Is it possible to for any smaller teams to make the top 6 regularly anymore?

The Boy

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I'm watching what is happening at Palace (though I'm not too upset by it) with Olise, Eze, Guehi all probably off to bigger clubs this summer, just as Glasner was building a good team there.

Last season the same happened to us when Caicedo and Mac Allister both moved on, with White, Bissouma and Cucurella going in previous windows. During the same period Potter and the entire backroom staff were poached as well.

Leicester broke the mould in 2016 but clearly couldn't stay there with Kante, Mahrez etc all going at the end of their remarkable title winning season.

This isn't a moan and I get that bigger clubs will always pick uip the best players from smaller clubs, though at least they're paying more for them nowadays (thank you Chelsea)

But could one of the smaller clubs establish themselves enough to retain these players and break the cycle of the biggest cubs winning every year?
 

rimaldo

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where does this guy get off? doesn’t he know he should just shut his mouth and let us take what we want?
 

The Boy

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where does this guy get off? doesn’t he know he should just shut his mouth and let us take what we want?
You can have it all, just leave my children please.
 

Scandi Red

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How do you define "smaller club"? Villa just finished 4th. I also find it strange that Tottenham keep being the odd one out for these discussions. Are they really so rich and influential that they can take top 6 for granted? It's "only" been 10 years since Everton finished 5th too.

Concentration of power is hardly a new phenomenon. It has probably gotten worse since the early 90's, but then again people also used to talk about "the top 4" rather than "the top 6"..
 

romufc

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I'm watching what is happening at Palace (though I'm not too upset by it) with Olise, Eze, Guehi all probably off to bigger clubs this summer, just as Glasner was building a good team there.

Last season the same happened to us when Caicedo and Mac Allister both moved on, with White, Bissouma and Cucurella going in previous windows. During the same period Potter and the entire backroom staff were poached as well.

Leicester broke the mould in 2016 but clearly couldn't stay there with Kante, Mahrez etc all going at the end of their remarkable title winning season.

This isn't a moan and I get that bigger clubs will always pick uip the best players from smaller clubs, though at least they're paying more for them nowadays (thank you Chelsea)

But could one of the smaller clubs establish themselves enough to retain these players and break the cycle of the biggest cubs winning every year?
I think they can but they would have to do some real good recruitment.

The players get sold because the owners of clubs want the money. Look at the money Brighton have made on player sales, it would be different if the players were sold for cheap, then you could question it, however; when you are getting 50m for a full back and 120m for a CDM, regardless of the club, they will most likely sell.

Real Madrid offering 80m for Ronaldo, Coutinho 140m. Its not about bigger clubs in the PL picking the best players, they are overpaying for said players.

Its about the owners not being greedy and retaining the players, you may see clubs improving.
 

The Boy

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I think they can but they would have to do some real good recruitment.

The players get sold because the owners of clubs want the money. Look at the money Brighton have made on player sales, it would be different if the players were sold for cheap, then you could question it, however; when you are getting 50m for a full back and 120m for a CDM, regardless of the club, they will most likely sell.

Real Madrid offering 80m for Ronaldo, Coutinho 140m. Its not about bigger clubs in the PL picking the best players, they are overpaying for said players.

Its about the owners not being greedy and retaining the players, you may see clubs improving.
I agree with a lot of this, but it's not just about the owners, it's about the players as well. Brighton would have turned down Chelsea's offers for Caicedo and Cucurella if the players had been willing to stay at the club, but both wanted the move, the same with Mac Allister. You would have kept Ronaldo if he had been willing to stay. But you can't hold players back from wanting to progress their careers and increase their wages.

But 15 years ago Brighton finished mid table in league one and we've come a long way since then, but will we plateau because of reasons in the OP or can we still progress?
 

Rozay

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There’s so much money in the PL now that most of the teams are much of a muchness. ‘Top’ teams are separated by a small handful of special players, but aside from that, the bulk of a team at a team that finishes 3rd is pretty much interchangeable with a team that finishes 10th. A few special players and depth are the big factors, as well as injuries.

