The top six is just an imaginary concept from an overexcited brain


By Tony Attwood

A couple of us were having a little debate about Mr Wenger’s comment concerning teams that had not won anything for 25 years, and this led us into all sorts of funny areas such as:

When exactly did Liverpool and Tottenham last win anything?


which clubs have been the most successful in the past five years in English football?   It was not meant to prove any particular point, except that sometimes it is easy to get so fixated on the current season, or even the last week, that we forget the broader picture.  And the fact that as one gets older a lot of these silly football statistics that used to come to mind so easily now require a quick look up on Wikipedia.

But I thought I might mention this innocuous little discussion because, well, apart from the fact that Tottenham complete with Harry Kane made themselves look a bit silly in the FA Cup yesterday, as indeed did Arsenal’s second XI in the previous round, and Liverpool have lost their exclamation mark once more, being beaten by WBA at home, there isn’t too much in the way of football news to report.

Thus this is a doodle off two old codgers, not something  that is meant to have huge significance.  But you know when you get older you need something to pass the time in between visits from social services and the district nurse.

Here’s the table of achievements for the “big six” we eventually agreed upon – and we put coming second in as an achievement, because the getting to a final is itself, much of the time, something to celebrate.

Club League titles 2nd FA Cup 2nd League Cup 2nd Europa 2nd 
Man U 2013  2016 2017  2017
Chelsea 2015 2017  2017  2015  2013
Tottenham 2017 2015
Liverpool 2014 2016  2016
Man C 2014 2015 2013  2013 2016 2014
Arsenal 2016 2017 2015 2014

We were pretty certain no English club had won the Champions League of late, or come second, so we left that out.

In terms of winning stuff the table shows us this number of trophies…

  • Chelsea: 4
  • Manchester United: 4
  • Arsenal: 3
  • Manchester City: 3
  • Liverpool: Nothing
  • Tottenham: Nothing

Of course one can argue about the relative merits of winning different things – but this was just a bit of chit chat to while away the hours before either our great civilisation collapses or the next series of Peaky Blinders is released – whichever comes first.

What was interesting was that we were between us able to be pretty accurate with winners, but struggled to remember the runners up.  But we got fairly close in the end, and I think the table is right (ish).

The runners up league is

  • Liverpool: 3
  • Manchester City: 3
  • Tottenham: 2
  • Arsenal: 1
  • Manchester United: Nothing
  • Chelsea: Nothing

Add it all together, just because, well, you can add it all together, and you get the grand total of the number of times a team has won a competition or shown enough gumption to come second in the past five years…

  • Manchester City: 6
  • Arsenal: 4
  • Chelsea: 4
  • Manchester United: 4
  • Liverpool: 3
  • Tottenham: 2


What struck me in all this is that it is quite easy to forget that Liverpool and Tottenham haven’t won anything for the last five years.  Which brought us back to when Liverpool and Tottenham last won a trophy.

Tottenham last won anything in 2008 when they won the League Cup.  The time before that was 1999 when once again they won the League Cup.  (We looked both of them up).

Liverpool last won the League Cup in 2012, and before that, the FA Cup in 2006.  So Liverpool are more successful than Tottenham in having won two trophies from 2006 to 2017 (11 years obviously) while it has taken Tottenham 18 years to win two trophies.

But of course as we know, it is only the Marxists who believe in the inevitability of history, so I am sure hope is still high for both clubs.

My prediction that Tottenham would struggle this season what with playing their home games at Wembley has proven to be false as they have won seven, drawn four and lost just one.  But then I think everyone knows my predictions are not up to much.

But maybe it is interesting (if you have that sort of mind) that there is no such thing as a “top six” when it comes to winning trophies in recent years, there is in fact simply a top four who between them have mopped up 14 trophies in the last four years.

Thus at least for the moment, the notion of a top six is just another imaginary concept from the overexcited brain of a journalist who has nothing else to write about.  Who’d ever have thought it.

Which I suppose is a bit like me.   (No I am not an imaginary concept, but there ain’t much to write about).  There is seemingly no real news on transfers with the window about to be unhinged and boarded up in three or four days (depending on when you are reading this).  Along with a couple of hangers on.  Quite why the press love to talk up Tottenham and Liverpool so much is perhaps best left for another occasion, although it is interesting to note how much they do it.

