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Kingsley
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Post by Kingsley »

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Copying from old site


As well as football, I am a big motor sports fan and I'm lucky enough to have been to 5 British GP and one Italian, however I also love going to the smaller national and club level events. I did, back in the 1990's have a go at it myself, but wasn't good/lucky enough to get sponsorship or rich enough to self fund. May be one day I'll enter for one of the old guy series.

One feature which is quite common in the lesser categories of motor sport is a “Reverse Grid”, often as an end of season fun event, where the cars line up on the grid in reverse championship order. Sometimes it is combined with an elimination race where every other lap the last car is sent to the pits. It makes for some dramatic overtaking and exciting racing.

I was wondering what would happen if we tried the same thing with the football leagues, so I've done some team swapping so that the Premier League teams and National North teams are swapped, Championship and National League teams are swapped and League One and League Two teams are swapped to create a sort of reverse grid. There are not the same number of teams in each league, so I have based the moves on 2018/19 finishing places. So Norwich and Sheffield Utd join the Premier teams in National North.

I won't be managing any of the teams my self, but watching to see how it develops. I have selected all nations to keep transfers and European competitions realistic and I will be reporting at the end of each season on the state of the various tournaments. On Europe, I have replaced the current English qualifiers with non-league sides so that nobody has an unfair advantage.

How quickly can the big boys to get back to the Premier League ?
Can they hold onto their top players while playing in the lower leagues ?
How will the smaller sides like Forest Green and Port Vale deal with their massive Premier League income (if they survive the first season) ?
Who will be the first to be eliminated from National North ?
Will they bounce back ?
Can Leamington win the Premier League here before it happens in Mark's story ?

To start the ball rolling, here are the league line ups for year 1.

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Kingsley
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Post by Kingsley »

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As requested, here are the major transfers in England for the first half season. I'm going to hold back on league tables, but there are a couple of forum members who should consider putting some champagne on ice.

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Initial reaction looks like a bit of an exodus has started from the big clubs, however I don't normally look at this, so I'm not sure what is “normal” for the first season.

At first glance, Chelsea (Hazard, Azpillicueta, Pedro and Emerson) and United (Lukaku, Romero, Bailly and Rojo) look to be the big losers. Liverpool also lost 4, but arguably not so influential

Arsenal spending £14.5m on Joshua King bucks the trend. Presumably a replacement for Lacazette. Not surprisingly the new Premier League clubs don't have any money to spend yet.

Happy to take any questions.
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Post by Kingsley »

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I'm going to do the end of season update in 2 parts. This one will concentrate on the league positions and cup winners and I'll follow up with the transfers, and an interesting side effect that I hadn't expected (tease !)

So starting of with the Premiership and it was an exciting final day. Southport, who entertain Leamington, held a 3 point lead over Hereford, however Hereford had the better goal difference. Leamington werenot out of trouble and needed a point to ensure their Premier League status for another year. Hereford would be away to Guisely.

The party started in Southport when Danny Rose (a £250k buy from Mansfield) tucked away his 21st of the season. But Leamington stormed back and 2 goals from Tom Adeyemi (£90k from Ipswich) plus another from Jermaine Beckford (£30k Bury) clinched all 3 points for Leamington. Man of the match was one Tony Breedon in the Leamington goal.

All eyes were now on Nethermore Park, Guisley where Hereford took a first half lead before being pegged back for a 1-1 draw. Southport would not be denied their Premier League title !

Leamington winning on the final day of the season to secure top flight status … It would never happen !

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It will be interesting to see how the promoted clubs Chesterfield, Salford and Wrexham get on in The Premiership next season. In theory they should be favourites and we could even have the first ever Welsh champions of England ! In contrast, the relegated teams should drop like stones

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Big season for Villa and West Brom. Having got out of the National League before the big boys arrive, they should have an advantage over the rest in getting to the promised land of the Premier League. It is, however looking bleak for Blackburn, Wigan and Rotherham.

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And finally, the big one. Who will be heading the charge from National North to Premier League. From early on, Liverpool took control. City went with them, but never looked like catching, while a battle for the 3rd place raged all season. Chelsea were first to drop out, followed by Spurs, but Arsenal and Man Utd went down to the final day. Going into it, Arsenal lead on goal difference, but are away to Spurs. It is no easier for United who have to travel to Anfield. Two big derbys with a big prize for one. It was advantage Arsenal when Xhaka gave them the lead, only for Son to level for Spurs 4 minutes later. Having only drawn, the door was open for United, however goals from Salah (2), Mané and Dzyuba (more of him in the next update) condemned United to another season in the dustbin of Engish football.

Fulham, Norwich and Huddersfield never looked like avoiding the drop.

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But what about the Cups ? The most important is obviously the FA Cup as that offers a route into Europe and therefore prestige and money for attracting players. Could one of the National League North sides make it through all of the rounds while still playing in a competitive league ?

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For the record, the other cup finals ended

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So Liverpool have a big advantage having got the promotion and won European football, but will a 46 game league program, Europe and 3 cups be too much ?
Will they be able to catch Villa and West Brom over the coming seasons ?
How will Chelsea, Spurs and United deal with another season at the bottom ?

Finally, next season will start with the Community Shield …. Southport v Liverpool !
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Post by Kingsley »

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Arguably the transfers are more interesting than the league positions. There were no big shocks that I saw. After the first window which witnessed a drift of players away from the National League North clubs, there was a complete turn around in January where most clubs opened up their cheque books.

