 2000s bouncing between the Premier League and Championship, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side under Roy Hodgson before he left to take over England. Best known for their "Great Escape" during the 2004/05 season, where they became the first team to escape relegation having been bottom at Christmas (in fact, they were still bottom going into their final match). They were relegated the following season, however. Under Tony Pulis, they have re-established their mid-table status, proving a hard team to break down and a consistent threat to top teams via set-pieces.
  • West Ham United
    Current Manager: Slaven Bilić
    Current Captain: Mark Noble
    Current Stadium: Olympic Stadiumnote 
    2015/16 Position: 7th
    Highest Finish: 5th
    Despite what the name might suggest, they're based in east London (and took over the Olympic Stadium in the 2016/17 season). "The Hammers" are notable for their devoted, mostly blue collar fan base and for having contributed several key players to England's only World Cup winning side in 1966, including hat trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst. The team has featured in most Premier League campaigns and generally finishes mid-table, but have twice suffered relegation on the back of ill-advised managerial appointments (going down under Glenn Roeder in 2003, and Avram Grant in 2011). Started 2015/16 brightly, if somewhat schizophrenically, beating the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool handily away from home, but losing at home to lesser teams. After weathering an injury crisis, West Ham saw their good form return over the Christmas period. Under the guidance of manager Slaven Bilić and buoyed by talismanic midfielder Dimitri Payet, the club mounted a shock challenge for a top four spot. A slight drop in performance, however, saw West Ham's chances to qualify for Champions League disappear; yet Manchester United's FA Cup win meant it was enough for them to qualify for Europa League. 2016/17 hasn't started anywhere near as well. They don't like Spurs and they really loathe Millwall.

    Relegated Teams (Will play in Championship next season): 
Teams that have been guaranteed relegation to the Championship by finishing 18th or worse in the Premier League.

None yet.

    Promoted Teams (Will play in Premier League next season) 
Two teams that have been guaranteed promotion to the Premier League by finishing in 2nd or better in the Championship, and one team emerged as the winner of a four-team playoff set of the teams finishing 3rd-6th.

None yet.

    Former Members of the League 

  • Aston Villa (1992-2016)
    Current Manager: Steve Bruce
    Current Captain: Tommy Elphick
    Current Stadium: Villa Parknote 
    2015/16 Position: 20th (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 2nd
    Generally a typical mid-table side from Birmingham, the odd flirtation with either end of the table notwithstanding; their highest finish was as runners-up under Ron Atkinson in the first Premier League season. They also mounted a consistent challenge for European places under the management of Martin O'Neill, only to have reverted to old ways since then. The 2014/15 season saw the sacking of manager Paul Lambert after a dire run that left them in the relegation zone. However, ex-Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood managed to keep the team from relegation and took them to the FA Cup final. After a monumentally bad start to the 2015/16 season, Sherwood was fired and replaced by Rémi Garde, former Arsenal player in Arsène Wenger's early years as manager. While he managed to upgrade their performances from 'downright awful' to merely 'very bad', after just 3 wins from 23 games he left the club in March 2016. They're also controlled by an American: former Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner. Following a truly abysmal 2015/16 season, they were relegated in mid-April following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. They currently sit lower-mid-table, looking as though they will not be returning for the 2017/18 season.
  • Barnsley (1997-98)
    Current Manager: Paul Heckingbottom
    Current Captain: Conor Hourihane
    Current Stadium: Oakwell note 
    2015/16 Position: 6th in League One (Won playoff, promoted)
    Highest Finish: 19th
    Spent 102 years trying to make it into the top flight of English football, and then were relegated after only one season, having spent virtually the entire season in the bottom three. Did manage a strong FA Cup run in the same season though, reaching the fifth round and knocking Manchester United out along the way.
  • Birmingham City (2002-2006; 2007-2008; 2009-2011)
    Current Manager: Gary Rowett
    Current Captain: Paul Robinson
    Current Stadium: St Andrew's note 
    2015/16 Position: 10th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 9th
    The other major club from Birmingham. Had quite a few seasons in the Premier League during the 2000s, but could never quite establish themselves despite a League Cup win months before their relegation in 2011.
  • Blackburn Rovers: (1992-1999; 2001-2012)
    Current Manager: Owen Coyle
    Current Captain: Jason Lowe
    Current Stadium: Ewood Park note 
    2015/16 Position: 15th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 1st
    Won the Premier League once back in 1994/95 under Kenny Dalglish. The only former champions to have been relegated, twice no less; the second relegation came after they were taken over by Indian poultry giant Venky's, who sacked then-manager Sam Allardyce and replaced him with the highly unpopular Steve Kean, leading to relegation the following year, and the club getting through four managers in the following season in the Championship.
  • Blackpool (2010-2011)
    Current Manager: Gary Bowyer
    Current Captain: Andy Taylor
    Current Stadium: Bloomfield Road note 
    2015/16 Position: 22nd in League One (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 19th
    Mostly remembered for the success they had when Stanley Matthews played for them back in the 50s, but they suffered some very troubled times from the late 70s onward, before getting back into the top-flight after a series of promotions in the mid-late 2000s. They went down straight away, albeit with a relatively high points total for a relegated side, partly due to a series of good away wins in the first two thirds of the season, before a spectacular implosion in spring. They will compete in League 1 for the 2015/16 campaign after a torrid season in the Championship, finishing bottom. They were then relegated again the following season and will compete in League 2 in the 2016/17 campaign.
  • Bolton Wanderers (1995-1996; 1997-1998; 2001-2012)
    Current Manager: Phil Parkinson
    Current Captain: Darren Pratley
    Current Stadium: Macron Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 24th in Championship (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 6th
    A Greater Manchester based club; their first Premier League season was awful, and their second saw them relegated on goal difference, but they established themselves as a pretty good side under Sam Allardyce in the 2000s, reaching highs of 6th place and establishing themselves in the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League). Their fortunes gradually deteriorated after he left however, and they were eventually relegated in 2012. After a dismal 2015/16 campaign, which saw them in 173 million pounds of debt, and handed a transfer embargo to boot, they were relegated to the third tier for the first time since 1993.
  • Bradford City (1999-2001)
    Current Manager: Stuart Mc Call
    Current Captain: Stephen Darby
    Current Stadium: Valley Parade note 
    2015/16 Position: 5th in League One
    Highest Finish: 17th
    West Yorkshire club who famously survived on the last day of the 1999/2000 season by beating Liverpool. Unfortunately, in a portent of what would later happen to neighbours Leeds United, they then massively overspent on players and underwent financial meltdown, ending up in the Football League's lowest tier by 2007 (though they won promotion out of that division in 2013).
  • Cardiff City (2013-14)
    Current Manager: Neil Warnock
    Current Captain: David Marshall
    Current Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 8th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 20th
    The second Welsh club to have played in the Premier League. Their constant failures to get promoted to the top-flight were the source of a running joke for many years, until things finally went right in 2013 when they won the Football League Championship and earned promotion. Their owner, Vincent Tan, is a controversial figure for his constant Executive Meddling note , his jeers toward his own players and his lack of knowledge for the game note . However, his decision to sack Malky Mackay has helped vindicate his reputation after details about the former manager's... unsavory text messages came to public light. Despite signing players such as England international Steven Caulker, their only season in the Premier League was a far cry from the success of their rival Swansea City and the Bluebirds got relegated after losing ignominiously to Newcastle on May 3, 2014.
  • Charlton Athletic (1998-1999; 2000-2007)
    Current Manager: Russell Slade
    Current Captain: Johnnie Jackson
    Current Stadium: The Valley note 
    2015/16 Position: 22nd in Championship (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 7th
    Another London-based club, who narrowly failed to survive in their first season, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side for a few years. However, things quickly went downhill after manager Alan Curbishley left, and they were relegated the following year, then again in 2009. They won promotion back to the Championship in 2012, before their new owner's mismanagement of the club saw them sent back down in 2016.
  • Coventry City (1992-2001)
    Current Manager: Mark Venus (Caretaker)
    Current Captain: Sam Ricketts
    Current Stadium: Ricoh Arena note 
    2015/16 Position: 8th in League One
    Highest Finish: 11th
    Midlands-based club, with rivalries with Leicester City and the two Birmingham-based clubs. Like Southampton they were long time members of the top-flight, but constantly struggled and finally went down in 2001. Contrary to what Monty Python's Flying Circus would have you believe, they have won the FA Cup (in 1987, well after the referenced sketch aired). Their failures to win promotion combined with the cost of building a new ground caused their finances to deteriorate as the decade progressed, leading to them being relegated again in 2012. To add insult to injury they were kicked out of their ground the following year, playing their 2013–14 "home" games 40 miles away in Northampton. They're now back in their Coventry ground... though they're now tenants of the Wasps rugby union club, formerly playing near London, which bought the ground and moved their home matches there in late 2014.
  • Derby County (1996-2002; 2007-2008)
    Current Manager: Steve McClaren
    Current Captain: Richard Keogh
    Current Stadium: Pride Park Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 5th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 8th
    Mostly remembered as the first team that Brian Clough made into title-winners. They were a generally decent side for a few years under Jim Smith, until they were relegated in 2002. Returned for one season after that, which can only be described as a failure of the most epic kind.
  • Fulham (2001-2014)
    Current Manager: Slaviša Jokanović
    Current Captain: Scott Parker
    Current Stadium: Craven Cottage note 
    2015/16 Position: 20th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 7th
    Probably most famously had a great escape from relegation in 2007/08 under Roy Hodgson, then the following season got into Europe, before becoming runners-up in the 2009/10 Europa League - beating many of the game's most famous names to do so. The team lost their status as a Premier League club as a poor 2013/14 campaign saw both ex-Spurs boss Martin Jol and René Meulensteen getting the sack. Formerly owned by Mohammed Al Fayed, they were purchased in 2013 by Pakistani-born US billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Ipswich Town (1992-1995; 2000-2002)
    Current Manager: Mick McCarthy
    Current Captain: Luke Chambers
    Current Stadium: Portman Road note 
    2015/16 Position: 7th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 5th
    Norwich's main rivals, and a successful club under Bobby Robson in the seventies, but their first few years in the Premier League were unimpressive, and they were relegated after a really terrible season in 1994/95. They came back in 2000, and finished fifth that year, only to end up back in the second tier (where they remain to this day) the following year.
  • Leeds United (1992-2004)
    Current Manager: Garry Monk
    Current Captain: Sol Bamba
    Current Stadium: Elland Road note 
    2015/16 Position: 13th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 3rd
    Frequently won trophies in the 60s, 70s and 90s, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but crashed and burned spectacularly after overspending in the early 2000s, being relegated in 2004, and then again to League One in 2007, and only avoided being tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted due to Loophole Abuse (which cause the FA to bring in the more stringent financial rules that are in operation today). Got back to the Championship in 2010, but have never seriously looked like getting back into the Premier League since then, and in fact have only even once finished in the top half of the Championship, when they made the play-off final in 2006. Their main rivals used to be Liverpool and Manchester United, the two other traditional footballing superpowers of the North, and some fans still believe this is so, to the derision of Liverpool and United fans alike (it being one of the very few things the two groups agree on). Nowadays, their rivals are the two Sheffield clubs. Nowadays, fans quietly acknowledge that the old days of Champions League football and challenging for the title are long gone. Replaced an earlier club called Leeds City... who were tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted just after World War I due to massive corruption, which included bribing league officials and paying their players illegal bonuses.