With that being considered, it’s more possible in any given season for a smaller club to finish in the top 6. If a bigger club invests heavily in one or two of those ‘special’ players that are supposed to make the difference and they don’t live up to expectation, then just like that the team with designs on a title are in a battle for top 6.

Even Manchester City are considered top of the pile - half of West Ham’s team could probably play for them with little difference. For top teams a bit less good than City, even more so. A midfield group of Alvarez, Ward-Prowse, Kudus and Paqueta is better than United’s, for example. We’d probably be no worse off with Aguerd and Zouma at centre half either.

Coaching, a small number of galacticos, squad depth and not insignificantly - different levels of entitlement and self-belief are what differentiates first down to about 10th. One, two or three of those things could be neutralised in any season by injuries and flops, be it big signings or new managers.
 

caid

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No. Unless they become a big club in the process of finishing top 6.
Their biggest assets will move on, if they manage to keep replacing them then bigger clubs will start targeting their transfer targets and their scouts. If they start blocking transfers then agents send their players elsewhere or negotiate release clauses.
 

The Boy

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Outside of the big 6 and by that I mean City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs only four other teams have made it into the top 4 in the last 2 decades.

04/05 season Everton came fourth
15/16 season Leicester won
22/23 season Newcastle came fourth
23/24 season Villa came fourth
 

Stack

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Outside of the big 6 and by that I mean City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs only four other teams have made it into the top 4 in the last 2 decades.

04/05 season Everton came fourth
15/16 season Leicester won
22/23 season Newcastle came fourth
23/24 season Villa came fourth
This indicates the answer is no. 4 other teams in 20 years show just how tough it is to break through.
 

Scandi Red

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Outside of the big 6 and by that I mean City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs only four other teams have made it into the top 4 in the last 2 decades.

04/05 season Everton came fourth
15/16 season Leicester won
22/23 season Newcastle came fourth
23/24 season Villa came fourth
This is honestly not that crazy when you consider that we have 3 traditional power houses and 2 money machines fighting over just 4 spots.

You have to remember that 7 or 8 teams are "naturally doomed" before the season even starts. 3 of them just got promoted and the other 4-5 teams were in the relegation zone or at the very least nowhere close to European football the previous season. Maybe one of these teams will over-perform and finish in the upper half.

So what we're really talking about is the small pool of teams that finished 7th to 12th. At least a couple of them are "fresh" arrivals in the sense that they just managed to break away from the relegation battle. Can they really be expected to break 70 points barring a miracle? I doubt it. In this pool there are maybe just one or two teams with a reasonable chance to make it to the top 4, but the odds are clearly against them.
 

kaiser1

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Outside of the big 6 and by that I mean City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs only four other teams have made it into the top 4 in the last 2 decades.

04/05 season Everton came fourth
15/16 season Leicester won
22/23 season Newcastle came fourth
23/24 season Villa came fourth
I thought the OP meant 1 smaller club making it regularly

I agree with a lot of this, but it's not just about the owners, it's about the players as well. Brighton would have turned down Chelsea's offers for Caicedo and Cucurella if the players had been willing to stay at the club, but both wanted the move, the same with Mac Allister. You would have kept Ronaldo if he had been willing to stay. But you can't hold players back from wanting to progress their careers and increase their wages.

But 15 years ago Brighton finished mid table in league one and we've come a long way since then, but will we plateau because of reasons in the OP or can we still progress?
Not possible because the big boys will buy up all their talent and the smaller club has to be in a consistent cycle of rebuild like you have been facing at Brighton. Sell players, buy new one who are always a gamble, takes some month for them to gell into the system, as soon as they start playing well, the big boys start tapping them up and the cycle continues until the club plummets
Even if Brighton reject the offers, the players will just run down their contract and move for free. There is no way Brighton can offer Caicedo and MacAlister the salary Chelsea/Liverpool is giving them

I think they can but they would have to do some real good recruitment.
Recruitments are always hit or miss, Its easier to retain than hope to replace with equal quality Like Man Utd found out with Ronaldo. It would have been cheaper/better to retain Ronaldo if you could than the amount spent to replace him plus the loss in competitiveness after he left to Madrid. Basically these small clubs must recruit perfectly all thee time and little room for error
 

Chipper

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I don't think they ever could, that's not to say things haven't changed.

