Suddenly the whole world’s obsessed with cricket. One admittedly decent game at Lord’s and the fickle sporting public are strapping on pads and turning their arms over like it’s 1880 and your mum’s making cakes for WG Grace, long before life got complicated.
Well no, sorry, because we the football loving people of London will not allow such soppiness to take hold until we’ve revealed the winners of the very first Londonist Football League.
We sense jaws are not hitting the floor at this revelation.
It’s a little hypocritical of Arsenal fans to bemoan the Blues’ interminable grind towards the title with cries of ‘boring boring Chelsea’ given the Gunners’ history, but to be fair most of their fans wouldn’t know George Graham from George Costanza. At any rate it’s Chelsea sitting proudly atop our table with the red half of north London trailing them by 0.32 points per game.
Londonist Football League Table
|Team||Games played||Goal difference||Points||Points per game|
|Dag & Red||46||-1||59||1.28|
The surprise package of the season has been Brentford, who found the Championship a lot easier than the majority of their London rivals. We have no hesitation in naming Mark Warburton our LFL Manager of the Year. That would be the Mark Warburton who has just left Brentford because he’s rather be a football manager than a mathematician. Still, it’ll be one of football’s more interesting experiments next season, if your definition of interesting includes words like what, the and fuck.
Completing the European places as they frequently do in mildly disappointing fashion are Tottenham, who reacted to their glorious win over Arsenal in early February by sitting back and assuming things would take care of themselves from that point on. No. They’ve qualified for the Europa League, at least. Great. Forty-five games in that bag o’ shite never wrecks a club’s season.
Talking of Europe, London’s comedy outfit of the moment are West Ham, who have ditched a perfectly capable if slightly walrussy manager in Sam Allardyce and have been rewarded with a season that starts about six days after the cup final. We don’t know about you, but we’d happily forego a fortnight in Funafuti for the chance to play Kairat, winners of the Kazakhstan Cup, in early July.
With Chelsea having ground our interest in the top of the table to dust from about week three, it’s at the bottom we’ve had most of our fun. Stop that. QPR were brutally Harry’d back in February and never recovered, though it’s heartening that they’ve given Chris Ramsey a chance to prove himself properly in the second tier next season. And at least in the face of adversity the true spirit of football lives on.
Millwall also dropped out of their league, not least due to the underhand tactics of the dastardly Rotherham, enemies of us all. Still, the Lions can rest assured they won’t be dropping out of ours, because although the mighty Barnet are back in the top four divisions not even the chortlesome Ian Holloway could propel Millwall down three leagues in one season.
Spare a thought for Leyton Orient. With 49 points at more than a point a game, on paper they’ve done enough for a reasonably safe season but the competitiveness of the English third division has seen the Os kicked down a level. Fulham, with a significantly worse goal difference and just 0.06 points per game more, finished in 17th in the Championship, 11 points above the drop. Orient came 23rd, somehow, and will be greeted in their new surroundings by Dagenham & Redbridge and AFC Wimbledon.
We have to say we’ve enjoyed the battle between these two this season, though there’s no doubt who won it. Bragging rights to Victoria Road for the summer, as though Wimbledon won the first bout 1-0 back in November, a 4-0 spanking at the hands of the Daggers meant the Dons were eclipsed by one point and one position in League Two. The pair are kept apart in the LFL table by Crystal Palace, about whom very little can be said other than they’ve had a far better season than they would have if Colin had stayed in charge. And if that makes no sense to you, work on your anagrams.
And what of the disciplinary table? Ooh it's been a naughty season all right.
LFL disciplinary table
|Team||Yellow cards||Yellows per game||Red cards||Discipline points per game|
|Dag & Red||35||0.76||2||1.65|
Bad, bad Arsenal. If you’re reading this after the Gunners’ attempt to defend the FA Cup, let it be noted that we predicted that 10th-minute red card for Wojciech Szczęsny. All the more surprising since he was only on the bench, but that just goes to show how angry and kicky our winners of the LFL Bad Boys’ trophy are. (It’s two points for a yellow and three for a red. We can’t remember why. It’s been a long season.)
At the other end, Charlton. In their own way Charlton have been as boring as Chelsea this season, offering little threat to either the main LFL table or their opponents’ limbs and faces. The best they could muster was a red card for Chris Solly for deliberate handball, which was harsh as hell. Millwall – proudly second in our disciplinary table – were so offended by Charlton’s softness they duly missed the subsequent penalty in disgust.
So what have we learned? We’ve learned that we hate paragraphs that start with the words ‘So what have we learned’, certainly, given that we’ve learned bugger all from this season’s LFL. Chelsea are the unstoppable force of London football, but we knew that already. Arsenal are forever the bridesmaids, but we knew that too. Brentford are still shit in the play-offs; no surprises there. Millwall are hard as nails. Blank expressions all round.
And so with an accepting nod that not everything in life can be as exciting as seeing a parkour neophyte fall off a six-foot wall, we bring to a close the inaugural, and possibly only - depending on Facebook likes – Londonist Football League. Yeah, Facebook likes. Perhaps things were better in 1880 after all.
[EDIT: Right, so the disciplinary table is wrong (it was right in about February, probably). London's filthiest team were actually Spurs, and the city's golden boys were of course West Ham, which makes sense. Please take the above as the disciplinary table as we wish it to be. And it's our league, so if you don't like it...make your own.]