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I Don’t Want Any Premier League Clubs Relegated, Except One

Photo by Mark Barnes

Who am I? I’m a 44 year old Brit who now lives in the US. I attended my first game in 1967, aged 6 months, and was a season ticket holder and Manchester United supporter during the dark times of the 70’s and 80’s (I’m ignoring my rebellious flirtation with Leeds United when I was 5). I was able to move to the US after United finally won the league in 1992 and 1993. My first years in the US involved waiting until the following Wednesday to find out the scores from the weekend, then finally when Fox Soccer arrived I was able to start watching Man Utd again but it wasn’t until this year that I regained my obsession with the top division. Now I find myself watching every game I can, listening to every podcast I can, and reading every soccer blog I can (with this one top of the list of course).

If you look at the Premier League table today, you will find only six points between 9th placed Everton and West Ham, currently holding the highest of the relegation spots and, unlike normal, many of the teams down there are winning games and playing well. Normally people would say “they only need to win two games to be safe” and we’d dismiss it because those teams don’t win two games, but in most cases this year it could happen to anyone. My problem is that when I look at these teams I find it quite hard to find anyone, well almost anyone, that I think deserve to go down or that I want to go down (since I can’t see Man City or Liverpool hitting the drop now, remember the Man Utd blood is here).

Lets look at the teams and see what’s good, and in some cases, bad about them.  Of course your comments are welcome.


Who could want them to go down? They are a traditional power. They have Phil Neville and the “lovely” and possible future Man Utd manager David Moyes. They played some good football and at this point it’s really quite difficult to see them dropping down but two bad results and who knows?

Newcastle United

Given the Kevin Keegan era in the 90’s, it’s difficult to explain how hard it is for me to say I feel sorry for Newcastle, especially since they feature Joey Barton (who I think would be in the England squad were it not for reputation). The Andy Carroll episode, the injury problems, the fact that they are Geordies – you just have to feel for them. Coming back from 4-0 down with Arsenal earns them another bucket of credit. Again I suspect they will be safe but I do worry about them.


Their primary feature of sympathy is Mark Hughes and, of course, their willingness to feature US international strikers. Fulham have always been so inoffensive. How could anyone WANT them to go down?

Stoke City

One of the “bubble” teams for me. There is little to like about them but for some reason I do. I suspect it’s their, mostly, no name team and their unwillingness to compromise. Or perhaps it’s the fact that they have another super nice, honest manager in Tony Pulis. Rory Delap’s throw ins are a huge negative but I can see past that.

Aston Villa

Another traditional power whom I will always have some love for, both for knocking Liverpool off their perch for a couple of seasons in the early 80’s and for the fact that I attended a number of concerts at Villa Park. Once more they feature an overly “nice” manager in Gerard Houllier.

Blackburn Rovers

And finally the sympathy runs out. Barely forgiven for the Shearer Championship years, the awful treatment of the not-particularly-nice Sam Allardyce, and the ridiculous flirtations with Ronaldinhio make them a picture to laugh at, not sympathize with. I wrote “except one” in the headline and this is why. I want Blackburn to go down.


I don’t think I need to write anything here. Who wants Blackpool to go down? Who wants Ian Holloway to go down? They play nice football. They play in an old school ground and they wear tangerine. End of discussion.

West Bromwich Albion

In rather a worrying trend down here in the nether regions of the league, West Brom are playing some fantastic football but not winning games. I have fun memories of The Hawthorns in my youth and I’d like to see them stay up and try to stabilize.

Birmingham City

The Blues earn a super amount of credit for beating Arsenal in the League Cup and for Alex Ferguson II (aka Alex McLeish). Somehow Nikola Zigic adds to the sympathy factor. I loved the fans attitude in regards to the League Cup. Most said they would prefer to be relegated and yet win the League Cup. That’s a great attitude in this day and age.

West Ham United

“Too good” to go down, Demba Ba, Scott Parker, Hitzlsperger and the chance to see Avram Grant get excited again. I used to go watch West Ham in the old second division when I lived in London. Yes, I’d like them to stay up.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Mick McCarthy doesn’t deserve to go down. They’ve played great football, beaten most of the top teams yet inexplicably lost to Wigan twice. They have some nice players and play some nice football (on a terrible pitch) and their game with Spurs was possibly the game of the season but I do worry that it often comes to nothing for them.


