April 14, 2006

Sunderland relegated after "best result of the season.": EPL bottom team Sunderland held 2nd-placed Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford today, dealing a terrible blow to Man U's chances of catching leaders and defending champs Chelsea. Be that as it may, the result was worse for Sunderland. The Black Cats were relegated, trailing 16 points behind second-last West Bromwich Albion with five matches (and 15 maximum points) to go.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 04:22 PM - 22 comments

Is this going to be Sunderland's worst EPL record ever, topping (bottoming) their record when they were last relegated, just a few years ago? What was their previous record? When were they last relegated? 2002/2003?

posted by worldcup2002 at 04:23 PM on April 14, 2006

If it doesn't say Schevchenko, I care none for soccer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by im050483 at 05:22 PM on April 14, 2006

Sunderland have, I think, a good chance of setting 3 Premiership records this season. Least points, least goals scored and the first team not to win at home.

posted by squealy at 06:40 PM on April 14, 2006

The rumour was that Sunderland were not going to try against Man Utd, so they would be relegated today and not against arch enemies Newcastle later this weekend. But, given their record this season, how would anyone have known? :-)

posted by owlhouse at 07:42 PM on April 14, 2006

Oh, touche, owlie, touche.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:58 PM on April 14, 2006

Good lord I wish Major League Baseball had relegation.

posted by xmutex at 11:33 PM on April 14, 2006

This really does suck. Manchester United was clearly the better team.

posted by united-soccer at 11:54 PM on April 14, 2006

I met a guy, on business, from Sunderland a few years back. He was happy with the team in the First division or championship or whatever they want to call it now. A great season for him would be to finish in the divisional playoffs but lose. because going up to the EPL means that the team, who just don't have it, spends a year getting their assess kicked and go back down. might as well cut out the year of misery and stay down. though that was just his opinion.

posted by gspm at 01:25 PM on April 15, 2006

Good lord I wish Major League Baseball had relegation A great season for him would be to finish in the divisional playoffs One of the many good things about the open structure of European football leagues is that no-one tries to merge or move your 'franchise'*. I'd much rather Derby County get relegated to a lower division and keep their identity than suffer this. *Of course, Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes fucks up this analysis. But they have suffered, oh how they've suffered. And AFC Wimbledon will probably see the MK Dons going past them the other way very soon.

posted by owlhouse at 04:29 PM on April 15, 2006

*Of course, Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes fucks up this analysis. You've just made me realize this is the same team, owlhouse. I don't follow follow many clubs once they're relegated and somehow had it in my head this MK Dons I kept hearing about was some new Wimbledon sponsor or something...I had no idea Wimbledon actually moved. So...let me get this straight....the old Wimbledon moved to Milton Keyes and AFC Wimbledon is a new club started in its place? Is that right?

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:14 AM on April 16, 2006

You're right, Texan. Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes and are now known as the MK Dons. The supporters left in SW9 formed a new club (AFC Wimbledon). Karma seems to be working. The MK Dons look like certainties for relegation to League 2, while the boys from Southwest London are in the Isthmian Premier League after promotion last year. We also talked about this kind of thing a few months ago in relation to FC United of Manchester, formed by Red Devils fans after the Glazer takeover at Old Trafford. Can't find the link, sorry.

posted by owlhouse at 07:12 PM on April 16, 2006

That should be SW19, before anyone points out my distinct lack of 'The Knowledge'.

posted by owlhouse at 07:17 PM on April 16, 2006

Somehow I think AFC Wimbeldon have a better chance of catching and passing the old club than FCUM. Unless they scrape together the cash to buy Rooney...

posted by billsaysthis at 02:46 PM on April 17, 2006

Other good news this weekend was that Accrington Stanley are back in the League after an absence of more than 40 years. They won the Conference title on Saturday. Somehow I think AFC Wimbeldon have a better chance of catching and passing the old club than FCUM Like the old Accrington Stanley, Man Utd could always go broke and be kicked out of the League...

posted by owlhouse at 04:04 PM on April 17, 2006

Sunderland are the worst team to ever play in the premier league. Possible in the old division one as well, although I don't have the stats to hand. The fact is they did not improve their squad enough to give themselves a chance, which goes to show the gulf in class between the premier league and the championship. Take note Reading and the Blades: West Ham and Wigan were surely worse teams last season but they made the acquisitions to raise their level and have both been a breath of fresh air for teams coming up. Having said that, the result against Manchester United shows the beauty of football. On their day even the worst teams can beat the best, and this is part of what makes us love the game. Out of the teams staring relegation in the face this season, I hope Birmingham can stay up. I think "old fat head" has been very unlucky this season with injuries and the squad has undoubtedly underperformed as a result. They deserve a break. Pompey are on a bit of a charge at the moment, but if they survive they'll have "bought" it. I know there's a couple of Brummies on here, good luck in the last few fixtures lads.

