The last day of the Premier League season rarely excites as much as it did yesterday. Sunday 22nd May 2011 was essentially unscripted prose with just a hint of improv comedy as the teams exiting through the stage door changed on no fewer than seven occasions.
When all was said and done, the two sides falling through the crevice to the Championship were Birmingham City and Blackpool who both paid for very different seasons.
Blackpool’s ride was an eventful one and those who like to be excited will point to it making some kind of statement. Trying to score more goals than the other team isn’t really the most sensible of schemes to try and stay in the Premier League and in the end it was how they came unstuck. The league as a whole saw a record high of 1,063 goals. The Seasiders may well have achieved the enviable honor of scoring the most goals (55) of a team to be relegated. Conceding 78 offsets this being of any advantage whatsoever.
The parlous state of the other side to drop down will be far more worrying. Since winning the Carling Cup back in February, their descent has taken in a mere two wins. Boss Alex McLeish will point to injuries and it ultimately comes down to a lack of funds to reinforce a threadbare squad in January. If you thought West Ham have problems, the effect could be tenfold at St Andrews.
Owner Carson Yeung has continually been dogged with financial problems and with relegation comes the realization that this could be yet another club that enters administration. If they thought winning the Carling Cup and then being relegated was a fall from grace then they have a big shock to come.
The three sides that managed to avoid the dreaded drop had conflicting afternoons. Blackburn were pretty much safe by half time. Going in three goals to the good it looked as though they had condemned hosts Wolves to a return to the Championship. The game finishing 3-2 in favor of the visitors meant that Wolves has somehow escaped for yet another season.
Lastly was a side that had been largely written off going into the last day. What people really don’t seem to realize with Wigan is that they possess one of the most talented young managers in the division. Roberto Martinez has worked wonders with a team that is realistically not amongst the best 17 in the country. It’s a pity that the credit doesn’t seem to veer his way. Wigan being in the Premier League for a seventh consecutive season is a victory for all involved though.