Monday, May 12, 2008

Final resolution - Premcorrespondent

Well, now we know. After 380 games, 35,000 odd minutes this year and over more than 10 seasons - it is official. Derby are the worst team to ever play in the top flight.

They mustered a meagre 20 goals all season, while conceding nine more than Man U scored. More damning still, they won just one game. Cloughie must be spinning on his celestial bar stool.

So poor are they that Reading, needing an 8-0 away win to avoid relegation themselves, could reasonably entertain the prospect. Sadly for men of the Madejski stadium they only managed four.

Birmingham, despite an impressive 4-1 win against a more than able Blackburn side, join Reading and Derby in the Championship next season. Their players will now cross the Midlands and join West Brom's relegation dogfight for next season.

Fulham won the final day up of the relegation battle, more through luck than design, as they were facing the favourites for the FA Cup – who for the first time in years were mid-table nobodies and had nothing to play for. A 1-0 win against Pompey reserves keeps them in the top flight for another season and the first team in caviar and Viagra for the summer at least.

In the race for that all important "best of the rest" fifth place, Everton triumphed thanks to a 3-1 win over Newcastle. Keegan, no doubt, is currently penning a rant about the unbelievable boringness of a top five that is set in stone and demanding £300 million in transfer money to try and break into it.

West Ham finish a creditable 10th (despite spending the proverbial £300 million on players of proven Champions League form such as Belamy, Parker and Ljungberg), drawing 2-2 with "second best of the rest" Aston Villa.

The result of the day has to go to the troubled Teesiders at Boro, with an 8-1 romp against Man City. Once Richard Dunne had been sent off, this fit and proper team decided to tackle no one all game to try and hold onto their back door into Europe via the fair play league. Alfosno Alves, confronted with the marking he was used to in Holland, proceeded to score a hat-trick, Downing knocked two in and even Aliadiere managed to net for the reds.

Arsenal rounded off their season with a 1-0 thrashing of Sunderland, Sunderland were already safe and the Gunners had secured Champions League football for their sparkly new stadium for the next year at least. Maccums can look forward to a summer Roy Keane will spend hunting the fields of Ireland and Mellwood for new recruits, while Arsene Wenger will live up to his reputation as an Alsacian and patrol the grounds of the Emirates attacking anyone carrying a chequebook.

Liverpool gave Spurs a lesson in the ways they need to improve to break into the upper echelons of the league. Buy Torres and care about the result even slightly. A 2-0 win sees the reds finish 11 points clear of the rest of the pack and lets them try and qualify for the group stages of the Champions league.

I'm now off to bathe in an ice-bath to try and prepare myself for the summer of implacable rain that will surely follow this sunny May.

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