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There were still quite a few departing. Leicester lost 5, United lost Pogba and Mata and Chelsea lost Rudiger and Willian. Despite winning promotion from the National League, West Brom actually sold 12 and brought in just 2, While Villa sold 15 and bought 9. But it was the big spending that surprised me.

Liverpool spent £46m on Reus and Dzyuba (a striker from Zenit)
Arsenal took their spending to £52m with Driussi and Vardy (allong with Joshua King from earlier)
United spent £47.5m on 4 players (Arnautovic, Chicharito and Noble all from West Ham !)
Chelsea topped the lot with £109 spent on 10 players !

Spurs and City were surprisingly quiet, although most sides in the bottom 2 leagues actually spent more than they received in transfer fees.

The Premier League sides have still not received prize money or TV money, so not surprisingly they don't feature in the big money deals yet.

The other surprising observation is that there is not too much unhappiness around the squads. I was expecting lots to be unhappy that the club is not doing better, but so far ther has been none of that. The next update will be at the end of the summer transfer window to see if the spending trend continues (I'll also save AMC's Kleenex bill by updating on the Community Shield.

But first, that interesting side effect. I had a look at the England squad, expecting to see all the usual faces, but instead, there is a strange mix including players from Alfreton, Altringham, Brackley, Cheltenham and Kidderminster.

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I have supported Partick Thistle for long enough to feel qualified in spotting a bad player. Even in that team, Miles Storey (bought for £90k by Brackley) stood out as one of the worst that has ever disgraced the shirt. God help you with him in the squad !

There have only been friendlies as England and Scotland are joint hosts, but so far the results have been

Colombia (H) 1-0
Scotland (A) 1-0
Croatia (H) 1-1
Colombia (A) 0-1

Which I guess is acceptable
Kingsley
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Post by Kingsley »

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End of the summer transfer window and the headline observation is more of the same. The big clubs continue to lose their top players, but then spend big money to bring in replacements.

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But looking at the detail for the big clubs and it's not quite so clear cut. In fact Chelsea have been savaged and only Arsenal have a net spend

Arsenal Out 8 (£25m) In 4 (£43.5m)
Chelsea Out 23 (£54m) In 9 (£0)
City Out 8 (£69m) In 1 (£450k)
Liverpool Out 6 (£34.5m) In 0
Spurs Out 7 (£47.5m) In 2 (£18m)
United Out 10 (£63m) In 2 (£18.75m)

It appears to be the same in the bottom 2 divisions where clubs are spending to bring in players, but in the main are selling more than they buy.

The other observation is that the teams in the Premier League are hardly spending their winnings. Champions Southport have brought in just 4 (Charlie Day, Chris Allen, Carl Jenkinson and Hakeeb Adelakun) for a total of just £400k. Runners up Hereford were little better, spending £1.5m on 9 players.

I think that the problem is 2 fold

1. The club reputations. City's reputation is still 9663, with Arsenal (9305), Liverpool (9189), United (8851), Spurs (8540) and Chelsea (7573) all still high. Chesterfield (3359), Salford (3100), Southport (2938) and Kidderminster (2418) being the top ranked in the Premier League.
2. The wages. Chesterfield and Salford are the only clubs able to offer players over £10k per week. Most of the others have a maximum wage of £3k - £5k per week. The big 6 all have players on over £100k per week, with Salah, Kane and Diego Costa (City) all on £180k per week.

Until there is a shift in both the above, I think that the transfer market will remain unbalanced.

There was a query about whether clubs would need to increase stadium capacity for the Premier League. Certainly the 3 promoted clubs did increase to over 10,000, however only a couple of the clubs from last season did. Southport now boast a capacity of 11,000 !

I did promise that I would end AMC's wet dreams, so here is the Community Shield result.

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The result doesn't tell the whole story. The match was more one-sided than the score would suggest. Liverpool had 25 shots with 17 on target !

In Europe,
Southport have a tough Chamipions League group with Midtjylland, Milan and PSG, while Hereford are grouped with Basel, Dortmund and Spartak Moscow.

In the Europa League it is
Alfreton v Linfield
Várda v Chester
Bury v Malmö FF
Slavia Prag v Liverpool
Kidderminster v Suduva

Finally, there has been an England recall for Kidderminster's 38 year old striker Peter Crouch !
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Post by Kingsley »

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The headline is obviously Harry's move from Spurs to PSG, but look down and Huddersfield paid Wolves £11.5m for Morgan Gibbs-White. Remember Huddersfield were relegated out of National League North last season. How did they pull that one off ?

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Still big money coming in and out of the clubs in the bottom 2 leagues. As well as Kane and Tripier, Spurs lost 5 others and I'm not sure what their supporters think of Charlie Austin to replace Harry !

Chelsea lost 6 more, including Pulisic, Moses and Jay Rodriguez. I wonder how long they can keep shedding players and will they regret it in the final show down.

City were the big spenders with £70m spent on 5 big signings to help their promotion push while Liverpool and Arsenal were relatively quiet, although Timo Werners move to Liverpool may be significant.

In the Premier League there is still no big spending although Chesterfield did spend £2.9m to bring in Marco van Ginkel from Sunderland. More eye watering is his wages which are £31.5k per week. Previously the highest earner was on £11k per week. Hereford and Southport (who have signed Stephan Lichtsteiner) are also offering big wages, but will that pay off ?

In Europe, Engish clubs have no further interest.

After 2 0-0 draws, Liverpool went out to Slavia Prag on penalties (Salah and Clyne missed). Southport lost all 6 games, but did score away to Mijdtjylland while Hereford beat Spartak Moscow and Basel to progress to the Europa League. There they lost both legs to Celtic.

