Which team has the most difficult start to the 2015/16 Premier League season?

The first 6 fixtures for each team are shown in the grid below. The colours relate to where each team finished last season.

Using last season’s league positions we can look at how difficult/easy each team’s first 6 fixtures are for the forthcoming season.

This is very basic analysis which assumes the teams will be similar to last season.


As shown in the second table, Everton face the most difficult start, followed by Chelsea and Crystal Palace. AFC Bournemouth face the easiest, followed by Sunderland and Southampton. 



Newcastle United – 2014/15 Season In Numbers

There have been 19 seasons since the Premier League turned to the 20 team format. How did the 2014/15 season compare to the previous 18?



Premier League 2014/15 – Betting Plan

The fixtures for the 2014/15 Premier League season have been released. Analysing the first 6 fixtures can allow us to look for potential movers in the ‘outright’ betting markets.

The grid below shows the first 6 fixtures for every team:


If we consider the average position of the 6 fixtures for each team it shows who has the easiest and toughest opening group of games. The positions are taken from the 2013/14 league table, with Leicester, Burnley and QPR filling 18th, 19th and 20th respectively:


As is shown in the table above, Leicester have the toughest opening group of fixtures. They are currently 7/1 to finish ‘Rock Bottom’ and are 5/2 to be relegated. It is predicted that they will struggle during these 6 games and their odds should shorten in both of those betting markets which would allow you to ‘cash out’ early.

Manchester United have the easiest first 6 fixtures. They are currently 6/1 to win the league. I envisage these odds to shorten quite a bit should they get off to a flyer, especially against all 3 promoted teams.

1. Back Leicester in the ‘Rock Bottom’ market @ 7/1
2. Back Leicester in the ‘Relegation’ market @ 5/2
3. Back Manchester United in the ‘Premier League Champions’ market @ 6/1

(All odds via Betfair)

Newcastle United Transfers – The Ones That Got Away

Transfer rumour silly-season is about to commence. Newcastle will be linked to a host of players, but none will come close to the quality of the 9 players and 1 manager listed below who Newcastle apparently approached. Take it all with a pinch of salt …

Zinedine Zidane – 1996

Zidane was offered to Newcastle United for £1.2 million, according to football agent Barry Silkman – “I offered him to Newcastle at the beginning of the 1996 season for £1.2 million. And they watched him and said that he wasn’t good enough to play in the First Division which is the Championship now. Three months later he went to Juventus for £1.2 million and two years later he went for £48 million. So I think the people at Newcastle got it slightly wrong.”

Clarence Seedorf – 1999

Sunday Mirror – 2nd May 1999 

Newcastle United boss Ruud Gullit will splash out £9 million this week as he steps up his Toon Army recruiting campaign.

Dutch international Clarence Seedorf has agreed to join fellow countryman Gullit at Newcastle United in a £5.5 million deal. The Real Madrid star telephoned Gullit on Thursday to confirm that Newcastle’s personal terms are acceptable. Seedorf, regarded as one of the most cultured playmakers in Europe, has been tracked by Gullit for some time.

Rivaldo – 2002

Telegraph – 11th June 2002

Newcastle United could be close to signing Rivaldo from Barcelona in a £10 million deal. It was claimed yesterday that personal terms had been agreed and that the only remaining obstacle was the fee.

A Newcastle delegation, including chairman Freddy Shepherd, are understood to have met Rivaldo’s representatives last week for talks. And Shepherd and his deputy, Douglas Hall, are currently on holiday in Barcelona, where it is believed they are continuing negotiations.

A Spanish source said: “There is definitely something happening as far as Rivaldo and Barcelona are concerned and, if the Newcastle officials are here on holiday, that looks too much of a coincidence.”

Yeah, Shepherd never went to Spain just for a holiday….! >>> Freddy in Marbella

Ronaldinho – 2003 & 2007

Evening Chronicle – 19th June 2003 

Freddy Shepherd presented Newcastle United’s case to Ronaldinho’s agent and brother Roberto Assis in London yesterday.
Shepherd today flatly refused to discuss his meeting with the Brazilian World Cup winner’s camp. But the details of United’s offer, including the chance to double his £19,000 weekly wage, were quickly flashed to the 23-year-old as he prepared for Brazil’s Confederations Cup match with Cameroon in the Stade de France tonight.

