Hull City – What’s My Name?

July 22, 2015

Hull City fans
“Hull City started the 2014/15 season with much optimism after the previous year’s exploits, when they had comfortably retained their Premier League status and reached the FA Cup final for the first time in their history, only losing 3-2 to Arsenal after extra time in a thrilling match. It was therefore particularly disappointing the way things turned out, as their Europa League adventure ended almost before it had started and, most painfully, they were relegated on the last day of the season.” The Swiss Ramble


West Bromwich Albion – Like Clockwork

July 17, 2015

“As West Bromwich Albion prepare for their sixth consecutive season in the Premier League, it’s fair to say that they have managed to have rid themselves of the unwanted tag of being a “yo-yo” club that constantly bounces between the Championship and the top flight. However, the fight to retain their Premier League status has not been without problems in the last two years. They narrowly avoided relegation in 2013/14 when they finished in 17th place, while Albion looked in some danger last season before the Tony Pulis effect kicked in with the results under the experienced manager enough to guide the team to mid-table security. Chairman Jeremy Peace said that this was ‘testament to the relentless intensity that (Pulis) brings to the challenge’ and the team’s improvement fully justified his decision to bring in the Welshman in January.” The Swiss Ramble


Lyon – All The Young Punks

July 11, 2015

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“At the beginning of the 2014/15 season very few analysts expected Lyon to be among the front-runners in Ligue 1, given that they had just changed their manager, replacing Rémi Garde with Hubert Fournier, and spent virtually no money. However, their exciting young side led the table for a lengthy period before finishing in a highly creditable second place behind the expensively assembled Paris Saint-Germain, thus qualifying for the Champions League. Expectations were on the low side, as Les Gones had endured much disappointment in the previous two seasons, failing to reach their previous heights by only finishing 3rd and 5th in the league.” The Swiss Ramble


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


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