1. A sustained period of time in which a club buys average players and produces results of unbelievable banter.
The notorious ‘banter era’ has plagued each of the Premier League’s top six clubs and left a path of humiliation in it’s wake.
Some fans look back on there’s with nostalgic fondness, whereas others try their best to pretend it never even happened.
Let’s make sure they live on forever.
Here’s the definitive ranking of the banter eras of the Premier League’s top six…
6 Chelsea: N/A
Taking sixth place are the boys from the King’s road.
In all honesty, Chelsea are an awkward proposition to identify one sustained period of prolonged banter.
Their form in recent years has been a rollercoaster ride of success and embarrassment, with each season throwing up some hilarious moments.
We thought instead we would just pinpoint some of our highlights from Stamford Bridge in recent years.
The managerial merry-go-round…
The Blues’ approach to managers has resembled the story-line of Game of Thrones in recent years. “Off with their heads!”
Sacking Carlo Ancelotti just months after he won the Premier League and FA Cup was peak banter.
Stints with Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez and a love affair with Guus Hiddink then all ensued.
Hilariously bad signings…
Dropping to 16th in the table…
5 Man City: 2007-2010
City’s era could easily be since the Premier League started, but let’s not be that cruel.
We’ve identified a particular period of fun at what was once known as the City of Manchester Stadium.
The money had just been pumped in and things were about to get interesting.
Safe to say it was much-needed investment, considering City managed just ten goals at home the season before.
Mark Hughes was soon spoilt with riches. He was basically a kid in a candy shop.
Like a child with his pocket money, or a uni student who’s just received his maintenance loan, it was time to fully indulge.
Robinho, Jo, Tal Ben Haim and Wayne Bridge all rocked up as part of the revolution in the blue half of Manchester.
It failed to produce the instant results they had hoped for.
The project at the City of Manchester Stadium failed to achieve it’s goals until the 2010/11 season.
Hughes’ men slumped to 10th and 5th in the table, before finally cracking the top four under Roberto Mancini.
The FA Cup winning success in 2011 finally signalled the end of the banter days at City.
And the rest is history.
4 Arsenal: 2008-2014
Arsenal in fourth place, because.
Mock the Gunners all you like, but their banter era still produced some respectable results.
Routinely making it into the top four, Arsene Wenger’s motley crew, assembled on a shoe-string budget, was constantly punching well above it’s weight.
Between 2008-2014, Arsenal’s hunt for a trophy had looked as though it would never end.
A personal highlight includes the battle for the No1 spot between Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski.
Wenger made his decision for who would start in goal based on which of his keepers had made the fewest mistake the week before.
The goalkeeping situation got so bad that a 41-year-old Jens Lehmann was drafted out of retirement and actually played a Premier League game.
We can’t ignore the summer of 2013.
The Gunners spent the entire summer chasing a new striker. Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez were at the top of Wenger’s wishlist.
They entered the new season with the £500,000 acquisition of Yaya Sanogo to show for their attacking options. Amazing.
There is a real sense of optimism at the Emirates that the dark days could finally be behind them.
This is Arsenal we are talking about though. The banter era will NEVER die.
3 Spurs: 2012-2016
The boys from White Hart Lane, or Wembley, or Stadium MK, are regarded as perennial bottlejobs.
When you look back at their recent seasons it’s easy to see why.
Bouncing from manager-to-manager, before finally settling on Mauricio Pochettino, hasn’t proved to be a very effective business model.
Spurs are similar to Chelsea in that you can cherry-pick particular bits of banter you want to poke fun at.
We can’t ignore the signings after Gareth Bale’s depature.
With his pockets filled with gold, Villas-Boas completely spunked the Welshman’s £85million transfer fee on seven ‘big name’ additions.
£109million was spent and only one player, Christian Eriksen, remains at the club today.
Flops bought in the spending spree include Roberto Soldado, Vlad Chiriches and the enigmatic Paulinho.
Spurs fans will try and tell you that their bad times are a thing of the past now.
However, still no trophies in the cabinet and an almighty f*ck up with their new stadium, would strongly suggest otherwise.
2 Liverpool: 2009-2015
Where to begin with the utter shambles that was Liverpool between 2009-2014.
The Reds spent several years out in the wilderness with not a single drop of Champions League football in sight.
It can all be pinned back to Roy Hodgson’s first season in charge.
Football’s most charismatic manager pulled off a string of horrendous signings and equally horrendous results.
Woy lasted just 6 months in the job before he was eventually replaced by Kenny Dalglish.
Things only marginally improved under the ‘king’ and Brendan Rodgers was soon drafted in.
The David Brent impersonator constantly told us of his squad’s “character” but they showed none of that when they bottled the title race in 2014.
Steven Gerrard’s iconic slip moment against Chelsea is still regarded as one of the Premier League greatest moments.
Unless of course you’re a Liverpool fan.
Peak banter era, but look at them now.
1 Man United: 2018-?
Oh yes, we went there.
United are slap-bang in the middle of their banter era. And people are loving every minute of it.
Goldridge memes are rife and football Twitter is uniting against Jose Mourinho.
The special one is going through his ceremonial ‘third season syndrome’ before our very eyes at Old Trafford. My drug.
The Reds have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season and Mourinho is well and truly on borrowed time.
Forking out £500,000-a-week on an under-performing Alexis Sanchez and daily dramas with Paul Pogba are all dragging the club’s reputation through the dirt.
After years of trophy-laden success under Sir Alex Ferguson, you’re lying to yourself if you say that United’s woes aren’t filling you with utter joy.
Like most things in life, banter eras are cyclical.
They come and go when you least expect them.
Now we wait for the next batch to swing around and entertain us all.
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