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23 Replies to “The top six is just an imaginary concept from an overexcited brain”

  1. Interesting.

    I have a question for the ‘Old Codgers’.

    In the years of the two Arsenal long sleeps. (1953 – 1971 1971 – 1989)
    Did the media of the time refer to |Arsenal as:

    A) a big club

    B) an average club

    C) a small club

    D) losers

    Just thought I would ask.

    if my memory is correct we were thought of as a ‘big club’ by the media. Despite the fact that in the years of the long sleep our achievement was to lose four finals

  2. On a quick recount I now make it six losing finals
    Two league cups
    Three FA cups
    One Cup winners cup.

    And the anti Arsenal fans long for the ‘Old days’ No thanks. Not for me.

  3. Dear Colario, same sentiment here. I began to follow Arsenal in 1983, as a result of being introduced by a classmate. Arsenal then was an average club, to what I understood then. The manner in which the Club treated both Paul Merson and Tony Adams deepened my love, and I always told my friends that the letter “L” in our Club name stands for “Loyalty”, a very rare commodity nowadays.

    Hopefully in time to come, we, as a Club, still uphold this belief!

  4. Millionaire ownership/financially strength of the club, age of existence of the club, number of top quality players/star player or players in the team, Stadium capacity/attendance size, number of domestic/external Tiles won, number of years of playing consistently in the Premier League and finishing regularly in the top six and having reputable/high profile management staff managing the club among others of which Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Tottenham Hotspur have in excess to edge out the rest of the other clubs in the Premier League which qualify them to be called the top six Premier League clubs in the modern era in my view. Even., I think Uefa has accorded these six English Premier League club sides the status of being among the 9 super or giant clubs in European football. They are: Man Utd, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, PSG and Tottenham Hotspur.

    Arsenal know what they are doing when they submitted a bid to Dortmund to sign Aubameyang this January window and I respect them for their decision. But whether their bidding for the striker will come to fruition is another matter.

    Notwithstanding, Arsenal are been linked in the media to sign Jonny Evans this window, Evans has the quality required of a top centreback and a long time paying experience in the Premier League which should make him fit easily in into the Arsenal defense-line if he’s signed for the Gunners. But his age is a concern to me as he has clock 30 and could be on his way down in centreback defending in the game supposedly in the next 3 years or less. Therefore, instead of Arsenal to sign him, a thought came on my mind telling me wouldn’t it be better if Arsenal go after the signing of centreback Ahmed Hegazi also of WBA like Evans is this January. Hegazi has the same centreback profile like that of Evans and his just 25 year old.

  5. Let me correct my mistake please in stating that Ahmed Hegazi’s is 25 in my last comment posting instead of 27 year old that he attained this January. If he’s Arsenal quality and they want to sign a centreback this window, I believe Arsenal who have all the informations about Evans and Hegazi will make their choice, right choice out of the two CBs

  6. Two Arsenal games today. The U23s are playing now against Sunderland. There if a live stream via the Sunderland web site (although my browser can’t find the page). Second half just started and we are 2up. Our first an exquisite finish by Emile Smith-Rowe. Do check out the video – easily goal of the month,

    At 14:00 our Women play Reading at Wycombe Wanderers ground in the WSL. I was there last week for the Continental Tyres Cup game which we won. Should be a good game if any of you can get there.

  7. Trophies, to be or not to be, that is the question ?

    All this talk about ‘Trophies’ got me to thinking, in this day and age, what exactly IS a ‘trophy’ and what exactly ISN’T a Trophy ?

    And perhaps more importantly, what designates a ‘MAJOR’ Trophy, and what doesn’t, because it seems to me that that depends largely on who wins it.

    Take the FA Cup for example. Since we started winning it again it’s status as a ‘Major’ Trophy was swiftly lost, and it was downgraded to a ‘Non Trophy’ Trophy, toot sweet.

    So what with the FA Cup falling from it’s lofty perch as a ‘Major’ Trophy, to a ‘Non Trophy’ Trophy , I got to wondering, to what level must the League Cup of fallen?

