Newcastle poised for tense finale to relegation soap opera

May 20, 2009

England’s most popular soap operas thrive on a weekly recipe of misery, doom and gloom that is gobbled up by television viewers seeking some relief from their own trials and tribulations.

In that sense, the final weekend of the Premier League season is quite similar.

With Manchester United already polishing the trophy again after sealing a third consecutive title last week, neutral television viewers are salivating at the prospect of watching the suffering of fans of Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Hull City and Sunderland as their clubs desperately scarp for top flight survival.

Like the inevitable rubber-neckers at road traffic accidents, there is something cruelly compulsive about the raw emotions of relegation D-Day.

For those poor fans at Villa Park, the KC Stadium, Upton Park and The Stadium of Light, fingernails will be whittled down to nothing as their sides hover between survival and exile from Planet Premier League and all its hype and glamour.

Sadly, there is usually one club that the majority of neutral voyeurs want to see fall off the cliff — and this year they play in black and white stripes.

Newcastle are seen as a club suffering delusions from grandeur, a trigger-happy approach to hiring and firing managers and for many, the epitomy of all that is rotten with the Premier League.

Massive salaries for sub-standard overseas players, big debts, big egos. Big fat nothing in the trophy cabinet. It sounds very much like Leeds United of a few seasons ago and look where they are now.

West Bromwich Albion gained tremendous respect this season for their football and their dignity despite already being relegated. They are bound to come back sooner rather than later.

Middlesbrough too have shown admirable loyalty to manager Gareth Southgate, a young English coach who trusts young home-grown players.

Hull have also contributed fully to an interesting Premier League season, their first in the top flight, playing exciting football in the early months and at one stage mixing it with the big boys in the top six.

Newcastle have also added plenty of colour. Kevin Keegan’s shock exit, the fans bitterness to owner Mike Ashley which involved threats to his safety, the recruitment of a manager with a heart condition and a nice touch in Anglo-Saxon expletives, plenty of player strops and finally the recruitment of TV pundit Alan Shearer as coach, yet another Geordie Messiah.

Add in the antics of wildman Joey Barton and the sulking Charles N’Zogbia (named Insomnia by recovering manager Joe Kinnear) and it really is a heady brew.

So thanks Newcastle….it’s been great fun watching you this season and we will all be tuning in for another 90 minutes of black (and white) comedy on Sunday.

PHOTO: Newcastle United’s manager Alan Shearer (R) and his assistant coach Ian Dowie gesture to their players during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham in Newcastle, northeast England May 16, 2009. REUTERS/David Moir


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well theres only one newcastle and they dont do anything the easy way maybe they have left it too

Newcastle are a team that have underachieved for years now. A team full of quality players, which makes it even more confusing as to why they are in this situation. I think a clear out is needed players like gutierezzzzzz just don’t cut it. A whole new defence wouldn’t hurt either!

Posted by Melville Lauffer | Report as abusive

Something Tells Me Alan Shearer is Due some Poetic Justice. Two managers left him out Vs Villa and Got Fired. So Losing To Villa and getting him relegated would be full cycle. Saying that, Am Really hoping Thisd Wonderful fans have a premiership team Next season. Howie Boys

Posted by Njau | Report as abusive

Mr Herman is to be congratulated for capturing the feelings of many football supporters towards clubs such as Newcastle. Along with Leeds, they have been elevated to a position which in reality is far beyond their worth.The media have been guilty of assigning a position of gravitas to a club who in almost every aspect, is consistently performing well below average. To supporters of all football clubs, whether they be in the Premiership, championship, lower leagues, the barrage of media comments relating to the inflated value of this club and it’s supporters is offensive in the extreme. To follow your club, whether it is Burnley, Bury, Manchester United or Colchester, away from home on a wet and cold weekday evening, to return home and be told that the Toon Army are the greatest thing since sliced bread, is laughable. This club is the same old house of cards that has a new shiny joker picking the team. Thankfully, a gem of a piece of journalism which exposes the emporer as having no clothes.

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

And it was written.Owen at United!Cheer up Alan Shearer, Oh what can it be, to be a S***E Jordi B*****D – and a S**** Football TEEEEAAAAM!