The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Catching Up with the Barclays Premier League

Altoids Curiously Strong Tangerine SoursI missed a lot of Barclays Premier League action during The Run of Play’s holiday hiatus. I was too busy eating Altoids™-brand Curiously Strong Tangerine Sours and sharing the joy of the season with crushed-looking people in airports to keep up with the rapid pace of events.

After making it back home late last night, though, I’ve finally had a chance to acquaint myself with everything I’d missed while I was away. And because it occurs to me that some of you might be in a similar predicament, I made some notes, with a pen, in a notebook, and thought I might transcribe them here for you. If you’ve been busy playing with the Lexus with the giant bow on top that I hope someone gave you for Christmas right before a strong man punched you as hard as he could in the stomach, here’s the update you need in order to pick up where you left off with what Wikipedia pointedly does not call the most profitable and competitive first-tier league in the world.


  • Despite playing only three league matches apiece, Arsenal and Manchester United switched places at the top of the Premier League table more than 64,000 times.
  • The FA Cup fully justified Wikipedia’s venturesome claim that the Coca-Cola League One is “the most profitable and competitive third-tier league in the world.”
  • David Beckham’s all-coal diet finally paid off.
  • Fabio Capello gamely surrendered himself to a life of brooding solemnly in the stands during club matches and being paid huge amounts of money to do so. I sometimes think the position of England manager was created as part of a philosophical experiment to define “the opposite of a fan.”
  • Andriy Shevchenko is good again? Did I get that right? Can someone please let me know?
  • Dimitar Berbatov scored four goals in Tottenham’s win over Reading, then immediately declared that he was tired of people talking so much about whether he wanted to leave Spurs, that he really didn’t understand why some people were so obsessed with the question of whether he wanted to leave Spurs, and that he couldn’t imagine where anyone had gotten the idea that the thought of leaving Spurs might possibly have crossed his mind.
  • Alex Ferguson criticized the Man Utd crowd for being timid and docile. The Man Utd crowd responded that they weren’t timid and docile, they were simply frightened of Man Utd security personnel, and eager to do as they were told.
  • Roy Hodgson took over at Fulham, insisting to the press that he had “nothing to prove” as a manager. Which is true enough, as a 27% win record with Finland just about speaks for itself.
  • Sam Allardyce became as sacked as it is possible to become while technically not being sacked.

Am I missing anything? As always, feel free to help bring me up to scratch by recording your thoughts in the comments.

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Catching Up with the Barclays Premier League

by Brian Phillips · January 7, 2008

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