    I mean, given the possibility we could win the damn thing, I dread to think to what level it could fall?

    Could we see the emergence of the first ever Non ‘Non Trophy’ Trophy ? Who knows ?

    But wait, there could be hope for it yet, because according to BBC Sport, the League cup is, against all the odds, stoically maintaining it’s lofty status as a ‘MAJOR’ Trophy.

    Yep, the BBC may of been amongst those gleefully demoting the FA Cup to it’s ‘Non Trophy’ Trophy Status over recent years, but they seem determined not to allow the same fate to befall the League Cup. Well, NOT YET at least.

    This from there Newport County v Spurs match report:

    “Spurs have not lifted a major trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008.”

    So there you have it. The League Cup is still, a ‘Major’ Trophy. Well at least when Spurs and Liverpool win it, it is.

    But I wonder, will it maintain it’s ‘Major’ Trophy status come February the 25th ?

    I suspect much will depend upon who wins it.

  8. U23s now leading three one. About 15 mins to go. No idea who got the other goals

  9. Tosay that the Club had two ‘long sleeps’ is a bit disingenuous. For a start the the first one (described as 1953-71 includes two Wembley finals at which we came ‘second@ and a European Fairs Cup victory which, in all fairness (no pun intended) was the equivalent then of the Europa League now. Perhaps, given Tony’s generous view on coming second, that sleep is more like 1953-67.
    The second ‘sleep’, defined as 1971-89 includes multiple firsts and seconds. We may have been far more inconsistent than we are now but we were far from out for the count.
    Having supported the Club throughout those periods and never missed a Wembley final I can assure you that it is far easier to optimistic now than it ever was back then.

  10. U23s finished as three one winners at Sunderland.

    Smith-Rowe with a truly wonderful curler into the top right of the goal for the opener. Tyrece John-Jules with a brace one in each half. Embleton with the Sunderland goal.

    A thoroughly deserved win which could easily have been by a bigger margin.

  11. The press being bitches & reporting fake news that Wenger ‘dissed’ Spuds & Liverpool for not winning much in the recent 25 years!!!!

    Wenger is one man who would never discuss the lack of success of his competitors.

    Now Jose would do all that & more. He is the bitch of the football world. He matches the media to a tee. Look ma! I’m taking the glazers to the cleaners. They’ll go bust with the wage bill.

  12. So for all the ins and that out, Liverpool take 0 competitions this season, whilst Chelsea will focus on the FA Cup.

    Ha Ha. They now get extra rest, but we’re done with them.

    Bring on Swansea for a hiding to nothing!

  13. The Ladies game ended scoreless according to the twit thing.

    Better luck next time Ladies!

  14. Gord,

    The Women’s game finished goalless. The Reading keeper player of the match according to their website. Following their tweets we did everything but score. Another disappointing result leaving us 8 points adrift of Chelsea who are in second place.

    We are still not ruthless enough – or our team isn’t as good as we believe.

    Sounds familiar doesn’t it

  15. Sane out, City have lost almost turbo whole left side, plus Delph at makeshift LB. Sterling remains, and the likelihood of further injury just increased. CL just got harder, now Pep finds out another’s new thing about Premier League management, Ok so you can go far in all 4 competitions, but now you have injuries. Deal with it.

    Meanwhile Klopp admits history resignation to the loss of Emre Can on a free to Juventus. So Liverpools midfield is soon Lallana, Wynaldum & Henderson. They will have to replace Fiminio shortly. so they have Mane & Salah. At the back Matip & VVD.

    But that’s six players, you need 25! LoL!

    Top 6, Chelsea & Loverpool can go back where they came from, and Spurs, well, you better not miss top, see you in a week or so! Seriously don’t rush Toby, we don’t want him unavailable for us, come the summer. Unless he fancies Real!

    They can’t afford to lose Kane or Toby. Too players are the difference, without them, the good work of others goes unrewarded.

  16. Jigsol, Jigsol, Jigsol, can they? Really!? Wager, I don’t gamble I just take free money! If you had said with Coutinho, I’d have said, and a miracle. Without, with him at a rival, with Barcelona, purring, City, still skimming water, Bayern rested, and Real chasing 3 in a row defending his and well off the pace in La Liga. United, fully able to simply stump Liverpool with congestion, and Chelsea or Spurs capable of asking questions. Juventus seasoned as a Curry Goat Sunday!

