Monday, 12 May 2008

'Tis the (end of) Season'

Derby County celebrate their first ever
Premier League title in an alternative
reality at Pride Park on Sunday

And so the curtain goes down on another Premier League season. In an afternoon totally orchestrated by Sky TV, kick off at the JJB stadium was delayed in order that simultaneous split screen pictures from Stamford Bridge could be beamed to every Manchester United fan in the Home Counties and beyond. In the studio, dozens of possible permutations were enthusiastically hypothesised. Jamie Redknapp was particularly buzzing, although he is still new to punditry and will have to endure a few 0-0 draws on dreary Monday evenings in Middlesborough before he becomes lobotomised like some of the rest. Ray Wilkins, who looks more and more like a potato every time I see him, is a good example of this.

It was put to Wigan boss Steve Bruce before the deciding game that some had questioned his allegiances, and that his managerial integrity was in question. The three-time title winning Manchester United captain and ingratiating friend of Alex Ferguson, with an obviously burning desire to some day return to Old Trafford, was of course quick to dismiss these rumours. The real question of his managerial credentials should have been why, as a defender himself, he still employs the stumbling calamity that is Titus Bramble

All Chelsea could do to prompt a frantic dash with the trophy down the M6 was to score a goal or two at home to Bolton, something that pretty much everyone else had achieved at some point in the season. A Manchester United win would see a second successive title for Alex Ferguson’s men, and so any impartial viewers’ hopes of a nail biting finish rested with Wigan putting a stop to United’s dominance. To their credit they gave it a good go, they defended sternly and Heskey came close to scoring on two occasions in the second half. The afternoon belonged to the defending champions however, with a penalty in the first half converted by Ronaldo, whose behaviour was more toddler-like than usual, followed by a strike from none other than Ryan Giggs, who secured his tenth league winners medal with the club fifteen minutes from time and nearly caused Fergie to choke on his gum with excitement.

Meanwhile in West London, the news filtering through from Wigan gave Stamford Bridge an atmosphere akin to a funeral, and was compounded when Bolton equalised in injury time. Indeed a funeral march may have been an apt choice as some of the Chelsea players left the field, a chance for the fans to pay their last respects to the likely departure of Lampard, Shevchenko and possibly Drogba in the summer.

At the bottom of the table, Fulham continued their impressive run of form to ensure Premiership survival, beating Portsmouth away from home. Victory for the West London club resulted in heartbreak for Reading and Birmingham however, whose valiant efforts saw them both score four and win their respective games only to be swallowed up by the relegation quagmire that drowned Derby sometime back in September.

Elsewhere, as a two fingered salute to Thaksin Shinawatra, owner of Manchester City, Sven guided his team to an impressive 8-1 defeat in what is likely to be his final game in charge, and with so little to play for, with their holidays imminent, Liverpool’s match with Spurs was presumably played out in Flip flops.

Everton secured fifth place to ensure European football next season with Yakubu proving himself quite the opposite to the total waste of money and (considerable) space his acquisition seemed to spell.

Cue the summer break then, when the tabloids crank up the rumour mill with wild transfer speculation. I am told, for instance, that Elvis has just signed for West Ham.
Elsewhere, Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan plans to strengthen his squad by selling everyone he owns, apart from Michael Owen.

Finally, I would like to propose a moment of reflection for Derby County. An epitaph of their catastrophic season was beautifully delivered via text message upon the final whistle to my brother from his friend at Pride Park. It read simply ‘Crap.’


Matthew Thomas said...

"Liverpool’s match with Spurs was presumably played out in Flip flops."

Laughed my arse off mate. Excellent first few posts. I' have bookmarked the page and shall return.

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