Tag Archives: Relegation

The Clubs: Barnsley

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
38 10 5 23 37 82 -45 35 1

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Neil Redfearn 37
Darren Barnard 35
Nicky Eaden 35
Adie Moses 35
Martin Bullock 32
Dave Watson 30
Ashley Ward 29
Arjan de Zeeuw 26
Andy Liddell 26
Darren Sheridan 26

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Neil Redfearn 10
Ashley Ward 8
Jan Aage Fjortoft 6
Gjorgji Hristov 4
Jovo Bosancic 3
Darren Barnard 2
Eric Tinkler 2
John Hendrie 1
Scott Jones 1
Andy Liddell 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Barnsley 2-0 Coventry City 20th October 1997 1997-1998
Barnsley 4-3 Southampton 14th March 1998 1997-1998
Barnsley 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 27th August 1997 1997-1998
Barnsley 2-1 Wimbledon 28th February 1998 1997-1998
Barnsley 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday 11th April 1998 1997-1998

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Manchester United 7-0 Barnsley 25th October 1997 1997-1998
Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea 24th August 1997 1997-1998
West Ham United 6-0 Barnsley 10th January 1998 1997-1998
Arsenal 5-0 Barnsley 4th October 1997 1997-1998
Wimbledon 4-1 Barnsley 23rd September 1997 1997-1998

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Danny Wilson 1 5th July 1998

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Barnsley 0-2 Manchester United 10th May 1998 18,694 1997-1998
Barnsley 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday 11th April 1998 18,692 1997-1998
Barnsley 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur 18th April 1998 18,692 1997-1998
Barnsley 0-2 Arsenal 25th April 1998 18,691 1997-1998
Barnsley 2-3 Leeds United 29th November 1997 18,690 1997-1998

 

Intro

Barnsley enjoyed one season of top-flight football in 1997-1998 and their fans certainly made the most of the experience following their surprising promotion from Division One. Danny Wilson’s side fought against the odds throughout the season and although they took a few thrashings along the way, they also recorded 10 victories, including a wonderful 1-0 success at Anfield in November. However, the Tykes just lacked the cutting edge to avoid relegation and they went down on the penultimate weekend of the season. Apart from a play-off final defeat to Ipswich Town in 2000, they haven’t been close to returning to the top-flight since.

 

1997-1998

Barnsley made a wonderful start to their Premier League life, taking the lead on the first day inside nine minutes against West Ham United through a header by Neil Redfearn. However, the Hammers came back in the second half to win 2-1. Days later though, Redfearn was on-target again at Selhurst Park as the Tykes won their first away match in the division 1-0 at Crystal Palace.

Danny Wilson’s side continued to battle all season, despite taking a few pastings from the elite in the Premier League. They were beaten 6-0 at home by Chelsea, 7-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester United and 5-0 against Arsenal at Highbury. Barnsley conceded 82 in the season – an average of 2.1 goals per game and that made the battle to avoid the drop very difficult.

There were highs for the supporters. Ashley Ward – an August arrival from Derby County scored the winning goal at Anfield in November to record one of the shock victories of the season. Ward finished with eight goals – two behind the top scorer who was Redfearn. However, relegation was confirmed at Filbert Street on the final Saturday of the season. Theo Zagorakis’ goal gave Leicester City a 1-0 victory which confirmed Barnsley’s demise back to Division One. Wilson left in the summer to fill the managerial vacancy at his former club Sheffield Wednesday and since then in the last 20 years, the Yorkshire club have been flirting between the Championship and League One on a regular basis.

However, the Barnsley supporters will never forget their one-season experience in the Premier League.

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Premier League Files: Ashley Ward

Premier League Career: Norwich City (1994-1995), Derby County (1996-1997), Barnsley (1997-1998), Blackburn Rovers (1998-1999), Bradford City (2000-2001)

Ashley Ward played for five different Premier League clubs and was often brought into sides by teams struggling to avoid the drop. This means he has the unfortunate distinction of being relegated no fewer than four times. Out of the clubs he represented in the top-flight, his best days were most probably at Derby County and Barnsley.

Born in Greater Manchester, he was the son of a coal mining engineer and despite making it into football; it was rugby and lacrosse which he often played more of during his school days due to the selection made by the Grammar School he attended. Although he had a spell in Manchester United’s Junior B team, it was Manchester City where he signed apprentice forms in 1989, choosing them ahead of Blackburn Rovers.

He made his name as a 22-year-old at Crewe Alexandra and scored 25 goals in 61 appearances for Alexandra, becoming one of the leading marksmen in the English lower leagues. Norwich City boss John Deehan was impressed and in December 1994, he made a move for Ward who made the sudden leap straight into the Premier League, signing for the Canaries. He was seen as the long-term replacement for Chris Sutton who had joined Blackburn Rovers five months earlier.

Ward had a marvellous debut, scoring twice in Norwich’s convincing 3-0 home victory over Chelsea but the Norfolk club’s form collapsed in the second half of the season, slipping from seventh place at the turn of the year to relegation by the conclusion of the 1994-1995 season.

After 18 goals in 53 appearances for the Canaries, Ward moved to Derby County in March 1996, helping the Rams win promotion to the top-flight. He contributed to their impressive debut season, scoring a late winner against Chelsea and ultimately, the decisive goal in Derby’s brilliant 3-2 away victory at Old Trafford in April against Manchester United. Ward’s place in Derby history was sealed by scoring their last-ever goals at The Baseball Ground in May 1997, although it came in a 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

He finished with nine goals in that campaign and having finished things off from a Derby perspective at The Baseball Ground, he made a great start at their new stadium of Pride Park. He technically scored the first goal at their new home against Wimbledon. However, it didn’t count in the record books because a floodlight failure caused the game to be abandoned after 56 minutes with Derby winning the match 2-1 at the time. By the time the fixture was rearranged, Ward had departed.

Jim Smith sold him to newly-promoted Barnsley in September 1997. The Tykes had just been promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their history and Ward enjoyed his time in Yorkshire. He scored memorable away winners against both Liverpool FC and Aston Villa. However, despite his best efforts, Barnsley were relegated at the end of the season. He initially stayed with them after relegation and in November 1998 in a First Division match against Sunderland, he scored a goal, missed a penalty and got sent off in the space of five crazy minutes! It was one of his final games for the club.

Brian Kidd made him one of his first signings as Blackburn Rovers manager, joining Rovers in December 1998. However, he didn’t rediscover his solid goalscoring form he’d shown at both Derby and Barnsley and Blackburn were relegated, just four seasons after being crowned Premier League champions. He joined Bradford City for their second Premier League season in the summer of 2000 but experienced a fourth relegation in 2000-2001 and after another four seasons in the Football League with the Bantams and Sheffield United, he retired in the summer of 2005.