You'd get more variance at one time, with much more of a different spread of clubs finishing higher up, but often it would only be briefly, with quite a few just popping up for a season or two before slipping away again.

Don't know how far you were thinking of going back and comparing it to, I've randomly picked the 80s and 6 seasons as a bit to look at.

6 Seasons from 79/80, top 6 finishes:

Liverpool x 6
United x 5
Arsenal x 4
Spurs x 3
Ipswich x 3
Forest x 3
Southampton x 3
Villa x 2
Chelsea
Everton
QPR
Swansea
Watford
WBA
Wolves

Most recent 6:

City x 6
Liverpool x 6
Chelsea x 5
United x 5
Arsenal x 4
Spurs x 4
Leicester x 2
Villa
Newcastle
Brighton
West Ham

15 different clubs vs 11 featuring in the top 6.

More established now too, with 6 clubs having 4+ appearances now, compared to 3 then.

Villa and Everton were also champions in the 80s time period I looked at despite not exactly being mainstays in the top 6 at that time. Like I said, much more variance.
 

kaiser1

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This is honestly not that crazy when you consider that we have 3 traditional power houses and 2 money machines fighting over just 4 spots.

You have to remember that 7 or 8 teams are "naturally doomed" before the season even starts. 3 of them just got promoted and the other 4-5 teams were in the relegation zone or at the very least nowhere close to European football the previous season. Maybe one of these teams will over-perform and finish in the upper half.
This is probably why the smaller clubs are not as eager to punish the oil teams because they are hoping one day a sheikh gets interested and turns them from a relegation battler to a contender like Newcastle and Man city. Clubs like Crystal Palace who are based in London are probably doing sales pitch all over the Gulf countries now about the potentials of their club if they can get a sovereign funds investment
 

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It feels like an ever-increasing stratification of the game. For the teams outwith the top 6, the competitive advantages that could be exploited in the past are harder to find. More teams in the PL have got strong set-ups in place on and off the park. The standard of manager has risen a lot in the last decade. The behind-the-scenes operations have become increasingly standardised.

I don't think they ever could, that's not to say things haven't changed.

You'd get more variance at one time, with much more of a different spread of clubs finishing higher up, but often it would only be briefly, with quite a few just popping up for a season or two before slipping away again.

Don't know how far you were thinking of going back and comparing it to, I've randomly picked the 80s and 6 seasons as a bit to look at.

6 Seasons from 79/80, top 6 finishes:

Liverpool x 6
United x 5
Arsenal x 4
Spurs x 3
Ipswich x 3
Forest x 3
Southampton x 3
Villa x 2
Chelsea
Everton
QPR
Swansea
Watford
WBA
Wolves

Most recent 6:

City x 6
Liverpool x 6
Chelsea x 5
United x 5
Arsenal x 4
Spurs x 4
Leicester x 2
Villa
Newcastle
Brighton
West Ham

15 different clubs vs 11 featuring in the top 6.

More established now too, with 6 clubs having 4+ appearances now, compared to 3 then.

Villa and Everton were also champions in the 80s time period I looked at despite not exactly being mainstays in the top 6 at that time. Like I said, much more variance.
Aye, good point. This was the top half of the First Division table approaching the business end of the season in early 1982.
  • 2nd to 7th place separated by a point
  • 7 viable contenders for the title
  • Recent European Cup champions Forest and that year's winners Villa down in the bottom half.
That level of competitiveness is totally alien to the modern game.
 