  • Newcastle United (1993-2009, 2010-16)
    Current Manager: Rafael Benítez
    Current Captain: Jamaal Lascelles
    Current Stadium: St James' Parknote 
    2015/16 Position: 18th (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 2nd
    Owned by SportsDirect tycoon Mike Ashley, this team from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is probably most famous for Kevin Keegan's rant in 1995, where with Newcastle 12 points ahead, he declared that he'd "love it if we (Newcastle) beat them (Manchester United)". They let that lead slip. The team had something of a slide around 2007/08, leading to the sacking of Sam Allardyce, Keegan's ill-fated return, and a whole lot of off-field issues, leading to club legend Alan Shearer taking his first management job to try and save them from relegation. It failed. They came back up at the first attempt, and in their second season back in the top flight, got into Europe under Alan Pardew, who apparently had a 10-year contract but left in January 2015 to rescue the fortunes of his former club, Crystal Palace. Newcastle went into a full-blown tailspin, dropping every single game until the last day of the season, where a crucial win secured their stay in the top flight. After a dire start to the season, freak 6-2 win over Norwich excepted, they looked set for relegation. However, after a 6-1 thumping by Crystal Palace, they fought back, getting a 2-0 win at home to Liverpool (then the league's form team) and a 2-1 win away at Tottenham. Despite spending over £80 million on new players, a long string of poor results led to McClaren getting the heave-ho and replaced by former Liverpool and Chelsea boss, Rafael Benítez. On 11 May 2016, Sunderland defeated Everton in the Stadium of Light to ensure survival, also ensuring that Newcastle would be playing in the Championship in the 2016/17 season. They currently lead the pack, though still have a way to go before they can ensure their return.
  • Norwich City: (1992-95, 2004-05, 2011-14, 2015-16)
    Current Manager: Alex Neil
    Current Captain: Russell Martin
    Current Stadium: Carrow Roadnote 
    2015/16 Position: 19th (Relegated)
    Highest Finish: 3rd
    Title challengers under Mike Walker in the first Premier League season, but suffered a spectacular collapse after he left the following year and went down in the 1994-95 season. Came back for one season in 2004/05, before returning again and stabilising themselves in 2011. A torridnote  2013/14 campaign, however, saw the Canaries being too cautious and conservative for their own good and they paid dearly by being relegated on the season's final day. Fortunately for Canary fans, the team redeemed themselves in the Championship thanks to a much more positive play-style under Scottish manager Alex Neil and they achieved promotion after comfortably beating Middlesbrough in the 2015 Playoff Finals. In the 2015/16 season, despite a famous victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, they look likely to be relegation candidates again this time round. Owned by chef Delia Smith, and counted Stephen Fry as a director until January 2016. On 11 May 2016, they beat Watford and did their part to stay in the relegation race, but it was not to be, as Sunderland defeated Everton and ensured survival, forcing Norwich back into the Championship, though they currently are competing for a Playoff place to return for teh 2017/18 season.
  • Nottingham Forest (1992-1993; 1994-1997; 1998-1999)
    Current Manager: Philippe Montanier
    Current Captain: Chris Cohen
    Current Stadium: City Ground note 
    2015/16 Position: 16th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 3rd
    Enjoyed huge success under Brian Clough in the 70s and 80s, but the start of the Premier League brought relegation, and his retirement. Came back twice after that but, aside from a 3rd place finish in 1995, enjoyed little success, and ended up going down to League One in 2005 (they came back three years later).
  • Oldham Athletic (1992-1994)
    Current Manager: Steve Robinson
    Current Captain: TBC
    Current Stadium: Boundary Park note 
    2015/16 Position: 17th in League One
    Highest Finish: 19th
    Smallish club based in Greater Manchester who nonetheless spent a few years in the top-flight back in the early 90s. They were relegated in 1994 and since 1997 have been in the third tier - the longest period any non top-flight club have been in their division without being promoted or relegated.
  • Portsmouth (2003-2010)
    Current Manager: Paul Cook
    Current Captain: Michael Doyle
    Current Stadium: Fratton Park note 
    2015/16 Position: 6th in League Two
    Highest Finish: 8th
    South coast club, whose fortunes seem to be the opposite of bitter rivals Southampton at any given time. After getting into the Premier League, their fortunes improved year on year... until their playboy millionairenote  owner pulled the plug on them in 2009, sending them into a financial meltdown that made Bradford and Leeds's declines look tame. They were relegated the following year, relegated to League One in 2012 (thanks to a points deduction) and relegated to League Two the year after that, only avoiding bankruptcy when the supporters' trust purchased the club.
  • Queens Park Rangers (1992-1996, 2011-2013, 2014-2015)
    Current Manager: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
    Current Captain: Nedum Onuoha
    Current Stadium: Loftus Road Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 12th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 5th
    Yet another central London club, who were regular fixtures in the top-flight until relegation in 1996. After 15 years of varying fortunes they returned to the Premier League in 2011 with rich new owners, and barely survived the 2011/12 season before things went epically wrong the following season and they were relegated. They returned for 2014/15 after beating Derby County in the play-offs, but crashed out of the league after a brutal thrashing from Manchester City. Formerly managed by footballing stalwart Harry Redknapp, the club is facing an uncertain future as they have enough financial debt to potentially prevent them from playing in the Football League.
  • Reading (2006-2008; 2012-2013)
    Current Manager: Jaap Stam
    Current Captain: Paul McShane
    Current Stadium: Madejski Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 17th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 8th
    Berkshire-based club who were promoted to the top-flight for the first time ever in 2006. Despite a strong debut season, things went wrong the next year and they were relegated. They proved even worse the next time they were promoted, and went straight back down.
  • Sheffield United (1992-1994; 2006-2007)
    Current Manager: Chris Wilder
    Current Captain: Billy Sharp
    Current Stadium: Bramall Lane note 
    2015/16 Position: 11th in League One
    Highest Finish: 14th
    One of the two Sheffield clubs, who contest the Steel City derby (at least, when they're in the same division). Suffered last-day relegation from the Premier League on two separate occasions, the second in very controversial circumstances due to West Ham striker Carlos Teveznote  scoring the goal which kept West Ham up at United's expense. Generally enjoyed better fortunes than Wednesday for most of the 2000s, though are currently in League One.
  • Sheffield Wednesday (1992-2000)
    Current Manager: Carlos Carvalhal
    Current Captain: Glenn Loovens
    Current Stadium: Hillsborough note 
    2015/16 Position: 6th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 7th
    The other Sheffield club. Had varying fortunes for the first few Premier League seasons before getting relegated after a pretty terrible season in at the turn of the century. Have since been bouncing around between the second and third tiers, though are currently in the Championship and a division above neighbours United for the first time in quite a while.
  • Swindon Town (1993-1994)
    Current Manager: Luke Williams
    Current Captain: Nathan Thompson
    Current Stadium: County Ground note 
    2015/16 Position: 16th in League One
    Highest Finish: 20th
    Their only top-flight season to date did not go at all well, as they were relegated in bottom place after conceding precisely one hundred goals. To add insult to injury, they were then relegated the following year (though like Crystal Palace, this was only due to league reconstruction), and have since spent most of their time bouncing around between the bottom two divisions.
  • Wigan Athletic (2005-2013)
    Current Manager: Vacant
    Current Captain: Craig Morgan
    Current Stadium: DW Stadium note 
    2015/16 Position: 1st in League One (Promoted)
    Highest Finish: 10th
    Lancashire club who spent the better part of a decade surviving against the odds, always managing to pull off last-day escapes. Unfortunately the 2012/13 season proved a step too far, and they were relegated despite winning the FA Cup. They almost reached the FA Cup final again the next year (beating Manchester City in the quarter-finals, no less), but eventual winners Arsenal put them out on penalties in the semi-finals.
  • Wimbledon (1992-2000) note 
    Current Manager: Neal Ardley
    Current Captain: Barry Fuller
    Current Stadium: Kingsmeadow note 
    2015/16 Position: 7th in League Two (Won playoff, promoted)
    Highest Finish: 6th
    South London club who were nicknamed "the Crazy Gang," and the only former Premier League club which is no longer in existence. The club itself became Milton Keynes Dons in 2004 (an occasion that is still very controversial to this day among football supporters), while a Spiritual Successor club, AFC Wimbledon, was formed in 2002. Both clubs will meet in the league for the first time in 2016/17's League One.
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers (2003-2004; 2009-2012)
    Current Manager: Rob Edwards (Caretaker)
    Current Captain: Danny Batth
    Current Stadium: Molineux note 
    2015/16 Position: 14th in Championship
    Highest Finish: 15th
    Hugely successful in the 1950s, and relatively common fixtures in the top-flight until the mid 1980s. After their first Premier League campaign ended in immediate relegation they survived for a few years in the 2000s/2010s, only to be relegated in 2012, and then relegated again the following year, although were promoted back to the Championship in 2013/14.

NOTE: Passions tend to run high among fans of the teams currently and formerly in this league. As a result, unlike most other Useful Notes pages, standard YMMV trope rules are fully enforced on this page — meaning, we don't want to see any!


The League provides examples of:

  • One Hundred Percent Adoration Rating: Liverpool's appointment of manager Jürgen Klopp to succeed Brendan Rodgers was met with near universal approval by both fans and opponents, with legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitting that Klopp's appointment worried him for (from Liverpool's point of view) all the right reasons. As of the time of writing, this faith seems to have been justified, with an admittedly injury heavy Liverpool side regaining their team spirit and some of their attacking verve at the time of writing. While this hasn't been matched with consistent results, this is largely because key players, including the three first choice strikers, have spent most of the season injured - in the case of Danny Ings, he's out for the rest of the season. In the case of Daniel Sturridge, perpetually. However, defeating Chelsea 3-1, Manchester City 4-1, Southampton 6-1, Aston Villa 6-0, Manchester City (again) 3-0, Stoke 4-1 and Borussia Dortmund 4-3 after going 2-0 and 3-1 down, has demonstrated that when Klopp gets the team playing the way he wants, they're capable of taking most anyone apart.
  • 0% Approval Rating: The Premier League has seen more than its fair share of owners and media that get this reception:
  • Aesop Amnesia:
    • The primary reason why QPR got relegated in the 2014/2015 season. They went down in 2012/2013 due to a squad filled with overpaid players who were either too old or too apathetic. The club squeezed back into the top flight a year later... only to sign players such as Rio Ferdinand (a defender who was 36 years old) and Mauricio Isla (a loanee who is hated by QPR fans for his poor work ethic).
    • One could argue that Tottenham Hotspur had a case of this late on in the 2015/16 season that cost them the title. In their 4-0 thrashing of Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, some commentators pointed out the complete lack of contact between players at corners that Spurs - and possibly Stoke as well - had supposedly learnt from leaders Leicester City in the prior game. note  With Leicester slipping against West Ham and Tottenham moving within five points of them, it looked like Spurs had closed the gap quite tremendously and could have sneaked the title from under their noses, with pressure applied to Leicester. However, come Tottenham's trip to Stamford Bridge to play against London rivals Chelsea on the back of Leicester's wins and their most recent 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the time, they had seemed to completely throw this tactic out of the window in exchange for trying to physically destroy their opponents. What resulted was Spurs letting slip a two-goal lead, costing Tottenham the title with both Chelsea fans and Leicester fans celebrating dubiously. Ouch.
