Cardiff City – Bullet The Blue Sky

June 24, 2015

“Having tried so hard to reach the Premier League, it must have been a bitter pill to swallow for Cardiff City, as the Bluebirds only managed to stay in the top flight for one brief season before dropping back to the Championship. They had been knocking on the door for so long, being eliminated in the play-offs for three consecutive seasons, before finally securing automatic promotion after comfortably winning the division in 2013. The club had been guided to success in that memorable season by Malky Mackay, but a disappointing start to Cardiff’s first ever Premier League campaign, allied with a breakdown in trust over transfers between the manager and owner, Vincent Tan, resulted in the Scot’s departure in December.” The Swiss Ramble


Celtic – Everything’s Gone Green

June 18, 2015

Scott Brown
“So Celtic duly won their fourth consecutive Scottish League title in May in their first season under young Norwegian manager Ronny Deila, who had replaced the very successful Neil Lennon the previous summer. Despite this fine achievement, there was also disappointment, as the famous Glasgow club failed to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, even though they had two bites at the cherry, having been reprieved after Legia Warsaw fielded an ineligible player, only to crash out against Slovenian champions Maribor. This was in stark contrast to previous great nights in Europe. As recently as November 2012, Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 in front of a packed Celtic Park, as they made their way to the last 16 of the Champions League. Many believed that this would be the platform for greater things, but the club has not progressed since then, as they did not make the best use of the European cash windfall. Instead, they sold three key players at the end of that season (Victor Wanyama, Gary Hooper and Kelvin Wilson) and failed to adequately replace them.” The Swiss Ramble


Watford – Upwards And Onwards

June 11, 2015

“Amidst all the excitement about Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth securing promotion to the Premier League, Watford’s similar feat has been a little overlooked, which is a shame, as the story is just as interesting. The turnaround since the Pozzo family purchased the Hertfordshire club, both on and off the pitch, has been remarkable. Watford narrowly missed out on a Premier League place in the Italians’ first season in 2012/13, when Gianfranco Zola’s team was defeated 1-0 by Crystal Palace in the Championship play-off final with an extra-time penalty. Zola had replaced the popular Sean Dyche and enjoyed immediate success, but struggled the following season, when the club appointed Beppe Sannino. After Watford finished a disappointing 13th, the writing was on the wall for Sannino, who resigned early in the 2014/15 season.” The Swiss Ramble


Fulham – Penthouse And Pavement

June 2, 2015

” For many years Fulham enjoyed a great deal of success. Funded by substantial investment from their then owner Mohamed Al Fayed, the club rose from the third tier of English football to reach the top flight and then became an established Premier League club. They finished as high as 7th one season, followed by a memorable run to the Europa League final, where they were narrowly defeated by Atletico Madrid after extra time. As Al Fayed noted, the breathtaking 4-1 victory over the mighty Juventus en route to that final was ‘probably the greatest game ever seen at Craven Cottage.’” The Swiss Ramble


Queens Park Rangers – Do You Believe In The Westworld?

May 27, 2015

“In August 2011 it looked like a new dawn was breaking at Queens Park Rangers, who had just been promoted to England’s top flight for the first time in 15 years. Moreover the Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes had bought a majority 66% shareholding in the West London club from the previous shareholders, who included the Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and team principal Flavio Briatore. Compared to his flamboyant predecessors, the affable founder of Air Asia seemed far more level-headed and was certainly much more communicative with the fans. Furthermore the remaining 33% of the club was owned by the family of Lakshmi Mittal, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, whose son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, is on the board.” The Swiss Ramble


Middlesbrough – Take Me To The River

May 20, 2015

“Having stormed past Brentford in the Championship play-off semi-finals, Middlesbrough are tantalisingly close to a return to the Premier League. If they manage to overcome Norwich City in the final, they will be back in the top flight after six long years, which would be a fine reward for owner Steve Gibson, who has been supporting the club (in both senses of the word) for so long. Boro spent eleven consecutive seasons in the top division before relegation in 2009, winning the League Cup and reaching the UEFA Cup Final during this period, but promotion has to date proved elusive.” The Swiss Ramble


Crystal Palace – I’ll Fly For You

May 16, 2015

Mile Jedinak 1
“Just five years ago Crystal Palace were in administration and the South London club’s prospects looked bleak before they were rescued by a consortium of wealthy businessmen, known as CPFC 2010 and fronted by Steve Parish. They purchased the club and, importantly, also managed to convince the bank to sell them the freehold of the ground. Since those troubling times, which included a deduction of 10 points, the club has prospered, gaining promotion from the Championship only three years after its rebirth and enjoying two seasons in England’s top flight. The journey has not been completely smooth, as Palace have had to replace their manager three times in the Premier League, though even these changes proved very timely.” The Swiss Ramble


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