Clearly the most in trouble. Roberto Martinez is another nice guy and I still remember them as a non-league team but their attempts to play “good” football end up looking foolish. If I had to make a second choice for who I want to go down it would be them.

So that’s everyone, and back to the original question. Who do I want to go down? It’s too hard to call. I think Wigan are done for and I want Blackburn to go down, I just can’t choose the third spot. Who do you want?

As for who WILL go down… again I think Wigan are lost. Wolves play almost every other team of the bottom nine and haven’t done well in those games. West Ham are looking too strong. Birmingham lost Saturday in the FA Cup and that might help their focus. Blackpool have a tough run in and their last game is away to Man Utd, which could be a weird one depending upon how the top end of the league shapes up. Most of their games are at home but they have struggled at Bloomfield Road and have a number of injury and suspension problems. If you’re going to make me choose then it’s going to be West Brom and Blackpool with Wolves as the outsiders. Either way, it’s going to be exciting.

Editor’s note: Check out Tony’s songwriting blog/podcast at

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  1. Man on the Run

    March 20, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I don’t see any point here except a man expressing his feelings for managers, coaches and players in other PL-teams. I would have preferred some analyzing in stead.

  2. Craig

    March 19, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    As a villa fan i obviously want them to stay up but i would be delighted if my 2 second fav teams west ham and blackpool stay up.
    As for going down i would like to see wigan, wolves and blackburn go down (even though villa allways beat them)
    But im sure they will meet twice in the cups anyway =>

  3. Tony

    March 16, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Thanks for the (mostly :)) great comments. I did this (a) for the enjoyment and (b) because, as said, the bottom part of the league right now is way more interesting than the top. Also keep in mind that I was as clear as possible that this was what I wanted and not some fact based system. More than anything it was planned to spur debate.

    Thanks to The Gaffer for the opportunity.

  4. James

    March 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I hate saying it as a Blackburn fan, but I fully expect them to be relegated. I think Venky’s made the right call by firing Sam (poor choice on time, maybe) but they look to have gotten the wrong man for the job as replacement.

    I do have to wonder why sacking Alardyce is the reasoning for wanting to see Rovers go down, though. If that’s the case why does Newcastle get a pass? They treated Hughton terribly, and even worse, I’d say, then what Big Sam was.

  5. Rufus

    March 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

    To the Villa fan about the treratment of Martin O’Neill….surely you jest. He was given tons of cash to splash, and the losses (of cash) piled up. It’s not Football Manger, you actually have to keep within a realm of reality with your spend. Villa, without it’s rich benefactor, would be looking at cast offs. O’Neill bailed out on his last two clubs, and I think while a good manager and tactician, he’s got a petulent personality, that doesnt suit the realities of modern day football. He’s a junior ‘Arry when it comes to spending, and ‘Arry took Portmouth to the tank, and whenever he leaves Spurs it will be belly up time for them too.

  6. Simon Garner The Lincolnshire Poacher.

    March 15, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Mike Lord.

    ‘Proper’ teams ! proper teams that never win anything you mean, it’s nearly half a century since your lot were any good, another ‘proper’ team living off their memories.

    • Mike Lord

      March 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      You obviously don’t know much about footy mate to come out with that one. Suggest you stay a poacher, you might just know more about that topic.

  7. Mike Lord

    March 15, 2011 at 5:38 am

    All I can say is bring back Leeds United. The Premiership misses these types of teams, proper teams. Keep your Hull, Wigan, Reading’s, they are ‘B’ players.

    • iancransonsknees

      March 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm


      • Mike Lord

        March 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

        So am I.

  8. Simon Garner The Lincolnshire Poacher.

    March 15, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Why pick on Blackburn ? Big Sam thought he was the be all and end all, his brand of football was mind numbing and the Rovers fans hated it.
    The new owners have made the club a laughing stock with all the big names banded about but the fans don’t deserve it, what have they done wrong ? NOTHING.
    As football fans nobody gives a stuff about which club goes down so long as your lot stays up, somebody has to drop and over the season if you end up in the bottom three well your just not good enough and you get what you deserve simple as that, if Rovers go it’s because they have not been good enough and you have to take it on the chin.
    If as you say you follow Man Utd, you stick to your lot and we’ll stick to ours.

