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City - Longest run of consecutive CL's in the PL....

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City - Longest run of consecutive CL's in the PL....

Post by blueboy on Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:22 am

Currently, the longest Champions League run of any Premier League club is with Manchester City, a seven-season stretch starting from 2011-12.
After that? Tottenham: two years. Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea made it this season, but not last. Leicester and Arsenal last season, but not this. Nothing can be guaranteed in the Premier League with six clubs, minimum, vying for four spots.
Compare that uncertainty to the sense of security felt on the continent for clubs such as Bayern Munich, (10 straight Champions League campaigns), Barcelona (14) or Real Madrid (21). Factor in that the grip of the biggest teams in many of Europe's major leagues is only getting stronger, then add emerging powerhouses such as Paris Saint-Germain and a reborn Juventus, now recovered from the Calciopoli crisis.


The top of the Premier League is an exceptionally vulnerable environment for the elite right now.
Even City can take nothing for granted. They are the success story of the decade, with three titles — including one pending — and consistent qualification for the Champions League under three different coaches.
Yet when Pep Guardiola leaves, as he inevitably will some day, can a top-four place be guaranteed with the strength of the clubs around them?
Nobody in Spain competes at the financial level of Real Madrid and Barcelona, or of Bayern Munich in Germany, but as the Alexis Sanchez deal proved, some in England can still duke it out with City for the best talent.
Bayern Munich have to fall by 22 points to become disconnected from the Champions League slots in Germany, yet Chelsea have won one less game than Liverpool and Tottenham this season and risk missing out. The margins in England are so much tighter.
Tottenham are moving to their new stadium next season, yet defeat on Sunday at Stamford Bridge could play havoc with their revenue streams and best-laid plans.

To go there as a Champions League club, or one in the Europa League, is a difference measured in 10s of millions.
Ostensibly, Chelsea versus Tottenham this Sunday is a routine fixture between fourth and fifth; in reality, it is one of the key games of the season.
If Tottenham win, or perhaps draw, even by Antonio Conte's admission it is hard to see Chelsea making it to the Champions League. And while the cream of Europe can estimate what they will have coming in many years from now, imagine overseeing the financial planning at Chelsea.
Champions one season, 10th the next. Champions again — and then what? The Europa League, maybe? Right now, who can say?
And how should a paid up member of Europe's elite budget for that? How to deal with a demanding manager like Conte not knowing the whereabouts of £50m or so?
And it isn't just Chelsea living with this uncertainty. Manchester United needed to win the Europa League to make the Champions League this season and in 2014-15 they were not even in Europe.
Despite lucrative commercial revenue streams, these variables are enormous. United are stable but, despite that, there will be impact from failure. Executive vice chairman Ed Woodward believes the club could last no more than two consecutive seasons without Champions League football before there was some degree of commercial damage.
Back in 1999, at the end of another frustrating afternoon for Liverpool that saw an early Michael Owen goal erased by two late Manchester United ones, Gerard Houllier surveyed the impressive surrounds of Old Trafford. 'The great thing with football,' he murmured, 'is nothing is for ever.'


Maybe not in England — but elsewhere, UEFA have since done their best to make it so.
It was a bold prophecy from Houllier, even then. United would go on to win the treble that season, their supremacy under Sir Alex Ferguson greater than ever. But Houllier was right. Dynasties end.
Roman Abramovich would arrive at Chelsea four years later. Sheik Mansour's acquisition of Manchester City was less than a decade away. Ferguson retired and United have not been the same since.
Arsenal, too, have waned and there have been wonderful surprises. Nearly 20 years on, Liverpool are still without a Premier League title, Leicester have won it more recently than Manchester United and no club in England can take Champions League football for granted. Not even Manchester City.
This is not the case in Europe. Now the major clubs have in effect got the super league they wished for, but notionally under UEFA's auspices, there is no blot on the horizon, no obstacle to their domination.
It is unimaginable that Bayern Munich will fail to make it into Europe's marquee competition any time soon, and the same can be said of Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, probably Juventus in Italy and PSG in France unless Qatar's backing is withdrawn.
These clubs cannot always be champions, but they will be there when the draw for the tournament that bears the Champions' name is made. There may be failures, poor domestic seasons, but they will remain in the Champions League mix.
Real Madrid are having a very ordinary season by their recent standards, but stay third and are 13 points clear of a Europa League berth. Juventus have spent much of the campaign in second place, but have now overtaken Napoli and are on course for a seventh straight title, 21 points clear of fifth. In Germany and France, it is another procession; both Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are 17 points ahead and can factor in Champions League money for many years to come.

Yet while Manchester City have quite the lead in England, it is not the same.
Yes, to some extent, English football is insulated against temporary economic crisis by television revenues. Even clubs that have never played Champions League football are comparatively healthy financially and the envy of the rest of Europe.
Those at the elite end of the market, however, where transfer fees are routinely £50m or more and weekly wages of £200,000 are not uncommon, lead an increasingly uncertain existence, operating under conditions unlike any in Europe.
That a club of Manchester United's stature has spent as many of the last four seasons out of the Champions League as in it, would be unimaginable in, say, Germany or Spain.
This is why there is talk of breakaways and increased slices of the broadcast share at the top.
The elite want to be insured against a competition that has become a little too open for their tastes. They don't like a party that is no longer exclusive.
No major league in Europe offers less stability to its biggest and wealthiest than the Premier League and it terrifies them all.
Wonderful excitement for the rest of us, but you wouldn't want to take a budget meeting. Not only is nothing forever, as Chelsea may find once more, the good times don't even come with a 12-month guarantee.

Martin Samuel
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blueboy
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