It's the end of the English Premier League for another year...and what a way to end it!
I don't want to utter too many cliches, but there were highs, and of course lows...as with every football season...but more so this year!
If you follow English football, you'll know what I'm talking about..if you don't, then you have missed out on real drama...drama good enough to rival stuck up, pretentious theatre plays in London. You see, it all came down to the last weekend of the season to decide who won the Premier League title...and what made it even more sweeter, was the fact that it was two great rivals competing for that coveted trophy...Manchester United...and...Manchester City.
I shall describe to you what happened in my lounge, in front of the magic picture box yesterday in a moment, but first...what happened to my team...Blackburn Rovers...also in the Premier League...but no longer.
Blackburn Rovers, who I have supported since 1989, when they had no money, and built their squad from local talent and experienced cast offs from around the leagues...have this season been relegated to the lower division. What happened to this once mighty club, who are in an elite group of teams who have won the Premier League....they were sold to chicken farmers, who know next to nowt about football..or what the club stood for, and represented in the local community. Rovers had been struggling financially for some time, since 'Uncle Jack's' money ran out...the same money that improved the stadium they occupy...and the same money that of course bought the Premier League title in the 1994-1995 season. The then board 'The Walker Trust', had a decision to make...battle on....or sell up and cut your loses.......they opted for the latter. Unfortunately they sold to the Venky's, who know alot about chickens...but not alot about football...and in their non existent knowledge they decided to sack the one man who probably could have kept us in the league...Big Sam Allardyce. We wouldn't have been top of the table, and we wouldn't have been bottom...somewhere in the middle if they had stuck with him. Another thing they promised (The Venky's), was investment in the squad...did it happen....erm...no. We ended up losing our best players, and using the small profit from their sales to buy some not so great players...apart from The Big Yak, who has been a bargain!
The season has gone from the ridiculous, to the down right miserable. Promises were made from our non present chicken farmer owners that were never kept, and our man at the helm of this ever sinking ship, just kept looking at the positives. Now I commend him for this, but Steve Kean has got to admit to himself, and the fans, that this season has been a shambles...and no it isn't going to be alright next season..because our remaining skillful players will leave to stay in the Premier League with other teams. I totally lay blame on the shoulders of the majority of the players, not all of them...some have put in some magnificent performances...others not so much. The squad have to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves..did they want to stay up...because from what I witnessed from the games I saw..there wasn't enough passion to survive. Eleven players on the pitch should all be putting a shift in, but too many times, it didn't look they could be bothered...and that angered me so much! They have been given this wonderous opportunity, to play football for a living...and get paid a huge amount of money to do so....yet they don't seem to realise who pays their wages.....the fans! If the fans don't like what they see, they will protest...as they did, in their droves...and more so, towards the end of the season....directing their anger at the manager....who give him his due, kept his nerve, under ridiculous pressure from the baying mob...and tried to get on with the job in hand. You can't blame Steve Kean...he didn't play one game for Rovers...not once did he pull on a shirt, tie his boots, and come on as a sub....blame the players.....you morons in the crowd! They are the ones who didn't put a shift in...even though they are getting more money in a week, than most of you get in a year.
If anyone is to blame in all this realistically.....it's the Walker Trust...for panicking, and selling out to totally the wrong people....soap box moment over.
So back to what I started this blog about in the first place...the big game yesterday. Manchester City needed to win their match against Queens Park Rangers to win the title...Manchester United needed to win their match, but also needed City to not win...both on the same points, but City had the goal difference in their favour. Anyway, the scene was set, both matches kick off at the same time, and I had decided to watch the City game, because it was theirs to lose....plus I hate United, so I pledged my support to the blue half of Manchester.
The match kicked off, and the tension was unbearable from the first whistle...you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. It was all City in the first half..trying to get that all important break through....then Zabaleta seized his opportunity...with a lucky goal that looped it's way over the top of the QPR keeper, and into the net. I cheered as it crossed the line, and some of the tension was released from my body..(not like that...sicko). Again, it was all City, trying to get another goal...then, who should pop up..Djibril Cisse, taking advantage of some poor defending courtesy of Lescott for City..and Cisse's power and speed took him through on goal with the ball, and struck hard and low past Jo Hart to draw it level. This was becoming too much to handle, especially as news was coming through that Rooney had scored for United, meaning at that stage, United were top of the table. Then more drama, the thug..Joey Barton (who shouldn't be playing football), lashed out at Tevez...then kicking in frustration Aguero, after being given the red card. As he was pulled from the field, Mario Balotelli tried to get in on the action...it begs the question...why have a t-shirt asking 'Why always me'....when it is always you...being a knob!
Then against the run of play, which is entirely City, QPR go and score again...which is a great goal by Mackie....a fantastic powerful header into the ground, that evades the sprawling arm of Hart once again. Thus making it 1-2 to QPR, and meaning that United are going to win the title.......phew...this game is taking it out of me.
By this stage of the match, I've already had a couple of bevvies, and I'm really getting quite involved in this amazing game of football. Alot of shouting at the magic picture box, and shuffling around in my chair as Dzeko is brought on for City in the latter stages of the match. Now Dzeko hasn't had the best of seasons...so I was wondering whether he would be up for the task at hand....and boy was he!! In the dying minutes of normal play, the huge Bosnian managed to find space in the QPR penalty area, and smashed a great header into the back of the net....absolute craziness ensued! The City crowd go mental, and so do I as the players grab the ball and run back to the centre circle ready to kick off. They only had seconds to score the winner, that would clinch the title from their arch rivals United....at this point I was off my settee and just inches from my screen...clutching my pint glass, screaming at the telly 'COME ON CITY..YOU'VE STILL GOT TIME'!!
Then something truly unbelievable happened....(see video).....I cannot describe to you what noise came out of my mouth...but I haven't made a noise like that, since watching Blackburn Rovers when they were at their peak.....and it's been a while.....I yelled so hard that my Hernia popped out (I have a hernia by the way)...it was almost like he wanted to join in the celebrations!! I felt utter euphoria for the players...the manager....but most of all the fans....who had been on the worlds biggest roller coaster...and survived!!
The Manchester City players showed real guts, passion and belief that they could win that game....and it paid off...they got their reward...and gave me, one of the most entertaining, exhilarating games of football I've seen in such a long time.....and I thank you for that!