mcgillianaire: (Football player)
It's been a wee while since I made an entry about O Joga Bonito, but this season's English Premier League has earned it. I can't remember the last time when we were so far into a season (Gameweek 21 out of 38) and a team like Leicester City were still contending for the title. However unlikely it may still seem, the neutral in me wants them to go all the way. It would certainly surpass any achievement since the Premier League began (1992/93) and possibly eclipse the achievements of both Leeds United in 1991/92 and Aston Villa in 1980/81, because of their existing pedigree in English football. Of course, Blackburn Rovers won the title in 1994/95 under Dalglish, but they also had pedigree and their triumph was aided in no small part by owner Jack Walker's millions - the prescient precursor to the business model's successful replication by Chelsea and then Manchester City. No, we'd have to go back to Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest - a fellow Midlands club - in 1977/78 to find the most recent equivalent accomplishment. Back then, The Reds won the league title immediately following promotion from the old Division Two - an extremely rare achievement in itself - and they remain the only club in Europe to have won more European Cups than league titles (2-to-1). I suppose even if The Foxes don't conquer the summit of English football, they'd take a place in the top four and entry into next season's Champions League. Even that would be an outstandingly incredible achievement. Goodness knows how excruciatingly frustrating it's been as a Liverpool fan aiming to achieve just that in the past half a dozen seasons. As another famous Scot might muse: Football, bloody hell!1

1 Bill Shankly quoted in the subject, Sir Alex Ferguson in the entry.
mcgillianaire: (Football player)
We've done it! The Reds are going back to the Championship after three miserable seasons in English football's Third Division (but now known as League One)! And what better way to exorcise the ghosts of last season's playoff disaster against Yeovil Town than to defeat the same team to secure an automatic promotion. It wasn't completely in their hands however, as they needed Doncaster Rovers to draw or lose to relegation-battlers Cheltenham Town. That result was duly achieved as The Robins avoided relegation by defeating The Vikings.

Having starting the season with much promise, it seemed like Colin Calderwood (Forest's manager) had figured out how to ensure the much wanted promotion. But a mid-season slump resulted in Forest slipping down the table and raising concerns about whether it would even qualify for the playoffs. Luckily that didn't happen and the players regrouped before it was too late. Today's victory was their sixth in their last seven matches, enabling the Reds to finish on a high. Hopefully their return to the Championship will bring in some necessary investment to continue the good work and eventually return to the Premier League. It's been nearly a decade since Forest last competed with England's 20 best clubs and it's a decade too long. A few seasons ago Forest made the wrong headlines throughout Europe by becoming the continent's first club to be relegated to their nation's Third Division as a former European Cup winner (1979 & 1980). They are also the only European club (to my knowledge) to have won more European Cups (two) than First Division titles (one in 1978). It's not too late to change.

GO FOREST!!! And congratulations. It's about bloody time...

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mcgillianaire

December 2016

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