    I’m like hell nah!

  17. Defining a Giant in football! Depends on your focus, or your interpretation, or objectivity, or whether or not Young look at several factors at once.

    You have purchasing power, financially.

    Revenue, the clubs ability to turn over money and make a profit.

    Reputation, the clubs ability to attract the best players.

    Fanbase, the size of a clubs fanbase, both internationally and locally or nationally.

    History, the longevity of the clubs success.

    Man U are the richest and have experienced success in the modern era, due to the reign pf SAF, which has dwindled in the past 5 years but has been offset by the clubs ability to maintain its status, based on its recent history, international fanbase, and turnover with the assistance of an allied media, namely Sky.

    Real Madrid have a renowned history, something based on the draw of the club, the longevity of its purchasing power, players who have played at the club and it’s near unrivalled international fan base. However until very recently, success hasn’t been a hallmark of Madrid even in the Galacticos eras.

    Bayern, if you miss out the stat in the crown of Bavaria, well you’ve not been watching. Success in the CL and unrivalled national success, purchasing power, history, and quite a reputation is not something to baulk at. Bayern are hampered by the lack of competitiveness in the league and Germany as a whole having quite the reputation, not always for the better.

    Juventus, more than twice the league trophies to their nearest rival, inter, dominance of their league, despite being demoted a decade ago. The Old Lady is just that. Under the mountains of Turin, lies a club steeped in history, sporting Galactic Superstars before I told was ever fashionable, where scoring from inside the box makes up anything but a footballer. The decline of the league, the economic status of the country and the less than recent international success have reduced the reputation of one of the biggest clubs in football. Something that they have been vying to address in the last few seasons.

    Barcelona, a name synonymous with success, class, quality and superstars. For me there is but one undisputed heavyweight champion, and they are it. Steeped in history, with enough draw to offset a dwindling, yet still exceptional purchasing power. You don’t manufacture a move to Barcelona, Barcelona come for you, in your dreams, they call you and you weep and beg to go. Pep Giardiola, ensured that the reign continued, 18 trophies in four years. Vini Vidi Vici.

    Many will say, what about Liverpool, a solitary CL, when Milan still made finals of the competition, no when Milan still made the competition. Nothing nationally, not in 45% of the countries lifetime. Liverpools reputation, is a well kept fable, something has to be won soon.

    City and PSG, young pretenders, the fad that may or may not become Apple, but even still, consider Apples share of the market, and you will note android has them cornered, and one device accounts for 60% of sales with a secondary’s illusionary market propping up the company.

    Spurs dream of the big time, and have shown consistency in recent years, but have nothing to show Forbes it, and every opportunity to Ben undone by their own success. A manager much praised, home and abroad and a machine that scores goals, with a defensiveness rock in its bed, 6months to go there and not a word of it in the media. Rome came unstuck in a day and the Berlin Wall fell in far less time than it was built. Every asset here, merely a liability. I do wish our rivals well, the tiny totts may just grow up, but by that time, we will be exploring other galaxies.

    Milan, Dortmund, Inter, Porto, Athleti, Monaco, Chelsea even. All shrubs, growing in the gloom of behemoths, for them to ever flourish, they have to grow beyond the confines of mighty oaks, a scenario as distantly as the moon. Like Napoli, any success, will be sniffed out by the gentle puff of breath from an aged source.

    And then Arsenal, ask someone about Strikers and a name will invariably come up, Thierry Henry. He isn’t thought of as an Aguerro, not even a Raul, Del Piers, Klivurt, Platini, Puskas, Best, not even Nolstelroy or Cantona. Something so enigmatic in his chatachter, it puts a club on the map.

    Ask someone about defensive midfielders and again that club comes up and the name of a man they called Patrick, duels between David and Goliath.

    Ask someone about managers and again a name, almost the same as that club he manages. Reputation, as tarnished as oxidised bronze, but none the less, on everyone she lips.