By that point, Ashley was already planning his future and that was in the world of business. He runs a luxury property development company called Bilton Ward and is a director of the interior design company Arista Design. Ward has also featured on the ITV reality series The Real Housewives of Cheshire as his wife, Dawn, is one of the central characters.

Premier League Rewind: 15th May 2005

Results: Birmingham City 2-1 Arsenal, Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Everton, Charlton Athletic 2-2 Crystal Palace, Fulham 6-0 Norwich City, Liverpool FC 2-1 Aston Villa, Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough, Newcastle United 1-1 Chelsea, Southampton 1-2 Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Blackburn Rovers, West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Portsmouth

The centre of attention on the final day of the 2004-2005 Premier League season was at the bottom of the table. For the first time in the competition’s history, all three relegation spots were up for grabs and by full-time, only one set of supporters from Norwich City, Crystal Palace, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion would be celebrating survival.

The team in the driving seat were Norwich. They were outside the bottom three and a first away victory of the season at Craven Cottage against a Fulham side with little to play for would secure their top-flight status and relegate the other three sides irrespective of their results. However, as soon as Brian McBride had the Cottagers infront after just 10 minutes, it looked like it would be a long afternoon for the Canaries supporters. Any hope of beating the drop was virtually extinguished by Papa Bouba Diop’s cracking free-kick and it turned into a mauling for Nigel Worthington’s side. Andy Cole came off the bench to round the scoring off in stoppage-time. Fulham won 6-0 and Norwich were relegated.

The Canaries’ miserable afternoon in west London meant there was an opportunity for the other three teams then to escape the drop. Southampton had the trickiest fixture even though they were at home on the last day to FA Cup finalists Manchester United. They made a brilliant start, with an own goal off John O’Shea giving the Saints a lead at virtually the same time as Norwich were going a goal down at Fulham. A Darren Fletcher header did little to change the outcomes and at half-time, the point was enough for Harry Redknapp to protect his record of not experiencing Premier League relegation on his CV. Ruud van Nistelrooy had other ideas. The Dutchman had experienced a difficult campaign plagued by injuries by his 62nd minute header – his sixth league goal of the season put the Red Devils infront and they held on for a 2-1 victory to end Southampton’s 27-year stay in England’s top-flight.

So, Norwich and Southampton were both down, which meant it was a straight shootout between Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion for survival. Palace travelled to a Charlton Athletic side without a win in their last eight games but they trailed at half-time to Bryan Hughes’ first half effort. Iain Dowie then brought Dougie Freedman off the bench and soon after his arrival; he put the Eagles level with a cute chip over the advancing Charlton goalkeeper Dean Kiely. Then, Mark Clattenburg pointed to the penalty spot when Jonathan Fortune handled the ball in his own penalty area. Andy Johnson’s 21st goal of the season meant Dowie’s side were now just 19 minutes from safety. However, with eight minutes remaining, Fortune made amends with a towering header from a free-kick to level the scores at 2-2. That is how it ended but would it be enough for Palace to avoid a fourth Premier League relegation?

It wouldn’t be the case if West Bromwich Albion beat Portsmouth at The Hawthorns. The Baggies were bottom going into the final day and only a win would be enough to give them a chance of achieving survival. Just a minute after his arrival into the match as a second half substitute, Geoff Horsfield drilled the Baggies into the lead and on-loan midfielder Kieran Richardson settled the contest with 15 minutes remaining. When he scored, Palace were winning so the three points weren’t enough but Fortune’s equaliser at The Valley sent The Hawthorns into a carnival atmosphere. No team in Premier League history had ever done what West Brom had just done. They were bottom on Christmas Day but had achieved survival on this, the ultimate Survival Sunday.’

Away from the drama at the bottom of the table and the other dramatic issue was who would take seventh place and the final UEFA Cup position in the table. Middlesbrough held the advantage and were playing chief rivals Manchester City at Eastlands. The scoreline was 1-1 when City had a late penalty. If Robbie Fowler had converted it, the Citizens would have claimed seventh position but his spot-kick was saved by Mark Schwarzer so Boro held on for the point that secured the last European qualification spot.

What else happened in May 2005?

  • Labour and Tony Blair win their third successive General Election but only a majority of 66 seats – a great reduction on their recent margin of victory in 2001.
  • After the election, Conservative party leader Michael Howard announced his intention to step down.
  • Liverpool FC win their fifth European Cup in sensational fashion, beating AC Milan on penalties in Istanbul after coming back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3.
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is won by Greece’s Helena Paparizou with her song “My Number One.”
  • 27-year-old transport manager Tim Campbell wins the first series of The Apprentice, winning a £100,000 job with Lord Alan Sugar’s firm, Amstrad.
  • American businessman Malcolm Glazer gains control of Manchester United after securing a 70% share. The takeover angers many United supporters.
  • BBC Weather relaunches, changing to 3D graphics.

 

Iconic Moments: Blackburn relegated (May 1999)

Four years earlier, Blackburn Rovers had ended an 81-year wait and became champions of England on a dramatic final day. Despite defeat at Anfield against Liverpool FC, Rovers became Premier League title winners because Manchester United failed to beat West Ham United at Upton Park.

Jack Walker’s millions had helped Blackburn towards their remarkable success but before the end of the 20th century, they had regressed into relegation trouble. Going into the final week of the 1998-1999 season, their fate was out of their own hands. A humiliating home defeat a few days earlier to already relegated Nottingham Forest meant they had to win both of their remaining two matches to have any chance of avoiding the drop.

Their final home game of the season was against Manchester United, who could be crowned champions with a victory. The game was a nervy, tense and sterile contest which ultimately ended in a 0-0 draw. In his first managerial job, Brian Kidd had been unable to steer the Lancastrians away from relegation. It was a tearful end to a wonderful chapter in the club’s history.

Blackburn spent two seasons outside of the top-flight before returning to the Premier League in 2001. Sadly, Jack Walker wouldn’t be round to see it. The popular owner died in August 2000 aged 71 after a battle with cancer.

Premier League Files: Hermann Hreidarsson

Premier League Career: Crystal Palace (1997-1998), Wimbledon (1999-2000), Ipswich Town (2000-2002), Charlton Athletic (2003-2007), Portsmouth (2007-2010)

Hermann Hreidarsson shares an unwanted Premier League record with forward Nathan Blake. He has been relegated from the top-flight a joint-record five times and with all the clubs he represented too in the Premier League.

It is unfortunate he holds this distinction because Hreidarsson was a very capable centre-back during his 15 seasons on these shores. He played 315 times in the Premier League, enjoying his best season in 2000-2001 when Ipswich Town finished a brilliant fifth in the table.