  • Always Someone Better: Almost every side has a "bogey team" that they just can't beat. The most spectacular example? Portsmouth have not beaten Chelsea in any competition since 1960.
    • Chelsea have never beaten Newcastle at St James' Park in a league game when José Mourinho, a candidate for best manager in football, was manager of the Blues. This was very pivotal in the 2014/15 campaign, as Newcastle defeated Chelsea 2-1 in St. James' Park to end what many Chelsea fans had hoped would be an unbeaten season.
    • Crystal Palace have become this to Liverpool in recent years, ever since they pulled back three goals in ten minutes to force a draw with a Liverpool side then considered favourites for the title. As a result, Liverpool lost their nerve and their title challenge failed. Ever since, Palace have either drawn with them or beaten them, sometimes by fairly humiliating score lines, with Liverpool suffering from a kind of extended psychological trauma.
      • The curse was finally broken in March 2016 when Liverpool won at Selhurst Park for the first time since 1997, edging out Palace 2-1 despite going 1-0 down and then having James 'Mister Reliable' Milner sent off, thanks to a slip from the Palace keeper and a last minute penalty from Christian Benteke that could politely be called controversial.
    • Manchester City aren't very good at playing Liverpool in the Premier League, particularly at Anfield - to this day, it remains the only Premier League stadium at which they have failed to win at even once since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008, despite the many levels in badass they have taken since and a proven ability to batter Liverpool at the Etihad. The latest trip to Anfield in March 2016 ended with a nominally much weaker Liverpool side taking enthusiastic revenge for a League Cup Final defeat three days before with a 3-0 victory. They aren't always much better at playing them at home, either, as a 4-1 defeat earlier that same season proved.
    • Tottenham Hotspur have never won a Premier League game in Stamford Bridge, and this had huge implications in 2015/16. On Matchday 36, they needed a win to stay in the title race against Leicester City. They were up 2-0 at halftime, until Gary Cahill scored in the 58th minute, and then Eden Hazard scored the equalizer in the 83rd. The game ended 2-2, and Leicester City won the title off Tottenham's draw.
      • Tottenham have not finished above arch-rivals Arsenal in the league since 1995. Because it happened for so long, Arsenal fans coined this moment as St. Totteringham's Day, meaning that it is the day Arsenal earn enough points that mathematically they will finish above Tottenham in the standings. It looked like it would change in 2015/16, five points and a ton of goals ahead with three games to go, but then came the draw with Chelsea, losing from a goal up against Southampton, and then a final day 5-1 thrashing by Newcastle, having not conceded more than two goals in a match until then. Arsenal picked up two wins and a draw in their final three matches to pip Spurs to second by a point.
  • Badass Beard: Some players, but Mile Jedinak especially.
    • Joe Allen has grown an impressive beard in the 2015/16 season and his performances have notably improved.
  • Berserk Button: The Hillsborough disaster, and mockery thereof, for Liverpool fans (in fact, it's one of the few things that can unite Liverpool and Everton fans). Just ask Kelvin MacKenzie... note 
    • Heysel is also something Liverpool fans don't like hearing or talking about about, only in this case it's because it was the opposition fans being killed, during hooliganism's heyday in the '80's. This resulted in English teams being banned from European competition, which is also something of a Berserk Button to Everton fans, as they would have been England's representative at the European Cup the following season.
    • In a similar vein, the Munich Air Disaster is this to Manchester United fans; in every match with Liverpool, fans are reminded not to bring either Munich or Hillsborough up. Either side listening to this request is rare, as bringing up one will invariably bring up the other in retaliation, and things snowball from there.
    • In fact, making fun of any of these, regardless of who you support, is a very bad idea in general...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Every team has its tales of last minute heroics against the odds. However it's no coincidence that the most successful teams have players who seem to always score a goal Just in Time to salvage a result.
    • Steven Gerrard made his career on this trope, having scored the goal against Olympiakos that kept them in the Champions League in 2005 and later in the season kickstarted their famous comeback against AC Milan in the Champions League Final and then scored the goal that took the FA Cup Final against West Ham to extra time (they eventually won on penalties) in 2006. These are just three of the most notable instances - he did it all the time.
    • With his club five points adrift at the bottom of the table, Leicester City's stalwart Andy King scored a 86th minute winner against West Ham to record the club's first win in nine games, triggering a run of seven wins in nine to secure survival. The following season City lost just three games on their way to winning the title, with King becoming the first player in the Premier League era to win the top three tiers of English football with the same club.
  • Big Game: Matches between rivals, title contenders or a match that could either seal relegation or the title.
  • The Big Guy: Each club has had at least one player who was considered a 'hard man', a physical player who had no shame in yelling at others or getting physical or getting plenty of red cards. This practice has been in decline with the controversy surrounding tough tackling lately but examples include:
    • Wimbledon's Vinnie Jones is the best known example, who even released a video called Soccer's Hard Men which got him fined and banned by the FA for a while, and now plays tough characters in films. He also was booked after 3 seconds in one game and earned 12 red cards in his career. Perhaps best known for a photo of him, er, taking the measure of poor Paul Gascoigne.
    • Manchester United had Roy Keane.
    • Arsenal had Martin Keown.
    • Chelsea had Dennis Wise.
    • Everton had Duncan Ferguson.
    • Liverpool had Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.
  • Bookends: The first Premier League in the 1992-93 season was won by Manchester United and was their first under Sir Alex Ferguson, with Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce collecting the trophy together - Robson being club captain but missing a large portion of the season due to injury or younger players forcing him out of the team, and Bruce captaining the side in the games Robson didn't play. The 2012-13 season was again won by United, with Robson and Bruce bringing the trophy out for the current United side to collect in Ferguson's final championship win before his retirement at the end of the season.
  • Boring but Practical: Overly defensive football ("bus-parking"). No one enjoys watching it except the team that wins (and even then, it divides many of the fans of said team). José Mourinho, twice manager at Chelsea and set to take over at Manchester United in 2016/17, often gets the most criticism for this, as his usual game plan is to sit back and wait for an opportunity to counter-attack. Nonetheless, his Chelsea team won the 2014/15 league by a wide margin with that strategy. It failed the following season, largely thanks to players under-performing. Needless to say, gloating ensued from just about every other team in the league.
  • Break the Haughty: Pretty much everything that happened to José Mourinho in the first few months of the 2015-2016 season, culminating in him being sacked in December 2015 and his own players turning against him after his treatment of the popular (and attractive) team doctor Eva Carneiro.
  • Bribe Backfire: Arsenal's George Graham, credited with returning them to glory in the late 80s, was discovered to have taken bribes to sign players; the fact those players didn't do well at all just makes it worse. He was fined and banned from the game for a year.
    • Legendary Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar was found to have been involved with match-fixing scandals, that was rather messy too. Ironically he was actually declared to be innocent of the allegations in question, although the judge noted that this was due to the lack of any decisive proof that he was guilty. However, Grobbelaar then tried to sue several major tabloids for their reporting on the case — not only did he fail miserably in this, the tabloids in question proceeded to drag his name through the mud by digging up every little bit of dirt on him that they could, and utterly destroyed what little reputation he had left.
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Crystal Palace. They've had five separate spells in the Premier League, and were instantly relegated in each of the first four. As of the 2013/14 season, they've managed to avoid relegation for the first time and this has died off. And now that they've gained a reputation of being a mid-table team that has a tendency to challenge and sometimes beat the Top 6 in games (usually Liverpool, who seem to be somewhat traumatised following one particularly dramatic reversal that effectively destroyed their title challenge), this status shows no signs of resurgence.
      • Between Christmas 2015 and April 2016, however, they failed to record a single league win, taking the longest of any of the 92 clubs in the top four divisions to do so, dropping precariously close to the relegation zone, with Liverpool taking the opportunity to break the curse in the process.
    • Wigan Athletic may be considered one. In most seasons they were usually one of the league leaders in terms of goals conceded. And that's not even mentioning how they always seem to suffer some of the most one-sided and embarrassing losses; their 9-1 defeat against Tottenham ties the record for the most goals conceded in a Premier League match. Also notable is an 8-0 defeat against Chelsea.
    • As far as managers are concerned, Avram Grant. In his three seasons in Premier League management, he took Chelsea to within a game of winning three honours and lost them all, then finished in bottom place with Portsmouth, then finished in bottom place again with West Ham. In fact, since the Champions League final with Chelsea, Grant had managed to spend a grand total of one week outside the bottom three. On top of all that, he was involved in a brothel-related scandal during his time at Portsmouth, and when he moved to West Ham the club's chief executive Karren Brady constantly attacked him in press, saying that she never wanted him at the club largely due to the scandal in question.
      • David Moyes and Louis van Gaal in their tenures at Manchester United as well. It's a daunting task, succeeding Sir Alex. Moyes held up somewhat well at first, but then the losses to teams they should have beaten came, and Moyes was sacked about 2/3 of the way through the 2013/14 season. Van Gaal was hired in the summer of 2014, and he brought Manchester United back into the mix, but he lost out of both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup due to playing stars out of position, as well as making the traditionally exciting Utd into what is widely agreed to be the most boring team in the division, to the derision of their (and everyone else's) fans, and they have yet to achieve the real contender status they had under SAF.
    • Swindon Town - the one year they lasted in the Premiership is only notable because they conceded a whopping 100 goals. No points for guessing where they ended up. For an encore, the year after that they became the first club to be relegated from the Premiership and then Division One/the Championship in successive years, and in 2006 they became the first former Premier League club to be relegated to the Football League's bottom division.
    • Tottenham are a team that perennially try to finish in a Champions League spot every season, but always seem to miss out for one reason or another. Not helped by the fact that they always sell their best players to world class clubs, then use that money to purchase newer players who always underachieve, usually resulting in them getting absolutely shit-stomped by everyone in the Top 4 (aside from local rivals Arsenal, where matches are almost always close, even when one team is top and the other bottom of the table). Their butt-monkey status got even more apparent in the 2015/16 season, where they, as the last team to challenge Leicester for the title, were the de facto villains in the Cinderella story, which got even worse when they lost 5-1 to 10-man already-relegated Newcastle, and Arsenal pipped them for second.
    • Arsenal, after their 2003/04 Invincibles' campaign (and subsequent FA Cup in 2005), went on a nine-year trophy drought (ended with an FA Cup in 2014), and an ongoing Premier League title drought in which they finished 4th 7 times of 10 (3rd in three, 2nd most recently), always seemed to get knocked out of the Champions League in the Round of 16, and never spent significant money on any players (though in fairness, they were paying off their new stadium at the time). Shows signs of going away, after Arsenal purchased Mesut Özil, Petr Čech, and Alexis Sánchez, and those purchases translated into two FA Cups, two Community Shields, and finally challenging for (though ultimately falling short of) the title in 2015/16.
