The Premier League is the greatest league in the world, and I can say that with wholehearted defiance. When a team ceases to be Premier, they go from superpower to N-Power. West Ham United, my beloved Claret and Blues are the first team to be demoted to the status of mediocre Gas Supplier this season, and the outlook is somewhat unknown.
As my eyes were fixed upon the lagging streaming from the DW Stadium, I look up in an instant as the excitable tones of Charlie Nicholas blurt out an inaudible sound, there was laughing; was it a miss, was it offside, WHO EFFING SCORED? In dismay as my head sank into my hands, and my heart into my stomach as the solitary number 3 replaced the 2 alongside Wigan’s total. It was the end. My laptop was slammed shut, the wall pounded in anger, and a tear emerged from my eyelid. West Ham were down.
A team of promise, a new Olympic Stadium, owners who actually like the club, and the Football Writer’s player of the season all catapult down from pie in the sky hopes of salvation, through reality and into the pits of hell. A youthful team and miscalculating manager forced upon themselves a trip from the Promised Land into the abyss in a handbasket.
My laptop was slammed shut, the wall pounded in anger, and a tear emerged from my eyelid. The end was nigh.
The dream was over, I sunk into the sofa dejected, heartbroken, beating. Perhaps with a fit Parker for the whole season we would have stayed up, fought harder, perhaps if I hadn’t abused Newcastle fans two years ago, Karma wouldn’t have punched the life out of me with its iron fist. The truth is that next year we will be playing in the badlands of Doncaster, Bristol, and Millwall. We will be lining up against such sides without Scott Parker, without Demba Ba, without Premier League status. We will be equal to our detested neighbours. Equal. To Millwall. It hurts to contemplate it.
Over the next few days and weeks there will be finger pointing, sister-scratching, and E13 will not be a desirable place to be. Sullivan will slap a price on the head of Scott Parker and he’ll be thrown into a turbulent battle by other clubs for his heart. Ba will head to Europe, Green will be second-string keeper at a mid-table club, Noble will probably remain where he grew up. You cannot put a price on that, I predict that Mark Noble will never kiss another badge in his lifetime. It will be a hard time, as Avram Grant said “it is a very sad day – my future is not important now”. If nothing else, Avram Grant has put the club above himself and despite most fans seeing disparately, it will be a respectful farewell from me.
As I have said we will be in the abyss (with respect to Barnsley et al) but the most painful part is that we will be among these teams as equals. Stripped of our status, losing the badge on the arm, like being thrown out of Whiskey Mist, and being forced to sober up in a kebab shop. Many will rejoice, many will say we deserve it, many will probably be correct in their reactions.
One thing I will say is that I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone else. Unless having your heart choked until your emotion drains and being left a mess, in your own living room, while Jeff Stelling proclaims “West Ham United are relegated”, is your day job.
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