    Speak of turnover and again, there they are amongst the big hitters and climbing at a an unrivalled rate, powered by its own steam alone, a fanfare footnote to its growing fanbase.

    Successes, yes some, but not what would warrant such praise and a basement, let alone international renown. History, some distant controversy, maybe, defiant for two decades and the New that season invested surrounded by an 11 game period from the season before and after. Not a young pretender, not a behemoth, not a Galactico, nor the heavyweight champion, nor a Old Lady only the true fans of the game would still demarcate a true Giant. No something else, something pure, something to be observed, critiqued and scoffed at, yet looked at once more.

    A club has become a superstar in its own right, a celebrity status thrust upon it, a club selling units for struggling media merchants.

    Purchasing power, nobody quite knows, but surely it’s structure hides an overgrown purchasing arm. An arm others would like to lob off and augment, if only they could catch it over teaching.

    Clearly Arsenal fits in well amongst the Giants an ancient Oak amongst Maples.

    If you ask me, there are Giants ahead of my beloved Arsenal.

    Barcelona at the forefront, desperately revamping the interior, in an attempt to cling to the title. But those himblong demolitions by that others national treasure are not forgotten at home or away.

    Real, recent history, ancient history, Galactiocs am duchess likely another raft of stellar putney of this world purchases await. I a man intrigued to see what De Gea, Hazard and a few more quality purchases can bring to the Spanish Capital. Real will push it to the limit, before a few lean years follow. But like two any two superstar rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid push each other’s to eat destruction and that will never seemingly cease. I feel only the league could support an upstart or two. Valencia are rekindling Ann old flame, the yellow submarine vuing for that other top four spot. While Athletico trundle on, envigorates by that solitary league win; drawing players to them, who just can’t quite make that leap to either Barca or Real, and making a tidy profit on most:

    United desperately trying to buy their way to the top table; but like a dowager, getting taken for many a ride. Another’s triphiless season may, cement that title, the foolish big spender everyone loves to join on a night out or quick date. Meanwhile others get hitched.

    PSG and City have it all, but little history, even the Parisians need time to let that grown, and there are several old handsome who will not give way easily.

    Meanwhile Bayern as ever quoetly accept their hinderances and build once more, balancing all to wffectively, the on and off field needs of a big club. A era ending and another dawn some ways off it seems. But they will take the league, again and again, but so do Olympiacos.

    But longevity is something that supports all of these titles bestowed to a true mammoth, something’s sewn into the fabric of Arsenal.

    If this club turns the corner in the next 12 months as i exoect. And continues to climb then revenue charts, by rapidly expanding its fanbase, and can unprove in a good if not remarkable series of successes. And finally plug those gaps, whether the a tight back, Left back, goalkeeper or defender, striker or wingers.

    If finally all the on field weaknesses can be simultaneously addressed, following on from the massive club gains and against all these odds.

    I surely cannot see it being long before players are considering whether or not to go to Barcelona, Arsenal or Real to fullfillntheir footballing potential.

    And with the strength of the Premier League without doubt, I can only see Arsenal being the dominant force outside of La Liga duopoly.

    Juventus, United, PSG, City can keep on spending and the rest can keep on dreaming, while Bayern continue scheming.

    But football will once again be about the leather sphere and the will to win.

    You become a fanatics young, and if you want to maleness it into a team young, you look at the role models. Iwobi, Wilshere, Fabregas, Nketiah; Niles, and the revolving door of perfect squad balance. Spots will always open up, as long as we stay true to our procipals and policy. We never pay over the odds.

    Aubameyang and Lacazette both strikers, proven. Ozil and Alexis undervalued. Mustarfi a WC winner, Xhaka a unfinished technician.

    Christopher Wolfgang Georg August Schindler I said it before, again now! It’s a Koscielny.

    RB Fabinho is out of Monaco. DM is hard.

  18. I only pointed it out as someone had said that they had no trophies to go for.

    I agree it is not likely, but they did it once before on a wing and a prayer, 3 0 down at half time.

  19. That wasn’t Liverpool, that was #CaptainFantastic We love you Stevie, I’d have wanted to punch him too, #wedontlikeinsecurebitches

    I wish the slip had happened to someone else, but can’t say I want you to win the league ever!

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