In the 23 seasons since the Premier League was reduced to 20 clubs, only three sides have hit the point mark and gone down — and none in the last 15 years. West Ham were relegated with 42 points in , and Bolton and Sunderland both went down with 40 points on the board in the late s. The emergence of the top six over the last decade has helped to turn the point mark into a myth. As the top clubs have become more dominant, the others have collected fewer points and, consequently, the number of points required to survive has fallen. Between and the average gap between the club that finished just above the relegation zone and the club that finished sixth was 19 points; that gap has shot up to 26 points in the last decade.
West Ham, Bolton and Sunderland were unlucky to reach the point mark and still go down, but spare a thought for Crystal Palace , who hold the unenviable record of collecting the two highest points totals for a relegated club in the Premier League. In the campaign, when the Premier League still had 22 clubs, Palace won 45 points but were still relegated.
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But that pales into insignificance when compared to the anguish the club experienced in the final week of the very first Premier League season in On the penultimate Saturday of the campaign, Palace beat Ipswich at Selhurst Park to go eight points clear of Oldham Athletic, who occupied the last relegation place. Oldham would need to win all three of their remaining games to have any hope of staying up.
Given they had picked up two points from their previous four games, surely Palace were safe. The players were so confident of their Premier League status they enjoyed what appeared to be a celebratory lap of the pitch in front of their relieved home fans at Selhurst Park. Geoff Thomas, the Palace skipper at the time, says they did not necessarily think it was all over. We knew there were still games to be played but we did feel we probably had done enough.
Premier League managers should forget the mythical point mark | Football | The Guardian
The faintest alarm bell rang when Oldham went to second-placed Aston Villa the next day and beat them 1—0, keeping alive their slender hopes of survival for at least one more match. On the Wednesday night, Palace ground out a goalless draw at Manchester City, which meant Oldham would have to win their last two games — against Liverpool and Southampton — to stay up on goal difference.
He only scored 13 goals in his whole Oldham career but he scored two in a minute that night. What was previously a distant hope had now turned into a distinct possibility. On the final day Oldham had to beat Southampton at home and hope Palace would lose at Highbury. Palace were in trouble and Thomas knew it. I got him on my own, pulled him and said 'he just beat me with skills'. Everyone is fighting and I got him over like an experienced pro. Then Rooney comes over and says 'you won't believe it, he's crying'.
No, what happened was that someone got injured so I went from centre-back to right-back and as soon as that happened, Alex Ferguson put Nani to the left wing straight away. So I'm thinking 'I'm either going to get tight, I'm going to tackle him or I'm going to foul him. There's no way I'm letting him get the ball and run at me'. So I've got there and the ball did jump up at me, I went for it and it just disappeared so I caught him on the shin. I've seen the reaction of all the players but like I said, I got Phil Dowd on his own, had a word with him and we came to some sort of a deal. To be fair, Liverpool had been singing songs about me all game so I thought 'they need to have a bit back don't they?
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Absolutely, it was worth a match ban! It was probably one of the best moments because we were struggling at the time, we hadn't won the league for three years and it just felt like one of the best moments we had in a couple of years.
Every time we scored against Liverpool and it was a winner, and you knew it was a winner, I would celebrate. For me personally, that's what it's about. I think Steven Gerrard has celebrated in front of the United fans a few times, Robbie Fowler definitely did and you've just got to take it on the chin.
Premier League managers should forget the mythical 40-point mark
I think this was the first win I had at Old Trafford, or that group of players under Gerard Houllier would have won. I gave the free-kick away. I think it was the handball into the box. I think we went on a run of four or five games after that. It was like that with Manchester United v Liverpool games where someone would win and they would go on a little bit of a spell, but I think for the people in the picture especially - myself, Michael Owen, Danny Murphy, Steven Gerrard - we were young players playing against United, our biggest rivals and going for so long without a win was a massive psychological boost.
I think we won three years on the bounce there after that. That Houllier team were horrible to play against. You used to just play counter-attack, it was a bit like playing Leicester last season, although they were probably better than Leicester, but that was the style of play. A tight back four, tight in midfield and then a counter-attack through Owen.
I think it's fair to say in that spell we had with the way of playing and the cup final in , we found a way to beat Manchester United. I've got a picture that I tweeted out a few years ago that says 'welcome to Anfield' as a mock of the sign and it was me taking a throw-in and fans behind me with hand gestures, shall we say, and it's quite a good picture similar to this one.
They're not happy, the boys and girls. They've got that look of not really hate, more like they feel sorry for me.
That's the realisation there, the look on my face and I know it's actually gone in. I think that was Massimo Taibi's first game. I'm trying to change the subject, can we get onto that? We lost and that was Houllier's first summer of signing players and there was a lot of pressure on me as he had bought two centre-backs.
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It felt like it was only a matter of time before I was out of the team and I think I gave him as good of a reason as you can get. Not necessarily straight after that but Stephane Henchoz and Sami Hyypia came in and I basically had to find a new position or probably have to leave and I ended up at right-back or left-back over the next few years. That was the nightmare day. I'm still reminded of it to this day.