The DA’s Dan Green comes to the end of his journey of discovery, mystery and away trips to Barnsley.
It’s all over…Thank God it’s all over.
Following a relegated football team is a little bit like being caught cheating by your girlfriend/wife/significant other. There’s the initial shock and embarrassment; you know you’ve done the wrong thing and over-stretched yourself; you feel idiotic for living the dream and then deflated as you realize that that dream is finally over.
Next comes the dreaded ‘Doghouse’; you put your head down and prepare yourself for a long, hard slog to get back into the ‘good books’ of those who were once devoted to you. There are set-backs naturally, but with a subtle blend of dedication and down-right luck, you work your way back up that slippery slope.
And lastly, you succeed; you’ve suffered “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” and have emerged from out the other side all the stronger, ready to reclaim your rightful place, whilst proclaiming never to repeat the mistakes of the past (however tempting). If you can claim to have achieved this, you’re either John Terry or a Newcastle United fan; If you can’t (and have failed), you’re most likely a Middlesbrough fan…or Ashley Cole.
On Sunday, Newcastle United finally emerged from the Coca Cola Championship victorious (despite securing both promotion and the league a matter of weeks beforehand) looking like a slightly-less smug version (if that’s possible) of England’s former captain John Terry. Much like a typical John Terry performance, the Magpies managed to win the game despite being far from their best, achieving victory by being slightly less lacklustre than their opponents (in this case, Neil Warnock’s Queen’s Park Rangers). A single second-half goal from the ‘Great Dane’ Peter Lovenkrands was enough to secure the win, which (thankfully) lifted the Toon over the 100-point mark, finishing the season with 102 points from 46 games.
At this point, I’d like to ask you all to spare a thought for those teams relegated from the Championship this year, particularly the Owls of Sheffield Wednesday. I watched the BBC’s live coverage of the Sheffield Wednesday v Crystal Palace relegation clash with an Owl’s fan, and the look on his face at half-time would have brought even the most stoic to tears. If only football matches were judged on the ‘number of opposition players haemorrhaging’ or ‘total kicks to the throat or neck’, Wednesday would have won hands down. As it was, traditionalist ref Mike Dean decided to go with the tried and tested ‘number of goals’ route.
The Newcastle United squad now have the pre-season break to prepare for what will surely be an extremely difficult re-entry to life in the Premier League. In a world where Tottenham Hotspur are ALLOWED to play Champion’s League football, and a trip to the Britannia Stadium or Craven Cottage fills an away fan with dread/fear, any newly promoted side are surely bound to feel slightly nervous. The ‘footballing landscape’ is moving at such a rate that any team coming into the English top flight can feel duty bound to purchase James Beattie/Marcus Bent/Kevin Phillips and play ‘long ball’ in order to succeed. Fortunately for the Magpies, those three are probably out of our price range…and in Newcastle, ‘long ball’ is a bizarre sexual act involving male genitalia, a set of bungee ropes and a ‘Newton Meter’.
Three things I have learnt from Newcastle’s season in the Championship
1. Although Championship contains the prefix ‘Champions’, the achieved trophy does not hold the same level of importance as the ‘Champions’ League.
2. Roy Keane is, and will forever remain, a massive c***.
3. Shola Ameobi* is a good Championship player (there I said it). *Interested clubs can place their bids through the club email system – £75 o.n.o.
Pulis, I know you’re out there son…He’s yours if you want him. He even kept his shirt!