The Boy

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This is probably why the smaller clubs are not as eager to punish the oil teams because they are hoping one day a sheikh gets interested and turns them from a relegation battler to a contender like Newcastle and Man city. Clubs like Crystal Palace who are based in London are probably doing sales pitch all over the Gulf countries now about the potentials of their club if they can get a sovereign funds investment
I'd prefer to see us fall back into the lower divisions than be bought by oil.
 

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It is entirely possible for new teams to break in to the top 6 as Leicester, Newcastle, and Aston Villa have shown in recent seasons and there is nothing in FFP that would prevent a smaller team from doing that, any owner can grow their owner to be competitive for places in the top 6 without breaching the FFP regulations.

If a billionaire bought Crystal Palace for example and decided to use his own money to build them a new 65000 seater stadium (which would increase revenues and in turn how much they can spend on players) and a world class training academy (which would allow them to attract a better calibre of players and coaches) he would legally be able to do that as those things along with any investment in youth are exempt from FFP.

Once the right infrastructure and staff are in place you can use the increased revenues to sign better players to improve your squad and be more successful and as you become more and more successfull you can start to attract bigger and better sponsors and kit deals which will increase revenues and your spending power even more.
 
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duffer

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It is entirely possible for new teams to break in to the top 6 as Leicester, Newcastle, and Aston Villa have shown in recent seasons and there is nothing in FFP that would prevent a smaller team from doing that, any owner can grow their owner to be competitive for places in the top 6 without breaching the FFP regulations.

If a billionaire bought Crystal Palace for example and decided to use his own money to build them a new 65000 seater stadium (which would increase revenues and in turn how much they can spend on players) and a world class training academy (which would allow them to attract a better calibre of players) he would legally be able to do that as those things along with any investment in youth are exempt from FFP.
He's also have to buy 35,000 people to ensure the stadium wasn't half empty every week.

Also Palace already have a very good academy.
 

romufc

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I agree with a lot of this, but it's not just about the owners, it's about the players as well. Brighton would have turned down Chelsea's offers for Caicedo and Cucurella if the players had been willing to stay at the club, but both wanted the move, the same with Mac Allister. You would have kept Ronaldo if he had been willing to stay. But you can't hold players back from wanting to progress their careers and increase their wages.

But 15 years ago Brighton finished mid table in league one and we've come a long way since then, but will we plateau because of reasons in the OP or can we still progress?
Yeah, I agree. The problem is, when someone offers that money, you kind of back your recruitment to go get another player for less right?

We have seen many clubs / players who get an offer one season keep the player for an extra season and then the year after the market for said player is no longer there. We can take Oshimen for example, if they had sold him last season for 120m, I cant see anyone offering that this window.

The issue Brighton have is, there is too much movement to build and be consistent. You need a core group of players to stay along with the manager.
 

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Surely the lower table/smaller teams can start effectively pricing their top talent out of the market now?

At the very least they should be in a better position to say no to all but the highest offers.

Money in the PL is so much spread over the whole league that it doesn't feel like the smaller teams can get bullied about in the transfer market any more.

Not too sure on them breaking into the top 6 and challenging for things although you've seen last season how Villa have taken the ball and ran with it.
 

DJ_21

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Would you class Villa as a smallish club? They’ve just finished 4th which means they have a better chance of keeping their best players next season now and then they can improve their squad by attracting better players. I think a lot of it comes down to if the bigger teams have bad seasons then it opens the door for one of the lesser teams to shine and finish higher than they would be expected to.
 

Chipper

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He's also have to buy 35,000 people to ensure the stadium wasn't half empty every week.

Also Palace already have a very good academy.
There is that too. :lol:

Mind you, I've been a bit surprised at just how much West Ham have managed to boost their attendances consistently. Averaging 25k in 00/01, jumping to mid 30s from then on until they moved to the Olympic Stadium. High 50s when first moving there and now hitting over 60k.

Was Upton Park expanded in the early 2000s?

Part of me wonders where all these fans came from. I'm not from London though, so never had a much of a barometer for judging exactly how many Hammers were out there. My impression was always that it was definitely more than Palace though. Knew they were fairly big but I'm a bit staggered by them having 60k all of a sudden.