A United source did say today: “The chairman has met Ronaldinho’s people and put our case. We know all about Manchester United and Barcelona, but if we let things like this worry us we wouldn’t sign anybody.

“We know that we face a fight but the chairman’s attitude has always been if you don’t buy a ticket you cannot win the lottery.”

The Mirror – 5th July 2003

It’s enough to send Alex Ferguson’s infamous ‘hairdryer’ blowing through Ronaldinho’s flowing locks. The Paris St Germain star, the key summer target for Manchester United, leaves a nightclub at 3.30am with the son of Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd.

Ronaldinho was in London to work on a new computer game, and spent some R&R in the VIP section of Click nightclub. Eventually, as the sun prepared to rise, he left the club with his sister, friends and Kenny Shepherd, who works for games company EA Sports.

Telegraph – 16th July 2007 – Newcastle have made an audacious enquiry for Fifa World Player of the Year Ronaldinho – and were quoted a price of £58 million.

During talks over the availability of Barcelona’s players the Brazilian’s name was raised, but the price may be too much, even for Newcastle’s new owner, billionaire Mike Ashley.

£58 million too much for Mike Ashley?!

Luis Figo – 2005

BBC Sport – 21st June 2005

Graeme Souness has admitted that Newcastle are considering bringing Real Madrid’s Luis Figo to Tyneside. Newcastle boss Souness told BBC Sport: “There is an interest there as far as Luis Figo is concerned but we don’t want to say any more at the moment.”

Christian Vieri – 2005

BBC Sport – 1st July 2005 

Telegraph – 2nd July 2005

Newcastle boss Graeme Souness fears he may miss out in a bold double raid for Inter Milan striker Christian Vieri and Manchester United’s Alan Smith. The 31-year-old Vieri has been released by Inter and is looking for a club. Souness said: “We did inquire about Christian Vieri. I got a mutual friend to have a word with the player, but it appears he wants to go to Spain.”

Miss out on Vieri but sign Alan Smith. Typical.

Wayne Rooney – 2004 

Telegraph – 24th August 2004

The £20m ‘bid’ for Rooney spawned numerous  rumours that this was just an attempt to force Manchester United’s hand. No one will ever know apart from Freddy Shepherd.

Luka Modric – 2008 

Express – 24th April 2008

Modric was one of the rare rumours that we can actually say “spotted on Tyneside”. In 2008 he visited training facilities and had a meeting with Dennis Wise and Tony Jiminez. Who knows why the deal never concluded….!

Jose Mourinho – 2000

BBC Sport – 30th November 2004

Jose Mourinho revealed he turned down an offer to be his assistant manager at Newcastle in 2000. In an extract from his biography Mourinho explained: “Bobby lives and breathes the pitch and wants direct contact with the players. But he knew my ambition wouldn’t allow me to accept an assistant coach role.”

Mourinho added: “Since Bobby suspected I wouldn’t accept it, he told me it would only be for a year, two tops, and that at the end of that time I would be head coach and he club manager.

“But he had forgotten that I had worked with him for many years and so I knew him well. It is unthinkable to picture him as a manager, watching from the stands. But I didn’t take him up on his offer, knowing sooner or later, my time would come.”

Mourinho at the helm of Newcastle United following the Robson years. Imagine how that would have panned out….!

Newcastle United – Transfer Profit & Loss per Manager

The two tables below show the profit and loss made from transfers for each Newcastle United manager since 1995/96.


How Does Alan Pardew Compare To Previous Newcastle United Managers?

The table below shows data for each Newcastle United manager since the 1995/96 season when the Premier League turned to a 20 team format.


The grid below shows each manager ranked 1-11 for each area as shown in the grid above. The overall ranking is on the right hand side of the grid:


Kevin Keegan ranks as the best manager since 1995/96. Alan Pardew ranks as the 6th best, just behind Sam Allardyce and just ahead of Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness.

Newcastle United Since 1995/96

The grid below shows every position occupied by Newcastle United since the 1995/96 season.


The grid below shows how many goals were scored by Newcastle in each game. The average goals scored per game is shown below the main grid.


The grid below shows how many goals were conceded by Newcastle in each game. The number of clean sheets per season is shown below the main grid.


The grid below shows Wins, Draws and Defeats since 1995/96. Information about ‘streaks’ is shown below the main grid.

The grid below shows each managerial appointment. The smaller table on the left shows each managers Points per Game.