Alfreton and Bury did beat Linfield and Malmö FF, but then went out in the Third round to Red Star and Slavia Prague.
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Post by Kingsley »

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Firstly a look at the final standings in the Premier League and for a second season Leamington were involved in the final day drama. Salford, at home to Wrexham, led York, at home to Leamington, by a single point. Safely in mid-table and with nothing to play for, Leamington took the lead, but after being reduced to 10 men succumbed to a 4-1 thrashing. Meanwhile after taking an early lead, Salford found themselves 2-1 down (Reece York scored one of the Wrexham goals). They managed to get level, but that was not enough to stop York taking the title.

Can you just picture the faces at the final whistle of Neville, Neville, Butt, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham !

No surprise that the 3 promoted clubs were in the top 4, but I didn't expect York (7th last season to pip them all.

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In the Championship, MK Dons made it back to back titles and they will be ones to watch in next seasons top flight. The other promoted sides, Newport and Exeter will have to try again next season. The relegated sides from last years Premier League, Altringham, Bradford PA and Boston Utd all survived

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Moving on and it is back to back promotions for Sunderland and Portsmouth and back to back relegations for Dover

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League Two also sees back to back titles for Aston Villa and a second promotion (just) for West Brom. Going the other way it is back to back relegations for Solihull.

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Now it gets interesting with 3 of the big 6 looking for 2 promotion places. Man City never looked like missing out and a bad run for Liverpool in May sealed their fate for another season. It is going to get tougher with 3 teams joining them from the National North for next season. Accrington and Burton both suffer second relegations.

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And finally, who would be the ones battling with Liverpool next year ? The top 2, Man Utd and Tottenham were both well clear and it looked like it would be Chelsea, until they lost their final 3, including a 6 pointer against West Ham, which let The Hammers pip them on the final day. That could be curtains for Chelsea who have also lost the most big name players so far. No surprise that the promoted sides Warrington, Farsley and Dulwich all struggled in this company. That probably saved Blackburn and Rotherham

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In the FA Cup it was a surprise final after Arsenal and Spurs were knocked out in the semis. Can you just picture the faces at the final whistle of Neville, Neville, Butt, Scholes, Giggs and Beckham !

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In the other Cups, Sunderland made it a double winning season, while Liverpool had to console themselves with a FA Trophy.

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Kingsley
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Post by Kingsley »

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Summer transfer window has closed and it looks like bad news for Chelsea, City and Liverpool.

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Maguire, Voland, Kante, Christensen, Bakayoko and Valencia all gone from the Chelsea ranks. They even made a £5.25m loss on Maguire who played 58 times for the Blues. Harvey Barnes and Jacob Murphy don't sound like they will do much to replace them.

City have lost Leroy Sane, Diego Costa (£14m loss) and Otamendi, but have countered that by the capture of Roberto Firmino from Liverpool.

As well as Firmino, Fabino and Karius have left, plus Ben Woodburn was released and he is now with Boreham Wood ! It may get worse for Liverpool as there is a bid in for Mané from a Chinese side and interest in Salah from several clubs

The other thing that I spotted was Chesterfield spending big money on 3 players. With Will Hughes earning £40k per week he is also the top Premier League earner. 5 other clubs are also offering wages of over £20k (Boreham Wood, Guiseley, Hereford, MK Dons and Southport). If the wages do keep growing and they do start spending, It might be interesting when the big boys arrive.

In Europe, Chester will face a playoff against Red Star to join York and Salford in the group stage.

Sunderland have beaten Milsami Orhel (Moldova) and Wrexham beaten Senglea Athletic (Malta) in the Europa League. They will next face Lille and Fiorentina. Luton went out to Genk.

Southport lost to Nice in the 3rd round of Europa League qualifying. Earlier they had beaten Kuressaari (Estonia).

Another look at the England squad and the focus is far more on current Premier League players and foreign based players. Yes that is Andy Carroll at Hereford !

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It also made me think about who are the highest rated managers. It is still, mainly, the big clubs, but there are a few new names in that list

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Post by Kingsley »

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Before the transfers, there was a strange message while I was in holiday mode.

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Leamington are marooned at the bottom of the Premier League, but must be desperate to approach a manager with absolutely no experience. They eventually went for Jon Whitney, who also has absolutely no experience. I suspect they are doomed !

Transfer time and it was again a haemorrhaging from the so called big clubs. Liverpool and Man City appear to be the worst impacted. I wonder what Liverpool supporters think of Victor Moses for Mo Salah ? Earlier they had also lost Sadio Mané to Shanghai SIPG for a pathetic £9m.

Also interesting that Chesterfield are still the only EPL side to be involved in the big deals

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In the Champion's League, York, Salford and Chester all finished bottom of their groups, gaining 1 point each. It has to be said that Chester did well to get there, beating Red Star 1-1 (A) and 2-1 (H) - 2 goals in the last 13 minutes from Craig Mahon.

Sunderland and Wrexham both made exits in the Europa League 3rd round, losing to Lille and Fiorentina. In the second round they had beaten Milsami Orhel (Moldova) and Senglia Athletic (Malta) although Luton lost to Genk at the same stage.
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Post by Kingsley »

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No last day drama in the Premier League as MK Dons seized early control and never looked like being caught. That is 3 consecutive titles as they climb from League One to Premier Champions. But will they do any better in Europe ? Big spending Chesterfield never looked like mounting a challenge. At the other end, it is the end of the line for plucky Leamington who may well struggle to avoid further relegations.

