Top 4 Anti-Bias

When I first started watching English football as a Yank six years ago, I was drawn to the best clubs and star players, like anyone would be.  But then I quickly realized that being a fan of one of the Big 4 clubs is no fun.   Since the ’02-’03 season, only once has an outsider beaten one of England’s Big 4 to a Top-4 finish (Everton in ’05, and even then they couldn’t keep Liverpool out of the Champs League).  If you’re counting, that’s once in 24 chances.

In short, Liverpool finishing outside the Champions League places can only be good for English football, and is something every non-Liverpool fan should want.  Just from a neutral perspective, if Spurs or Manchester City were to break the Big 4 cartel for this season at least, it should mean a changing of the guard at the top of the league for the near future.  Spurs are on solid financial footing, with a new stadium in the pipeline, and finally a solid manager to go with all the flair players they’ve assembled over the last few years.  City, being the richest club in the world, will surely at least be in the mix, even if they have to go through another couple managers to get there.  And while Liverpool currently have deep financial problems, even if they miss out on the Champions League and lose Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, they’re still one of the world’s massive clubs and should easily be able to attract the investments needed to rebuild quickly.

While Aston Villa and Everton currently don’t have the financial clout or setup to challenge at the top of the league, they’re certainly solid enough to challenge for the 4th spot for the next few years if they can catch a few timely breaks.  Both are well placed with solid squads and very good managers.  As far as the rest of the league goes, massive infusions of cash will be necessary for any other club to vault from the ranks of the also-rans to a sustained run at the European places.

So in short, I’ll be rooting against Liverpool in the coming weeks, but not just for self-serving reasons (full disclosure, I’m a massive Spurs fan), as I’d still prefer Man City over the reds if I had to choose.  I have nothing against Liverpool as a club, I just have a big problem with the structure as it currently stands in England.

So who are you rooting for to finish fourth?

15 thoughts on “Top 4 Anti-Bias”

    1. 9 points behind, 6 matches left (Spurs have even played 1 match fewer), and Spurs have goal difference. So even let’s say Spurs lose their game in hand, effectively Everton need to make up 10 points in 6 matches, while also bettering the other 3 clubs in between.

      So what you’re saying is you think it’s reasonable for Everton to average 1.6 points per game more than Spurs over 6 matches (and hold off City, L’pool, and Villa) ? Honestly, I think there’s more of a chance of Spurs winning the league.

  1. Well, if it makes you feel better, in the late 90’s, there was only a “top two.” I feel bad for relatively new fans like you who have had to deal with such predictability the last 8 years.

    Up until the mid 90’s, almost half the teams in the top flight had some realistic chance of a title or at least the top four (positions.) As, you’ve said – the league is moving towards some sort of parity again, lets hope teams don’t go bust in the process.

    1. And another thing, there are many Liverpool supporters, me included, who wouldn’t mind Liverpool finishing outside the top four. Before the expansion of the CL spots in England to 4, Liverpool’s goal was always to win the league, now it’s has become acceptable just to “finish in the top four.”

  2. So you’d rather Citah buy a position in the top four with Arab money than Liverpool get there against all the odds and without the financial firepower of the other 3 (and I include Citah as one of the other 3 not Arsenal)……yes that would be great for football fans everywhere. And it’s the reason why football as a working mans community sport has been destroyed. I really hope Sky lose out bigtime after this latest ruling and we can move 1 or 2% back towards football being a sport not a business. And yes I’d much rather Spurs get the top 4 place than Citah.

  3. Spurs are on an artificial “solid financial footing”, being backed by a benefactor and all. We just never hear about it.

      1. Yeah, and they’re the 15th Deloitte Football Money League (15th in all of Europe) without having played in Champion’s League… So the fifth most financially strong team in England. Sounds solid to me.

  4. I’m a L’pool fan but have no problem with someone butting into the fourth position. Liverpool has had chance and chance again this season to come out on top, but their performances, short of Torres, Kuyt and Reina haven’t been too inspiring. After not even qualifying for the knockout portion of the Champions League this year, they really don’t deserve going to the Champions League next year. Let this be a wake up call to them.

    1. You sound like a pretty die hard liverpool fan. Anyway, by saying kuyt has been inspiring this season you prove to me beyond a doubt that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  5. Tottenham have the toughest road of the contenders, with three consecutive matches against the top 3 in an 11-day span. I don’t see them coming out of that with more than 3 points at the most, but then again City have to play United and Arsenal as well.

    Liverpool is done, that much is for sure. 4th spot comes down Spurs at City on May 5.

  6. At least you admitted to picking a team due to being a Top 4 team

    We have all these gloryhunters here claiming to be fans of teams they have never seen in person AT THEIR OWN STADIUM.

    It’s laughable

  7. I gravitated towards Fulham after the 2006 WC because of Brian McBride, they weren’t part of the “top 4,” and they were in London which increased my chances of seeing them in person some day.

    I’ve been through two relegation battles, European qualification and I’m a witness of their incredible Europa League defeat of the mighty Juventus. I appreciate the sweet because Fulham has gotten so close to the sour (relegation).

    As an American, it’s very risky to root for a team that has the potential to be relegated. It’s a death sentence. The lower leagues aren’t on TV unless one chooses to pay $15/month. At that point a fan is reduced to “picking” a favorite EPL team.

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