Josh Dishman returns to The False Nine with some thoughts on the Premier League’s Danish arrivals and departures…
The beginning of this Premier League season held great hope for followers of the Danish Superliga. The summer transfer window saw three of its standout players make their first strides into the ‘Best League in the World’, and I was interested to see how Andreas Cornelius, Nicklas Helenius and Jores Okore could adapt to the more demanding rigours of the Premier League. The fact that all three players possess the requisite physicality gave me every confidence that they would represent Denmark proudly after the shambles that was Christian Poulsen in Hodge-era Liverpool. Yet things have not gone according to plan.
On the face of it, it’s fair enough to assume that none of the signings have paid off. Record signing Cornelius returned to FC Copenhagen with his sole contribution being as collateral in the sackings of manager Malky Mackay and Head of Recruitment Iain Moody. Despite being bought for comparatively meagre sums of money, Aston Villa’s Danish signings have had a nightmare start to English football. Helenius’ only telling contribution thus far has been as a viral hit after his shorts fell down whilst shooting against Tottenham, and his team mate Okore, who had made a promising start to his Aston Villa career, has been sidelined since suffering a season-ending knee injury back in September. Continue reading →
Chris Francis assesses the fortunes of the Premier League’s three newly arrived teams and asks whether this is the worst promoted trio the league has ever seen…
The identity of the Premier League’s worst ever team is in no doubt.
Derby County were promoted to the Premier League in 2007 and then relegated in March 2008 – the fastest demotion since the restructuring of the English league structure. They ended the season on a paltry 11 points having mustered up one solitary win (at home to Newcastle 1-0 since you ask), and picking up just 8 draws. The fact that they lost 29 games in a season indicated that Billy Davies’ team were way out of their depth, although Davies himself had predicted as much. Having guided Derby to the promised land he demanded the board back him or watch as the club was humiliated and sent back down in flame. Warnings unheeded, Davies was sacked after his team’s inevitable meltdown with the appointment of Paul Jewell as successor having little, if any, effect besides destroying his reputation – a set back his career is yet to recover from.
Since Derby’s demise, in recent years we’ve become accustomed to seeing promoted sides making a name for themselves rather than reverting to playing the role of whipping boys to the more established sides. The gap between the Championship and the Premier League is a massive chasm to bridge, but with good management, a collective spirit and the right players a club can establish itself as a serious fixture in the league, quickly. Last year, Southampton and West Ham played with similar squads to those that got them promoted in the first place and were, on the whole, rather comfortable rubbing shoulders with the mid-table regulars. Norwich and Swansea did the same the season before, with the latter achieving a 9th place finish as well as winning the League Cup last year. Stoke, West Brom, and Newcastle have also each shown that promotion can be more than just a “one year tourist visa”, a remark made by Danny Baker over the weekend as he watched Crystal Palace versus Spurs.
While he was wrong to say that promotion has been nothing more than a short-stay stamp in a club’s shiny new passport, he may well have a point this season. Continue reading →
In the wake of Swansea’s glorious League Cup triumph, The False Nine editor James Dutton explores the state of the Welsh game…
As the dust settles on Swansea’s emphatic Capital One Cup victory over the unlikely opposition of Bradford City, Blue Square Conference leaders Wrexham are due to travel to Wembley next month for the FA Trophy Final. Cardiff City sit eight points clear at the summit of the Championship with a game in hand, whilst Newport County sit just two points behind their North Walian countrymen, also with a game in hand.
Swansea’s meteoric rise from the basement of the Football League pyramid in 2004 to the heady heights of the Premier League, and now League Cup winners just nine years later, is an astounding tale. Next year the Swans will be playing European football; a chance for Welsh football to showcase its burgeoning ascension on the continent. Continue reading →