posted by walrus at 12:57 PM on April 18, 2006

Having said that, the result against Manchester United shows the beauty of football. On their day even the worst teams can beat the best... The problem I have with a viewpoint like this is that some people often confuse getting a result with playing entertaining football. Sunderland put 11 men behind the ball, got a terrific game from their 'keeper and rarely touched the ball in United's half. If this represents the "beauty of football" then we've been hoodwinked into believing this is a great game. Give me a team that pushes for goals and loses and they'll earn mountains of respect. Sunderland had no intention of actually playing the game on Good Friday but they got a point so...to each his own, I suppose.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 02:12 PM on April 18, 2006

walrus, welcome back.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:03 PM on April 18, 2006

walrus, welcome back Alright mate. Should have been on here all year but I forgot my password! The problem I have with a viewpoint like this is that some people often confuse getting a result with playing entertaining football. Says the non-matchgoing fan (nothing personal, just find this to be a commonly held viewpoint amongst armchair fans). Personally I go to the match to support my team, sing my guts out and have a few bevvies with the lads, as much as anything else. I love football, and each game is fascinating on its own merits. I'd pay to watch Liverpool if we never scored again. At one point this season I wasn't convinced we would! You don't have a right to be entertained by scintillating football and buckets of goals, and anyway a nil-nil draw with attack against defence can be just as nailbiting and exciting as a 5-0 thrashing. Often more so. The problem with your viewpoint, if I may be so bold, is that it caters to "superteams" and elides much of grassroots football. It also perhaps misses much of what it is to be a supporter: the highs must be balanced by the lows as in many walks of life.

posted by walrus at 07:29 PM on April 18, 2006

It would be terrific if we were all fortunate enough to live nearby and be healthy enough to attend matches in person. I personally go to games as often as possible but yes, the vast majority of my viewing pleasure comes through the TV. As far as I can tell, I'm no more or less a "fan" than anyone else. Of course we don't "have a right to be entertained" and I don't need you, walrus, or anyone else explaining to me the merits of some nil-nil games. I've played in, coached or watched enough games with that scoreline in 35+ years of involvement to see the beauty in no goals. But I'll never see anything remotely beautiful in games where teams pack it in with no intention of going forward and playing the game honestly. In this particular match, with all things considered (the wages the players are on and the talent that represents, the size and expectations of the clubs involved, etc.) Sunderland did very well to keep the score level. For many of players they put on the pitch, this will be the biggest result of their lives and they deserve to enjoy it. My point is if they really wanted to win the game they would have done what most teams (thankfully) do all the time and that is to go forward and try to score but on this day their instructions were obviously to keep a clean sheet and hope for scraps at the other end. This has nothing to do with "superteams." Teams like West Ham, Wigan and Portsmouth in the last few weeks have shown they have the character to attack and I don't think anyone would confuse them with being "superteams." It has to do with playing the game with an intent to win, even if you risk exposing your back line. I'm not trying to oversimplify this point but all I'm really arguing for is an honest effort to win the game. To the point of 0-0 results: I'll never forget coaching a men's team in Houston a few years ago and we needed 1 point to win the league going into the last game of the season. Appropriately enough we were playing the second place team that final game and it was baking hot...about 95 degrees and 90% humidity. Luckily, the league had an open substitution law so we could get fresh legs in whenever required. The instructions to the players were to go for it as much as the conditions would allow, putting pressure on our opponents and hoping for a goal or 2 that would crown us champions. I swear it felt like the longest game in history. The teams went back and forth, up and down the pitch, slugging it out (figuratively) the whole way and truly leaving it all out there. We got to the 90th minute and the score was still 0-0 and we're all looking at the ref wondering how much time he was adding on....6 minutes. In that heat. Bastard. Anyway...out of pure exhaustion...my guys started taking a little time for throw-ins, goal kicks, etc., and when the 6 minutes ticked away we're all screaming at the ref to end the game. 2 more minutes for time wasting he tells us. For chrissakes. Then I make 2 changes to get fresher legs in and as the second guy is going in the ref tells me he's going to add 30 seconds to the game for each sub. We're now in about the 98th minute when the opposing team musters up one last attack on our goal. This little foward they had from Leeds absolutely cracks one from just inside the box. It bangs off the crossbar and straight down to the feet of our 'keeper and has such an overspin on it that it bounces up over his head just as he was reaching back to swat it out of the goal mouth and away for one of our defenders to knock it upfield. Before his clearance hit the ground the ref finally blew the whistle and we won our first of two trophies in a row. And it all happened on my birthday. What a game. What a day. I doubt there will ever be a nil-nil I will enjoy more.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2006

Sure hope you gave the ref a little celebration after the whistle. Not that I'm advocating violence against refs but man that was just some meanspirited shit.

posted by billsaysthis at 03:19 PM on April 19, 2006

I didn't mean anything personal with my comments Texan. I just have a very different outlook on football, I think. Neither viewpoint is more or less valid at the end of the day, so I'm sorry if I came across as too critical.

posted by walrus at 10:57 AM on April 21, 2006

Apology humbly accepted, walrus, and just as humbly offered. There was no need for my "I don't need you...." rant. That was uncalled for and out of order.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:22 PM on April 24, 2006

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