Hermann started his professional career at his local club IBV, making the breakthrough into their first-team in 1993. He spent five seasons with them, notching up 66 appearances and scoring five goals. In his final season, IBV ended up as champions of Iceland for only the second time in 18 years. However, by the time they were lifting the trophy, Hreidarsson had already embarked on his English adventure.

Crystal Palace liked what they saw and in August 1997, they signed the defender on their return to the top-flight. Hreidarsson immediately became a fixture in the team on a regular basis. He missed just one match in the 1997-1998 campaign, scoring league goals against Sheffield Wednesday and at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. The Eagles were relegated but his performances stood out week in, week out in a struggling side.

Hreidarsson had been signed by Ron Noades and when he stepped aside as Crystal Palace chairman and moved to Brentford, he took the Icelandic international with him. It was a surprising move considering the Bees were playing in the Third Division at the time. He scored six times in 1998-1999, helping the London-based side to the title but his talents were far greater than the league he was playing in. Settled in the capital, he moved to Wimbledon in October 1999 for a fee of £2.5 million. That was Brentford’s record transfer fee received for 15 years until Andre Gray’s move to Burnley.

Hreidarsson was signed at Wimbledon by fellow Scandinavian Egil Olsen and scored a goal on Boxing Day 1999 against West Ham United, capitalising on a rare error from Shaka Hislop. However, Olsen’s demanding training methods saw him fall out with the majority of the squad and he was sacked weeks before Wimbledon’s relegation to the First Division was confirmed.

That summer, he was on the move again, this time to newly-promoted Ipswich Town for £4.5 million. Hreidarsson formed decent partnerships with Mark Venus and young prodigy Titus Bramble, scoring in a 3-1 victory over Bradford City in March 2001. In their first season back in the Premier League after a six-year absence, the Tractor Boys finished a brilliant fifth in the table, earning a place in the UEFA Cup. The good times didn’t last though in Suffolk.

Ipswich experienced a dramatic reverse in their fortunes in 2001-2002 and a 5-0 defeat on the final day of the season at Anfield saw them relegated. Hreidarsson stayed at Portman Road despite their relegation, turning down a move to West Bromwich Albion in the summer of 2002 for the fear of being involved in yet another dogfight against relegation. However, with financial problems growing and the club slipping into administration, Hermann was sold in March 2003 to Charlton Athletic for £900,000.

Hreidarsson’s return to London to play for his fourth club in the capital was largely a success. He played a key role in Charlton’s best-ever Premier League season as they finished seventh in 2003-2004, scoring one of his three league goals for the club in a surprising 4-2 victory over big-spending Chelsea on Boxing Day 2003.

He made 132 appearances for the Addicks but their stability was rocked by Alan Curbishley’s departure at the end of the 2005-2006 season. Iain Dowie, Les Reed and Alan Pardew all managed the club in the following season but Charlton’s seven-season stay in England’s top-flight ended and that meant a fourth relegation on Hermann’s CV.

Exercising a clause in his contract which would allow him to leave on a free transfer if Charlton were relegated, Hreidarsson switched to Portsmouth in May 2007. He found the net in Pompey’s thrilling 7-4 victory over Reading which remains the highest-scoring match in Premier League history and was part of the team that won the FA Cup in 2008. Hreidarsson made 72 top-flight appearances for Portsmouth but relegation was inevitable when a nine-point penalty was imposed when the club slipped into administration. His 2009-2010 season ended when he snapped an Achilles tendon in an away match against Tottenham Hotspur, ruling himself out of the FA Cup final.

Hreidarsson would never play in the Premier League again but stayed with Portsmouth in the Championship until January 2012. After a six-month spell at Coventry City, he returned to his homeland to begin his coaching career. He managed the Fylkir men’s and women’s teams before becoming an assistant coach for Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League in January 2018, linking up with his former Portsmouth teammate, David James.

The Clubs: Sheffield United

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
122 32 36 54 128 168 -40 132 3

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Carl Bradshaw 72
Paul Beesley 64
Alan Kelly 63
Glyn Hodges 62
Paul Rogers 52
Dane Whitehouse 52
Kevin Gage 48
Mitch Ward 48
Alan Cork 46
Adrian Littlejohn 46

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Brian Deane 15
Adrian Littlejohn 11
Dane Whitehouse 10
Jostein Flo 9
Rob Hulse 8
Glyn Hodges 6
Paul Rogers 6
Nathan Blake 5
Alan Cork 5
Brian Gayle 5

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Sheffield United 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 2nd March 1993 1992-1993
Sheffield United 3-0 Ipswich Town 16th January 1993 1992-1993
Sheffield United 3-0 West Ham United 14th April 2007 2006-2007
Sheffield United 4-2 Chelsea 8th May 1993 1992-1993
Coventry City 1-3 Sheffield United 24th March 1993 1992-1993
Sheffield United 3-1 Swindon Town 14th August 1993 1993-1994
Sheffield United 2-0 Southampton 3rd October 1992 1992-1993
Sheffield United 2-0 Middlesbrough 9th February 1993 1992-1993
Sheffield United 2-0 Oldham Athletic 22nd February 1993 1992-1993
Nottingham Forest 0-2 Sheffield United 1st May 1993 1992-1993

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Newcastle United 4-0 Sheffield United 24th November 1993 1993-1994
Liverpool FC 4-0 Sheffield United 24th February 2007 2006-2007
Manchester United 3-0 Sheffield United 18th August 1993 1993-1994
Sheffield United 0-3 Manchester United 7th December 1993 1993-1994
Arsenal 3-0 Sheffield United 29th December 1993 1993-1994
Arsenal 3-0 Sheffield United 23rd September 2006 2006-2007
Chelsea 3-0 Sheffield United 17th March 2007 2006-2007
Aston Villa 3-0 Sheffield United 5th May 2007 2006-2007
Everton 4-2 Sheffield United 21st August 1993 1993-1994
Leeds United 3-1 Sheffield United 17th October 1992 1992-1993

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Dave Bassett 2 12th December 1995
Neil Warnock 1 15th May 2007

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Sheffield United 1-2 Wigan Athletic 13th May 2007 32,604 2006-2007
Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City 26th December 2006 32,591 2006-2007
Sheffield United 1-2 Manchester United 18th November 2006 32,584 2006-2007
Sheffield United 1-2 Newcastle United 7th April 2007 32,572 2006-2007
Sheffield United 0-2 Chelsea 28th October 2006 32,321 2006-2007
Sheffield United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 10th February 2007 32,144 2006-2007
Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal 30th December 2006 32,086 2006-2007
Sheffield United 1-1 Everton 3rd March 2007 32,019 2006-2007
Sheffield United 1-1 Liverpool FC 19th August 2006 31,726 2006-2007
Sheffield United 3-0 West Ham United 14th April 2007 31,593 2006-2007

 

Intro

It has been over 12 seasons since Sheffield United’s last dalliance with Premier League football. Their relegation on the final day of the 2006-2007 season was the second time the supporters had to deal with this heartache, having had destiny in their own hands to survive as they had on a dramatic last day in 1994. The Blades though do have the honour of scoring the first-ever goal in Premier League history thanks to Brian Deane’s fifth minute header against Manchester United in August 1992.

