‘All the bad luck of a black cat in a hall of broken mirrors’

Thursday, 23 May 2024 | News, In Focus

Lewis Holmes takes us through last season '....the worst the Premier League has to offer' and he says, 'we’re gonna see more of this....'  
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The downsides of the high life

Despite corners of the internet losing their minds and wailing into the ether, it was never really in any doubt, was it? We had an injury crisis of biblical proportions and all the bad luck of a black cat in a hall of broken mirrors, but so poor were the teams below us that Tommy Frank’s red and white army never once dropped below 16th. We can look forward to another season supping at the top table, and all the downsides that brings. Yes, downsides. I’m normally a positive soul but I fancy a grumble. So, with the carcass of a wretched season barely cold behind us, I’m going to run through the very worst the Premier League has to offer – because you know we’re gonna see more of this.


Goes without saying, this one. A half-arsed system manned by overstretched automatons who can barely do the day job without putting both feet in it. VAR became the story multiple times this past season, and we can expect the spotlight to be further diverted away next year. Also expect to see Howard Webb and his merry men in open conflict with the semi-automated offside technology by Christmas, like Kyle Reese in the Terminator if he was a school prefect instead of a soldier. Hopefully the machines win this one.

A transfer ‘saga’

We all know Ivan Toney is leaving. Everyone from Matthew Benham to the lad pouring my half time Meantime knows it. We’ve made peace with the fact, and most of us are already looking to the future. But will this drag out over most of the summer, with Fabrizio Romano and a legion of ITKs tweeting out every single tedious step? Nailed on. “Man United consider offer of contract talks to progress signing of 28-year-old striker” is the sort of SEO-friendly headline that’s gonna cover the summer like measles on a six-year-old, and what’s even worse is I’ll still click it.

Away fan whack-a-mole

Comes with the territory. Unless you have a foolproof way to smash the ticket touting industry that’s flourished for decades (smarter people have tried and failed), you can expect to see more away fans popping up in the home end. Hey, if you’re lucky the imposter will just sit there sheepishly; worst case scenario you get sat next to a flagrant TikToker, hellbent on filming every dab and floss of the oppositions’ goal celebrations. I advocate non-violent clumsiness to deal with these interlopers – you can’t load a video to the socials if your smartphone has been doused in Bovril.

Awww, Brentford. No wait, piss off Brentford!

For everyone else, the novelty has worn off. Little old Brentford are now in a state of purgatory: fans of some other clubs expect their three points and woe betide the Bees if they mess with that narrative. It’ll either be a grudging pat on the head of the sort of fury normally reserved for mass murderers. There shall be no in between – we’ll be patronised or pilloried, and we’ll bloody well be expected to like it.

Reaction videos

Actually I quite like these, they can stay.

Fixture chaos

Saturday, 3pm! No, Sunday at noon! No actually, Saturday again – but at 5:30 and only if Spurs draw away to Sparta Linguini as the wind blows in gently from the west. Saturday – Tuesday – Saturday please, we all love a bit of routine.

Conspiracy theories

If you listen to the more strident fans, there is a shadowy cabal out there keeping every single Premier League club down because… reasons. So my question to those fans is, if every single club is the victim of some shady footballing New World Order, how in the name of all that’s holy does anybody win anything?

Half and half scarves

You think you’re having a bad day? Pity the poor chucklehead standing on Kew Bridge in the pouring rain, trying to punt 600 ‘commemorative’ Brentford/Ipswich polyester monstrosities. Wait, did I say pity? I mean scold him, scold him till he cries. No one wants them mate. There’s got to be better ways to earn a coin. Bulletproof vest tester, Sainsbury’s sandwich taster or running the Nottingham Forest twitter account all spring to mind.

Being last on Match of the Day

“One last time, Dougal. This fanbase is small, that one is far away. Small… far away…” And with one mangled Father Ted quote, I’ve explained to you how an international broadcaster schedules its Premier League highlights in the 21st century. Oh, and while we’re at it – Gary Lineker has naff all to do with the running order. Don’t you feel better knowing that? You’re welcome.

Lewis Holmes