The 10 Year Challenge is sweeping social media at the moment.
The idea of the challenge is to post a picture of yourself from 2009 and then one again from this year and then basically show how much you have changed (thus there’s no point in Angela Bassett and Paul Rudd doing it). But how would the Premier League clubs fare at the 10 year challenge? How have they changed in the last decade? We had a look.
Arsenal: the constant
2009: Aaron Ramsey’s first season
2019: Aaron Ramsey’s last season
So much has changed at Arsenal in the last decade. They’ve seen entire sides be built up and broken down; watching Jack Wilshere’s entire Arsenal career come and go, and of course the departure of absolute legend Arsene Wenger. But the one constant has been Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman signed in 2008/09, and will play his last season in 2018/19 before departing for Juventus.
Bournemouth: place in the English football pyramid
A decade ago Bournemouth were teetering on the edge of existence. At the start of 2009 they were second from bottom in League Two, 91st place in the English football pyramid. Now in 2019 they are a fully-fledged Premier League side sitting smack bang in mid-table.
Brighton: home ground
2009: renting Withdean Stadium
2019: Falmer Stadium
A decade ago Brighton had no permanent home and were renting Withdean Stadium, a multi-purpose sports arena which was mostly used for athletics and had, at one point, been a zoo. Now in 2019 not only are they in the Premier League but they have the delightful Falmer Stadium, complete with a capacity over 30,000.
Burnley: record signing
2009: Chris Eagles (£1.25m)
2019: Chris Wood and Ben Gibson (£15m)
Back in 2009 Burnley weren’t an established Premier League side under a popular and well-regarded manager. They were, however, an emerging force in the North West and as a signal of intent they signed Manchester United academy prospect Chris Eagles for £1.25m. Fast-forward to 2019 and powerful striker Chris Wood and defender Ben Gibson have both been signed in the last year and a half, costing the Clarets £15m each!
2009: Peter Ridsdale’s Langston consortium
2019: Vincent Tan
Neil Warnock’s rant about Brexit and being better off “without” Europe is amusing given Cardiff’s ownership history. Over a decade ago Cardiff were run by Peter Ridsdale’s Langston consortium who were so corrupt that Cardiff took Langston to court. Then in 2010 the club was sold to Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan who has made them into a serious Premier League club. Someone tell Neil.
Chelsea: academy graduates in first-team squad
In 2009 Chelsea had just four academy graduates in their squad, and only John Terry was a regular. Since then the Blues have invested heavily in the youth academies, yielding seven FA Youth Cup wins (including five in a row) so, of course, you’d expect the Chelsea academy to be represented more than they were ten years ago. And, well, they’re not. They still only have four graduates, and worse, none of them are regulars and their most talented prospect, Callum Hudson-Odoi, could well leave the club to get more minutes. Oh dear.
Crystal Palace: longest spell in the top flight
2009: Four years
2019: Five years and counting
Crystal Palace have always struggled to maintain a place at English football’s top table. 10 years ago the longest they had managed to spend in the top flight was just four years. Ten years on and they’re currently halfway through a decade in the division and don’t look like stopping!
Everton: the real 10 year challenge
2009: Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka play for Everton
2019: Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka play for Everton
Back in January 2009, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka were playing for Everton. They were young and dynamic. Ten years later and Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielksa are somehow still playing for Everton. Of all the other clubs in Europe’s top five leagues, only Barcelona (3) can top the Toffees in terms of club servants capable of doing a 10 year challenge (and it becomes a draw if we include Seamus Coleman who arrived in summer 2009 and is still starting for them today).
Fulham: summer transfer spending
Fulham were relatively ambitious a decade ago, a settled Premier League side, they wanted to be more. So they spent about £20 million to bring in new faces including Bobby Zamora. Ten years on, however, newly promoted Fulham spent more than £100m in their attempts to establish themselves in the Premier League… and it’s not even working!
Huddersfield: record signing
2009: Marcus Stewart (£1.2m)
2019: Terence Kongolo (£17.5m)
Huddersfield were a small club back in 2009, not really a relevant force. Their record signing was still Marcus Stewart, who they had signed all the way back in 1996. Now in 2019 they’ve blown that out of the water by spending nearly £18m on Dutch defender Terence Kongolo.