 

1992-1993

It was Dave Bassett who was Sheffield United manager when the Premier League began and despite working on limited resources, he kept the Blades away from relegation as they finished the inaugural campaign in 15th position, ahead of the likes of Coventry City, Southampton and reigning English champions, Leeds United.

They made Premier League history by scoring the first-ever goal in the new league on day one. Brian Deane scored it and the Yorkshire club surprised Manchester United, beating Alex Ferguson’s side 2-1. They also recorded their biggest-ever Premier League victory when Tottenham Hotspur was demolished 6-0 in March 1993. Other highlights included a Deane hat-trick to beat Ipswich 3-0 in January and victories in their final three matches, including a 2-0 success at The City Ground in Brian Clough’s final home match as manager of Nottingham Forest.

 

1993-1994

Deane had finished as top scorer in the previous campaign with 14 goals. However, he was sold in the summer of 1993 to Leeds United and goalscoring became a major problem in his absence in the 1993-1994 season. Norwegian Jostein Flo was the only player to amass double figures.

With little money to spend, Bassett’s side spent much of the campaign at the wrong end of the table but a 3-2 victory over West Ham United at the end of March started an impressive run of just one defeat in seven matches. Liverpool FC and Newcastle United were among the sides beaten in this period and that meant the Yorkshire side came into the final day of the season needing just a point to avoid relegation.

They took the lead twice against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but were pegged back and in stoppage-time, Mark Stein scored a late winner for the home side. That goal was pivotal. Ipswich held on for a goalless draw at Blackburn and Everton’s dramatic comeback victory over Wimbledon meant Sheffield United were relegated to the First Division. They wouldn’t return to the Premier League for over 12 years.

 

2006-2007

Having finished runners-up to Reading in the Championship in the previous season, Sheffield United returned to the elite of English football with the charismatic Neil Warnock in-charge. An opening day draw with Liverpool FC was a good start and the Blades became tough to beat at Bramwall Lane. Their first victory back in the top-flight didn’t arrive until late September when a cracking Phil Jagielka shot beat Middlesbrough.

Jagielka was also the hero against Arsenal in the final match of 2006. He went in-goal after regular goalkeeper Paddy Kenny was injured but kept the Gunners out as the Blades recorded a 1-0 victory.

For much of the season, they were seven points clear of trouble but a torrid April and May meant they went into the final day still needing a point to guarantee safety. They played Wigan Athletic, who had to win or face relegation. Wigan took the lead but Jon Stead’s brave header saw the hosts equalise. However, a penalty was conceded in first half stoppage-time and David Unsworth, who had started the season as a Sheffield United player, scored for Wigan to put them infront.

Despite creating numerous openings in the second half, Sheffield United couldn’t find the goal they needed and they were relegated. The club then pursued a legal case against the FA for failing to deduct points from relegation rivals West Ham United for their part in the transfers involving Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. Warnock resigned as manager three days after relegation.

Iconic Moments: Bizarre tactics cost Manchester City dear (May 1996)

Young Manchester City supporters might not remember that there was a time where the club really struggled in the Premier League. In the 1995-1996 season, the Citizens made a terrible start to the campaign, not winning any of their first 11 matches. It was Alan Ball’s first season in the dugout and he struggled to win over the supporters and get the players producing performances of high-quality proportions.

On the final day of the season, City needed to better the results of relegation rivals Coventry City and Southampton in a bid to avoid the drop to the First Division. It didn’t start well. An own goal from Steve Lomas and Ian Rush’s deflected strike gave visitors Liverpool FC a 2-0 half-time lead. The hosts recovered the deficit in the second half thanks to Uwe Rosler from the penalty spot and Kit Symons. However, they needed one more goal to avoid relegation.

Not according to one supporter who spread a message around the ground suggesting the draw was enough. That got through to Ball, who bizarrely believed this without checking the source. He then told his players to take the ball into the corner flag and run down the clock rather than score again.

By the time they realised that the previous message had been incorrect, three minutes of time had been wasted and time was up. With Coventry and Southampton both drawing their matches 0-0, they survived and City were relegated in bizarre circumstances that summed up a manic season at Maine Road.

The Clubs: Nottingham Forest

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
198 60 59 79 229 287 -58 239 5

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Steve Chettle 174
Mark Crossley 162
Ian Woan 132
Scot Gemmill 128
Stuart Pearce 123
Steve Stone 118
Des Lyttle 113
Colin Cooper 108
Bryan Roy 84
David Phillips 83

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Bryan Roy 24
Stan Collymore 22
Stuart Pearce 18
Ian Woan 17
Steve Stone 16
Jason Lee 12
Nigel Clough 11
Kevin Campbell 9
Gary Bannister 8
Colin Cooper 8

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Sheffield Wednesday 1-7 Nottingham Forest 1st April 1995 1994-1995
Leeds United 1-4 Nottingham Forest 5th December 1992 1992-1993
Nottingham Forest 4-1 Sheffield Wednesday 10th September 1994 1994-1995
Tottenham Hotspur 1-4 Nottingham Forest 24th September 1994 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 4-1 Ipswich Town 10th December 1994 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 4-1 Wimbledon 6th November 1995 1995-1996
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Chelsea 16th January 1993 1992-1993
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Southampton 18th March 1995 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Leeds United 22nd March 1995 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 3-0 Manchester City 30th September 1995 1995-1996

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999 1998-1999
Blackburn Rovers 7-0 Nottingham Forest 18th November 1995 1995-1996
Manchester United 5-0 Nottingham Forest 28th April 1996 1995-1996
Newcastle United 5-0 Nottingham Forest 11th May 1997 1996-1997
Nottingham Forest 1-5 Blackburn Rovers 13th April 1996 1995-1996
Liverpool FC 5-1 Nottingham Forest 24th October 1998 1998-1999
Nottingham Forest 0-4 Manchester United 26th December 1996 1996-1997
Coventry City 4-0 Nottingham Forest 9th January 1999 1998-1999
Blackburn Rovers 4-1 Nottingham Forest 5th September 1992 1992-1993
Nottingham Forest 1-4 Sunderland 21st August 1996 1996-1997

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Brian Clough 1 8th May 1993
Frank Clark 3 19th December 1996
Stuart Pearce 1 30th June 1997
Dave Bassett 1 5th January 1999
Ron Atkinson 1 30th June 1999