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Joining the Premier League party will be Portsmouth and Sunderland both making their 3rd consecutive promotion. They should be big favourites to challenge MK Dons next year. After being beaten in last seasons playoff final, Newport finally make their second promotion. Nuneaton are the ones to suffer back to back relegations,

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Villa and West Brom continue their march through the leagues and are joined by Grimsby making their first promotion. Barrow and Chorley both suffer second relegations in the 3 years

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It is a similar story in League Two where Man City and Arsenal march on and it doesn't look like anything will stop them. also sees back to back titles for Aston Villa and a second promotion (just) for West Brom. Going the other way it is back to back relegations for Solihull. Gillingham and Peterborough are making their first moves. Port Vale suffer back to back relegations while Dover make it 3 in a row.

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Man Utd always looked like being in control and while it was close, it did look like Liverpool would join them until Salah was sold and Timo Werner suffered an injury. They fell away dramatically in February and March and were left with way too much to do. Wycombe and Solihull were never going to survive in this company, but Swansea are a bit of a surprise to be relegated.

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National League North the story was not so much about the promotion of Everton, Wolves and Leicester, but the disaster that was Chelsea's season. I do worry for their future. Big shout out to promoted side Welling who were never in trouble. Huddersfield are not so much of a surprise, but these two surviving was bad news for Ipswich (2nd relegation) and Burton (3rd). It could be the last we see of them.

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The FA Cup continues to mix it up. This season it was Sunderland who got the better of City in a very dull final.

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City did get a domestic double with the League Cup. That might get them a Europa Cup place. Liverpool don't even get an FA Trophy consolation.

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I did say that I'd post the Euro coefficients and England's status is holding up quite well. Looks like they have lost 1 Champion's League place.

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Post by Kingsley »

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The first thing to notice is a sea change in the transfer activity. Firstly in the number of big money deals in England, which is significantly less than previous seasons.

Secondly in the clubs involved. For the first time we are seeing clubs in the Premier League spending big.

MK Dons splashed out £48m on 5 players
Salford spent £34m on 7 players
Portsmouth spent £23m on 6 players
Brackley, Chesterfield, Maidenhead, and Sunderland also make the list

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I also said I would have a look at stadium capacities in the Premier League. There are some wild discrepancies in the Stadia and player budgets, but it does look like MK Dons are here to stay ! That £110k salary goes to Ryan Sessignon


Code: Select all

                   Stadium    Max Wage   Transfers
Alfreton             5,700     £4,300          £0
Blyth Spartans      16,888     £3,100         £70k 
Boreham Wood        12,800    £40,000          £1m
Brackley             5,550     £4,900          £1m
Chester              9,000     £2,900        £100k
Chesterfield        10,338    £55,000      £12.75m
Curzon Ashton        4,000    £36,500          £0
FC United            8,104     £7,000         £75k
Guiseley             3,000    £40,000        £1.5m
Hereford             7,839    £36,000        £775k
Kidderminster       16,196    £33,500        £4.6m
Maidenhead          13,450    £35,500        £2.3m
MK Dons             47,575   £110,000         £48m 
Newport             11,676    £13,750          £0
Portsmouth          20,600    £70,000         £23m
Salford             12,868    £50,000         £34m
Southport           15,348    £28,000        £1.4m
Sunderland          63,000    £80,000        £3.5m
Wrexham             10,771    £27,000        £900k
York                25,592    £31,500          £0

In Europe, Guisley beat Rapid Vienna in the play-off to make the group stage. There they will face Besiktas, Lille and Real Madrid (at the 3,000 capacity stadium !)
Kidderminster have drawn Leverkusen, Porto and Steaua
MK Dons will face Benfica, Midtjylland and PSG and probably have a chance of progress

Chesterfield have already gone out, losing to VfB Stuttgart in Europa League qualifying.

In the Europa League proper, Sunderland face Standard Liege, Man City face Atromitos and Salford face M. Haifa. Again there must be hope that at least 1 progress further.
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January transfers and for the first time, none of the big 6 clubs have made any significant signings. That said, Man City will surely miss Roberto Firmino. Portsmouth and Chesterfield look to be the ones strengthening for the final push

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I'm slightly surprised that all interest in Europe is again over before the new year. Guisley had a famous 2-1 win at home to Real Madrid, but were still bottom of the group. Kidderminster did progress, beating Steua and getting a 0-0 draw in Levekusen to take 3rd place and MK Dons were comfortably 3rd in their group.

Europa League last 32 gave MK Dons a tough draw as they went down 5-2 against Milan. Kidderminster will be most disappointed as Kilmarnock offered them a great chance to progress, but a 0-1 defeat in the home leg couldn't be rescued and that was the only goal of the tie.

Salford and Man City made it to the 3rd round of the Europa League before going out to Lazio and Atalanta. I think City will be disappointed. I'll check the coefficients again at the end of the season.

The England squad is looking a little more familiar as key players make it to clubs at higher levels

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The most surprising observation on the end of season tables is the lack of surprise. Even the final day drama at the top of the Premier League for the 3rd season out of 4 is hardly a surprise. MK Dons looked to be cruising to their 2nd title in a row, but there was always the final 2 games, against Sunderland and Portsmouth to negotiate. Sunderland won the first of them to close to within 2 points going into the final day. When they then went 2-0 down at home to Portsmouth, nails were being bitten, especially when Sunderland took a 1-0 lead at Alfreton. Right on the half-time whistle, Alípio gave the Dons fans some hope by pulling one back. 3 minutes into the second half and the equaliser came from England international midfielder Pelly Ruddock, however Sunderland were still top by a single goal difference advantage. Squeaky bum time at both grounds. 10 minutes remained and it was still the same situation, but Alfereton had been threatening. They got their equaliser with 8 minutes left and held out to trigger wild celebrations at Stadium MK.