    • Liverpool were this from 2009-10 when they dropped out of the Champions League places, then out of the European places entirely. The 2013-2014 season, however, comprised a massive He's Back moment, and they very nearly won the title. They regained this status somewhat in the 2014/2015 season, having lost their One-Man Army striker Luis Suárez to Barcelona, his near equally prolific strike partner Daniel Sturridge to injury and their replacements failed to succeed - Liverpool's strikers scored fewer goals between them than Everton's defence. This meant that they lost a total of approximately sixty goals that they'd had the previous season. Despite this, they still managed to string together a brilliant run in the middle of the season, challenging for the Champions League, but ultimately failing to qualify, facing a humiliating 6-1 thrashing from Stoke on the final day of the season. 2015/16 has been a mixed bag, with Brendan Rodgers surviving until October, before being replaced by charismatic German Jürgen Klopp, who set something of a revival going, leading to successive thrashings of Chelsea (3-1), Manchester City (4-1) and Southampton (6-1), before hitting something of a downturn in form, then spiking upwards again, thrashing Aston Villa (6-0), Manchester City again (3-0) and Stoke 4-1.
    • Following Alex Ferguson's departure, Manchester United have become this in epic fashion, finishing in seventh place, to mass gloating from the blue half of Manchester, the red half of Merseyside and just about everyone else. United fans took to invoking We Win Because You Didn't over Liverpool's own failure to win the league that year. But it didn't end there. With Hull City finishing runner-up to Arsenal in the FA Cup final that year, Man U were ineligible for any European competition the following season. They then proceeded to lose out of the Capital One Cup and the FA Cup, and while they achieved 4th place, they never threatened going higher. The next season, they promptly dropped out of the Champions League at the group stage, dropping down into the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and then to add insult to injury, were promptly steam-rollered by arch-rivals Liverpool in the Last 16. They ended up in 5th place, and had to hold off Southampton, West Ham and Liverpool for that position. They did gain the consolation prize of the FA Cup, the final of which proved to be van Gaal's final match in charge, with Mourinho coming in for 2016–17.
    • Newcastle United post-Pardew. The fans had been crying for Pardew to be sacked after Pardew brought them to the Europa League for the first time in history, but failed to repeat the feat. At the end of 2014, Pardew left Newcastle for his old club Crystal Palace, who had barely escaped relegation the year prior and handily escaped it shortly after Pardew took on. Immediately after Pardew left, Newcastle lost every game until the final day of the season. People were poking at the fans, saying they had gotten what they wanted and openly hoping they would be relegated for their trouble, but Newcastle survived by winning the crucial final match. In 2015/16, however, they never once left the relegation zone, and were finally sent down at the beginning of May.
    • Derby County: In the 2007/08 season, they only won one match, gained eleven points, and became the first team in the Premier League's history to be relegated in March. They also went on a 32-match run without winning a game.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Inverted, every year there will always be one player diving in the penalty area or a referee making a stupid Idiot Ball decision. Cue the calls for video refereeing yet nothing is ever really done to change anything.
    • However, it is difficult for cheaters to not prosper in the Premier League since all teams have cheated to some extent at some point.
    • And in recent years, the Premier League now reviews red cards if they are appealed against, using video evidence, and enforces bans on players who should have been red carded during a match.
  • Critical Research Failure: Crosses over with What an Idiot and Epic Fail for Graeme Souness back when he managed Southampton in 1996. He received a call supposedly from George Weah, who convinced him to sign someone called Ali Dia. This became one of the most infamous transfers in history.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The league's formative years saw vast amounts of rather shady money change rather shady hands. We'd rather not name names here, but Tom Bower's book Broken Dreams: Vanity, Greed, and the Souring of British Football has most of the details.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Rare, but they happen, like Manchester United vs Ipswich (9-0) and Tottenham vs Wigan (9-1). In fact, Chelsea are starting to become accomplished curbstompers, with four of games either side of the 2010 summer break ending like this, against Stoke (7-0), Wigan (8-0), West Brom the following season (6-0), and Wigan again (6-0 again).
    • On their way to winning the treble in 1999note , Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 8-1. Four of those goals were scored in the last 10 minutes.
    • Norwich City went into the last day of the 2004/05 season just outside the relegation zone and with their fate in their own hands. They got thumped 6-0 by Fulham and were relegated, due to other results going against them (see Didn't See That Coming).
    • On August 28, 2011, the teams of Manchester achieved back to back curbstomps against Northern London sides, with Manchester City crushing Tottenham 5-1 and Manchester United embarrassing Arsenal in an 8-2 shitstomping.
    • And when the two Manchester teams met on October 23rd, City hammered United 6-1.
    • On December 23, 2012, Chelsea hammered Aston Villa 8-0... which set a new record as Aston Villa's heaviest ever loss.
    • Manchester City, throughout the 2013/14 season. They beat Norwich 7-0, Tottenham 6-0, Fulham 5-0, Tottenham 5-1 again, Newcastle 4-0, Manchester United 4-1, and West Ham United 6-0 (Capital One Cup), with several matches left to play.
    • 8 February 2014, Arsenal at Liverpool. Liverpool scored four times in the first 20 minutes, then later in the second half. Arsenal finally got a penalty at the 70th minute, but by then it was too little, too late. Final score, 5-1. Perhaps the date being 08/02 might have been the first clue that something bad was about to happen.
    • Liverpool made this a habit in the 2013/2014 season, flattening Arsenal 5-1, Tottenham twice (4-0 at Anfield, 5-0 at White Hart Lane), Everton 4-0, Norwich 5-1 (though this one might as well have been Luis Suarez 4, Norwich 1) and Manchester United 3-0.
    • Poor Arsenal, yet again. 22 March 2014, against Chelsea, in Arsène Wenger's 1000th game, thrashed 6-0. They went down to 10 men in the 18th minute (when it was already 2-0) after Kieran Gibbs was wrongly sent off in place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after a blatant handball in the penalty area.
    • Liverpool were on the receiving end of this in the final game of the 2014/15 season (and the final game of Steven Gerrard's Liverpool career) from Stoke of all people, being hammered 6-1, their worst defeat since 1963.
    • They returned to handing these out in 2015/16 under Jürgen Klopp, crushing Chelsea 3-1, Manchester City 4-1, Southampton 6-1, Aston Villa 6-0 (on Valentine's Day - it was promptly dubbed 'the Valentine's Day Massacre'), Manchester City (again) 3-0 and Stoke 4-1 when over half the first team was being rested for a crucial Europa League second leg tie with Borussia Dortmund - which they promptly won 4-3, despite going 2-0 and 3-1 down. Then, they handed out a 4-0 thrashing to Everton in the Merseyside derby, a match mostly played in cruise control (by the 75th minute, Liverpool players were taking pot shots). However, they aren't immune to this themselves: in between the Southampton win and the Aston Villa win, they were themselves beaten 3-0 by Watford, largely thanks to a horror show by substitute goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
    • On the final day of the 2015/16 season, there were two curbstompings with massive implications on each other. Arsenal defeated Aston Villa 4-0 with Olivier Giroud netting a hat trick. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur imploded against Newcastle, losing 5-1 (with three of those goals being scored after Newcastle went down to 10 men), ultimately allowing Arsenal to finish ahead of Spurs 71 points to 70.
  • Deadpan Snarker: By getting Blackpool promoted into the Premier League, Ian Holloway can be added here.
    • Incoming Manchester United manager José Mourinho surely counts here as well.
    • As does Sir Alex Ferguson, to an extent. Not as much as the other two, mind you.
  • Defiant to the End: Any team that wins their last game in the EPL at the end of a relegation-suffering season. Special mention goes to 2015/16 Newcastle United, who went down thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-1, allowing Arsenal to pip them for second.
  • Determinator: Whether you like him or not, you cannot deny that John Terry does not give up under any circumstances. Case in point, a moment from the World Cup.
    • Manchester United's Roy Keane.
    • Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, a man renowned for not giving up even when it is patently obvious that he can barely walk.
      • Ditto Liverpool's centre-back of the same era, Jamie Carragher.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: On the last day of the 05/06 season. Arsenal needed a win in their last game at Highbury to ensure Champions League qualification for the next season at the expense of fierce local rivals Tottenham, who were one point ahead and needed to win as well. On the morning of the game Tottenham come down big with a mass bout of food poisoning. Attempts to get the game postponed were unsuccessful, leading some to sourly speculate that the friendship between the Premier League chief and Arsenal chairman David Dein may have had something to do with it. In the event, Arsenal cruised to a 4-2 victory; Tottenham lost and failed to qualify. The latter's fans have never forgotten this. Cue tons of jokes about Wenger being Tottenham's chef the night before.
    • The conclusion of 2011/12 unfolded in similar fashion: with Arsenal in third place, only 1 point above 4th placed Tottenham and 5th placed Newcastle, Arsenal required a win to guarantee Champions league football. The team in fourth place would ordinarily have qualified for the CL also, but this time needed to wait upon the result of the Champions League final between 6th placed Chelsea and Bayern Munich - if Chelsea won the final, they would automatically qualify for next season's competition at the expense of the 4th placed league team. The final result: Arsenal came up against a West Brom team whose regular keeper had been replaced at the last minute by the back-up Marton Fulop, who failed at Spurs in the past and was loaned out many times. Fulop had an absolute nightmare, handing Arsenal three easy goals and the win. Arsenal secured third place and guaranteed Champions League football. Chelsea won the Champions League a week later, barring Tottenham from the competition altogether.
    • Yet again for Tottenham, they finally had a season where they outperformed Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal in the middle of the season. It also just happened to be the year Leicester City went on the rampage.
      • On the final day, Arsenal needed a Tottenham loss and then their own win to finish ahead of Tottenham for St Totteringham's Day. Tottenham blew the game 5-1 to Newcastle, and Arsenal won 4-0 off a Giroud hat trick to pip them on the final day, adding to Tottenham's embarrassment.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Christmas 2015 featured a number of surprises around English football, such as Chelsea's worst start to a title defence in Division One history (15th), Manchester United out of the Champions League and into the Europa League, and of all teams, Leicester City top of the table on the back of Jamie Vardy's goal-per-game streak and Riyad Mahrez's brilliant play, bearing in mind they only narrowly escaped relegation the year before. Leicester went on to win the title.
    • West Bromwich Albion were bottom on Christmas Day 2004 and, at the time, nobody bottom on that day had avoided relegation from the Premier League and were bottom at kick-off on the final day. They won their last game 2-0 and, due to other results going in their favour, jumped out of the relegation zone.
    • The 2015/16 season has been generally agreed to be one of the most unpredictable in recent memory.
    • No one saw Liverpool's title challenge in 2013/14 coming either.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Mourinho surely counts. The man has courted controversy his whole career, including poking the opposition's assistant coach in the eye. This is rationalized as him being a character and being both a Deadpan Snarker and handsome means he has a lot of females on his side. Noticeably different compared to his time in Italy and Spain where his antics are harshly criticized by the press.
    • Even among other teams' supporters, he garners a lot of criticism, but the general attitude is a lot more toned down than it is in Spain and Italy. In Portugal, however, he's hailed as a hero, considering he took a Porto side and won the Champions League with them.
    • His popularity in Britain suffered a noticeable downturn following his treatment and dismissal of the popular Chelsea team doctor, Eva Carneiro, with his own team rebelling against him, leading to a terrible run of form that led to his dismissal.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sir Alex Ferguson, whose habit of shouting at players from a range of inches has earned the nickname "the hairdryer treatment".