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United 6th February 1999 30,025 1998-1999
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Manchester United 27th November 1995 29,263 1995-1996
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Liverpool FC 15th March 1997 29,181 1996-1997
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool FC 23rd March 1996 29.058 1995-1996
Nottingham Forest 0-4 Manchester United 26th December 1996 29,032 1996-1997
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Manchester City 6th May 1995 28,882 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 4th March 1995 28,711 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 2-2 Liverpool FC 5th April 1999 28,374 1998-1999
Nottingham Forest 1-1 West Ham United 8th April 1995 28,361 1994-1995
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Chelsea 11th January 1997 28,358 1996-1997

 

Intro

It has been nearly 20 years now since Nottingham Forest last graced the top-flight of English football. They still remain one of the biggest teams outside of the Premier League and still one of the most successful sides to have graced the European Cup following those back-to-back victories in 1979 and 1980. Forest have been relegated in three of their five Premier League seasons but also finished a fantastic third under the guidance of the shrewd Frank Clark in the 1994-1995 season.

 

1992-1993

Nottingham Forest began the new season with victory over Liverpool FC in the very-first live match on Sky Sports in the new league with Teddy Sheringham scoring the only goal of the game. Sheringham was sold shortly afterwards though to Tottenham Hotspur and the club followed up this Liverpool victory with six successive defeats. They were six points from safety going into the New Year.

A brief revival early in 1993 saw them climb out of the relegation zone at the end of February but just two wins from their last 10 matches saw their fate slide out of their control. On the eve of the final home match of the season against Sheffield United, legendary manager Brian Clough announced he was retiring from football management. Sadly, there was no happy ending. Forest lost 2-0 to the Blades and were relegated to the First Division. Clough would be replaced by Frank Clark.

 

1994-1995

After impressing at the World Cup finals with the Netherlands, Bryan Roy was signed by Frank Clark to help lead Nottingham Forest’s attack on their top-flight return. They enjoyed a brilliant season, staying unbeaten in their first 11 matches and sitting in second spot for much of the first three months of the campaign. After a 2-0 loss at home to Blackburn Rovers, there was a six-game winless sequence but Clark’s side continued to figure inside the top six throughout the season.

Stan Collymore scored 22 goals and he was also the first player in the season to score at Old Trafford when Forest pulled off a stunning 2-1 victory away at the reigning champions. In April, they recorded the biggest away victory of the season, thumping Sheffield Wednesday 7-1 at Hillsborough. A draw on the final weekend away at Wimbledon ensured a third place finish and UEFA Cup football for the following season. No promoted club has finished higher than this in Premier League history.

 

1995-1996

Progress at Nottingham Forest stuttered in 1995-1996 after Collymore was sold in the summer to Liverpool FC for a British transfer record fee. Andrea Silenzi was signed as his replacement and proved to be a complete flop although the additions of Kevin Campbell from Arsenal and Chris Bart-Williams from Sheffield Wednesday were useful acquisitions.

Again, they enjoyed a lengthy unbeaten start to the season. A 12-match unbeaten sequence which culminated with a 4-1 victory at home to Wimbledon in early November took Clark’s side into third place in the table. Two weeks later, that unbeaten run ended dramatically with a 7-0 beating away at Blackburn Rovers. Their domestic season never quite recovered from that demoralising performance and Forest faded to ninth place and mid-table mediocrity.

Ian Woan sparkled and scored a crucial long-range effort to deny Newcastle United a vital victory in their title run-in challenge whilst a quarter-final run in the UEFA Cup was the best effort from a British team in European competition that season.

 

1996-1997

Nottingham Forest topped the table after the opening round of fixtures when Kevin Campbell scored a hat-trick on a scorching afternoon at Highfield Road against Coventry City. That 3-0 victory was the high point in a dreadful campaign for the club. Frank Clark failed to win another league match during his reign and in mid-December; he resigned after a 4-2 loss at Anfield. Club captain Stuart Pearce was given the opportunity to manage the team and he did spearhead a shock victory over Arsenal in his first match in-charge.

A three-game winning sequence at the start of January took the Midlands side out of the bottom three but Dean Saunders’ winner at White Hart Lane in early March would turn out to be the last victory of the season for Nottingham Forest. They collected just six points from their remaining 11 fixtures and were relegated on the final Saturday of the season after failing to beat Wimbledon at home. Pearce left at the end of the season to continue his playing career at Newcastle United and was replaced by Dave Bassett.

 

1998-1999

After romping away with the First Division title in 1998, Nottingham Forest made an instant return to the Premier League but their plans were thrown in disarray when unhappy that Kevin Campbell had been sold to Trabzonspor, star striker Pierre van Hooijdonk went on-strike in the summer!

Forest did win two of their opening three games but soon fell into trouble and didn’t record another victory until the end of January. By then, Van Hooijdonk had returned to the club and Dave Bassett was sacked following an FA Cup loss to First Division Portsmouth. Ron Atkinson answered the call to save the sinking ship but even he couldn’t prevent the inevitable.

Van Hooijdonk did score a winner at Goodison Park in Atkinson’s second game in-charge but a week later, they lost 8-1 at home to Manchester United in a scoreline that still remains as the biggest home defeat in Premier League history. Relegation was confirmed at the end of April at Villa Park, although they did win their last three matches of the season against Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City.

Seasonal Stories: Newcastle United (2008-2009)

A calamitous campaign

Newcastle United’s 2008-2009 Premier League season turned out to be a calamitous mess. No fewer than four managers during the campaign, either in a full-time or caretaker capacity, mass demonstrations over the running of the club and it ended with the worst possible outcome on-the-pitch.

A final day 1-0 defeat at Villa Park against Aston Villa saw the club relegated to the Championship, ending their 16-year stay in England’s top-flight. No-one could argue at the end of the season with the ultimate final outcome.

Keegan walks away

It was Newcastle United icon Kevin Keegan who was the manager at the start of the campaign and with him in-charge, expectations were high with the supporters who were hoping to see the glory days of the mid-1990s return to the St James’ Park turf.

Among the arrivals in pre-season were midfielder Jonas Gutierrez and central defenders Sebastien Bassong and Fabricio Coloccini and in the first two games of the season, four points were collected. On the opening weekend, Obafemi Martins scored at Old Trafford as Newcastle recorded a creditable 1-1 draw at defending champions Manchester United before Bolton Wanderers were overcome 1-0. Even a 3-0 defeat at the end of August to Arsenal wasn’t seen as a complete disaster.

Shortly afterwards though, Keegan was gone. Furious with the sale of James Milner in the closing days of the summer transfer window to Aston Villa in a £12 million deal and other disagreements over the club’s transfer policy saw ‘King Kev’ tender his resignation on 4th September. Incensed, the fans began bitter protests against owner Mike Ashley and Director of Football Dennis Wise.

