In an era of modern, super-slick marketing and PR, there’s no sugar-coating the stale football offerings currently being dished out by the bottom four sides in the Premier League.
This might be the most competitive campaign in years. While Klopp, Pep and co pick up the praise at one end, it’s equally notable how many poor sides are there occupying the danger zone and its immediate surrounds.
It might, then, be remarkable just how big the gulf is between the top sides and the bottom. But the worrying issue here is just how much better the teams above Southampton are compared to the sides below them.
And that’s not any attempt at complimenting the Saints.
Fulham’s pre-season signings put them on a par with Wolves in most people’s minds. We’re not even at Halloween yet and they’ve shipped 28 goals.
Swindon hold the shameful record of most goals conceded in a Premier League season – 100 – and that was in 42 games. Fulham are on course to give up 106.
And Cardiff look like a Neil Warnock side. That’s not even a criticism of Warnock nor is it a scathing review of their season to date – it’s a comment on the board electing to keep him at the club knowing full well the limitations that would be placed upon them for the season ahead by that very decision.
They’re not easy to watch – but at least they’ve won a game. The same can’t be said for Newcastle and Huddersfield.
Rafael Benitez should go down as biggest miracle worker since Jesus Christ himself apparently started dishing out wine in exchange for a drop of water – but not even he can manager this current Toon travesty.
While Mike Ashley’s been bringing in tampered mirrors to make overweight men think they look lovely in those ultra-modern skin-tight football kits, his football club have been crying out for some level of support.
Not even financial support, but a level of empathy for the current situation that he won’t free them from.
The atmosphere around a once-great football club is the notable inclusion on this list because, quite frankly, they above everyone else, shouldn’t be in it.
Then there’s Huddersfield. Seven defeats and just four goals scored – they’re on course to score just 15 times.
If you look at the Huddersfield squad, could you conceivably point out a single player that any top-ten side would be keen on signing?
It makes Wagner’s achievements last year even more commendable, but they’ve not strengthened and lack the unity and freshness they played with last campaign. They signed three goalkeepers for god’s sake.
The bottom four are going to be in a mini-league of their own for the remainder of the season and the games against each other will determine exactly who stays up and who has to settle for the bizarrely impressive compensation of a parachute payment.
It genuinely does raise a question, though – can a league that self-proclaims to be the best league in the world – a home for football – truly be such if its basement is in rag order?