Aston Villa and Newcastle United are two of the oldest and proudest names in English football.
Whereas they might never have been the global brands some EPL rivals now are, they have always drawn crowds in good times and in bad.
In fact according to a table compiled on Third Kit, Aston Villa are the fifth most successful club in England, as measured by points accumulated in the top division.
Newcastle are ninth.
Villa are ahead of such luminaries as Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.
The Birmingham club were one of the members of the inaugural Football League in 1888, and have only spent eleven years outside the top flight in the 124 years since then. Two of those were in the 1930s, another in the 1959/60 season, before an agonising eight year absence from 1967 to 1975. (There was no league football during the two World Wars).
They have spent 102 years in the top league, second only to Everton with 110. They have also won the Champions League, seven league titles, seven FA Cups and five league cups.
Newcastle have four league titles and six FA Cups. They have the sixth highest average attendance in league football since its inception.
Those are the good statistics. Here are the bad ones.
Between them Newcastle and Aston Villa have conceded 26 goals in their last five games. Newcastle led three times against Manchester United on Boxing Day and managed to lose the lead three times and the game 4-3.
Today they trailed Arsenal three times and equalised three times. When Frenchman Sylvain Marveaux made it 3-3 on the hour mark, there was every chance of Newcastle winning the match.
However the North London sky fell in on them and they shipped four goals in the last 22 minutes, which is a rate of one every 5.5 minutes, or a goal conceded every 330 seconds.
Villa lost 8-0 at Chelsea but recovered to be at a respectable 0-0 stalemate at half time at home to Spurs in their next game.
Then the West Midlands sky fell upon them, dragged down by their North London opponents who scored four unanswered second half goals aided by a Gareth Bale hat trick.
It is of course comforting that those game were against Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs, all sides with great historical pedigrees and no mean amount of talent.
Today Aston Villa hosted the EPL side with the most modest pedigree of all, Wigan Athletic.
The Latics were a non league team until 1978 when they entered Division 4 of the Football League as it was then.
The town was most famous for its highly successful Rugby League team.
Over the next 27 years they battled their way up to the top division before lowish crowds, due to competing not only with the Rugby League side but having both Manchester clubs, as well as Liverpool, Everton, Bolton and Blackburn within 25 miles or so.
Their attendances have been the lowest or second lowest in average in the EPL every season since they arrived in 2005. But despite that, they have beaten the odds to survive and finish 10, 17, 14, 11, 16, 16 and 15 in their seven seasons.
However a poor early start to this season has prompted many to predicy that their time has run out and cast them as relegation favourites. The Lancastrians arrived in Birmingham this morning with just 15 points in 19 games and rooted in the relegation zone.
They thrashed Villa 0-3 with the home crowds seeping out as soon as minute 55 when the third goal went in. Wigan leapfrogged them in the table. To make matters worse, there were good results for sides below them. Reading won and Southampton drew.
Newcastle are now 15th and Villa 17th, one place (and one point) above the drop zone. However, there are some very agreeable fixtures ahead.
Villa visit Swansea on New Years Day. Newcastle host Everton a day later. Both present chances to halt the slide especially as the sides around them have tough ties. Wigan host Manchester United and Southampton host Arsenal. Then on January 12th it’s crunch time as Villa host Southampton.
These are nervous days for two of English football’s giants.