Response on Kinnear’s arrival

For the club’s next home match, the directors box was noticeably empty and the growing tension increased as newly-promoted Hull City recorded a 2-1 victory on Tyneside. Chris Hughton had taken caretaker charge following Keegan’s exit but Ashley elected to appoint Joe Kinnear as full-time manager at the end of September to the shock of many. Kinnear hadn’t managed in the top-flight since health problems ended his reign at Wimbledon back in 1999.

There was a response from the players on his appointment. Back-to-back home victories over West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa saw the Magpies climb out of the bottom three at the start of November. However, there was a damaging 2-1 defeat in the first Tyne & Wear Derby of the season at Sunderland which was their first reverse away to Sunderland in 28 years.

Newcastle’s first away victory of the season arrived in mid-December. Michael Owen scored twice as Portsmouth were comfortably vanquished 3-0 on home soil. That was part of a six-game unbeaten run which had the Geordies as high as 12th in the Premier League table. Considering the turmoil that had engulfed the club at boardroom and managerial level throughout 2008, it was a respectable position.

2008 did end though in humiliating fashion with a 5-1 loss at home to league leaders Liverpool FC. Shay Given was in sensational form, making a string of world-class saves in the first half and had it not been for him, Liverpool could have amassed a heavier margin of victory, such was the gulfing class between the two sides on the day. Newcastle’s plight was only about to get worse.

30TH DECEMBER 2008 TABLE

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
14 NEWCASTLE UNITED 20 5 7 8 26 32 -6 22
15 Sunderland 20 6 4 10 21 29 -8 22
16 Tottenham Hotspur 20 5 5 10 20 25 -5 20
17 Middlesbrough 20 5 5 10 17 29 -12 20
18 Stoke City 20 5 5 10 18 33 -15 20
19 Blackburn Rovers 20 4 6 10 22 36 -14 18

Another managerial change

The January transfer window did see the surprising acquisition of Kevin Nolan after the midfielder had grown tired of some criticism over his performances at Bolton Wanderers. However, there were another two notable departures. Goalkeeper Given ended his 12-year association with the club, signing for ambitious Manchester City whilst midfielder Charles N’Zogbia elected to move on to Wigan Athletic. The Frenchman was furious when Kinnear got tongue-tied during a TV interview after a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, when he called him “Insomnia!” N’Zogbia gladly moved on with Ryan Taylor moving in part-exchange to Tyneside.

On the morning of 7th February, Kinnear’s reign at Newcastle would end. He was taken ill on the eve of Newcastle’s trip to relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion. He would require a triple heart bypass and would have to stand down. So once again, Chris Hughton took over in a caretaker capacity with former Tottenham defender Colin Calderwood arriving on the staff to help the Irishman out.

Newcastle rallied on the day at The Hawthorns, winning a see-saw contest 3-2 to keep the Baggies bottom of the table. However, it would be the only victory Hughton and Calderwood managed as a managerial combination.

The next home game against Everton saw Nolan sent off for a horrendous tackle on Victor Anichebe. There was no malice in the challenge but it was terribly mistimed and it would leave the Nigerian sidelined for months with bad knee ligament damage. That match finished goalless. A month later, Arsenal’s 3-1 victory on Tyneside saw Newcastle drop back into the bottom three. It called for desperate measures from an under-pressure Ashley who reached out for the Toon Army’s greatest-ever goalscorer.

No miracle with Shearer in-charge

With eight games left, Alan Shearer was persuaded to vacate his regular role as a BBC pundit to help out his boyhood club. The mission was to try and keep Newcastle in the Premier League. He brought in former Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic boss Iain Dowie as his assistant manager. However, the Shearer effect would have no change on Newcastle’s fortunes.

He managed just one victory which was a 3-1 home success over Middlesbrough and that did briefly lift the Magpies out of the relegation zone on goal difference. However, on the penultimate weekend of the campaign, they slipped back into the bottom three after a home defeat to Fulham whilst Hull City claimed a priceless point away at Bolton.

On the final day, Newcastle needed to better Hull’s result. The Magpies travelled to Villa Park, hoping Hull would slip up against Manchester United. They received a helping hand from Sir Alex Ferguson’s side as they defeated the Tigers 1-0. However, Damien Duff deflected Gareth Barry’s wayward shot into his own net approximately 10 minutes before half-time to give Aston Villa a 1-0 lead. Youngster David Edgar was sent off in the closing stages and Newcastle never looked like equalising. On the final whistle, their players sank to their knees while Shearer looked motionless on the touchline. As Martin Tyler said when Newcastle’s relegation was confirmed: “From undermining Kevin Keegan to overtaxing Alan Shearer, it has been disastrous.”

In the days afterwards, Mike Ashley tried to sell the club for a second time but couldn’t find a buyer. Shearer’s contract as manager wasn’t renewed and Chris Hughton succeeded him as permanent boss and big-money players like Geremi, Owen and Duff all left in the summer.

It was a season of strife, frustration and desolation for Newcastle United supporters – one remembered for all the wrong reasons.

FINAL 2008-2009 TABLE – THE BOTTOM SIX

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 10 11 17 40 60 -20 41
16 Sunderland 38 9 9 20 34 54 -20 36
17 Hull City 38 8 11 19 39 64 -25 35
18 NEWCASTLE UNITED 38 7 13 18 40 59 -19 34
19 Middlesbrough 38 7 11 20 28 57 -29 32
20 West Bromwich Albion 38 8 8 22 36 67 -31 32

The Clubs: Crystal Palace

All statistics correct upto 9th January 2019

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
368 103 93 175 393 537 -144 402 10

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Joel Ward 162
Jason Puncheon 153
Wilfried Zaha 147
James McArthur 143
Damien Delaney 130
Scott Dann 123
Wayne Hennessey 105
Yohan Cabaye 96
Andros Townsend 93
Martin Kelly 92

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Wilfried Zaha 25
Chris Armstrong 23
Andy Johnson 21
Christian Benteke 18
Luka Milivojevic 18
James McArthur 16
Dwight Gayle 15
Jason Puncheon 15
Scott Dann 12
Yannick Bolasie 9

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City 28th April 2018 2017-2018
Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle United 28th November 2015 2015-2016
Crystal Palace 4-0 Hull City 14th May 2017 2016-2017
Crystal Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough 12th April 1993 1992-1993
Coventry City 1-4 Crystal Palace 2nd November 1994 1994-1995
Sunderland 1-4 Crystal Palace 11th April 2015 2014-2015
Crystal Palace 4-1 Stoke City 18th September 2016 2016-2017
Crystal Palace 3-0 Ipswich Town 5th November 1994 1994-1995
Crystal Palace 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur 22nd January 2005 2004-2005
Cardiff City 0-3 Crystal Palace 5th April 2014 2013-2014

