Do you ever try to name the Premier League teams that did not play on Saturday ahead of a Sunday fixture – bemusingly billed as “Super Sunday” – and find it difficult to recall them? This article celebrates those teams who could use a little inspiration to take them away from their slumber of mediocrity.
West Bromwich Albion ????
Surely being a yo-yo club in the noughties was more exciting than the drab style of football the Hawthorns’ faithful have become accustomed to in recent years. West Brom’s last major trophy was the FA Cup back in 1968 and since then the club’s only taste of success has been promotion to the Premier League. Many of the “stars” of the team are long-standing servants of the club; the likes of Gareth McAuley, Craig Dawson, James Morrison and Chris Brunt. But they are not world beaters.
“transfer policy reflects their mediocrity”
With an FA Cup semi-final as their last trip to Wembley back in 2008 and a highest league finish of 8th in 2013, fans have not had too much to brag about. Signings in past seasons such as Craig Gardner, Allan Nyom and Gareth Barry confirm the club’s mediocrity. The appointment of Alan Pardew following the sacking of Tony Pulis indicates that the Baggies’ hierarchy want a more attractive style of football. They’ll certainly be guaranteed action on the touchline with Pardew himself known for a scrap and dance. But as he is the clubs tenth manager (including caretakers) since 2011, this suggests the recipe for modern success in the Midlands clearly does not lie in the Western region (just ask any Wolves fan.)
If you want to relive the beuatifully orchestrated touchline dance Pardew gifted us in the F.A. Cup final follow the link. ????
Stoke City ????
The fear factor of a cold, wet Wednesday night in Stoke has subsided in recent years. The Tony Pulis regime (there’s a theme developing here) saw a different style of football to that which is now seen at the Britannia under Mark Hughes, but neither have delivered consistent progress. Three consecutive ninth place finishes from 2014 to 2016 suggests that Hughes has taken the current crop of players as far as he can.
“a host of talent but nothing tangible”
What’s remarkable about Stoke is the calibre of player they repeatedly attract. Ibrahim Afellay, Bojan and Jese Rodriguez have six La Liga titles and five Champions League winners’ medals between them, but have all mysteriously ended up in Staffordshire. Why? Well it must have been the prospect of playing alongside Jonathon Walters. Stoke, very much like West Brom, are struggling to kick on. Neither team has the financial capability to break into the top six, nor are they overly concerned about relegation. Success must come in the form a trophy then, and this has eluded the Potters’ since the League Cup in 1971. Is more success on the horizon? Perhaps not if 36-year-old Peter Crouch is relied on for goals.
West Ham United ????????
What is “The West Ham way?” Without the elegance of Dimitri Payet to set the Olympic Stadium alight, Hammers’ fans have not witnessed the style of football they long for. The Daily Express’ Matt Dunn compared West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium with the 1989 film, Kevin Costner’s field of dreams – they’ve built the perfect setting and now they’re just waiting for the game changing players to come.
“summer investments have flattered to deceive”
Unfortunately for West Ham, their summer investments have flattered to deceive. This is especially true of record signing Marko Arnautovic, whose tendency to drift in and out of games has frustrated fans. The appointment of David Moyes if anything will steer the London outfit back towards mediocrity, rather than languishing closely to the drop zone. He’ll certainly look to galvanise the dressing room, so expect Moyes to dish out a few “slaps” to his new team. The stadium does not have an air of mediocrity but the quality of both players and the performances unfortunately do. Let’s hope Moyes’ West Ham bubble will not pop as quickly as his Manchester United one did.
It’s time for these clubs to break free of the shackles of mediocrity and have a giant push towards a major trophy.