April 29, 2006

Chelsea champs.: And Birmingham and West Brom, two Midland teams, are relegated along with poor, poor Sunderland. And this with most teams still left with two games to play. While the season is "done" for teams at both ends of the table, the possibility of my team Liverpool taking 2nd place from Man U still remains. They're tied on points with the Mancs after today's 3-1 vanquishing of Villa (not a good day for another Midlands team) and the Mancs' 0-3 title-deciding loss to Chelsea.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 11:16 AM - 22 comments

I'm an EPL newbie. Can anyone tell me how big a deal the relegation of Birmingham and West Brom is to those clubs?

posted by rcade at 11:56 AM on April 29, 2006

I am somewhat of a newbie as well, so I will let others handle the heavy lifting in rcade's question. However, I will say that one of the things I have noticed in the few years I have been following English football, is that some players on relegated teams don't want to play for a lower division team and demand transfers, etc. Obviously losing quality players then makes it harder for a team to climb back up. As for the first link in wc02's post, Mourinho is still an arrogant ass. Bragging about the team's success over the last 2 years (especially after a 50 year drought) is one thing, but bragging about HIS success over the last 4 years is another. Jerk. Congrats to the players. I adore Arsenal but I hope any other team but Chelsea wins next year. Especially since this is Arsenal's year to win the Champion's League ;)

posted by scully at 12:23 PM on April 29, 2006

Congrats to the mighty blues, a repeat in the EPL is a tribute to their team leaders, Terry, Lampard, Cole and Mackele(sp), who have been awesome all year in the league. I am a huge football fan and chelsea is one of my favs. Mourinho is a bit cocky, but it goes with the city that chelsea rules...they will have there hands full next year, aresenal and man u will be very good and liverpool wont suck so it will be an exciting epl, cant wait.

posted by sauceysays at 01:34 PM on April 29, 2006

Go the Gunners! I'll be cheering them on (even tho I'm a Liverpool fan) against Ronaldinho (even tho I'm a Brazil fan) and Barcelona during the CL final. As for rcade's question... How big a deal is it for teams to drop from EPL to the 2nd ... erm ... 1st ... erm ... Championship ... Aside from the disappointment and embarrassment, and the loss of talent, as described by terrapin, there's the matter of money. It depends on the club. Obviously, they can't charge as much as before (or they may, if fan support is strong, and they have a good chance of getting promoted right back the following season - it's happened, ask Sunderland ... erm, never mind). Also they may not get as good TV and sponsorship deals. Once again, it depends on the club. West Ham prob. didn't suffer too much going down, and hey, they've survived their first season back. If they're structured for EPL costs (salaries) and heavily-leveraged on transfer fees with the presumption of EPL participation, then they're usu. screwed (see Leeds). It's not insurmountable, and, once again, totally dependent on the team. I'm sorry I don't have exact no.s or more examples but SpoFites like squealy and Fat Buddha might have some real experience to speak from, having seen Birmingham come up, survive a few seasons but, today, drop back.

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:44 PM on April 29, 2006

Reading and Sheffield are marked for promotion... who do you guys think will come out of the Watford, Leeds, Preston, and Crystal Place playoff?

posted by igottheblues at 03:12 PM on April 29, 2006

I'm still mourning Wolves complete late season breakdown, but I like Watford to move up just so I can listen for... *are you shagging, are you shagging, are you shagging elton john?*

posted by scully at 03:49 PM on April 29, 2006

Here's the goals from Chelsea's title-winning match. Joe Cole's looked the best, with that swivel, shimmy, bounce and acceleration away from the midst of three defenders, and the final rising swerving shot past the keeper.

posted by worldcup2002 at 04:03 PM on April 29, 2006

Not mentioned in this post is that Wayne Rooney suffered a broken foot in the loss to Chelsea, and is expected to be out for 6 weeks or so. Sure hope he is ready for the World Cup. ESPN had a news item that "Chelsea's Rooney suffers broken foot" which has since been pulled. Stoopid American press.

posted by scully at 06:02 PM on April 29, 2006

So true terrapin, let's hope that Rooney will be ready for the World Cup. He's an important part of the English team. I'm a Red Devil myself, today's result is a double blow.

posted by georgieB at 09:48 PM on April 29, 2006


posted by united-soccer at 12:57 AM on April 30, 2006

I found some interesting stats from an interesting site. Being on the second rung of the football league ladder (whatever the hell they are calling it now) means considerably lower attendance (and therefore gate revenues). There's also some info on prize money on that site, but nothing current and nothing for the lower divisions. One thing you do get when you drop out of the Premier League is a 'golden parachute' to ease the burden on clubs who will suddenly have to reshape their financial systems, plans and expectations. I don't know how much the parachute is worth though. In short, it can be devastating for the relegated club. As an example, which I am far too hungover to research properly, take Oxford United - they were playing top flight football as recently as 1988 but are now clinging to the very foot of the football league (i.e. might get relegated from the fourth division, or the B&Q Not Quite As Good But Still Worth Watching Honest League as it's now known). It's like many other sports I suppose - people measure the health of the game in general by taking the temperature of the top clubs, teams or individuals. In football's case, there's a hell of a drop off (financial and emotional) from Premier League status.