    • The reaction to a number of players with the arrival of Paolo di Canio to Sunderland.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: The entire league's reaction to Charles Itandje's antics at a Hillsborough memorial. invoked Unsurprisingly, he didn't spend much time at Anfield afterwards.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Since arriving in the Premier League in 2011, Manchester City striker Sergio Agüero has scored 102 goals in 149 games, including his dramatic last-minute strike against QPR in 2012 to clinch the title. Only Newcastle legend Alan Shearer can boast of reaching that milestone faster. Agüero also boasts a staggering minutes-to-goals ratio of 110, the next best being of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, whose ratio was 122, meaning that he would find the back of the net every 110 minutes. Despite all of this, Agüero has never been named the PFA Player of the Year, or the Premier League Player of the Season. He also has shockingly never been named in the PFA Team of the Year.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Most teams have at least one unusual cult hero, a player who isn't necessarily a star, but is dedicated to the team and/or produces a moment of magic that earns the undying love of the fans.
    • Definitely Steffen Freund during his time playing for Spurs. While his stats were nothing to write home about, Freund's dedication to the club and work ethic won over fans. To this day, you'll hear Spurs fans chanting "I love Steffen Freund, Steffen Freund loves me..."
    • Ole Gunnar Solksjær is still beloved by Manchester United fans, years after his retirement – mostly because of his heroics in the 1999 Champions League final.
    • Jack Wilshere for Arsenal. Many English fans especially love to keep an eye on him, as he is developing into a centerpiece for the English national team. However, he sees somewhat sporadic starting playing time, usually coming on as a sub. But when he scores... (last clip, start at 0:36)
    • James Milner is generally popular among his fellow players and widely beloved by fans and managers of every team he plays for (even after he's left), because he's an honest, hardworking and moderately talented player who will play wherever the team needs him, chip in with a decent amounts of goals and assists and never, ever complain. He is also one of the few players who is pretty much entirely free of controversy. It probably helps that his resultant reputation for being fairly dull has undergone Memetic Mutation via the hugely popular 'Boring James Milner' spoof Twitter account. Milner is aware of it and apparently thinks that it's Actually Pretty Funny.
    • Mamadou Sakho has achieved this status among Liverpool fans despite mixed performances (some weeks, he looks like the best central defender on the planet, others he looks like the worst), thanks to his entertainingly unorthodox and astonishingly effective and apparently ungainly style of defending that shouldn't work yet, somehow does, something that bamboozles even seasoned ex-pros, his clear love for the team and willingness to give his all, his active involvement in local charity work and being frankly Adorkable. It helps that the top performances are reserved for the big games and he's becoming more consistent, but that's not the real reason.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Massimo Taibi's entire Manchester United career; he played in three Premier League matches. The first was a victory over Liverpool where he was named the man of the match. However, his second featured an incident where he allowed a shot by Matt Le Tissier to squeeze through his legs, allowing Southampton to snatch a 1-1 draw. The third and final match was a 5-0 defeat by Chelsea, which still stands as United's worst-ever Premier League result — and bear in mind that this was during the 1999-2000 season, in which they won the Premier League by what remains the biggest margin in English football history. Taibi never played again for United after the Chelsea match.
    • Derby County's 2007/08 season, in which they earned a grand total of one win and 11 points from 38 games. Sunderland had two seasons that were almost as bad, getting just 19 points in the 2002/03 season and then somehow doing even worse in the 2005/06 season and getting 15 points. (Portsmouth also finished on 19 points in the 2009/10 season, but their record looked worse than it actually was due to a points deduction for their financial problems.)
      • Aston Villa's 2015/16 season is probably up there with these. On April 16, they were officially relegated to the Championship for the first time in thirty-odd years. At the time, they were hard-welded to the bottom of the table on 16 points, with only three wins all season, and finished on 17... which was 17 points adrift of next-to-bottom Norwich City.
    • Paolo Di Canio's tenure in charge of Sunderland looks like it became this, sacked after less than 6 months in charge. The day he was appointed the vice chairman (former Labour MP David Miliband) resigned due to Di Canio's alleged fascist sympathies. A famous win over local rivals Newcastle seemed to help, but Sunderland then failed to win their remaining games and narrowly avoided relegation. Rumours of numerous fallings-out with high profile players resulted in several being sold. Despite many replacements being brought in, the team didn't appear to gel or get along with him at all, they didn't win any of their first 5 games, he was fined for complaining about the officials after losing to Arsenal, and received abuse from fans. Players have allegedly revolted, the team are bottom with just one point. Makes you wonder why they even bought him in to begin with? It got better though, see Miracle Rally.
    • Newcastle's fortunes after Pardew left for Palace. Loss after loss after loss, right up to the final day. They only managed to escape relegation by defeating West Ham on their own ground in the final game, though they needn't have worried, as Hull City failed to capitalize against Manchester United and went down in their place. It continued into the next season, with Newcastle never leaving the relegation zone, finally going down in early May.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: The clubs that try to break into the top four each year, namely Manchester City and Tottenham, as well as Aston Villa. Liverpool could also be counted since every year could be the year they finally return to the pinnacle of League Football since 1990 but sadly never succeed.
    • Averted in the 2009/10 season as in a close fought battle for 4th place between Tottenham, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Liverpool it was Tottenham who finished 4th. Liverpool slumped down to 7th thanks to poor form.
    • Every single year the Liverpool fans seem to mark it as being "their year." They are, to this date, always wrong.
      • Though in 2002, 2009 and 2014, they came within a hairsbreadth of the title.
    • While "every year" would be an exaggeration, Everton fans have done the same; 2013 was a particularly painful example, after a fantastic season they suffered several epic curbstompings from lesser renowned teams.
    • Arsenal have been stuck in this since the 05/06 season, they usually start brightly or make a challenge for the title only for something to happen such as Eduardo's broken leg or the 2011 League Cup defeat which takes the wind out of their sails and causes them to collapse. This is not helped by Wenger himself, who has constantly touted the squad as having great mental strength, blaming everyone but the players when things go wrong, refusing to invest in experienced players to assist what is arguably a talented young side and lately claiming that that finishing in 2nd place for the next 20 years is akin to winning titles. Although it is true that dozens of other clubs would love to be in their position, the constant squandering of great opportunities and an arrogant manager has caused several Arsenal fans to demand his sacking or at least admit that he needs to change.
      • Funnily enough, inverted in the 2012/13 season. After a rough start (3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses in their first ten league games, with most of the draws and losses being to teams they should have beaten handily) and a shaky mid-to-late season, Arsenal found themselves four points behind Tottenham for the fourth Champions League spot. They played Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and lost, widening the gap to seven points. Following that match, and following a victory against Bayern Munich in the Champion's League Quarter Finals (they lost on aggregate), Arsenal came roaring back to go 7W-2D-0L in their last nine League games, beating out Tottenham and almost beating out Chelsea for third place as well.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • As mentioned under Cardiff City, the Vincent Tan era has been nothing but this. It essentially got them relegated as well; Malky Mackay appeared to be keeping them out of relegation, until Tan decided to sack him. Cardiff wound up imploding, finishing dead last. The only consolation was conceding less goals than Fulham!
    • Newcastle United are also a victim of this. This is largely due to their owner, Mike Ashley, running the club like his business Sports Direct, meaning only cheap (and mostly unqualified) players will come in while successful players get sold. This, along with Crystal Palace's early struggles, led to Alan Pardew walking out on the Magpies in the 2014/2015 campaign and the club's relegation one season later.
      • He even tried to rename the stadium, St. James' Park, 'The Sports Direct Arena'. While it is officially called that, even the BBC have long since stopped caring and refer to it, as everyone else does, as St. James' Park.
  • For Want of a Nail: Bolton winger Chung-Yong Lee's season-ending injury in the 2011-12 preseason, along with other injuries to the squad including Stuart Holden and Fabrice Muamba, apparently led to Bolton being relegated, Manchester City winning the 2011-12 title at the last second, and Queens Park Rangers avoiding relegation and signing Ji-Sung Park in the off-season.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Leicester City in the 2015–16 season. Under Claudio Ranieri, they went from borderline relegation candidates to champions, to the surprise of pretty much everyone.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Sadly, this is the case with most Premier League clubs aside from Arsenal and Manchester United, who to date have had just three managers each since the formation of the Premier League. Chelsea in particular burned their way through seven managers in five-and-a-half years between José Mourinho's two spells at the club.
    • To give you an idea: of the 20 current Premier League managers, the longest-reigning is Arsène Wenger, who's spent just under twenty years at Arsenal. The second-longest reigning is Bournemouth's Eddie Howe. His reign? Just under four years - and most of that was spent outside the Premier League!note 
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: All of the top Premier League clubs have worldwide fans and followings, but a particular one of note is Manchester United, who have a massive fanbase in Southeast Asia.
    • Those relatively few Americans who watch the game are mostly split between Arsenal and Liverpool (though there are also sizable Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United followings). Liverpool because they're American owned, and the team everyone knows who isn't Manchester United. Arsenal for... some reason no one's really sure about. (Well, actually, they're American-owned too.)
  • Grumpy Old Man: The managers usually; Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger spring to mind.
  • He's Back:
    • Any team who wins promotion back to the league after previously being relegated.
    • This also applies to any players coming back after long spells of injury or suspension. The most high profile may be Eric Cantona, who was suspended from football for eight months, with his return to the Manchester United squad actually being hyped up in the press as if it was an event.
    • Kenny Dalglish returned to the Liverpool manager's chair in January 2011, almost exactly twenty years after he left it. Unfortunately the following season ended up being Liverpool's worst-ever Premier League season, and his second spell was cut short in May 2012.
    • Paul Scholes retired from the Manchester United team at the end of the 2010/11 season, taking a coaching job at the club. However, with United scuffling thanks to a rash of injuries in the midfield, Scholes was coaxed out of retirement to anchor the center again, and the Ginger Ninja didn't miss a step. Although Man City took the 2012 crown, United took the title the following year, with improbable long-running vets Scholes (in his final season) and Ryan Giggs still showing they could keep up with players nearly half their age.
    • Thierry Henry also returned briefly to Arsenal to maintain match fitness ahead of the new MLS season, while coming on as a substitute in all of his appearances he still scored three times, showing he had lost none of the class he had during his first spell. Sol Campbell and Jens Lehmann had also returned briefly in prior seasons to some acclaim.
    Commentator: He may be cast in bronze, but he's still capable of producing truly golden moments!
    • The reaction when former long-serving members of the league Norwich and Southampton came back up after 6- and 7-year exoduses respectively.
    • José Mourinho returning as Chelsea manager. And, after his second sacking from Chelsea, returning to the league at Manchester United.
    • Lukas Podolski for Arsenal and Theo Walcott went out early in the 2013/14 season to injury. Walcott was handed his first start since his injury against West Ham United on Boxing Day, and Podolski was subbed in about halfway through the second half. Arsenal were down 1-0 68 minutes in, and then Walcott put in a goal to tie it up, then another one to take the lead. Then Podolski scored to seal the comeback victory for Arsenal.
    • Liverpool spent several seasons outside the Champions League places, but during the 2013-14 season, they handed out curbstompings like sweets at Halloween, brutally crushing rivals Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur with stylish attacking football spearheaded by 'the SAS' (Suárez and Sturridge) in an ultimately doomed attempt to claim the title, finishing in second place. Suárez left and Sturridge was largely injured, and the resultant collapse the following season left them in 6th place.
