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The Ten Biggest Football Stories of 2023: Chelsea, Man City & More

When it comes to generating headlines, the wonderful world of football spews out a constant stream of major stories, controversies and more.

Narrowing the list down to the ten biggest football stories of 2023 is no easy task, particularly given some of us around here have a memory like a sieve.

However, we have racked our brains to identify the top stories of the year, starting with one which threatens to upset the established order in football.

The Saudi Pro League transfer splurge

Having previously been dismissed as a footballing backwater, Saudi Arabia has been on a mission to throw a spanner in the works over the last 12 months.

Saudi Pro League clubs have splashed the cash on numerous players from the top European leagues in a bid to be taken more seriously on the world stage.

Shelling out £12 million on Jordan Henderson and numerous other underachievers suggests they have a long way to go before they break the glass ceiling.

Manchester City join United as treble-winners

Manchester City etched their name into football folklore in 2023 by claiming the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble.

They joined Manchester United (1998/99) as the only English club to achieve the feat, although rival fans argue their successes are tainted due to alleged financial breaches.

The outcome of that case may yet cast a shadow on City’s accomplishments, but it is only fitting to acknowledge their triumph until a verdict is rendered.

Bellingham secures dream move to Madrid

Jude Bellingham’s rise up the ranks has been remarkable to witness and it appears he is well on track to become one of the greatest midfielders of all time.

After leaving Birmingham City for Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham quickly established himself as a standout performer in the Bundesliga.

Real Madrid splashed the cash to secure his services last summer and have been richly rewarded, with the England star sparkling for the Spanish giants this season.

Everton hit with a ten-point deduction

Society works on the theory that any punishments issued for incidences of law-breaking should fit the crime. This concept appears to be alien to the Premier League.

Deducting ten points from their tally for financial rule breaches when the report acknowledged Everton’s rule-breaking was not deliberate was extremely harsh.

The team have shaken off the punishment to edge out of the relegation zone. If there is any justice, they will power towards mid-table as the season progresses.

Santos lose their top-flight status in Brazil

One of South America’s most iconic clubs recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons after suffering relegation for the first time in their 111-year history.

Santos, where Brazilian legend Pele spent most of his career, dropped into the second tier after a dramatic final round of league fixtures.

Victories for Bahia and Vasco da Gama coupled with a defeat for Santos sent them tumbling out of the top flight in one of the biggest ever shocks in world football.

Luton complete remarkable journey

When Luton Town were relegated out of League Two at the end of the 2008-09 season, it seemed the final blow for a club that had fallen on hard times.

The Hatters refused to lie down and embarked on a mission to regain their league status – a feat which took them five years to achieve.

Fast forward to the end of last season and Luton had their fans weeping tears of joy as they claimed promotion to the Premier League by winning the Championship play-offs.

Girona shake-up La Liga

Girona’s recent 4-2 victory over Barcelona at the Nou Camp sent a message to the rest of La Liga that they are genuine title contenders this season.

The result left them two points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid and seven in front of Barca and Atletico Madrid. Despite this, no one expects them to stay top.

However, having beaten Barcelona for the first time in their 93-year history, it would be foolish to underestimate Girona’s chances of defying the odds this season.

Emery makes Gerrard look silly

Heading towards the latter end of 2022, Aston Villa looked more likely to drop into the Championship than establish themselves as title contenders.

After recognising that Steven Gerrard was completely out of his depth as manager, Villa turned to Unai Emery in the hope he could salvage something from the wreckage.

It has taken Emery just over a year to guide Villa into title contention in the Premier League. This is what happens when clubs appoint proper managers.

Chelsea owners have more money than sense

Chelsea have been the gift that keeps on giving during 2023, with the club’s new owners proving that having loads of money does not necessarily equate to having brains.

Their scattergun approach during the last few transfer windows has left Chelsea’s squad looking about as balanced as a one-legged man in a backside-kicking contest.

Appointing Mauricio Pochettino as manager – one of the Premier League’s most famed nearly-men – looks to be another example of the club’s ongoing ineptitude.

Welch handed a chance to shine

Social media was a cesspit of misogynistic nonsense following the announcement that Rebecca Welch will become the first woman to referee a Premier League match on December 23.

Given the lousy job that most people think male officials have been doing, maybe people should give Welch a chance to prove she is capable of doing the job?

Welch has looked extremely competent on her previous forays into men’s football, so deserves the opportunity to show whether she can handle officiating in the top flight.

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