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Crystal Palace 1-6 Liverpool FC 20th August 1994 1994-1995
Liverpool FC 5-0 Crystal Palace 28th November 1992 1992-1993
Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace 6th May 2017 2016-2017
Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace 23rd September 2017 2017-2018
Chelsea 6-2 Crystal Palace 11th March 1998 1997-1998
Arsenal 5-1 Crystal Palace 14th February 2005 2004-2005
Wimbledon 4-0 Crystal Palace 9th April 1993 1992-1993
Everton 4-0 Crystal Palace 10th April 2005 2004-2005
Manchester City 4-0 Crystal Palace 16th January 2016 2015-2016
Crystal Palace 0-4 Sunderland 4th February 2017 2016-2017

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Steve Coppell 1 17th May 1993
Alan Smith 1 15th May 1995
Steve Coppell 1 13th March 1998
Iain Dowie 1 22nd May 2006
Ian Holloway 1 23rd October 2013
Tony Pulis 1 14th August 2014
Neil Warnock 1 27th December 2014
Alan Pardew 3 22nd December 2016
Sam Allardyce 1 23rd May 2017
Frank de Boer 1 11th September 2017
Roy Hodgson 2  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United 21st April 1993 30,115 1992-1993
Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur 23rd January 2016 28,467 2015-2016
Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal 6th November 2004 26,193 2004-2005
Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea 13th September 1997 26,186 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 0-0 Arsenal 18th October 1997 26,180 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 0-3 Manchester United 27th April 1998 26,180 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur 28th March 1998 26,116 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 1-2 Newcastle United 29th November 1997 26,085 1997-1998
Crystal Palace 2-2 Southampton 7th May 2005 26,066 2004-2005
Crystal Palace 1-0 Liverpool FC 23rd April 2005 26,043 2004-2005

 

Intro

Crystal Palace’s first four Premier League campaigns ended with the same outcome in all of them – relegation from the top-flight. The Eagles have become a sterner and secure outfit since their latest promotion in 2013, although they are often a feature in the survival battle in most seasons. Their best campaign was a 10th place finish under Alan Pardew’s stewardship in 2014-2015 although Roy Hodgson’s achievement to keep them up last season from a position of no goals and no points after seven matches has to be considered extremely highly.

 

1992-1993

Founder members of the Premier League, Crystal Palace struggled to score goals throughout the season after selling Mark Bright in August to Sheffield Wednesday. Palace made a desperate start, winning just once (2-0 away at Everton) in their first 17 matches. However, a run of seven wins in their next 11 games took them closer to mid-table. However, although there were impressive home victories over relegation rivals Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town, the Eagles were relegated on the final day after a 3-0 defeat at Highbury against Arsenal, whilst Oldham beat Southampton 4-3. Steve Coppell resigned after relegation and was replaced by his assistant, Alan Smith.

 

1994-1995

After winning the First Division, Crystal Palace made an immediate return to the top-flight but made a nightmare start, as they were thrashed 6-1 at home by Liverpool FC on the opening day. Alan Smith signed Ray Wilkins to add experience to his midfield but he played just once for the club and left in November to take a managerial role at former club Queens Park Rangers. The Eagles made the semi-finals of both domestic cup competitions but scored just 34 times in 42 league matches which was the lowest tally in the Premier League. Despite the best efforts of Chris Armstrong, Chris Coleman and Gareth Southgate, Palace were relegated on the final day again – this time after failing to beat Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

 

1997-1998

Hopes were high for Crystal Palace’s third Premier League season after the exciting acquisition in pre-season of Italian Attilio Lombardo from Juventus. Lombardo’s experience saw the club become one of the best away sides in the division, spearheading them to outstanding victories away at Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham Hotspur. In late November, they were 10th in the table. However, they didn’t win any of their next 16 matches and slipped back into relegation trouble. Not helped by constant rumours of a takeover by computer tycoon Mark Goldberg and a desperate home record with just two victories all term at Selhurst Park, the club were relegated again from the top-flight on 27th April after a 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United.

 

2004-2005

It was more final day heartache for the Eagles supporters in 2004-2005 as a 2-2 draw away at Charlton Athletic wasn’t enough to keep them in the top-flight because of West Brom’s home victory over Portsmouth. Iain Dowie’s side won just seven league games but did record notable home victories over Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur, whilst Andy Johnson scored 21 goals as he finished runner-up to Thierry Henry in the race for the Golden Boot.

 

2013-2014

After an eight-year absence, Crystal Palace returned to the Premier League but made a terrible start, losing seven of their first eight matches. Following a 4-1 home loss by Fulham in October, Ian Holloway resigned and was replaced by Tony Pulis. Pulis immediately made the team harder to beat and the Eagles climbed away comfortably from danger to avoid relegation for the first time in their Premier League history. This included a five-match winning run in April as they finished a brilliant 11th.

 

2014-2015

Pre-season plans were thrown in total disarray when after disagreements over the direction of the club with owner Steve Parish, Tony Pulis abruptly resigned just two days before the campaign was due to start. Neil Warnock returned to the club as his successor but just three wins from 18 matches saw the Eagles in the bottom three at Christmas. After a 3-1 defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day, Warnock was the first managerial casualty of the campaign. Parish then pursued and successfully tempted Alan Pardew away from Newcastle United to return to his former club. Pardew galvanised the Eagles to a 10th place finish as they ended as one of the form teams in the second half of the campaign which included a 2-1 home win over champions Manchester City in April.

 

2015-2016

The excellent end to 2014-2015 continued in the first half of the 2015-2016 campaign. The likes of Yohan Cabaye arrived and Wilfried Zaha by now had returned on a permanent basis to his first club. Palace were sixth on New Years’ Day and only a few points off the top four positions. They also became only the second club to defeat Jose Mourinho at home in the Premier League when the Eagles won 2-1 early season at Stamford Bridge. However, a 3-0 reverse to the faltering champions in January started a nightmare run of form that dragged them into relegation danger.

Late season victories over Norwich City and Stoke City kept them safe but a 15th place finish was a major disappointment for everyone connected with the club. The saving grace was a run to the FA Cup final but despite taking the lead against Manchester United, they lost the showpiece event 2-1 after extra time.

 

2016-2017

Alan Pardew was a man under pressure going into 2016-2017 and despite breaking the club’s transfer record to sign Christian Benteke from Liverpool FC, he couldn’t revitalise the Eagles. Just four wins from 17 games and he was sacked just before Christmas and replaced by Sam Allardyce, who was available after his short reign as England boss. Allardyce did the job required, got Benteke scoring, tightened the backline up and wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool FC in the last couple of months kept them once again in the Premier League. They finished 14th but Allardyce quit at the end of the season.