At the other end, former champions Southport start their slide, along with FC United and Blyth Spartans. Can any of them avoid 6 relegations in a row ?

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No surprise to see Aston Villa and West Brom making it 4 promotions in a row and they must be amongst the favourites to topple the mighty MK Dons. Exeter have earned their 2nd promotion after 3 years in the Championship.

Leamington make it back to back relegations while Darlington and Bradford PA make their 2nd drop since we started.

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City and Arsenal are making a mockery of their leagues. In total, City have lost just 10 league games, scoring 512 times in the process. Arsenal are not far behind, losing 14 and scoring 475. Colchester bounce back after last season's relegation.

Southend return to League Two 2 seasons after promotion, Nuneaton make it 3 relegations in a row after starting in the Premier while Harrogate make go down for the second time in 2 years. It is Orients first taste of relegation

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United and Tottenham will be hot on the tails of their rivals and are also far too good for the competition they now face. Crewe return to League One via the playoffs, 2 years after their relegation while Bristol Rovers make their first move.

Notts County and Crawley are both making their second relegations.

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Is it a surprise that Liverpool miss out again ? West Ham and Middlesbrough are the ones to take the 2 promotion slots. Everton and Wolves also fail to make the cut along with Liverpool. This really is a tough league to get out of and is only going to get harder.

Dovers relegation is their 4th in a row in which they have won just 20 games and conceded a whopping 437 goals. Port Vale will be facing Stoke for just a single season as they make their 3rd relegation. Bristol City go down for the first time

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Chelsea again disappointed, leaving the door open for Watford, Fulham (relegated in year 1) and Burnley to join the National League log jam.

Welling and Woking go straight back down to the Sunday Leagues and are joined by Wigan. Solihull do well to avoid 4 relegations in a row.

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Is it a surprise that a Premier League Team beat a League Two side in the FA Cup final ?

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Spurs did get their European qualification via the League Cup, but failed to make it a cup double although the fans will be pleased with promotion and 3 finals.

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England lose more UEFA coefficient points, but no more places.

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Eye catching are the big cash injections for Chesterfield and Man Utd, but neither of them have reinvested. How will United get on without Martial ? And how will that impact on their battle with Arsenal who have slashed the cash ?

In the Premier League, a lack of activity by MK Dons is noticable. Sunderland spent big early in July, which was followed by a reaction from Aston Villa and West Brom. I fully expect them to be the top 3, although again Kidderminster have been very active.

Liverpool and Chelsea have both lost their leading scorers from the past 2 years (Moses and Batshuayi) along with several other key players

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The UEFA co-efficients must get changed at the summer data update as despite what I said in the last update, England have lost a Champions League place, but gained one in the Europa League. They are now only 2.59 points ahead of Scotland …. Game On !

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For this season, Champions MK Dons go directly to the group stage and have drawn Frankfurt, Lazio and PAOK and must have a chance of 3rd place at least. They are joined by Sunderland who beat Lech Poznan and now have a tough group against Barcelona, Krasnodar and Porto

Kidderminster made it 5 teams in the Europa League by beating Belenenses, CSU Craiova and Esbjerg en route through the qualifying. They now face Antalyaspor of Turkey in the Third round proper. At the same stage, Spurs will play Malmö FF, Salford face Azerbaijani side Sumgayit, Portsmouth have drawn Jablonec (Poland) and York have a trip to Turkey and Y. Malatyaspor

Again you would expect a couple of them to progress.
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It was a very active January for Man City, with Gabriel Jesus departing and Deulofeu, Aurier and Chambers arriving. Over all it has been a net spend of just £4m over the 2 windows. Across the city at Old Trafford, the sale of Fred makes it £74m of outgoing players and 18 months since they last brought in any new faces.

In the Premier League, Maidenhead look to have been strengthening, along with Kidderminster again, but 2 new faces in the big spenders as Boreham Wood and Curzon Ashton enter the world of the big spenders. Of the likely contenders, West Brom appear to have been the most active

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Champions League interest is over for another year. MK Dons gained only a single point at home to PAOK and must be disappointed. Sunderland managed 3rd place in their group, beating Krasnodar home and away and gaining a famous home point against Barcelona. Arkadiusz Milik with the 85th minute penalty after ter Stegen was sent off.

There was more misery in the Europa League where Portsmouth, York and Kidderminster all fell at the first hurdle. Tottenham did progress, only to be beaten by Den Bosch. Salford also went down to Sevilla at the same stage.

That left Sunderland as the last man standing, but not for long as Sevilla again beat English opposition in the last 32. With Rangers still going, the UEFA Co-efficients might be interesting next season.
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Well I was not expecting this ! Premier League 2nd to 7th, even big spending Maidenhead in 8th you might have predicted, but York ! And not even a final day decider, they led from week 11 and had the title sewn up with 3 games to spare.

At the other end, Kidderminster didn't get much return for their spending, but atleast they did survive. Chester, Brackley and Alfreton start the slippery slope

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The Championship top 2 was pretty much inevitable and I did hope that they might have more trouble getting to the Premier League. Can't see them being stopped next year. Hats off to Ebbsfleet who get promoted after missing out in the play-offs 4 years running.

FC United make it back to back relegations, but former Premier League champions Southport survived and nearly made the play-offs

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Equally as predictable is United and Spurs winning League One. They are joined by Bradford PA who return to The Championship just 12 months after relegation.