  9. Brad in SoCal

    March 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I like to watch teams that hustle, that play above their weight. That’s why I hope Blackpool stay up, though if (when?) Charlie Adam goes in the summer then next year could be bad. Wolves and Stoke always play hard, despite limitations in skills.

    That leaves Wigan, West Brom, and probably Birmingham to go down, since West Ham have found their form recently and have looked very tough in recent days. Everton and Villa just have too much quality. And Blackburn will squeeze in somehow.

    But what do I know? I pulled for Reading and Hull until the bitter end also. The football gods can be cruel.

  10. R2Dad

    March 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    No one’s mentioned Villa. I’d like to see AV go down after what happened with Martin O’Neill. They were playing well, almost qualified for CL play, then obviously backtracked on promises made, betting that O’Neill wouldn’t walk. AV ownership deserves to be relegated.

  11. timothy

    March 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    for the sake of the following clubs id like them to be relegated so as they can sort their mess next seaon just like newcastle.
    If they dont make it back gud too bad they would not survive the next two campaigns.

  12. Jon Sharp

    March 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Great article because, somewhat amazingly, the bottom half of the table is just as interesting (in terms of its unpredictability perhaps more so) than the top half. All the teams are capable of playing great football and winning on the day. Frankly I wouldn’t want anyone to go down, except there are such worthy sides waiting to come up that somebody has to. So I am going to say
    1) Wigan: For the rediculously simple reason they are letting in too many goals and not scoring enough. You can’t fail at both ends of the pitch and hope to stay in the Prem.
    2) Blackpool: Sadly. But you can’t run on epinephrine for a whole season and Holloway, for all his admirable qualities, doesn’t seem able to shut up shop at the back. I hope I wrong about this one.
    3) WBA or Wolves or Blackburn:
    a) WBA: have let in way too many goals so far. But if Hodgeson can continue to help tighten up in defence and they don’t lose their attacking gene in the process, they should be fine.
    b) Blackburn: After a good start are trending in the wrong direction at the wrong end of the season. Not clear what their strategy is to pull out of the dive.
    c) Wolves: have played very well all season, but have thrown away too many points losing games they should have at least drawn to their peer opposition. If Mick can keep their defense tight for the full 90+ mins going forward, and with a bit of luck, then they should be OK.

    So for me that means Blackburn take the final slot.

  13. El Tri 2014

    March 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Would be sad to see Blackpool go down. Even though if they came back next year they would be without Charlie Adam since Ian would sell him over the summer to (insert your football club here).

    Wigan too, they play great football but don’t have the horses to keep them afloat. I could do with Birmingham and Stoke but I bet they’ll continue to stay in PL.

  14. Keith

    March 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    This is funny because each week I look at the bottom of the standings and decide who I could accept going down. My 3 picks are Blackburn, West Brom and West Ham.

    Blackburn is the easiest for me. I have never enjoyed Blackburn and this year they’ve driven me crazy with their new ownership and “star” Canadian player (being a US fan that is). I really think this team could benefit from going down to the Championship and being able to reorganize. Is this team a team that buys hand me downs from elite teams or do they develop their own? Do they play a boring defensive 4-4-2 or do they attack through Santa Cruz and Holiett?

    I liked West Brom because of Di Mateo. They had no business firing him and now I hope they go down. This team is a yo-yo club anyway and will be up in 2 years again. I don’t like how the ownership is never willing to go all in when the team makes it into the premier league. Oh well they made themselves team #2 on my list.

    West Ham is hard. I like the team and I like having London teams to shut up the self-righteous fans from the North. I don’t even live in England and they drive me crazy. However, I HATE Gold, Sullivan and Brady and I feel that they drag down the team. I hope they sell the team if it goes into the Championship. (Honestly if I was worth a billion this is the team I’d buy. They could have a huge fanbase in east London if they actually won anything that could spread out into Essex and Sussex with a decade of success. )Plus they have a new stadium going that I felt like they won by screwing over the fans by supporting a track and other non-sense. They should have to share the stadium with Leyton Orient. But I really just don’t like Gold and Sullivan and Brady.

