It’s about that time of the year where you can make safe assumptions about the majority of the clubs in the Premiership. For an average fan, this is the time of the year where you can just feel the tension and the cruel realization that slowly creeps up on you while downing the last pint after the game; another year down the drain. Since the 1999 and the United’s magnificent season, there were only a handful of contenders for the title and there were always the talks of the big four; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man. United, and in recent years, Man. City and Tottenham (all due respect to the Leicester fluke season). And apart from Liverpool, they’ve either won the title or ended up in the Euro spots of the table. But what about the giants of the UK football with a massive following and a proud history? We are talking about clubs like West Ham, Newcastle, Leeds, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Everton, etc. These clubs used to be in talks with aforementioned big four, but not in the recent decades. So what happened?
Fallen giants who still struggle
Leeds United is a great place to start the conversation. At the turn of the century, Leeds was looking mighty strong and they were considered as constant title contenders. 3 titles and 5 runner-up spots since the 1968-69 season and a stellar Champions League performance in 2000-01 created an aura of success. But it only took 2 seasons for them to get removed from the story completely. In 2002, they’ve dropped from finishing 5th to 15th place in 2003, and by 2007, they dropped all the way down to League 1. Financial woes were the main culprit for this legend’s descent and we are still waiting for them to find their footing. The days of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka are long gone and for the 25,s000 loyal fans attending games this year, the season looks like a bust again as Leeds are getting further and further away from the Premier League playoff spots.
Blackburn Rovers may not be as big of a giant as the rest of the mentioned clubs, but then again, they managed to do what clubs like Liverpool, Tottenham, and Everton couldn’t, and that’s to win the Premier League. If it weren’t for the Rovers, Man. United would have been holding the record for the most consecutive titles in the modern day Premier league. But in 1994-95 season, Rovers stopped one of the most dominant team in the history of UK football and took the title with a single point advantage. And it wasn’t a fluke because they almost did it the next year as well. Nowadays, the Rovers are struggling and the days of playing at a top level are almost forgotten on Ewood Park. If they manage to get back to the Championship this year, it will definitely be a success for them. A club that made the history in the 90’s has fallen far from grace and they are almost forgotten in the conversations about the football giants in the UK.
Aston Villa, for the younger generations, perhaps does not seem like a giant of the UK football. But for those remembering the 70’s and the 80’s, Villa is certainly a name that rings many bells. At the turn of this century, (has to be mentioned that the club history goes all the way to the 19th), Villa was ranked between 5th and 10th place most of the time, always on the cusp of cracking the top 5. They also played very well on the international scene and managed to win titles there. But the legend of this club is slowly dwindling down and the last year’s relegation to the Championship has been sort of a reality check. And thus far, this season is not promising much to the fans and they could be looking at another year away from the Premiership.
It seems that for these fallen giants of UK football and legends of European football history, the times ahead are still filled with uncertainty. Leicester proved that miracles are possible, but true giants should not rely upon that promise.