Leicester: top-flight league titles
A decade ago, Leicester had no top-flight league titles. Understandable, really, for a club of their size. Now in 2019 we are just two and a half years removed from the Miracle of Miracles when Leicester won the Premier League. Go on you Foxes fans, say it… Leicester City, former Premier League Champions. Feels good, right?
Liverpool: handling the pressure of a title race
A decade ago, Liverpool had their best side since the 1989 league title winners and looked dead-set on capturing the Premier League. Then Rafa Benitez cracked under the pressure with a hilarious rant about facts and Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United romped to a threepeat. Now in 2019 Liverpool are top and probably have a side that could contend to be better than the 2009 group, and they’re in a title race with mighty Manchester City, and they are coping just fine. Seems like having a brilliant hipster doofus like Jurgen Klopp is better than a high-strung tactical genius like Rafa Benitez if you want to cope with pressure.
Manchester City: cost of their bench
Manchester City had been taken over by an owner with a dodgy human rights record and had splashed a bit of cash, so back in January 2009 could afford to have a bench worth an impressive £31.9m! A decade on and despite being taken over a wholly different owner with a wholly different dodgy human rights record, City are now spending at an absurd rate. Their most recent Premier League bench was signed for over £200m!
Manchester United: all-time top goalscorer
2009: Sir Bobby Charlton – 249 goals
2019: Wayne Rooney – 253 goals
Sir Bobby Charlton sscored a colossal 249 goals for Manchester United. No one thought the record could be broken: so many genius goalscorers tried and didn’t come close. Then Wayne Rooney, who was a legend for United but whose best days were behind him, should have been sold in the summer of 2013 but stuck around for four more years and smashed out 56 goals to break the unbreakable record.
Newcastle: record signing
2009: Michael Owen (£16.5m)
2019: Michael Owen (£16.5m)
Back in 2009, their record signing was Michael Owen who had cost them £16.8m. This was fair enough for a mid-table side a decade ago, but with the massive inflation football has undergone since then you’d expect Newcastle’s record transfer to at least double, right? Wrong. Mike Ashley is allergic to spending money on The Magpies, apparently, and Owen remains the record. Abysmal.
Southampton: record sale
2009: Dean Richards (£8.1m)
2019: Virgil Van Dijk (£75m)
For a great example of both how a club can progress but remain in the same football place, look at Southampton. The Saints sold Dean Richards for £8.1m at the start of the century and that remained their record for a while. In 2019, however, we are one year removed from Saints setting an eye-watering new record by making £75m for defensive demi-god Virgil Van Dijk.
Spurs: summer transfer spend
Back in 2009, Spurs were a side making concerted efforts to break into the top four. As such they spent a whopping £92.5m in the summer of 2008. They really went for it. In 2019, with a loaded Spurs squad looking to actually challenge for the title, they spent absolutely nothing. Yeah, that’s right. Mauricio Pochettino’s genius and the players he has developed are the only reason Spurs haven’t crashed hard this season.
Watford: managerial stability
2009: three managers in one season
2019: Javi Gracia renewed
Watford have been all over the place for a while. There’s not been much stability since Aidy Boothroyd left just over a decade ago. The Hornets actually had three managers in one season (four if you’re being stingy and insisting the season ends on 30th June). That instability carried on under the Pozzo family’s regime, except now, 10 years on from that madcap season Javi Gracia has just become the first manager to actually have his contract renewed. Has stability reached Vicarage Road at long last?
West Ham: record attendance
West Ham have always had legions of passionate supporters (including more than one movie star) and they used to pack out wherever the Hammers would play. A decade ago they set their attendance record at Upton Park when they played Arsenal, and then this year in 2019 they set it again in the unique London Stadium, amusingly enough the opponents were Arsenal once again.
Wolves: starting XI
2009: no Jorge Mendes
2019: full Jorge Mendes
Back in 2009 the dominant presence at Wolves was the charisma-machine Mick McCarthy as manager. In his image, he had a team composed of British and Irish talents and Wolves were an interesting side who liked to punch above their weight. Fast-forward to 2019 and super agent Jorge Mendes is the dominant presence at Molineux, stocking the club with players he represents and giving a distinctly Portuguese feel to this Midlands club. How things change, eh?