Makes me wonder if I might understimate Palace's latent fanbase to an extent as well.
 

GlasgowCeltic

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Would you class Villa as a smallish club? They’ve just finished 4th which means they have a better chance of keeping their best players next season now and then they can improve their squad by attracting better players. I think a lot of it comes down to if the bigger teams have bad seasons then it opens the door for one of the lesser teams to shine and finish higher than they would be expected to.
Theyre about to swap one of their best players for Weston McKennie
 

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Surely the lower table/smaller teams can start effectively pricing their top talent out of the market now?

At the very least they should be in a better position to say no to all but the highest offers.

Money in the PL is so much spread over the whole league that it doesn't feel like the smaller teams can get bullied about in the transfer market any more.

Not too sure on them breaking into the top 6 and challenging for things although you've seen last season how Villa have taken the ball and ran with it.
They can only do that for so long. West Ham priced Rice out of a move for years, otherwise he'd have been at Chelsea or United years ago, but eventually there comes a time where the end of the player's contract gets nearer and the club have to either reluctantly sell him or risk losing him for peanuts or free. Brighton for example, could have perhaps kept Caicedo for another 3 years but I suspect, like Rice, had he kept performing at a high level, he'd have eventually refused to sign an extension, at which point a top 6 club, maybe even several, would be sniffing around offering stupid money and Brighton, like West Ham before them, would have had to make a choice between cashing in now or risk losing him for very little not long further down the line.

Obviously if the players continues getting better then the club gets to enjoy that for the years they're pricing him out of a move and West Ham did win a European cup in that period, so it was worth it for them in the end but eventually, with 2 years left, Arsenal crazy mouth-watering bid could not be turned down.

There's also the chance that the player never reaches those heights again, like Belotti.
 

caid

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Then that’s pure stupidity on their side.
They need to sell for FFP.
I wouldn't call Villa a small team anyway, a few seasons of finishing in the top 6 with a couple of champions league campaigns and they'd probably catch up with Spurs. Teams like Brighton and Crystal Palace are small teams imo. Though Crystal Palace have been in the league long enough they could probably make a plausible attempt at breaking the top 6 now.
 

Scandi Red

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By the way, I'm not entirely convinced that this is a PL problem even though we only speak of a top 6 in the PL.

Take the 6 most successful teams (count number of top 4 finishes, not titles) from Spain, Italy and Germany over the last two decades. How many teams besides the "top 6" have managed to finish top 4? It doubt that it has happened often.
 

DJ_21

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They need to sell for FFP.
I wouldn't call Villa a small team anyway, a few seasons of finishing in the top 6 with a couple of champions league campaigns and they'd probably catch up with Spurs. Teams like Brighton and Crystal Palace are small teams imo. Though Crystal Palace have been in the league long enough they could probably make a plausible attempt at breaking the top 6 now.
True. C Palace won’t be getting anywhere near the top 6 if they sell their best players.
 

caid

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True. C Palace won’t be getting anywhere near the top 6 if they sell their best players.
Yeah current team is going to be broken up. They're probably under the radar enough that they could do some good scouting and rebuild a team. Sign them up to long contracts and just don't sell - do a daniel levy where you're utterly extortianate and very selective the odd time you do sell. They seem to keep a steady flow of decent young players moving through the team, get a bit lucky with timing on a few there.
I think even if they did make it they'd probably fall off as contracts starting running down and would have to then rebuild a team again with very little room for error to actually establish themselves.
 

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Not really, the PSR financial "fair" play rules are a big part of it.

Teams with lower revenue are going to be stuck, there's no way to invest and break in to the top now.
 

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Outside of the big 6 and by that I mean City, United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs only four other teams have made it into the top 4 in the last 2 decades.

04/05 season Everton came fourth
15/16 season Leicester won
22/23 season Newcastle came fourth
23/24 season Villa came fourth
Us and Leicester was very different in power and money dynamics compared to Newcastle and Villa.