You don’t come here for this, right? FourFourTwo is a bastion of informed and entertaining football opinion – not a place for such flimflam. Yet we can ignore it no longer: it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the vast Game of Thrones story arcs are stolen directly from the Premier League. And we don’t just mean the alarming number of bastards.
Each club is a character, aiming to be crowned kings of the land. Although we have to say we couldn’t find matches for some of the more horrific, mass-murderers like Ramsay Bolton, The Mountain or Cersei Lannister. No, not our brave Prem boys. Even if King Joffrey is pretty clearly Manchest…. Sorry, where were we? Right, let’s get started. Apologies for what you’re about to read.
Arsenal: Sansa Stark
Stylish, elegant, visually appealing, with an illustrious heritage – and often within touching distance of power. Yet recent years have been painful and many loyal supporters wish there was just a bit more backbone on display. Key debate: should they really keep listening to the honeyed words of long-term advisor Lord Arsene Littlewenger?
Bournemouth: Samwell Tarley
When they first came on the scene, they were no one’s idea of an elite-level operator. ‘This cherry-cheeked chump won’t last long,’ we thought. Yet while they aren’t the most fashionable or physically dazzling, they’re cleverer and cannier than they appear. A low-key success story of brains triumphing over brawn.
Brighton: Robb Stark
There’s a widespread warmth toward these good-hearted young wolves (or gulls) who’ve risen to power the right way and boast a devoted group of followers. And yet… Let’s be honest: the worry is that they could be a bit out of their depth here. We fear this may all end in bloody disappointment far earlier than they'd like it to.
No fancy titles to boast about – and certainly not born with a silver spoon in mouth. The first time you saw Bronnley, you probably assumed they were expendable cannon fodder (or you just thought, ‘Isn’t that the other one out of Robson & Jerome?’). Yet to the surprise of many, these gruff, gritty battlers haven’t been killed off and may yet survive longer than we all think.
Chelsea: The Night King
Relentless, formidable, feared and loathed by the other major players. If you’re not a follower of this piercing blue terror, you probably want to see them crash and burn. The problem is that while there’s always hope of a sudden, shattering triumph for the opposition – they often seem to rise again, as powerful as they ever were before.
Crystal Palace: Lord Beric Dondarrion
The ultimate comeback merchants. Go down and out for the count with alarming regularity – only to return once more from the dead with a near-superhuman regularity. Boast a loud and loyal band of supporters, but aside from their continual revival there is – to quote The Hound – nothing that special about them. This about sums it up for many:
Everton: Jon Snow
Spent the early seasons looking grim in bad weather and generally being ignored by other richer operators – yet they do actually boast a glorious past heritage. Recent years have brought a steady rise in importance, but with so many flashier lords around, we’re not sure they will ever really rule the land. (Additional note: may well share some family ties with Daenerys Targaryen, but don’t bring that up as it only gets awkward.)
Huddersfield: Tormund Giantsbane
Wow. We never thought we’d see them these wildling warriors this side of the great divide – yet here they are: unrefined, hairy arsed, wild-eyed and ready to give as good as they get in battle. Does it still look slightly odd to see them mixing it with the preening, Premier League dandies they've looked at from afar? Yes. But despite appearing expendable, these tough northerners may yet survive an imposing winter.
Leicester: Brienne of Tarth
Underestimate them at your peril. For a long time, looked at as nothing more than an ugly duckling and the butt of many a cruel joke. But all that changed when they triumphed in a series of memorable, titanic battles against opponents who many assumed would be too strong. Taken far more seriously since then.
Liverpool: Daenerys Targaryen
Began the series with all the noble heritage and lineage you can imagine, yet – how can we put this kindly? For all that fine history – and some successes on foreign soil – they haven’t actually ruled over the land that was once their domain since their ancestors were around. Recent upgrade in firepower has helped, but the process of placing them upon the throne they see as rightfully theirs still hasn’t come to pass.
Manchester City: Arya Stark
For so long, a ragtag, muddy-faced wanderer who was treated with general disdain. Yet something has changed quite dramatically in recent years, as the family drop-out has turned into one dangerous customer to encounter. However, despite their newfound, nimble attacking skills, you get the feeling that they’re still searching for a face that fits and a real identity to call their own.
Manchester United: Jaime Lannister
Mega-rich, handsome, swashbuckling in style and the very best in the land at what they do in the early years. It’s no wonder they were/are so widely hated by neutrals. Yet recent years have been harder on them after the devastating loss of an irreplaceable right hand [man]. At least it's given everyone else a fighting chance.
Newcastle: Theon Greyjoy
Hail from some windswept land up north with a proud heritage – but, boy oh boy, have this poor lot had to endure some hardships. Mainly at the hands of a cruel and horrifying master. Still a central character with plenty of swagger (in the past) – but you have to wonder when they will catch a break from all this seemingly endless torment.
Southampton: Tyrion Lannister
At first glance, you might look at them and think they’re a pretty insignificant player in this wider game. Yet appearances are deceptive. They may not be glamorous or imposing in stature - and they know they’ll likely never wear the Premier League crown themselves – but this is one of the smartest, savviest operators in a world of savage henchmen blundering into one another. (Plus, they basically serve Daenerys Targaryen, i.e. Liverpool.)
Stoke: Stannis Baratheon
Intimidating, foreboding opponent practised in the art of war. Nobody looks forward to encountering them on the battlefield. Yet for all their military precision and toughness, they're one of those operators who you spend hours and hours viewing on TV, then when it gets to their finale think: why did I actually bother watching all that? (Would definitely burn own daughter for three points though, which shows epic commitment if nothing else.)
Swansea: Grey Worm
Be honest: you barely even noticed them when they first arrived. Humble, neatly organised, probably won’t last more than a few seasons was the consensus opinion. Well, look how far they done come. Despite being physically outmatched by more muscular opponents, these warriors and have held their own thanks to discipline, putting the team first and slick attacking. Will probably never ascend to true power – but not to be underestimated.
Tottenham: Ser Davos the Onion Knight
Cut a frustrated figure during early seasons as – despite some popularity – never seemed to be on the winning side. “I’ve never been much of a fighter,” could also sum up a team which tended to shy away from the physical. As could Ser Davos’s follow-up: “Apologies for what you’re about to see” (a line which probably appeared on Spurs’ matchday tickets until about 2009). More recently, however, there’s been a rise in rank and importance, even as they face off against richer foes. Trending firmly upwards.
Tend to come in and out of the story quite a bit – vanishing for whole seasons in fact – but have cropped up again recently sporting a cool new look. Despite being of minimal importance to the plot so far, we reckon these strong, likeable boneheads are now here to play a key part in the battles to come. Or something.
West Brom: Varys the Spider
The arch survivor. Came from humble beginnings, but have risen up from the ranks below on their own merits. Nobody else really pays that much attention to them, but they go about their business competently. Also... erm, bald (Tony Pulis, right?) and… Look, we’re running out of characters here, so let’s just randomly assign The Hound to some club and we can all get on with our lives.
West Ham: The Hound
Yes! Deal with it. Sweary, grumpy, rough-and-ready rogues who often seem to be their own worst enemy – but they boast a sort of gruff charisma and a cult (we said cult) following. Would love nothing more to stick it to some of the big brothers they’ve grown up alongside in the capital of KingsLandan, yet they’re just too busy picking fights to come up with any long-term strategy. Fair play.
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