    • They pulled this off again in the 2015/16 season following the appointment of charismatic and instantly beloved German Jürgen Klopp, who restored Liverpool's swagger, taking them to a League Cup final against Manchester City which they took to penalties before losing, reaching the Europa League Semi-Finals, steam-rollering rivals Manchester United and beating competition favourites Borussia Dortmund in a thrilling Miracle Rally along the way, and returning to handing out thrashings like sweets at Halloween, with 4-1 and 3-0 victories over Manchester City, a 3-1 victory over Chelsea, a 6-1 victory over Southampton, a 6-0 victory over Aston Villa, a 4-1 demolition of Stoke City (done with what amounted to the reserve team) and a 4-0 derby victory over Everton, most of which was played in second gear - it reached the point where defensive midfield/centre-back Lucas was taking potshots with 15 minutes to go. This run of form meant that they mounted an unlikely challenge for the top 4, ending up falling just short of the Europa League.
    • Twelve years after being dumped out of the Premier League by Chelsea's new owner Roman Abromovitch, Claudio Ranieri returned to England as manager of Leicester City and was widely expected to be sacked within weeks or relegated. Neither of those things happened.
  • Humiliation Conga: Jose Mourinho has been going through this for the last few seasons, and it shows no signs of stopping just yet.
    • It started with a 3-3 away-goals-defeat in the UEFA Champions League to Paris-Saint Germain when PSG were down to ten men, knocking them out. They won the league that season handily, though they promptly lost the Community Shield to rivals Arsenal (FA Cup winners). Things went from bad to worse when they started off with the worst title defense in EPL history, culminating in him being sacked.
    • He was picked up by Manchester United not long after to replace Louis van Gaal, where he showed signs of bringing back the swagger of the Fergie days by signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer and Paul Pogba for almost 90m pounds, and in a move that enraged Man U supporters, pretty much banished Bastian Sweinsteiger from both the first team and reserves. Neither Zlatan nor Pogba have yet to live up to their billing (to the derision of every other rival team), and Manchester United have fallen to outside even a Europa League spot as of late, a league in which they were expected to win handily but have only gotten 6 points of 12 in their group.
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Sadly common among some lower-to-mid-table clubs:
    • The aforementioned financial meltdown Leeds United had in the mid-2000s, fuelled by both an unfulfilled expansion of Elland Road and an average payroll increase of 175% in the 5 years before they went bust, exacerbated by their chairman Peter Ridsdale taking out loans collateralized with Champions League money. And then...
    • Bradford's "six weeks of madness" where they signed 3 guys to guaranteed wages of 40k/week...when their gate receipts couldn't supplement the wage bill!
    • Blackburn Rovers from November 2011 until the present, when they were purchased by Indian poultry outfit Venky's.
    • Portsmouth's collapse - from being owned (and possibly used as a money-laundering outfit) by Russian oligarch Alexandre Gaydamak, to being jerked around by Middle Eastern hucksters.
    • Sheffield United's board in 2006-07 solely blamed the Carlos Tevez "scandal" for sending them down, despite not spending a penny on the squad and actually strip-mining the squad for cash.
    • Southampton in the early 2000s - their chairman knew nothing about football, and in fact preferred rugby, which would be why he hired Sir Clive Woodward as first Performance Director, then Director of Football. While Sir Clive was a fantastic rugby coach, he wasn't so good at football and Southampton paid the price.
    • Oh god, Queens Park Rangers from the 2012/2013 season onwards. Despite being owned by successful airline mogul Tony Fernandes, the club blew most of its money on players who were either on the verge of retirement or were just playing for the money. While QPR came back immediately after being relegated, the club continued to buy old or apathetic players instead of investing in youth. After being relegated again in the 2014/2015 season, the club's professional status as well as plans to build a new stadium and training facility are in jeopardy due to losses exceeding £60 million (and a debt reaching as high as £177 million).
    • Liverpool is one of the more dramatic examples, simply because they're one of the twenty richest football clubs on the planet and as a result, one of the richest sports franchises full stop. Under Hicks and Gillette, however, they were nearly plunged in bankruptcy and had to be pried away from those in charge by court order, before being sold off to the much more competent (and, it has to be said, much more popular) Fenway Sports Group, run by John W. Henry.
  • Licensed Game: The popularity of football in Europe means there are several video games, most notably Football Manager and the FIFA games. Of course not all games have permission to use likenesses or logos, but you can still play the leagues.
    • The Football Manager game concept is considered Fun for Some in the United States subsequently; the NFL equivalent "Head Coach" was treated as a laughing stock by the videogame media and was eventually reduced to a minigame within Madden.
  • Memetic Mutation: Some of the sillier acts or reputations from people in the league get this treatment.
    • Andy Gray circa 2009 was talking out of his ass about Messi, asking if could continue to be world class "on a cold night in the Britannia Stadium," further expanded as "a rainy night in Stoke." And now, whenever a player has a ridiculously-good season outside England (and sometimes in), people will jokingly ask "But can they do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?"
      • Following Steven Gerrard's sending off after 38 seconds in one of his final substitute appearances, "But can he do it in 38 seconds?" has started making the rounds as well.
    • Famously hardworking and uncontroversial midfielder James Milner has been the subject of this, with a hugely popular spoof Twitter account called 'Boring James Milner' set up, documenting the most ridiculously mundane things. It's an affectionate parody, since Milner himself is extremely well-liked among fans, managers and fellow players, and Milner himself apparently finds it Actually Pretty Funny.
    • If a manager makes any kind of statement describing anything, but it sounds weird, expect it to go memetic (or alternatively, if players have a certain reputation like the above). Louis van Gaal and his "attacking philosophy," and Manchester United needing to play like they're "horny," for instance. Then there's Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool's "great character," Roberto Martínez calling everything "phenomenal", José Mourinho having "nothing to say," and Arsène Wenger wanting to sign very young players (such as Leo Messi's son Thiago, who is less than two years old) and develop them into world-class players just to sell them to Barcelona right when their career gets going (not to mention that if anything controversial happens, he'll claim to have not seen it).
      • Jürgen Klopp's cheerful and slightly frazzled reaction to one of his Liverpool side's more emphatic victories: "Boom!" The man himself has also become something of a meme, with lookalikes a common sight on the streets around Anfield prior to a home match. His proclamation that he would turn 'doubters into believers' has, after an exciting first six months, leading to tweets with lyrics cribbed from The Monkees' 'I'm a Believer' attached to pictures of Klopp.
    • And then there's Lord Bendtner... (who recently was released from VfL Wolfsburg because the Bundesliga had nothing left to learn from him, but that hasn't stopped anyone)
    • "Dilly-ding dilly-dong" - Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri's impression of an "imaginary bell" used in training to keep his players focused. It became pretty much the de facto Catch Phrase for the club during their improbable run to the 2015/16 title.
      • Jamie Vardy's goalscoring feats for Leicester that season spawned two memetic phrases of their own: "Jamie Vardy's having a party!" and "Chat shit get banged"Explanation .
    • Poor Joe Allen - a hardworking and thoroughly blameless midfielder in the mould of James Milner with an occasional touch of the spectacular, he became the subject Memetic Mutation and mockery following his manager jokingly calling him 'the Welsh Xavi' or 'the Welsh Pirlo'. Xavi is a former Spanish international player, twice winner of the European Championship and once the World Cup, and key figure for Barcelona, one of the greatest clubs in the world. He is regarded as one of the greatest playmakers of all time. Andrea Pirlo is an Italian international player and also a master playmaker considered to be one of the best of his generation, a World Cup winner and twice Champions League winner. Both are universally admired. Needless to say, it was a standard that an honest, hard-working young professional was never going to be able to live up to.
      • However, his reputation has been somewhat rehabilitated by his quiet dignity and a series of effective and determined performances, including a Just in Time match-saving goal against Arsenal, and the growth of a Badass Beard.
    • Thanks to The IT Crowd episode "Are We Not Men?" we have the following exchange whenever Arsenal striker/winger Theo Walcott ever enters a game.
    Person 1: Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
    Person 2: What was Wenger doing, putting Walcott on that early?
    Person 1: Thing about Arsenal is, they always try and walk it in.
    Person 2: That is true.
  • Miracle Rally: Teams have been known to overturn two-goal deficits to grab draws or even victories. Manchester United overturned a three-goal deficit to win 5-3 against Tottenham in 2001, and in February 2011, Newcastle pulled back from four goals down with thirty minutes to go, to draw 4-4 against Arsenal. One week after the result at St James' Park, West Ham came back from 3 down against West Bromwich Albion. At the end of the season in question, West Brom came from 3 down to draw with Newcastle.
    • Arsenal beating Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge counts. Losing at half time 2-1 they scored twice early on in the second half to make it 3-2. Only for Chelsea to equalize thanks to a stunning Mata goal with 10 minutes to go. Only for van Persie to pop up to score twice inside 5 minutes to result in a second miracle rally! Considering most people had written Arsenal off due to a weakened team and after that 8-2 defeat to Man Utd, it was a sign that they had managed to develop a side capable of pushing for a top spot in the table. Highlights included that Mata goal, Terry falling over and gifting van Persie his second and Walcott falling over surrounded by 4 Chelsea players, then getting up and running through them to score.
      • Chelsea lost a 3-goal lead home to Manchester United in a 3-3 draw in February 2012, aided by David de Gea's save preserving Man U's rally.
    • Wolves 4-3 Leicester in 2003-04, and Leicester - with 10 men - rallying from 3-1 down to draw 4-4 at a Spurs side who lost a 3-0 lead to 10-man Manchester City in that season's FA Cup. The season ended with Wolves and Leicester down and Spurs were at 14th.
    • Liverpool lost a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace in 2013-14, which all but ended their title challenge and left them with enduring psychological trauma that turned Crystal Palace into their 'bogey team'.
    • In 2015/16, Liverpool went 3-1 down to Norwich City and looked to be on the receiving end of an embarrassing defeat. Then, they rallied to 3-3, before scoring to make it 4-3. Then, Norwich looked to have snatched the win from them with a last minute goal to make it 4-4. Then, Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana scored at the very last second to seal a 5-4 win. Cue a massive group hug, with manager Jürgen Klopp at the heart of it - his glasses got broken in the process, but no one cared.
    • See Who Needs Overtime.
    • Quite possibly the most literal and remarkable example of this trope (at least for a couple of years). Sunderland in 2013/14 were bottom, 7 points from safety with 6 games to go. Gus Poyet commented that he needed a miracle in order to survive. Well, there then followed a 2-2 draw with Man City, and then wins against Man Utd and Chelsea (at Stamford Bridge!). End result, 13 points scored in those 6 games! As a result, Sunderland stayed up, becoming only the second club to survive the 'Curse of Christmas'. Fittingly, the last team that lost against them during this streak was West Bromwich Albion, the only other team to survive having been bottom at Christmas. Poyet later remarked that he had "found his miracle."
    • An example that's already starting to be considered even better than the above, Leicester City began the month of April 7 points away from safety with 9 games to be played. They won 7 and drew 1 of them, roaring back to take 14th in the table and ensure survival for the next season. They followed up by hiring Claudio Ranieri and proceeding to win the 2015/16 title ahead of traditional powers Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United. This is demonstrated by a strange statistic: Leicester City are the only team to be bottom of the table one Christmas, and top of it the next.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Of the many, many examples, arguably the most infamous was Winston Bogarde. In the summer of 2000 he was signed by Chelsea on a 4-year contract worth £40k a week. He spent 3 1/2 of those four years doing absolutely nothing, playing no games at all and being successively demoted down the ranks as the club tried to force him to leave — they couldn't sack him because then they'd have to pay the rest of his contract as compensation anyway, and they couldn't transfer list him because no club in their right mind would buy him. Bogarde defiantly stayed and saw out the full length of his contract while being quite open about the fact that he was only doing so for the money. In total he earned around £8 million, and played just nine Premier League games.
