Are we immune to second season syndrome?

Juninho suffering second season syndrome!
There are many unexplained things that happen in life. How does the man who drives the snow plough get to work? How have Aston Villa never been relegated from the Premier League? Why do men have nipples?

Another strange thing that happens is the phenomenon known as second season syndrome. Second season syndrome is the phrase used to describe a downturn in fortunes for a football club, two seasons after its promotion to the Premier League, especially if the first season after promotion had brought a strong finish. Which we certainly did after our comfortable mid-table finish.

Examples of this can be found throughout the history of the Premier League. The Smoggies were promoted to the Premier League as Division One champions in 1995, and started the following season well and despite a dismal run of mid-season form which saw them lose 10 out of 11 games, but they still finished 12th in the final table, comfortably clear of the relegation zone. That summer, manager Bryan Robson splashed the cash on high profile foreign stars like Fabrizio Ravanelli and Emerson. The new signings performed well, but Middlesbrough were relegated the following season in 19th place.

Perhaps the biggest sufferers of second season syndrome were Ipswich Town. Ipswich won promotion to the Premier League in 2000 as play-off winners, and in their first season back in the top flight they finished 5th and gained a place in the UEFA Cup. But they won just one of their opening 17 Premier League fixtures the following season, leaving them bottom of the table in early December. A run of seven wins from eight games looked to have saved them as they stood 12th at the end of January, but another poor run of form pushed them back into the drop zone and defeat to Liverpool on the final day of the season confirmed their relegation.

So are we too big a club to suffer from this strange infliction? Is our squad too strong for this? Yes, we have made some quality additions to the squad so far, but we must bear in mind that we have lost our two top goal scorers from the Premier League campaign of last season. One of which was well documented to be a great presence both on the pitch and in the dressing room, he was obviously made captain for a reason!

With plenty of time left in the summer transfer window we may be surprised by signing players of good quality, but we are also susceptible to the reverse of this with players like Jose Enrique, Jonas and Joey Barton all being linked with moves to other clubs. Could too many changes with in the squad destroy our great team spirit of the last couple of seasons?

If the new signings don’t gel quickly and we find ourselves struggling after the first handful of games at the start of the season we could find ourselves falling into the same trap as the teams of years gone by.

But surely we are too good, too experienced, for that? Aren’t we?

About jay jay

I live in Birmingham and I hate it!

18 thoughts on “Are we immune to second season syndrome?

  1. I think the second season syndrome affects teams that get too comfortable and dont make big changes in their squad and improve, one thing that Pardew repeated last night was ball retention and pace, we lacked both consistently last season and hopefully the new players will give us that.


  2. Good write up Jay, Of course we can suffer second season syndrome, it looks like we’ll be playing a completely different system with different players which is always a risk and if it doesn’t go to plan will they be up for the fight that follows? Nolan would have made sure they were imo, that’s why it’s even more important that Joey stays because he’s another that get the players up for a fight….if we go 6, 7, 8 games without a win at the start of he season we’ll need big characters, let’s hope we still have some!!


  3. Another reason given is that teams get “found out”, which kind of implies there is a surprise element in the first season. perhaps the fact that we are changing means that it’s anothe first season for us 😆


  4. It’s a worry, but I don’t think we fit the profile.

    The teams I associate with the syndrome are teams that have a sub-premier league tradition. They come up after a long time in the lower leagues, do extraordinarily well for a year, but then return to where they usually spend their time.

    Still, with all the changes afoot, it’s a worry. Anything is possible with Newcastle. I wouldn’t put it past them to blitz the shorts off everybody and end up pushing for a Champions League spot.


  5. I’ve made a similar post in the past about using a vid of Barca tearing Manure apart in the CL final as a training aid for players of all calibre’s, on how to pass your way to 3 points. This was the most comprehensive and complete display of superiority that I have seen for many a long year, and I have following the toon for over 55 years.
    Should Newcastle be attempting to go down this route then the majority of fans must surely be all for it. Yes, it will take time to establish and we may have a few scrapes along the way, but if so, it can only be good for the club.
    I reccommend this bill to the house. HWTL.


  6. Jobey…maybe you could undertake some statistical analysis regarding this topic for us to digest & maybe later we can all slate you for it?!?


  7. Bobby – I shall and am doing.

    Jay – good article mate. I think theres no such thing as too good to go down. Look at the bindippers before KD went back there.

    I think we are looking to add players and grow as a team, obviously losing Jose will affect us but how much obviously depends on his replacement. The core of the team is pretty much there and with better players coming in, and HBA fit hopefully we can look up rather than down. But as always I dont think anyone bar the usual top 5-6 maybe involved, especially if the league is as tight again.


  8. And think with all the positive changes to the squad over the summer, we shouldn’t experience second season syndrome. There is the slight fear that the team won’t gel and be able to pick up on this, but I really believe that preseason will help a lot with that


  9. Andrew – pre season will and of course the first couple of games, but isnt that the same for the majority of clubs? They are all going to be bringing in new bodies so we are just in the same boat as all the others.


  10. It’s a worry, it always is for promoted clubs. For us it could be magnified by the fact we have new players and they may need time to settle. On the other hand these players might be damn good and settle in straight away. We won’t know until about October. Tough start though…


  11. But I feel we’re totally changing our style of football compared with how we started the league last year. Something very different


  12. Which I fully embrace for one. We were too one dimensional and predictable. We lost points too many times through that.

    Anyhoo of home. TTFN


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