RUFC - Premiership? You're Havin' A Laff!
When a group of people talk about football inevitably you find yourselves talking about the Premiership which is fine as it`s the most coveted prize in English football to get there - even if you're only there for one season, it gets you noticed and gets you a few pennies in the coffers which can only be good.
I would think, though I don`t know for sure, that forty to fifty pr cent of football fans and probably around ninety per cent of armchair football fans focus mainly on the top league. You pick up a newspaper turn to the back page and it`s the Premiership. You look on football sites and the first news that hits you is the Premiership news. You turn the TV onto the sports channels and nine times out of ten it`s either Premiership football or someone is talking about the Premiership.
But don`t you think it`s time the 'powers who be` take a look below the big earning boys?
This season has been one of the most exciting I remember as a football fan - from the Championship down to League Two there was such a lot to decide on that final day of the season.
Take League Two and the Millers - we travelled to Plymouth in our droves knowing that a win and results going our way would mean we were up in an automatic place. Well we did our bit but others around didn't follow our plan! This meant we had to do it all again on the final day of the season - which, as we all know, we did and even got into runners-up spot.
At the other end of League Two the penultimate game of the season saw Aldershot Town, who needed a bit of a miracle to stay in the League, went out and beat Dagenham and Redbridge one-nil only to go into the dressing room at full-time to find out that five teams around them had also won. As it stood AFC Wimbledon were joining the Shots in non-league. The final day of the season the Shots had to win at Rotherham with any hope of staying up - they didn't do either. But Wimbledon did by beating Fleetwood sending Edgar Davids' Barnet down and out with a two-nil loss at Northampton.
Doncaster Rovers had to wait until the final day of the League One season to be promoted as Champions. They went into the game at Brentford, who could have also gone up with a win, in second place behind Bournemouth. Bournemouth ended their game with a point in a nil-nil draw with Tranmere thinking they were Champions. In the ninety-fourth minute of the Doncaster v Brentford game with Rovers knowing they only needed to draw to go up the Bees were awarded a penalty. Marcello Trotta took the spot kick, hit the bar and Rovers ran down the other end of the pitch with James Coppinger tapping home the winner for Doncaster taking them above Bournemouth and making them champs.
Portsmouth had been down and out for quite a while with Hartlepool and Bury joining them. But Scunthorpe in that last relegation place gave themselves a bit of a lifeline by winning their next-to-last game away at MK Dons. So going into the final game of the season it was between Scunthorpe and Colchester to go down - the Iron had to win three-nil and the U's had to lose. Well Scunny got their three goals but Swindon also scored making it three-one but Colchester won too so Scunthorpe went down to League Two.
Let's look at the Championship. OK Cardiff were up as Champions but Hull City, who really should have been up there with Cardiff and out of sight lost two games to Wolves and Barnsley who were destined for relegation plus only drew against already relegated Bristol City which meant that going into their last game against already promoted Cardiff meant they had to at least draw but really needed a win to stop Watford going above them. It was all twists and turns when Hull got a penalty and missed and a minute later the referee awarded Cardiff a penalty who scored! What I haven't mentioned is that Watford were one-all with Leeds BUT due to injuries that game was to finish fifteen minutes later. As the Hull fans and players waited for that game to end biting their nails Leeds went and scored. There were a few more sighs and worried looks from the KC Stadium but Leeds held on for the win and Steve Bruce's City side were promoted.
On the final day Barnsley, Huddersfield, Millwall, Peterborough and Sheffield Wednesday were all in danger of dropping into League One. With fifteen minutes to go the Owls looked safe and probably Millwall but it was change and change about between the other three teams with all eyes on Huddersfield v Barnsley. With it looking like Barnsley were on their way to the New York Stadium next season they scored and Huddersfield were in that last relegation spot. Less than five minutes later Barnsley were back down when the Terriers equalised. In the final minute of the Crystal Palace v Peterborough game Palace made it three-two which sent Peterborough hurtling into the relegation places and into League One.
The Premiership? Oh yes, it`s still going on with the players in their masks and special head gear - I can remember when Chris Swailes was at Rotherham and cut his head. No special hat for him. He appeared in a bandage for weeks and weeks (in fact, at a testimonial last weekend it took me a while to remember who he was without his 'famous` bandage!). But I digress. Yes the big boys are still slogging it out although Manchester United won the league ages ago there is still a few teams at the bottom desperately hanging on in hope of safety.
Frankly, after what I've seen in League Two this season I find the Premiership a little dull and given the choice would we like to see the Millers up there amongst the Man U's, the Chelsea's, the Liverpool's?
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