Does This Title Race Feel Different to Previous Ones?

Does This Title Race Feel Different to Previous Ones?
February 21, 2019 Chris Rowland
In Old Boys' Pen, Subscribers Only

We got to wondering how the current title race compares to previous ones. Any similarities, or totally different? There’s not much point recalling the Premier League title races of 2001/2, 2008/9 and 2013/14, as most of us are already familiar with them, so we’re delving further back to the days in which we habitually won the league! We asked those who know – the revered knowledge and experience bank that is TTT’s very own Old Boys Pen – and this is what they had to say:

Chris Rowland:

I saw Liverpool win 11 titles between 1972/3 and the last one in 1989/90. There’s one big difference between now and then – for all of those 11, Liverpool were expected to win it at the start of the season. We were also expected to win the seven that we didn’t win in that period, when Derby, Leeds, Forest, Villa, Arsenal (with almost the last kick, at Anfield, but Hillsborough was overshadowing that) and Everton (twice in the 80s) won. We were runners up in every one of those except Villa in 1981, when we finished 5th (behind Villa, Ipswich, Arsenal and WBA – how things have changed!).

At the start of every season, Liverpool were the team to beat, every newspaper, every fan, knew it. Finish ahead of Liverpool and you’ll probably be champions – a position which City now seem to occupy. To be champions again we now have to become one of those six imposters. That’s a substantial shift in perception. Despite the best start in our history, there’s still a pervasive sense portrayed within the football society that we’re outsiders, interlopers, caught inside the perimeter fence where we shouldn’t be and about to be found by the searchlight from the Etihad.  Yet we absolutely should be where we are, top of the table. We’re there on merit.

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