And other last day musings….
Well Survival Sunday, as Sky have so loved to label it this week, turned into a bit of a damp squib as all four teams involved showed little desire to stay in the top division.
Much of the tabloid hype pre-match surrounded Sir Alex Ferguson’s team selection, with the Sun claiming the three North-East clubs would be so furious if a weakened team was put out they would start legal action (though rather unsurprisingly when questioned on the issue the three respective managers didn’t seem that fussed).
Well when they caught wind of Fergie’s starting XI, six members of which had played in the Manchester Senior Cup the previous week, they must have started to feel a little nervous.
But while everyone was making a fuss about United they neglected the fact that Hull are so dreadful Fergie could have played himself up front with Mike Phelan on the wing and they could have brushed past Phil Brown’s outfit.
I know the Tigers did superbly in the first half of the season, receiving genuine plaudits for their style of play rather than just patronising slaps on the back for punching above their weight. But surely as the Hull fans jumped around the pitch in celebration they must have known they have effectively stayed up by default? One win in 21 isn’t the sign of a team fighting for their lives.
But that didn’t stop perma-tanned wonder (David Dickinson has been booted off that particular pedestal) Phil Brown snatching a microphone for a sing-song with the fans after the game – where did that booming voice come from??
I thought for a moment Pavarotti had arisen, donned a leather jacket and futuristic mobile headset and warmed up for a rendition of Nessun Dorma with the City faithful. It was cringe worthy to say the least, and what is now known as a \’Delia Smith’ moment.
We can look forward to more Phil Brown antics next year though as they survived due to a team actually being worse than them – yes you know who.
I deliberately haven’t mentioned the Geordies till now due to everyone else seemingly going on about them. I haven’t known such a popular relegation since Leeds United, most fans I know seem utterly delighted that the circus at St James’ Park has finally succumbed to relegation. I think that in part is due to the fuss the media make of them. Sky in particular have had a love affair with all things Black and White since Kevin Keegan threw away the league in 1996. They also have a habit of tracking down the most moronic, incoherent fans and inviting them to comment live on TV about the latest chapter in the Geordie soap opera – which surely paints an unfair picture of what is on the whole a passionate, loyal fan-base let down badly by the club they so slavishly support.
Since Keegan Mk I there has been a succession of false dawns, knee-jerk sackings and over-paid under-performing players. While I wouldn’t wish relegation on anyone, it is a horrible thing to go through, maybe this is the wake up call the club needs to arrest the slide in standards that has been going on for years.
A clear-out and a few years out of the limelight could rejuvenate them….or they could \’do a Leeds’ and disappear without trace. Either way it seems a safe football bet that it won’t be the last you have heard of Newcastle United.