 

2017-2018

It was Frank de Boer who succeeded Allardyce but a lack of summer investment and no wins from their opening four matches saw him sacked in mid-September after just 10 weeks in the post. Roy Hodgson returned to his boyhood club but started with three successive defeats. After seven games, the club had no goals, no wins and no points but a 2-1 victory over champions Chelsea was the galvanising lift everyone needed. Crystal Palace remained in relegation trouble for much of the season but always looked like they would have enough in the playing squad, helped by Zaha’s best-ever season in the Premier League and 10 goals from midfielder Luka Milivojevic. In the end, they finished 11th and a 5-0 win at home to Leicester City at the end of April became the club’s biggest-ever Premier League victory.

 

2018-2019

Crystal Palace’s 113th season of existence began with an opening day 2-0 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage. Hodgson’s side struggled to sustain any consistency in the first four months of the season but they are going in the right direction after wins in December over Burnley, Leicester City and more recently, a surprising and deserving 3-2 victory away at champions Manchester City, helped by a Goal of the Season contender from Andros Townsend.

Premier League Files: Georgi Kinkladze

Premier League Career: Manchester City (1995-1996), Derby County (1999-2002)

With plenty of dribbling ability and the quality to hurt opposition defences, Georgi Kinkladze was often the shining light in some grim days at Maine Road with Manchester City. The diminutive Georgian might have not been able to save the Citizens from Premier League relegation in 1996 but he did his best to do it virtually single-handily. His solo effort against Southampton is still widely remembered as one of the best goals of the 1995-1996 season.

Born in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, Kinkladze won three league titles with the main powerhouse in Georgian football, Dinamo Tbilisi. He was named national player of the year twice and gained some prominence within the minds of UK supporters with his dazzling displays in European Championship qualification matches against Wales.

In July 1995, Manchester City beat off stiff competition from several European clubs to acquire Kinkladze’s signature. The £2 million fee would mean he would become the first Georgian to play in the Premier League and despite some initial problems with trying to earn a work permit, Kinkladze would get his documents ready in-time to be in the starting XI for Manchester City’s opening game of the 1995-1996 season – a 1-1 draw at home with Tottenham Hotspur.

City made a wretched start to the season under new manager Alan Ball. They didn’t win a league match until defeating Bolton Wanderers in early November. Nevertheless, Kinkladze was the shining light and already very popular with the long-suffering supporters. In November 1995, he scored his first Premier League goal in a 1-0 victory over high-flying Aston Villa that briefly took Ball’s side out of the bottom three.

Initially, he struggled to settle due to the language limitations and bitter winter climate but his mother moved to Manchester just before the festive period and if anything, this home comfort made Kinkladze an even better player. In March 1996, he produced his best moment of the campaign against relegation rivals Southampton. He beat five Southampton players on a mazy solo run and clipped the ball over the experienced Dave Beasant with calmness personified. City won the game 2-1 and Kinkladze’s goal was voted Goal of the Month by BBC Match of the Day viewers.

He was named Player of the Year by his fellow teammates and supporters of the club but one high-quality player can’t always save a faltering team. On the final day of the season, Manchester City were relegated to the First Division. Despite interest from the likes of Celtic and Inter Milan, Kinkladze elected to stay at Maine Road and try to help City back to the top-flight at the first attempt.

It didn’t happen and the club went backwards. He continued to shine in the First Division but Manchester City were slipping towards the third-tier of English football and were relegated in 1998. Joe Royle saw him as a luxury player and often left him out in the 1997-1998 relegation run-in, thinking his skills were too much of a hindrance in a struggling side rather than a help.

Kinkladze joined Ajax in the summer of 1998 for £5 million but played in an unfamiliar wide position after Jari Litmanen’s planned transfer to Barcelona collapsed. He never settled in the Netherlands, playing just 12 times and felt frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities. He returned to English shores and joined Derby County on-loan initially in November 1999 making his Premier League return as a late substitute in a defeat at Highbury.

He made 14 appearances in the loan spell with the Rams and did enough to make the move into a permanent switch with Derby paying Ajax £3 million which was a transfer record for the club that stood for the next seven years. A hernia operation kept Kinkladze on the sidelines at the start of the 2000-2001 season and further injury setbacks meant he couldn’t nail down a regular place in Derby’s line-up. He wasn’t as influential in the Midlands as he had been at Manchester City. Some managers seemed to appreciate his flair like John Gregory and Jim Smith. Others like Colin Todd were not interested in this and made that abundantly clear by often not selecting him due to his lack of work ethic. In 2002, Derby were relegated from the Premier League – a third relegation on Kinkladze’s English CV.

Although he liked him, Gregory had to slash the wage bill following Derby’s drop into the Football League and had to tell Kinkladze he had to leave for the good of the club. Settled in the region, Georgi didn’t want to go and even turned down a potential move to Turkish champions Galatasaray. He stayed with the Rams until his contract expired in the summer of 2003.

An 18-month spell without a club followed. Trial periods with the likes of Portsmouth, Leeds United and Panathinaikos led to no permanent contract offer and his career in England was most definitely over. He did win the Cypriot championship in 2005 when he returned to club football with Anorthosis Famagusta before ending his career at Rubin Kazan. Retiring in 2007, he later worked as a sports agent and spent a year back at Anorthosis as Sporting Director before leaving in June 2012.

He might have been a weak tackler and a lack of defensive contribution meant he was not always a manager’s favourite. However, Georgi Kinkladze was a playmaker artist and is still fondly remembered as a bright light in very difficult times at Manchester City.

Iconic Moments: Saints survive at Swansea’s expense (May 2018)

Going into the final week of the 2017-2018 Premier League season, the relegation battle was starting to take shape. The first team to be consigned to the drop were Stoke City, whose 10-year tenure in the top-flight ended after a 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The big game was at The Liberty Stadium in the last midweek of the campaign as Swansea City hosted Southampton. A win was imperative for Southampton who had the daunting task of facing champions Manchester City on the final day of the season. As expected, it was a tight and tense contest with few goalscoring opportunities.

The matchwinning moment came in the 73rd minute. Charlie Austin was denied from a corner by Lukasz Fabianski but the ball fell perfectly to substitute Manolo Gabbiadini. The Italian made no mistake to send the away supporters into delirium. Southampton held on for a priceless victory.

A +10 goal difference advantage over Swansea effectively ensured their safety at the expense of the Welsh club, whilst this result ended West Bromwich Albion’s Premier League stint as they were relegated. Mark Hughes, who took over as Saints boss in mid-March, would have been hoping for a slightly easier campaign in his first full season on the south coast but already, it looks like the Saints could be set for another relegation battle this season.