  • Never My Fault: José Mourinho, full stop. Brought to light at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign, the first two games of which saw Chelsea earn a single point of a possible six. After the first game, in which Chelsea drew Swansea 2-2, Mourinho criticized team physio Eva Carneiro and banned her from the bench for going out to assist Eden Hazard, whom it appeared had been injured, and thus wasting precious time to get a game-winner (in short, he criticized her for doing her job). After the second game, in which Manchester City went to town on Chelsea, he placed all the blame on John Terry (though this isn't completely baseless, since Terry'd had a nightmare game). Culminated in his sacking in December, though he ended up at Manchester United to start it all over.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Any time a player puts in an own goal. Bonus points if it costs them a win.
    • Affected Manchester United particularly badly in the 2014/15 season. Hosting 3rd-placed Arsenal in the penultimate game of the season, and the final game at Old Trafford that year, they needed a win to still be in a position to compete for 3rd place and automatic qualification to the group stage of the Champions League. All looked well, with United going up a goal at the 30th minute, but close to the end of the game, Theo Walcott attempted an Arsenal cross and United defender Blackett cleared it into his own net by mistake. The game ended 1-1, and Manchester United finished the season in 4th a week later.
    • And then there was Joey Barton, who, as noted below, nearly cost QPR their status as a Premier League club by getting sent off against Manchester City in the final game of the 2011/12 campaign. QPR stayed up despite losing 2-3 that game, thanks to Bolton drawing Stoke City.
    • Steven Gerrard and that slip in 2013/14, which ended up ruining Liverpool's nerve and costing them the title - made all the more painful by the fact that he'd almost literally won every single other trophy he could possibly have won, with only the Club World Cup also eluding him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: A rather bizarre example on the last day of the 2011-12 season, when QPR's Joey Barton got sent off in the match against Manchester City. Rather than just leaving the pitch gracefully, Barton chose to start a brawl, culminating in over five minutes of injury time which ultimately gave City the time they needed to score the two goals that won them the title. This nearly doubled up as a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero from QPR's perspective, as the result would have caused them to be relegated if not for Bolton failing to beat Stoke on the same day.
  • One-Man Army: Regularly features players who can tear apart entire teams on their own. Examples include:
    • Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, for Arsenal.
    • Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Fernando Torres, and Luis Suárez for Liverpool.
    • Wayne Rooney first for Everton, then for Manchester United.
    • David Silva, Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero for Manchester City.
    • Tottenham used to have Gareth Bale. Now they have Harry 'Hurricane' Kane.
    • Callum Wilson looked set to be this for Bournemouth until he suffered a leg injury that put him out for most of the season.
    • Jamie Vardy's incredible goal-scoring form, making him the third most prolific goal scorer in Europe, ahead of the likes of Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, has made him this for Leicester City.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Every club has rivals. Arsenal have Tottenham, Manchester United have Manchester City (and Liverpool), Liverpool have Everton (and Manchester United), etc. Expect those matches to be pretty tense and borderline violent. The Everton-Liverpool tie has produced the most red cards in the League (though perversely, it is one of the few derbies where fan segregation isn't actively enforced).
  • Oral Fixation: If he wasn't down in the pitch screaming about something, Sir Alex Ferguson could mostly be seen up in Old Trafford's plush manager's chair, chewing away at gum.
  • Owner Appeal: Cardiff City's nickname is the Bluebirds, and their traditional kit colors are blue. Their new owner's favorite colour is red. So he changed the kit for the 2013/14 season. (He also changed the crest to include a large Welsh dragon, and relegate the bluebird to a small icon; he figured dragons would go over better in east Asia, where he was trying to push merchandise, and make Cardiff the team for all of Wales.) The fans weren't happy. The fan revolt was so strong that Tan relented and brought back the blue kits midseason in 2014/15. Announcing it one day before a scheduled match. Which drew the largest crowd the club had seen in two years. He followed up by switching the places of the bluebird and dragon on the crest the following off season. And There Was Much Rejoicing. (The team still wear all red away kits, though, so the owner appeal hasn't gone away completely, but the present set-up actually seems to be a good compromise for both Tan and the Cardiff fans.)
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Liverpool are infamous for being consistently inconsistent. One moment they're winning three trophies in a season (2000/1), another they're challenging for the title (2001/2, 2008/9, 2013/14), and yet another, they're winning the Champions League (2004/5) or at least getting to the final (2006/7). The next they're finishing 7th (2009/10 - yes, the season after they challenged for the title), sinking even lower with 6th and then 8th in the seasons after that, then 6th in 2014/15 (yes, a season after they challenged for the title). The graph of their league positions over the last fifteen or so years is best described as a zig-zag, the glorious highs followed by extended lows, much to the chagrin of their long suffering and extremely loyal fans.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013, only to become the first team in history win the FA Cup and be relegated from the Premier League in the same year.
  • Rank Inflation: The Premiership was formerly known as the First Division.
    • Justified, because it wasn't the FA that named the league such. The top teams broke away on their own and formed the Premier League, which was then brought into the FA... who then later renamed the Second division the Championship, and the third and fourth divisions "League 1" and "League 2." It is also worth pointing out, the divisions are still technically referred to as the First Division, Second, Third, etc., but are more well-known by their full titles.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: TV coverage of live match days open with "Written In The Stars" by Tinie Tempah in the UK and Ireland. Abroad, they open with "Fire" by Kasabian.
  • The Rival: Every team has a rival. Some rivalries exist completely within the Premier League, others with a team outside.
    • Some of the more famous rivalries typically exist within the top half of the table and have that extra bit of pressure for victory.
      • Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham have a fierce rivalry between them over the dominance of London (Arsenal and Tottenham's is known as the North London Derby). West Ham joined the mix in 2015 on their run to the Europa League, though they already had a rivalry with Tottenham to speak of.
      • Manchester United has a rivalry with City due to geography (both teams are from Manchester) and Liverpool (they and Arsenal used to be the three teams competing for the title).
      • Liverpool has the Merseyside Derby with Everton (the most carded derby in league history) and as noted earlier, its traditional rivalry with Manchester United.
  • Running Gag: Arsène Wenger and his coat. Everything from how long it is to his lack of pockets, but especially his trouble with the zippers. Puma and Wenger nodded to it with a video based entirely around Wenger's new zipper, and his new coat comes with a much larger zipper. Too bad he still has trouble getting it to work.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: John Terry retired from international football in 2012 when the FA opted to charge him for using racially offensive language against Anton Ferdinand, even though he had been cleared in a court of law.
    • Alan Pardew. Newcastle fans calling for his sacking and Newcastle's owner not giving him money to splash on players that he needed to mount a Europa League challenge finally led him to just leave and join Crystal Palace as their manager. Newcastle barely avoided relegation after he left (before going down the very next season), whereas Crystal Palace finished midtable after avoiding relegation the year before.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Between 1998 and 2002, Leeds United were regarded as having one of the finest young teams in the country, and being the club most likely to break Manchester United and Arsenal's stranglehold on the title. They ended up winning nothing despite runs to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and Champions League, got into more debt than any club before or since (barring Manchester United and Portsmouth), got relegated in 2004, and then came within a hair's breadth of being expelled from the Football League altogether in 2007 after being relegated again and starting the new season with a fifteen point deduction. They eventually got back into the Championship in 2010, only to fall back into financial trouble four years later. Tellingly, the only person even remotely interested in buying them when that happened was maverick Italian owner Massimo Cellino (a convicted criminal), suggesting that the club's reputation is too badly damaged for them ever to return to their "big club" status. The real kicker was that the key members of their 1998-2002 squad ended up winning trophies at their deadly rivals, Manchester United and Liverpool.
    • To a lesser extent, Newcastle United, whose big-spending and good league finishes also failed to translate into any actual honours (apart from an Intertoto Cup win in 2006... and that's stretching it, to say the least).
  • Spin-Off: Basically what the Premier League is when the teams broke away. A common rumor during the early 2000s which has sprung up was that Europe's biggest clubs would break away to form a European Super League, which has died down a lot and never really got further than rumours. How it would have worked if it had happened is unknown. Lately comments from managers have arisen again about forming a league due to wanting the best teams to play the best, and also due to money.
  • Stepford Smiler: Roberto Martínez has been accused of being this by many Everton fans, due to his relentless positivity and seeming refusal to admit to the team's many failures. Publicly criticising fan favourite Leighton Baines for saying that the Everton team 'lacked chemistry', and insisting his words had been 'misinterpreted', did not help.
  • Team Spirit: Averted when one player has a falling out with his team or manager and tells all in a tabloid. The fallout can be immense. At the time of writing, the most recent spectacular example is of John Terry and Wayne Bridge, former Chelsea teammates still playing together in the England team. It emerged that Terry had had an affair with Bridge's ex-girlfriend. Terry was demoted from England captain, while Bridge declined to play for England at all...
    • Hell, the entire league with the exception of one team supported Bridge after this came out. The one team that didn't, was Chelsea - the side John Terry is captain of.
      • It should probably be said that the details of what exactly happened are not really clear. Bridge's ex-girlfriend has since denied any such affair, while the press are adamant that it did happen.
      • Caused some additional interest as Chelsea were supposed to play Manchester City shortly after the affair was leaked. This caused people to wonder if Bridge would offer the customary handshake to Terry once the teams came out onto the pitch; he moved his hand out of the way instead. Nobody disputed this decision.
    • Other examples include David Beckham getting a boot thrown at his face by Alex Ferguson after a falling out in 2003. He needed stitches above his eye.
    • Although neither example is as spectacular as an incident at a Newcastle-Aston Villa match in 2005, in which Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer, in the same Newcastle side, actually started throwing punches at each other. Predictably, both got sent off. Perhaps the craziest sight in this punch-up was seeing Gareth Barry, an Aston Villa player, rushing to the fight, trying to help break it up (he actually pulled Bowyer away from the scrap, and got him to calm down).
    • This being Played Straight has been cited as the reason that Leicester pulled off their deeply unexpected title charge so successfully - everyone in the team works their socks off for everyone else.
  • Tempting Fate: The aforementioned "I'd love it if we beat them" interview, which led to Manchester United beating Newcastle in the final standings.
    • José Mourinho has a reputation for saying polarizing things in his post-match interviews, or frankly, any of his interviews. At one point in the 2013-14 season, he called Arsène Wenger a "specialist in failure," much to the anger of the Arsenal fans. As the season progressed, Chelsea were still in the running for the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, but were knocked out of the latter by eventual runners-up Atlético Madrid, and only came third in the league. To add insult to injury, Arsenal won the FA Cup at the end of the year and then the ensuing Community Shield to open the 2014/15 year, meaning Wenger had won more that year than Mourinho.
