verb (used with object), rel·e·gat·ed, rel·e·gat·ing.
to send or consign to an inferior position, place, or condition
A terminology that is rarely used in sports in America is closely creeping up in the EPL/BPL or the good old League (for those that grew up with it). The cost of relegation from the Premier League can be around $40million (that was 2 years ago). Add another $10-15million nowadays and you are missing a heavy chunk of change. The prestige of playing in the EPL is probably the most important thing to fans, but to businessmen it’s all about the Benjamins.
In May 2012, we lost Blackburn, Wolves, and Bolton while QPR was saved by a result of Bolton losing on the final day of the season. I still wish QPR could have won that day – but that’s a different story. The relegation battle is a battle that no one wants to be involved in, but as we all know it’s truly heating up. One of my first candidates for the drop is QPR. Although Harry Redknapp has come on board, I think it’s a bridge too far for the man that owns the transfer window/deadline day. You will always see good ‘ol ‘Arry driving his car out of training with the window down, talking to reporters about potential signings. I think the demise of QPR was set out early in the season and they have struggled to get back into the game (although a win at Stamford Bridge does help – a lot). Can you blame Mark Hughes? Yes, the buck stops with him, but those players have got to take some blame. A number of journeymen looking for one last pay day – Jose and Julio amongst others, surely must carry some of the blame. Also history is not on their side as being bottom at Christmas dooms you to relegation. In the EPL era only Bryan Robson’s West Brom battled from the basement to secure their EPL status in 2005.
Players you want in a battle to stave of relegation are evident in the teams in the lower half of the league. You have Lee Cattermole at Sunderland, Christian Benteke at the Villa, Fabricio Coloccini at Newcastle, along with James McCarthy and James McArthur at Wigan. I think these teams are relegation candidates, but I don’t believe they will suffer the ultimate fate. Martin O’Neill is a very good manager, he isn’t great, but he is very good. Talk about him managing a big club I think are wide of the mark. He can work with smaller teams and on a budget, but I think bigger clubs are beyond his realm. He is from the same area of the world as me and I would like him to do very well (Brendan Rodgers is also from the same area, but I just don’t want him to succeed right now at his current club). So with O’Neill’s experience I think he will be able to get his Mackems to relative safety. One of his understudies, who seems to be following in his footsteps by coaching at Wycombe, Norwich, and Aston Villa, is Paul Lambert. I do know a few Villa fans and there is one in particular, I would love to see deal with the pain of relegation. I would still receive my “Whoops” texts when anyone scores against United, but to suffer the anguish and pain of relegation would be awesome just to see his face. You know who you are! Villa will stay up because Lambert’s Lions are young, but he has brought some of the older heads in such as Given, Ireland, and Bent to steady the ship along with Benteke up top and Vlaar at the back. The Villans will preserve their status for next year.
Lastly, Southampton is my other candidate to go back to the division they left a little under 7 months ago. They have a young team and a very inexperienced manager, who incidentally was a kit man a few years ago. Nigel Adkins has done very well getting the Saints back into the Premier League, but just like Reading they will be going back the Championship. I think both teams were on a tight budget, but didn’t spend well. I think this will be their downfall. It sets it up for a rip roaring end to the season. My thoughts will be on the race for the title. Good luck to everyone, just buckle yourself in and enjoy the ride. That’s what football is – pure emotion, elation, excitement, exasperation, and entertainment. That’s why we love this game.
Who will win the Premier League? - check out Dave Clarke's analysis of the top 7 clubs this season.