It is however a second relegation for Halifax, a third for Darlington and a third in a row for Leamington, who have won just 14 league games in the last 3 years

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West Ham and Middlesbrough both continue their rises. This is probaly the easiest league to get out of as there are only 2 teams promoted from National and 4 places to aim for.

Barrow and Harrogate both make their 3rd relegations, in Harrogate's case, consecutive

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Where are Liverpool ? Must be gutting to see Everton sail past them and are joined by Watford who are making back to back promotions. It is getting congested with Wolves, Leicester and Burnley, along with Liverpool all battling for 2 places. And it is only going to get worse.

Notts County and Crawley both make their 3rd relegations

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After being relegated to the Sunday Leagues in the first season, it is a dramatic response from Huddersfield, while again, Chelsea miss out. Looking at what is left, surely they will do it next year.

Swansea need to focus on what Huddersfield achieved and will hope to come back stronger.

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Sunderland being runners up in the League will be pleased with 2 cup finals, especially beating West Brom for the FA Cup. Will Arsenal making Europ help or hinder them in the Premier League next year ?

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Compared to last year the amount of money being spent, and the number of deals is vastly reduced. That said, it hasn't stopped York spending their winnings to improve last season's champions. Arsenal bring back 32 year old Danny Welbeck and a familiar name in Dylan Vente moves to City as their Premier League campaigns kick off.

United, Spurs and Liverpool are noticable by their absence, however Chelsea apear to have money to spend, as do West Ham.

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The poor performance in Europe is now really biting as the UEFA co-efficients are slashed. Not only have they dropped behind Scotland, but they are also behind Ireland and Northern Ireland. With so few qualifying, it could take some time to recover.

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For this season, York didn't even make it to the group stage of the Champions league. They did beat Omonia Nicosia in the 3rd Qualifying round, but then lost out to Inter in the playoff and drop to the Europa League. There they will face Sevilla in the second round.

They will be joined by West Brom who beat Dinamo Batumi, Lokomotiv Moscow and Lille on their way through qualifying. West Brom will now face Dynamo Kyiv. Arsenal kick of their campaign against Livingston while Sunderland have been paired with Standard Liège.
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Hold the front page ! We have English interest in Europe after New Year !

But first the transfers and there are far more big deals completed compared to the Summer window. MK Dons have spent a total of £60m on 9 players and Curzon Ashton with £58m on 8 players on 8 are the big spenders and they have invested a total of £58m on 8 players this season. Arsenal (£50m) are not far behind, while and Aston Villa (£43m) are not far behind.

Man City must be confident as they have sold more than they have purchased. Likewise York who have sold 15 of their title winning squad. Admittedly hey have bought 9, but the total investment is just £6m.

Further down the leagues, Everton are the only ones who are making any significant transfer moves

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And now the European interest, which is NOT with Arsenal. They didn't have too many problems disposing of Livingston in the 2nd round and a 1-1 draw in Ukraine should have seen them get past Shakhtar Donetsk, however 2 goals in the last 2 minutes gake Shakhtar a 3-2 win in the retrun to end their chances.

York have also fallen. After failing to make the Champion's League group stage, they were knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla, but to their credit, it was on away goals and again an injury time strike for Sevilla

West Brom have also failed. Having beatenDinamo Kyiv and Rapid Vienna, VfB Stuttgart proved to be a step too far in the last 32.

That leaves Sunderland as the last man standing. Standard Liège proved to be a simple passage, but they then needed an extra time goal to break the deadlock against Lyon. Rangers were thrashed 6-0 at the Stadium of Light in the last 32 and they now face Nîmes for a place in the Quarter Final. That is probably as good a draw as they could get.
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Was there ever any doubt ? It has been far too easy for Man City to get back to the top, loosing just 14 league games and winning 5 of the 6 leagues on the way. Arsenal have been on their tails the entire way and these 2 are miles clear of the rest. The top 2 are not as close as it looks. City picked up just 6 of their last 15 points, so there is hope for the others if that form continues.

Kidderminster in 7th are the best of the teams that originally started in the Premier League and good to see MK Dons still mixing it up at the top end.

Having started in League One, Exeter drop back to The Championship after 2 years in the top flight. Newport have made a similar run, but they survived for 3 seasons. Guisley finally make the drop, but their fans will have enjoyed that visit from Real Madrid

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The Championship was just as predictable as the Premier League and the title should be more competitive next year. Like their rivals, United have now won their 5th title in a row and like their rivals, Tottenham have been runners up for the 5th season in a row. Something is going to break ! Ashton return to the Premier League 4 years after they dropped out.

Altrincham survived 5 seasons and Spennymoor 3 before dropping out of the Championship. Braintree have been there for the entire time. All of last seasons relegated clubs survived.

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West Ham continue their run towards the Premier League, but perhaps the first surprise was the failure of Middlesbrough. Instead it was Coventry who make back to back promotions along with Havant & Waterlooville who return to the Championship 5 years after relegation

At the other end, Peterborough and Shrewsbury both return to League 2 where they started. Aldershot suffer back to back relegations while for FC United it is their 3rd relegation in a row.

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Everton and Watford both make back to back promotions and are joined by Oxford and Walsall making their first moves.

Leamington's slump is halted, but at the expense of Nuneaton who make their 4th drop and Barnet their 3rd.

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I do worry for Liverpool who look to be stuck in the National League. I wonder if that season 2 where they were in Europe has cost them the ultimate prize. Not that Huddersfield and Wolves are bothered. Remember that Huddersfield were relegated the year that Liverpool won the National North.

