We’re halfway through the season and the January transfer window is upon us. Clubs are looking to bring in new players and give themselves that special something to carry them through to May. You’ve heard all the usual transfer rumors – Cahill to Chelsea, Tevez to one Milan or the other, Demba Ba to anywhere who can pay his release clause, apparently (thanks Harry!). But those transfer rumors are boring and stupid and we all know Gary Cahill isn’t going to suddenly turn Chelsea into title contenders anyway.
No, friends, what I’m about to show you are the real moves clubs need to make that the English press is too afraid to talk about. This is the dark underbelly of the sport. These are things the English press doesn’t want you to know about. They don’t think you can handle it. But I believe that here at Four Five Two, we have a higher caliber of reader. I think you’re ready to see behind the curtain. Brace yourselves.
20. Wigan Athletic – Wigan Athletic was once the Cinderella story of England. Coming from a rugby town where nobody cared about football, they’ve risen from the fourth tier of the English game all the way to the Premier League. In their first season in the top flight they finished an astonishing 10th place in the league and even landed a player in the PFA Team of the Season. But after desperately clinging on for dear life over the past five seasons, this Cinderella now looks more like her ugly stepsisters and we all wish she’d twist her ankle in those ridiculous glass shoes she insists on wearing and maybe even get devoured in her sleep by her little rodent helpers.
Though the future sounds bleak, don’t despair Wigan fans. Wait, who? Wigan have the second lowest average attendance in the EPL, topping only QPR (whose stadium has 8,000 fewer seats). So, what Wigan really need to kick start their season are fans. If Whelan wants to stave off relegation, it is essential that he bring fans to Wigan. But the brand of football on offer at the DW can’t do it alone. So what’s the answer?
Dave Whelan ran a sporting goods retail chain for years, and over the years he’s put together a network of contacts in the sweatshop industry. And they owe him. He absolutely must use his influence to import these little sweatshop workers from Southeast Asia to fill up his stadium and cheer on his team. After years of grueling manual labor working in horrible life-threatening conditions, these poor children may be the only people on earth who could tolerate sitting through an entire Wigan football match.
19. Bolton Wanderers – At the beginning of the 09/10 season, Burnley were performing reasonably well in their first foray into the EPL under the guidance of Owen Coyle. Bolton were doing decidedly less well under the guidance of the Ginger Mourinho. Being the jealous assholes that Bolton are, they stole Coyle away from their nearby rivals. Coyle led Bolton to astonishing back-to-back 14th place finishes in the table, regarded by most Bolton fans as a complete fucking miracle.
For Bolton to save themselves from their impending doom, they need to go back to the well. Paul Lambert and Brendan Rodgers are both punching above their weight with their promoted clubs. Bolton needs to get in there and steal one of those managers. Because it is absolutely imperative for Bolton’s future that they stay up this year.
Because next year will likely see the return of West Ham and Sam Allardyce. When Bolton rolls into January 2013 sitting below West Ham, Lambert or Rodgers will be jettisoned. And Fat Sam will be theirs once more. Bolton will return to their glorious Big Fat Sam roots and a thousand years of darkness will fall upon the Premier League.
18. Queens Park Rangers – It’s amazing to see QPR flirting with relegation given the talent at their disposal. Neil Warnock had the managerial brilliance to bring in the starting 2006-2007 West Ham center back pairing of Ferdinand-Gabbidon that so effectively relegated his far superior Sheffield United side. Up top, Heidar Helguson is in the form of his life. He’s banged in 7 goals already and is a mere 10 away from being the top striker in England. And in the middle of the pitch is England’s Best Midfielder himself, Joseph Anthony Barton.
But all of this talent pales in the shadow of their greatest player—Ballon d’Or winner* Adel Taarabt. Taarabt was too good for Tottenham and only went down to QPR because his Real Madrid invitation got lost in the mail and besides he always wanted to add a Championship Player of the Year trophy to his cabinet anyways. But after his Real Madrid invite got lost in the mail a second time , Taarabt stopped performing at the awe-inspiring level Rangers fans were used to. So all QPR needs to do to charge up the table is get Taarabt back to his scintillating best.
This January, QPR needs to buy new uniforms and a new club crest. With knock-off Madrid kits and a slight tweaking of their crest, they could convince Adel that he’s playing for his dream club. Once Adel feels like he’s getting the appreciation he deserves and playing for a club that’s worthy of him, he will lead QPR to greatness. Look out, Messi. Taarabt’s coming for you.
17. Blackburn Rovers – In 2010, Venky’s World Famous Chicken Shack—Now with Real Chicken!™ landed on the shores of Lancashire ready to conquer the Premier League. Arriving with a war chest overflowing with 40 of million of pounds, they sought to bring in some of the biggest and still totally relevant stars of the previous decade. Galactico names like Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Raúl, and Akon were promised.
But Venky’s forgot one thing: England is beef country. Ever since the Duke of Wellington got sick and tired of always eating eel pies and decided to invent beef*, Old Blighty has never looked back. And no matter how real Venky’s chicken may taste, they could never compete. Until now.
This January, Blackburn’s owners need to get serious. Their number one signing must be Mad-Cow Disease. With England’s cattle production crippled, the nation will have no choice but to turn to Venky’s World Famous Chicken Shack—Now with Real Chicken!™ in order to avoid starvation. The massive influx of funds will allow them to make good on their promises and sign the stars they need to take them forward.
*probably not true.
16. Wolverhampton Wanderers – Mick McCarthy’s a mediocre manager who’s done a mediocre job with a mediocre team from a mediocre city. Everything about Wolves screams mediocrity. If they want to survive, they need to improve their image. They need glitz. They need glamour. They need: The Jersey Shore.
Mick’s got a lot in common with the boys from Jersey shore already. It’s well documented that he’s always DTF. And he’s got an unhealthy obsession with abs.
So he’s got the gym part of the GTL equation covered, but he needs a little help with the tan and the laundry. That’s where Phil Brown and Luciano Moggi come in. Phil Brown’s tanning skills make The Situation look like a non-event, and Luciano Moggi’s got more dirty laundry than a laundry-related metaphor. This managerial holy trinity will revamp Wolves’ tired old image and turn them into the Guido paradise of the West Midlands. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll still be terrible at football. But this trainwreck will be impossible not to watch. And isn’t that what really matters?
So there you have it folks. These are the moves that the bottom five clubs need to make if they want to improve. Check back later today and we’ll look at the rest of the bottom half of the table.