    • After beating Manchester City 3-2 in April 2014, Liverpool went top of the table. Steven Gerrard, immediately after the match, got his players in a huddle and told them "this does not slip!" and "every game is like a Champions League final!" Two weeks later, Liverpool faced a Chelsea side who were in the middle of a Champions League semi-final, missing their two best players from injuries sustained in the first leg of that semi-final (one of their centre-backs was making his Premier League debut!) and had all but dropped out of the title race after losing to Sunderland a week earlier. Just before half-time, Gerrard slipped over, and Chelsea's striker ran unimpeded into the Liverpool area to put his side ahead. Liverpool spent the rest of the match trying to break down the Chelsea defence, and in stoppage time one of their players gave the ball away cheaply, allowing two Chelsea attackers to advance on the Liverpool goalkeeper and score again. Liverpool then drew 3-3 at Crystal Palace to all but lose their grip on the title, in a match very much like their CL final victory in 2005. The irony did not go unnoticed.
    • As Leicester City's unlikely title challenge stuttered in April 2016, closest rivals Tottenham Hotspur closed the gap as their fans sang 'We're coming for you, we're coming for you, Leicester City, we're coming for you'. Spurs striker and title rival Harry Kane posted this photo on his social media to ramp up the pressure. Three weeks and several Spurs capitulations later, Spurs failed to beat Chelsea and the title was Leicester's. To rub salt into the wound it took minutes for Kane's England strike partner and newly crowned Premier League champion Jamie Vardy to post this this witty riposte, complete with the same caption.
  • Token Minority: Before the 90s foreign players were rare in the English game. Now, not so much...
    • Some people argued that Ji-Sung Park's inclusion in the Manchester United squad was principally to placate the club's massive Asian fanbase, and to keep them interested. Considering that Shinji Kagawa, who some say "replaced" Park as the token East Asian player in 2012, petered out after a couple of seasons and went back to Dortmund, it's safe to say that Park had enough talent to justify his longevity in the team.
    • Due to the richest teams simply buying up the best players from around the world rather than training up local talent (one of the factors which damaged the England national football team), FA rules now dictate a minimum number of native English players that each team has to employ, making them something of a Token Majority.
    • During the 2014/15 season, the lack of ethnic-minority managers in the Premier League (and the Football League in general) has come under scrutinynote , with calls for an introduction of the NFL's "Rooney Rule", which would require clubs to interview a Token Minority candidate whenever they hire a new manager (which can be fairly often). Whether this will have any impact, or is even necessary to address the balance, is subject to intense debate.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The 2015–16 season featured many clubs undergoing this trope. Some of the most notable were:
    • Leicester City. Dead last at Christmas 2014, still dead last at the start of April 2015, top of the league at Christmas 2015, champions in May 2016.
    • Crystal Palace. Last year at Christmas, they were 17th and on the brink of relegation. Then Alan Pardew jumped ship from Newcastle and ensuring their survival to the next season. With the help of the signing of Yohan Cabaye, at Christmas they were tied for Tottenham and Manchester United for a Champions League spot, though they then failed to win a single game until April, and finished just above the drop zone.
    • Watford. Last season they were in the Championship. Given their record that they're always relegated during their spells in the Premier League, it seems that their fate is sealed when they signed thirteen new players during the summer transfer list. However, at Christmas, they reached 7th, just one point away from the Champions League spot mentioned above. Despite a significant drop off in form, they ended up firmly in mid-table.
    • Bournemouth. Sure, they were in the bottom half of the table, but beating Chelsea and Manchester United consecutively in their first ever season in the first division of the English football system is a huge achievement for a small team like them.
    • West Ham. While in comparison to last year's Christmas, they were below than last year. However, they beat Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City this season, and also drew with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
    • Liverpool, who, while traditionally a top team and one that nearly won the title in 2013/14, had been languishing outside the top 4 places, looking stale and hopeless, with even the famous Anfield atmosphere dying down somewhat. Cue new manager Jürgen Klopp who arrived proclaiming that he would "turn doubters into believers." 6 months, one cup final appearance ultimately decided by the lottery of penalties, multiple thrashings of top teams, a spectacular Miracle Rally against one of Europe's best teams to reach the Europa League semi-finals pulled off by a revitalised team in front of a delirious Anfield crowd and the prospect of an unlikely challenge for 4th place later (which in the end narrowly fizzled out), doubters are most definitely believers.
    • Tottenham Hotspur mounted their first serious title challenge in decades, following some of their younger players coming into their own over the course of the season. Unfortunately, this made them the villains of the Leicester City Cinderella Story, and thanks to Chelsea's Eden Hazard, they ended up failing and then crashing the remainder of the season, ending up finishing below hated rivals Arsenal for the 21st consecutive season.
  • We Will Meet Again: Every club plays each other twice a season, once at home and once away. This trope also extends to the fact that every year, one club claims they will be able to breach the 'big four' and secure a Champions League place. They tend to fail quite easily.
    • Chelsea and Liverpool met in five consecutive Champions League tournaments.
    • Everton did it in 2005 - then Liverpool won the Champions League!
      • Everton then failed to even get past the qualifying stagesnote 
    • Tottenham in 2009-10.
    • Manchester City in 2010-11.
  • We Win Because You Didn't:
    • Naturally this comes into play, especially late in the season for teams vying for the Top 4 spots. The Arsenal fans take it one step further, having their own celebration when there is literally no chance of Tottenham Hotspur finishing ahead of them in the table, no matter where in the table it might be.
    • Recent years have seen another Arsenal celebration pop up, similar to an urban legend about the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Known as 'Invincibles Day', it occurs on the day the last unbeaten side in the league loses, therefore ensuring no team will emulate Arsenal's unbeaten season of 2003/04.
    • In the 2013-14 season, defending champions Manchester United suffered a collapse that left them struggling to even get into the European qualification places, never mind challenge for the title. As the season came down to Manchester City vs. Liverpool (United's most hated rivals), it appeared most United fans were rooting for City, purely because Liverpool have the second highest number of league titles after United, and United fans were hoping that they wouldn't have to see Liverpool close the gap.
    • A quite literal example occurred for the fans of Chelsea and Leicester City. On 2nd May 2016, Tottenham Hotspur needed to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge or else Leicester City would win the title. Despite Tottenham leading 2-0 at the break, Chelsea came back in the second half to draw 2-2, securing Leicester the title. Leicester's fans celebrated for obvious reasons, while Chelsea's celebrated the fact that they'd prevented Tottenham from winning the league.
    • In short, British football fans specialise in schadenfreude.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Kevin Keegan's "I'd love it if we beat them" rant during the 1995/96 season. Newcastle looked all but secure at the top of the table with a few games left. Manchester United won the league.
    • And Rafa Benítez's "facts" rant in 2008/09.
    • Eric Cantona jumped into the crowd to try to karate kick a Crystal Palace fan.
    • Craig Bellamy once whacked a teammate with a golf club.
    • Joey Barton has done too much to list.
    • Steven Gerrard once hit a DJ for (allegedly) not playing his choice of music.
    • The amount of players who have been caught cheating on their wives, including Ryan Giggs, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, and Peter Crouch.
    • John Terry being accused of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand - it cost Terry the England captaincy for the second time in his career, because the police charged him over the incident and the trial was adjourned until after the 2012 European Championships; then there's Luis Suárez being accused of doing the same thing to Patrice Evra. Bizarrely, Suárez admitted to calling Evra a racist name, but is convinced that he did nothing wrong. Both incidents occurred within weeks of one another.
      • This trope also appeared to extend to Liverpool themselves, suffering criticism for defending Suarez despite him admitting what he did. When the two teams met again Suárez refused Evra's offer to shake his hand despite saying he would before the game! Evra himself also appeared to try and wind up Suárez after the game. Dalgish's comments after the game resulted in both of them having to apologize the day after, which appears to have finally settled the issue.
      • This has notably turned into a case of Never Live It Down for Everton FC; to this day Everton supporters seem to boo the loudest towards Suárez and commonly chant "Luis Suárez, we know what you are!" Seems to be a mix between this trope and simple rivalry.
    • Luis Suárez again, after biting the arm of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanović during a match between the teams. Amazingly this was in fact the second time he'd bitten an opposition player, the first occurring during his Ajax days, though that time he actually drew blood.
      • Jermain Defoe biting Javier Mascherano.
    • Roman Abramovich is now getting this from a few people for sacking the man who delivered Chelsea the Champions League on the back of four straight defeats. Di Matteo was in charge a mere 8 months.
    • Chelsea winger Eden Hazard initially got this for an altercation with a ballboy during a match against Swansea. However, the ballboy lost virtually all sympathy when further information came to light. (He was the 17-year-old son of a Swansea director (the average ballboy is aged 12 or under), and had boasted on Twitter about intending to waste time during the match.)
    • Kevin Mirallas earned this reaction from almost the entire Everton fanbase, as well as several pundits, when Everton were awarded a penalty against West Bromwich Albion and when Leighton Baines - Everton's usual penalty taker - stepped up, Mirallas took the ball and insisted on taking the penalty himself, despite his team mates trying to talk him out of it. He missed. Roberto Martinez responded by taking him off at half time.
    • Tottenham Hotspur looked like they had completely lost the plot against London rivals Chelsea in their match at Stamford Bridge late on in the 2015/16 season, a crucial match for Spurs if they were to still keep the title race going. A solid start from Spurs came in, with the team leading Chelsea 2-0 at half-time, but this was overshadowed by scuffles with players threatening to escalate into mass-brawls on several occasions - one of them that the managers weren't even kept out ofnote . Come the 80th minute, Tottenham had conceded a goal from Gary Cahill, and Eden Hazard then curled a goal into the corner of the net to bring the score back to 2-2. While Chelsea (and Leicester) fans were celebrating, the only thing this did for Spurs was make them even more angry, with tackles and harsh challenges flying left and right from Spurs - including the likes of eye gouging being mentioned as a possible offence that occurred in a match where you'd be forgiven if you thought that the two sides were going to try and kill each other at the drop of a hat. This eventually cost Tottenham their last chance at the title in a very, very scrappy game, even as far as derbies go.
      • Incidentally, the Tottenham team were shown nine yellow cards in that game - a new record as far as the Premier League has seen. Probably not a record Spurs are happy to set, at that.
    • Manchester City's Sergio Aguero earned this reaction for trying to tackle Chelsea's David Luiz with two feet at the 96th minute, causing a mass brawl that got him a red card, and also saw Fernandinho get red carded for assaulting Fabregas and pushing him over the advertising boards. It doesn't help that they lost 3-1 to Chelsea.
  • Who Needs Overtime: Injury time, and occasionally a team will score a goal to salvage a win or a point. Manchester United seem to do this often, so much that it's now got a reputation as Fergie Time. Arsenal are running them close though.
    • Ironically came back to bite them in the close of the 2011-2012 season:
      • With four matches to go in the season, United were leading the league with their rivals Manchester City five points behind. Then they played Everton and were up 4-2 with ten minutes to go when Everton scored twice to claim a 4-4 draw. This, followed by a City victory when they met United in their next match, allowed City to tie them in points (leading in goal difference) until the final day of the season.
      • On said final day, after 90 minutes, City were down 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers (who at that time were on the brink of relegation) but had five minutes of stoppage time still to play, while United were leading Sunderland 1-0 and had three minutes of stoppage time. City equalised two minutes into injury time, and mere seconds after the final whistle blew at United's match, City scored again to win 3-2 and earn their first championship since 1968.

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