Ryan can’t see the bottom three changing anytime soon. But who do you think will be sent to the Championship of Doom?
The Hammers won’t be relegated because they failed to stall Stalteri in Sunday’s enthralling Premiership clash with near-neighbour Tottenham, their fate has been sealed for some time now. Critics are arguing that the beginning of their mesmeric downfall came as a result of the plaudits their young ‘stars’ received following last year’s FA Cup Final.
They certainly did do themselves proud in Cardiff, and a promising ’06/07 campaign beckoned. But that’s the risk you take with young flash stars & dished-out compliments – they don’t generally go hand-in-hand. The performances by Reo-Coker, Ferdinand, Mullins, Harewood et al this season exemplify an overblown estimation of their own self-worth, and a staggering lack of humility.
29 games into the season, and they haven’t won one game away from home. Even at Upton Park they’ve only contrived to record 5 wins from 15 games. Tellingly one of those results was against the Champions elect, Manchester United, which I suppose tells it own story. It’s easy for young ‘stars’ to motivate themselves when the Sky Cameras are in town.
Curbishley must be wondering what he’s let himself in for. The dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ thrust upon him in the last 2 days can’t be taken for granted either given the stark lack of class and honesty the new Icelandic Chairman’s has displayed since his whirlwind arrival at Christmas. His Alan ‘Cancer’ Pardew remarks leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
Pardew encouragingly hasn’t followed tact, and sems to be letting his once-beleaguered Charlton side do the talking for him. Currently lying 18th, and one point away from being out of ‘The Zone’ they’ve given themselves a fighting chance. Tough fixtures lie ahead though, and as their closest rivals for relegation; Sheffield United, Manchester City and Wigan haven’t exactly been in free fall either further murkens the dirty water for the Valley outfit. They’d do extremely well to prolong their 9 year stay in the elite league.
Sandwiched in between are PluckyWatford ™, who’ve looked Championship material all year long. What they make up for in effort and determination, they lack in class and experience. How Aidy Boothroyd must be wishing he had a fit Marlon King for the whole of the season. Marooned 10 points from safety with 9 games remaining, they’re as good as down.
But who joins them and West Ham?
Can Stuart Pearce motivate his lackluster side and support from another yo-yo campaign? Have Warnock’s Sheffield United run out of steam? And has Paul Jewell done enough to stave off the ill-effects of that ‘difficult second season’ syndrome?
We’ll know come May, or maybe sooner. My bets are on the three that are there currently, staying there.