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All Things Footie | Monday, May 12 | Jordan

They think it’s all over

Roll on a dull three months without football. How crap. This season really seems to have flown by, it seems only yesterday that Wayne Rooney was being touted as the next big thing and ending Arsenal’s unbeaten run with his superb strike at Goodison park. Yesterday saw the presentation of the Premiership trophy to Manchester United at same ground - they’ve got a habit of turning up at these Premiership parties.

I wouldn’t say I as gutted to see West Ham go down, but I was devastated Bolton stayed up. I hate Sam Allardyce with a passion, the Walrus faced discourteous w*nker. After yesterday’s match he all but said ‘well, it’d have been worse on me if we went down, compared to Trevor [Brooking]’. It’s always worse on you isn’t it Sam? He went on to say it was a ‘proud moment in the history of a proud club’. Well, if your proudest moment is just managing not to get relegated despite spending a fortune on players and paying two internationals (Jay Jay Okotcha and Youri Djorkaeff) £70,000 a week, then it can’t be a very proud club. Relief Sam, not pride.

I’m very interested to see what’ll happen to West Ham. With all due respect to the club that raised him, I think Joe Cole has been held back by West Ham. There’s no one at the club who can teach him anything he doesn’t already know, and at his age he needs to learn. He needs to play with the likes of Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira, Edgar Davids, Zinedine Zidane or David Beckham to better himself and become an England regular. Given the commitment he’s shown to his beloved hammers by staying there this long, it would be disappointing if the fans begrudged him leaving and saw it as jumping ship.

Talking of jumping ship, I don’t actually fancy West Ham’s chances of coming straight back up. Like Derby, Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday before them, they’re too much of a footballing side for the first division. As I predicted twelve months ago, Leicester have bounced straight back despite being one of the worst Premiership sides I’ve ever seen last year - but they had/have the right stuff for Div 1. West Ham will struggle, and unless they really improve at the back and hold on to most of their stars I think the play-offs will be their best hope. I reckon that like Leicester, Sunderland and West Brom stand a much better chance of bouncing straight back up automatically.

Isn’t it a crying shame Liverpool won’t get a chance at playing in the Champions League next season? They could have brought their special breed of long ball football to the glamour cities of Europe again and make the Premiership look like it’s having trouble breaking out of the bad old days. Along with Sunderland, West Brom and Tottenham; Liverpool have consistently played some of the dullest, most uninspiring and downright awful football in the Premiership this season. Chelsea on the other hand have been scintillating at times and can be a joy to watch; there’s no doubting that Claudio Ranieri is a great bloke too, I’m happy for him.

He’s certainly a lot more likeable, less bitter and more entertaining than the irritating boggly eyed freak who manages the worst team ever to finish in the top five. When asked yesterday if finishing fifth this year after taking second place last season was a step back for the club;

‘you call it a step back, I call it a plateau’ — Gerrad Houllier

Hmmm. If you define a plateau as something that slopes downwards then yes.

I’ve got so much more to say about this year. Expect many updates this week, end of season awards (including the Djimi Traore award for extreme doginess) and why anyone who thinks that Ruud Van Nistelrooy may have been a better choice than Thierry Henry for player of the year is wrong, wrong, wrong.

One more thing for all United fans who mocked Arsène Wenger’s claim that Arsenal have been the better team even though United won the title. Do you remember this? It’s a shame that Ferguson couldn’t come up with a retort quite as witty as Wenger’s ‘everyone thinks he has the prettiest wife at home’ remark from last year.

I’m not endorsing either manager’s assertion by the way, just reminding anyone who mocks one must be willing to mock the other. I don’t think either were right to be honest, Arsenal cannot claim to be the best team this season because they didn’t win the league, and didn’t deserve to. I think they have the best player in the league, and I think they played the best football; but that does not mean they deserved the league.

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