posted by JJ at 07:46 AM on April 30, 2006

Joe Cole's looked the best, with that swivel, shimmy, bounce and acceleration away... Around midnight last evening Rio was seen on the pitch at Stamford Bridge just outside the penalty still looking for Joe Cole, such was the quality of that move. You know a move is effective when the defender doesn't even know he's been had. Chelsea's win was emphatic and United looked overwhelmed from the start. Ronaldo has disappointed once again and as a United fan I wouldn't mind seeing him sold with the money used for a central midfield general. Lampard intimidated Ronaldo out of the game with a couple of early challenges (yes, Lampard!) and he was never a threat. And...what the hell United were doing abandoning their wide game, I have no idea. Chelseas sucked them into the middle of the pitch, won the midfield battle and it was game over. Well done to Chelsea. THAT is how to win a league!

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 09:26 AM on April 30, 2006

Thanks for the answers. I did some fishing to see what relegation meant specifically to Birmingham City and West Brom. It looks like Birmingham City reached the Premiership four years ago for the first time since 1986, where they had been in the top division for all but two of the preceding 16 years. West Brom reached the Premiership in 2003 and doesn't appear to have been there very often in the preceding decades. Their story's a bit more interesting, since the leading scorer in their promotion campaign is serving a jail sentence for a car accident that killed someone in another car.

posted by rcade at 09:57 AM on April 30, 2006

Awesome site, JJ. I figured you'd come through with something like that. Thanks!

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:38 AM on April 30, 2006

Texan, the Guardian appears to concur with your view. Looks like Makalele bossed the midfield for Chelsea, and Man U had no reply. They desperately need a new Keano. Without him around snapping at the opposition, cleaning up in front of defenders and connecting play, trick players like Ronaldo get eaten up.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:43 AM on April 30, 2006

And...what the hell United were doing abandoning their wide game That reminds me, to the folks just getting a foot hold on footie it never hurts to add this phrase to your repetoire to assess a team struggling on the field: "They need to play with more width". It seems to apply in every situation. Knowing nods all round. Concerned mmm's. If they are playing with width and aren't scoring then the answer is probably to play with even more width. And I don't know width when I see it. It is fun to say.

posted by gspm at 06:13 PM on April 30, 2006

You need more width, gspm.

posted by worldcup2002 at 07:41 AM on May 01, 2006

CRonaldo has been a big disappointment IMO too for this year, now that other clubs have had a year to adjust to his style, which I think is better suited to Spain or Italy and so no harm in a transfer. Besides Keane, Red Devils really miss Scholes and Heinz, who hopefully will both return for the new season. I am surprised to now be reading that Ballack is headed for Stamford Bridge since I could swear two months ago the rumors (for an England move) had him signing for ManU, who certainly need him more. If the Blues also sign a top striker as mooted, and retain the 4-4-2 for most games, who is losing playing time in the midfield from Ballack, Lampard, Essien, Makele, Duff, Cole and SWP (classifying Robben as a striker though he often plays from the wing and that Geremi is transferred or converted to fullback with Gallas replacing Carvalho in central defense)?

posted by billsaysthis at 03:47 PM on May 01, 2006

Ballack gives Mourinho a versatile option in midfield. Ballack can play a Lampard-style attacking midfielder role as well as a holding role (should Essien and Makalele be unavailable). I see Mourinho rotating (in this order) Ballack, Essien and Makalele, with Lampard as the only top choice. When Ballack starts on the bench, he can be brought in as fresh legs for Lampard or Essien or Makalele. If Chelsea wants to win more than the EPL championship out of each season, they'll need this. Ballack only cares for the CL at this point in his career, so he'll probably figure more in Euro games.

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:24 PM on May 01, 2006

Ronaldo has been a disappointment for more than just last season, for much of his time here he's been all foreplay and no cigarettes. He an undoubtedly talented player and surprisingly good in the air, but he lacks final product. (Another phrase to go with gspms "Width.") As for Ballack's addition to Chelsea's midfield, Lampard and Makelele seem to be the only ever-presents in Jose's ideal system and I'd expect Cole, Essien and Ballack to rotate through the other two roles. Duff and Robben will be used as and when Jose sees a need for them, predominantly off the bench. I wouldn't be surprised to see Robben leave in the off-season anyway. SWP will struggle to lose playing time, as he's only started nine games this year.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:18 PM on May 01, 2006

They have the Keane in Alan Smith...He just hasn't been healthy in a while. And when you're pinning your title hopes on John O'Shea and Ryan Giggs playing center mid, you are in some deep trouble. I heard one of the announcers say during the Chelsea match that those two were the reason Man U were making a late run at Chelsea...I just don't see it. Giggs maybe 5 years ago, but John O'Shea is just a nimble defender, not a general. Maybe they could steal GudJonsen away from Chelsea with his decreased role.

posted by Ricardo at 08:03 PM on May 01, 2006

Alan Smith ... a replacement for Roy Keane? That's like saying cheddar cheese and water biscuits are a replacement for caviar on toast. And in the broadest possible sense, both statements are indeed correct.

posted by walrus at 10:49 AM on May 03, 2006

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