Thursday, June 30, 2011

BLOG: The Gap

by George Sedgwick of the Philly Gooners 

Since the start of summer, I’ve read quite a few Arsenal blogs and listened to just about every end-of-season podcast.  Having discovered rants, praise, common sense, and everything in between, I thought a brief history lesson might be useful.

For purposes of this simple message, I chose to look at Premier League winners and not the FA cup, Champions League, or anything else.  Also, there were several occasions (1916-1919 and 1940-1946) when no team won because the league was cancelled due to world wars, renaissance fairs, and cookouts.  I have subtracted those years from all gap calculations. 

Please observe.

The league was initially The Football League (1888-1992), then The Football League First Division (1892-1992), and has since been The Premier League. 

Now, some winners and some gaps.

Manchester United
They won the league in 1911, and then not again until 1952.  Gap: 41 years. 
They won in 1956 and 57, but not again until 1965.  Gap: 8 years.
They won in 1967, but not again until 1993.  Gap: 26 years.
Since then, their biggest gap has been 4 years. 

First won in 1901, then again in 1906.  Then they didn’t win until 1922.  Gap: 16 years.
They also won in 1923, but were not champions again until 1947.  Gap: 17 years.
From 1947 they didn’t win again until 1964.  17 years of gap!
They earned tons of titles in 1970’s and 1980’s, but last won in 1990.  Gap: 21 years.

First won the league in 1955, but not again until 2005.  Gap: 50 years.
They bought the league again in 2006 and 2010.  (Subtle?  Unfair?  Whatever!)

Manchester City
First won in 1937, but not again until 1968.  31 year gap.
And they haven’t won since then. Gap: 43 years. 

First won in 1951, then not until 1961.  Gap: 10.
They haven’t won since then.  Gap: 50 years. 

And of course, best for last, The Arsenal! 
We first won in 1931, and in 33, 34, 35, plus 38.  Won again in 48.  Gap: 10 years.
Won in 1953 but not again until 1971.  Gap: 18 years.
After that win in 1971, Arsenal weren’t champions again until 1989.  Gap: 18 years.
Won again in 1991, 1998, 2002 and 2004.  Since then, 7 years without winning the league.

Overall, a look at the gap years for any strong team, including the current top four, suggests that our current eight-year title drought is just a blip.  Should we win?  Of course.  Do I want us to?  Yes and yes again.  I know the math above considers only the EPL, and not the FA, Carling Cup, or Champions League, but don’t go overboard, people, about not being top all the time.
We’re the Arsenal, always the best, and we do things the right way!

George Sedgwick is the branch manager of the Philly Gooners and a regular contributor to the Arsenal Review USA Podcast. Check back for more of his writing throughout the summer…