Monday, May 14, 2007

On a Sad Note…

It was a tough weekend for the Football Fan-atic. While I was pleased that Real Madrid won in a thriller to take over a piece of first place in la Liga (something I never would have dreamed of three months ago) my heart was mostly with Sheffield United, who finished their season in 18th place and thus will be relegated out of the Premiership next season.

Sheffield’s problems were fairly obvious to anyone who watched their games, or even to those who just read the box scores: the Blades could not score enough goals. Yesterday, when their lives depended on it, at home, they could only score one against a poor Wigan team. (Who, as a result, are staying up.) They went through key stretches of the season where they didn’t score for games on end.

Some conspiracy theorists (I’m looking at you, Neil Warnock) will claim that Sheffield often got the short end of the stick, and they are probably right. Their first game of the season was marked by a sketchy penalty given to Stephen Gerrard and they ended their campaign wondering aloud if West Ham should have been docked points for irregularities regarding the signing of their Argentine wonder-boys. The later controversy will perhaps lead to court battles, and it is within the realm of possibility that Sheff may yet stay in the Premiership if West Ham ends up relegated (as a result of points being docked) sometime over the summer.

However, I doubt it. Warnock himself has said this will all probably be swept under the rug, largely because the big clubs have “better lawyers.” At the end of the day, however, Sheffield still had a chance to stay up, and they couldn’t get the job done. Shame.

I will miss those guys. I will miss Warnock and Rob Hulse and Paddy Kenney and especially Phil Jagielka, my favorite player on the squad. Some of them will wind up on premier teams next season, and some will stay with the club and try to come back up. Regardless, guys, thanks for the fun this season. I enjoyed it. Since I live in the states, I won’t be seeing much of you next year (we don’t get much Championship football here in the U.S.A.) but I’ll be checking the scores closely every week.

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