Surprisingly Leicester are relegated 3 years after their promotion. Harrogate make it 4 relegations in a row and Barrow their 4th in 5 years.

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Finally Chelsea make their move, but is it too little too late ? Southampton and Bournemouth join them in the National League bottleneck.

Dartford and Woking return to non-league football, but I'm surprised that Ipswich couldn't survive. Manager Paul Lambert won't be happy.

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The FA Cup final was a cracker with goals from players who have been with their clubs the entire time. Jesse Lingard scored first for United and Reiss Nelson leveled for Arsenal. The winner came in extra time from Callum Wilson. So, both Manchester clubs should be in Europe next time round and will face each other in the Charity Shield.

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Chapeau to Maidenhead for preventing a domestic double for City.

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Very noticeable change in the transfer activity this season with Man Utd, Arsenal, Tottenham and Man City all featuring in the biggest deals. City were also the biggest losers, selling Laporte, Deulofeu and Moreno all to Barcelona. Will that be enough for the others to catch them this season ?

Good to see that MK Dons still have aspirations, while Ebbsfleet Utd will be looking for a return on their investment

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Sunderland's run to the Europa League quarter final picked up 4.71 coefficient points and moved England up 8 places in the rankings. It wasn't enough to earn any additional places, however you would think that Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal would have the resources to go deep.

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So far, so good as City have qualified for the Champion's League group stage by beating Cyprus' AEL and Werder Bremen. It looks like a tough group where they will face Barcelona (predictable after the transfers), Porto and Zenit.

Arsenal have also made the Europa League proper by beating Fortuna Sittard, Malmö FF and Caen to win the qualifying. Next they will face Sligo.

Man Utd have drawn Spartak Moscow, while Maidenhead have fo face Feyenoord.

It has been a while since we last looked at the England squad, which made the quarter finals of the Euopean Championships where they lost to France. It is fair to say there are many more familiar names, but still a few oddities.

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PSG's Harry Kane is currently injured, but is normally a regular.

Finally, a quick look at the manager stats in England where Pep, Ole an Poch have all stuck with their clubs through thick and thin. Even Marco Silva at Everton has stayed loyal.

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God help Maidenhead with Jackie Rat-Namara in charge.
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Another busy January window and it is Man City setting the headlines with 2 huge deals for Ajax players. They also brought in Diego Costa (36) on a free transfer. None of the other likely contenders made any significant moves.

Villa and West Brom were particularly active, whilest there were plenty of deals going on with the teams that might be expected to struggle. The other highlight was Liverpool spending £5m on a striker. It has been some time since they were involved in a deal of this scale


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Europe and there is still interest from English clubs. Maidenhead didn't make it past Feyenoord, but fair play, it was only on away goals and they did have an injury time winner chalked off for offside. Arsenal are also out. They had no problem in getting past Sligo, however Sevilla, who seem to put out a lot of English sides, beat them on penalties in the next round.

That leaves the 2 Manchester clubs. City struggled in the Champion's league, managing just one win, at home to Zenit, but that was enough for 3rd place which drew them with Ajax in the Europa League last 32. They won that tie and have drawn Montpellier next. United are also still running, having beaten Spartak Moscow, Rio Ave and Rangers to make the last 16. They have Frankfurt next.
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If ever there was doubt that the old guard are back, I think that has been put to bed. The only encouragement is that MK Dons, Maidenhead and Yory are still fighting for the minor places. It was a stroll in the park for City.

At the other end, Ashton Utd are relegated after one season back in the top flight, while Boreham Wood fall back to the Championship 5 years after their promotion. Herford, runners up to Southport in the first season, finally make their drop. That leaves just York, Curzon Ashton and Kidderminster as the only Premier League survivors since season 1

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The Championship West Ham and Coventry continue their rise through the ranks and will be joined in the Premier League by Hartlepool, who make it through the playoffs at the 4th time of asking. Premier League champions from 2018/19, Southport, have stabilised themselves and could be ones to watch next year.

Guisley make it back to back relegations, while Brackley managed to survive 1 season and Blyth Spartans 2 since their fall from the top flight

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Watford and Everton also appear to be on a late charge, but more interesting is Middlesbrough failing to join them. That could make next season's League One more interesting.

It is back to back relegations for Altrincham, a second in 3 years for Stockport, while Carlisle and Oldham make their first moves …. in the wrong direction.

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No surprise to see Wolves winning at a canter, but Huddersfield failed to join them, again making next season's League Two potentially more interesting. Bury, Doncaster and Bradford are the ones to take advantage after marking time since the start (I do hope that Bury can continue their rise)

6 years after dropping from League One, Cheltenham are relegated again. Morecame also startedin League One, but their fall has been quicker, surviving just 1 season before their second relegation

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I probably shouldn't be shocked by what happens in The National League, but I'm starting at the bottom and Chelsea getting relegated. What the hell is going on there ? Liverpool were hardly any better !

In the mid table, Southampton failed to capitalise on last seasons promotion, which gave Crystal Palace a free run and Reading took advantage of the commotion below them. With 3 coming up and looking for 2 promotion places, this is going to be a blood bath next year.

Joining Chelsea are Barnet, who started in the Championship and Nuneaton who were relegated from the Premier League in year 2.

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Surprise champions of the National North are Luton, just 2 years after their relegation. Leicester finally untangle themselves, while Acrington, who started with back to back relegations and 3 seasons ago survived elimination by a single point, make their first step back up the pyramid.

Harrogate and Dover (started in Championship) along with last seasons promoted side Torquay are the ones to drop into the Sunday Leagues.

It leaves Newcastle, Cardiff, Norwich and Brighton along with relegated Chelsea as the original teams from National North.

