Southampton, West Ham and Everton: Raising the bar for mid table clubs in the Premier League.
Over the course of the last few seasons, the hierarchy in the Premier League seems to be changing hands faster than ever. The “Big Four” of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal has been breached by the likes of Manchester City, Leicester and Tottenham Hotspur in recent times. However, there is another segment that has shown increased competitiveness and that is the mid-table clubs.
Often considered cannon fodder for the top teams in the past, these teams, led by the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Everton are now a force that every top team respects.
Performance against Top Teams
While the mid-table teams are often considered as light weights in every league, beating them has become the key to success in the Premier League courtesy of the mentioned clubs. They are a solid unit at home and have increasingly shown an ability to spring a surprise away from home, making top teams vary of them. Last year’s final league positions saw both West Ham and Southampton finish above the likes of heavyweights such as Liverpool and Chelsea, which is an indication of their improved importance in the league.
During last season, the top 5 teams were only able to garner 34 points out of a possible 60 points against West Ham and Southampton, thus adding to the credentials of the Hammers and the Saints. The management of the mentioned clubs is already working overtime to ensure that they carry forward the good work of the previous season into the upcoming one.
Scouting and Transfers
The richest football league has been notoriously famous for its spending power, often driving teams to shell out exorbitant amounts of money for players. Driven by massive broadcasting deals as well billions pouring in via investors worldwide, the cumulative spending of the clubs in the last transfer window crossed a whopping £850 billion. However, the mentioned clubs have been making waves in the transfer market by plucking out gems cheaper than colleagues in recent times.
The signings of Morgan Schneirderlin, Dimitri Payet, Cedric Soares, John Stones and Demba Ba to name a few, is a testament to their scouting network as well as negotiation abilities. While they have been hailed for signing good players for nominal fees, they are not afraid to spend big in order to address their areas of concern.
Multi Million Pound Deals
Their performance on the field has ensured that these clubs are now beginning to attract a lot of commercial interest, an area which can bring much-needed stability to the financial structure at the clubs. Southampton and West Ham have been involved in multi-million kit and sponsorship deals with the likes of Under Armour, Veho and Betway in recent times apart from numerous other deals that will help the sides achieve financial stability.
Everton, West Ham as well as Southampton featured amongst the top 30 clubs in the world in terms of revenue earned through matchday earnings, commercial deals and broadcast revenue, which is a positive indication of these clubs as commercial entities. Given the amount of investment in English football over the last two decades, these clubs provide great value creation opportunities for investors with their abilities on the field well complemented by the off-field ones.
Often the first word that comes to one’s mind when the word Southampton is mentioned is Academy. The club’s academy has produced some renowned talent in the form of Alan Shearer, Gareth Bale, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and continues to do so till date. The major concern of the club should be holding on to their players as we have seen a number of top players leave the club for greener shores.
Everton and West Ham too have had their fair share of successful graduates over the years with Leon Osman, Ross Barkley, Tyias Browning, Mark Noble, James Tomkins and Reece Oxford becoming a critical part of their respective team’s tactics.
The English mid-table was perceived as mediocre in the past, with numerous teams more than happy to restrict their losses rather than improve their profits. However, the emergence of West Ham, Southampton and Everton over the last few years has breathed some much needed fresh air into the league. Should they continue with their ascension, the overall competitiveness of the league is set to further improve, adding to its credibility as the best league in the world.