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In a one sided FA Cup final, West Ham put 5 past Aston Villa, but the shock was in the quarter final where Telford Utd beat Mancity at The Etihad Stadium !

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It also seams that there is a cup shock every year, and this time it is Curzon Ashton winning the League Cup.

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While Spurs and City were spending big, United and Arsenal were relying on free transfers (Arsenal picked up Fred, Spurs brought back Danny Rose and City resigned Mahrez). Of the promoted sides, Coventry have made a couple of good signings while West Ham have relied on the players that got them promoted.

Boreham Wood look to be the spenders in those likely to be battling the drop

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A big improvement in the Euro Coefficients thanks to the runs of City and United last season. They have earned an extra Champion's League place

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Unfortunately one club has gone already. United and Spurs must have rejected Europa Qualifying offers as it was Sunderland who took that up. They beat M. Petah Tikva, Karpaty and Celta before losing on penalties to Wisla Krakow at the final hurdle.

That leaves City facing PSV Rangers and Real Madrid in the group phase after beating Steaua in qualifying. They ware joined by Arsenal who have an easier group with Benfica, Dortmund and Genoa. They have already dispatched Rapid Vienna and Atlético Madrid. I would expect atleast one of them to progress.

In the Europa League, we still have Curzon Ashton who have drawn Nîmes and West Ham who have M. Tel Aviv. I'd be less confident of their chances.
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What the hell has happened at Arsenal ? Over £90m spent on just 3 players ! Meanwhile in Manchester, City sell £35m and bring in virtually nobody. At the other end of the table, Wrexham in particular have been busy, spending £30m on 9 new faces. York and Salford have also been relatively active.

Meanwhile Chelsea have gone a bit mad. Despite their financial problems, they have brought in 12 player and spent over £8m. They also have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on loan from Betis. They have sold very little, so I don't know where that money has come from.

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Europe and we still have 2 English clubs involved. Sadly one of them is not Curzon Ashton who crashed out to Nîmes in the Europa League 3rd round. The second failure was West Ham, who did beat M. Tel Aviv before failing against Betis.

That leaves Arsenal and Man City. City edged past Real Madrid to take second place in the group behind Rangers. Having got 10 points, Real will be disappointed not to progress. In the second group stage, City have drawn Bayern, Barcelona and Inter Milan. They are currently top, but that is a beast of a group.

Arsenal didn't do quite so well, finishing 3rd, on goal difference, behind Benfica and Dortmund. Again 9 points might have been enough to go further. That dropped them into the Europa League last 32 where they beat Montpelier and now face Celtic for a place in the quarter finals.
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Three in a row for a rampant Man City and if anything, this was the easiest yet. The final margin of 14 points is the highest since this began and they very nearly broke the 100 point barrier (a draw with Curzon Ashton with 3 games to play prevented that.

Behind them it was a good battle between West Ham and Spurs for second place while Arsenal and Man Utd were neck and neck all season. In mid table, MK Dons and Sunderland continue to do well, but are along way behind the 5 big clubs.

After 7 years and a best place of 5th, it is time to say good bye to Chesterfield. They are joined by last seasons promoted side Hartlepool and big spending Wrexham, who came up the same year as Chesterfield.

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In The Championship Everton and Watford complete their rise to the top, but is it too little too late to mount a real challenge. 5 years after being promoted from League One, Grimsby will be in the topflight next season.

Havant & Waterloovile have been relegated from The Championship to League One for the second time. Telford Utd join them after 5 years in The Championship following their relegation from The Premier League and Chester, having played in the Champions League after a 3rd place finish now find themselves relegated for the second time in 4 years.

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Wolve are continuing their rise and will no doubt be favourites for The Championship next season. In a surprise, Gillingham are the ones to join them in automatic promotion. It is 5 years since they made the move up from League Two. At the 3rd time of asking, Middlesbrough finally crawl up the leagues again.

Going down are Charlton after 7 years after their promotion. Braintree suffer their second drop in 3 years, while Cambridge and Macclefield make their first relegations.

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Three promotions in a row for Crystal Palace and a second promotion in a row for Reading. After faultering last season, Huddersfield are also on the march again. Having been in The Championship 4 years ago, Stockport have started to reverse the slide.

6 years after dropping out of League One, Yeovil are relegated again. Peterborough are a bit of an oddity. Having been promoted to League One, the were then relegated to League Two and now drop again to the National League

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I need to stop being surprised by Liverpool, but I'm surprise that they have failed again. You would think it would therefore be open for Leicester, Southampton or Burnley to take the top 2 places, but instead we find Notts Forest and Hull taking the promotion places.

It's a second relegation in 3 years for Morcambe, and a second overall for Cheltenham. Q.P.R. Have spent their entire time in The National League up to this point

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Like Liverpool, Chelsea fail again. Despite spending millions they had a bad run around New Year which cost them. That allowed Norwich to crawl out of the league and they are joined by Swansea returning to The National League and Cardiff who are like Norwich in making their first move.

Newcastle, Chelsea and Brighton are all that remain of the original teams from National North.

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One hoped that it wouldn't be the case, but Man City made light work of landing a domestic double

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However it would not be a treble. Following Maidenhead and Curzon Ashton, it is now Boreham Wood who are the surprise League Cup winners. Chelsea at least get some reward for all that cash that they spent

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In Europe there should be a further rise in the co-efficients. Man City made it to the quarter finals of the Champions League where Milan beat them home and away. Arsenal made it to the same stage of the Europa League where they wend down to Standard Liège.
Last edited by Kingsley on Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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