  15. ThompsonLives

    March 14, 2011 at 11:22 am

    This is all a ploy to get subscribers to pay for unbiased analysis instead of fanboy trash like this article, isn’t it, Gaffer? Be honest.

    • The Gaffer

      March 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

      Not at all. You may not like this article, but we still intend on publishing our usual quality of articles on EPL Talk. And then offering exclusive premium content to EPL Talk Pro members such as interviews, audio documentaries, videos and more.

      The Gaffer

      • ThompsonLives

        March 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

        Was just joking, Gaffer. About the ploy, not the quality of the article.

        • The Gaffer

          March 14, 2011 at 11:56 am

          No worries, ThompsonLives. It’s hard to tell sometimes when you’re kidding! 😉

          The Gaffer

  16. Jason

    March 14, 2011 at 10:36 am

    So you want Blackburn to go down because of their “awful treatment of the not-particularly-nice Sam Allardyce”. So you wanted them to treat a not-particularly-nice man nicely? Huh? I credit the owners in getting rid of a manager that felt he was bigger than the club. Fat Sam deserved to be sacked. As for their flirtations of Ronaldinho, that was a marketing move which would have helped the club since Ronaldinho jerseys sell well. They also appointed a British manager rather than a foreign one which says something about the owners.

    The only teams I don’t have a problem seing relegated are the ones that don’t play attractive soccer. Stoke is that team for me. I’d hate to see Blackpool or Wolves go down as they play attractive soccer worth watching.

  17. Steve

    March 14, 2011 at 10:14 am

    What’s up with the Wolves hate… Mick McCarthy is the man and Wolves have too much spirit and talent to go down this year. No big names but there are several high-quality players on the squad (Jarvis, O’Hara, Doyle, Hammill, and players like SEB and Fletcher on the bench). The injury problems have ceased being relevant and they are playing well all over (defense especially has greatly improved since the start of the season (Stearman, Elokobi)).

    West Brom, Wigan, Blackpool are my guesses.

    • Steve

      March 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Whoops, I meant Blackburn!

  18. Pakapala

    March 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I want Wolves, Stoke City to go down for obvious reason. No I do not like Mick McCarthy.
    The 3rd team is tough…
    I like Martinez and therefore only for that reason would like Wigan to stay up.
    I want Everton & Fulham to stay up because they don’t deserve to be in the relegation zone, and are 2 teams I always had a soft spot for. I want West Ham to stay because of Grant, who gets treated unfairly by both the club and media. I can’t believe I am saying this because when the season started I wanted them to go down under Allerdyce but I want Blackburn to stay up because of the obvious bias and borderline xenophobia the media adopted against the new owners. How dare some owners of a club like Blackburn try to dream big?
    I could care less about Birmingham and Blackpool, though I am growing tired of Holloway’s shenanigans and the fact that they’re allowed to escape any sanctions by the EPL despite not meeting the pitch requirements.

  19. Jason Gatties

    March 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Brentford supporters would LOVE to see Fulham go down. They are about the only ones though. Brentford supporters can barely spell though so I can’t take them seriously. COME ON FULHAM!

  20. EW

    March 14, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I think all true football fans dislike the ‘buying’ of league position and as such would love it if Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd were found guilty of financial fraud and relegated two divisions. Leave the honest toulers who manage on a shoestring to enjoy their seasons in the sun and get football back to the people. For the same reason I wouldnt want to see QPR go up. It would be good to see a Welsh team in the PL along with the great kit of Norwich and the Leeds fans who have stuck by them in their seasons of despair brought about by a crooked chairman and vindictive treatment by the Football League deserve a chane back in the top flight.

    • Why?

      March 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      EW, you may find the problems at Leeds were brought about by the same ‘buying’ of the league positions that you are accusing others of only they could not afford it. Maybe the odd double standards here me thinks.

  21. Dave (dlbags)

    March 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Finally! A post I enjoyed reading. Great insight. I’d love for Wigan, Wolves and Stoke go down. Wigan just belongs in the Championship, Wolves have awful kits and play like thugs and Stoke is so anti football. Birmingham City would be a laugh too to go down with it’s Chinese kits and trophy but I’m a bitter Gooner.

    I’d like to see Cardiff, Swansea (so Gaffer can finally man up and take some heat on this blog) and QPR looks like a shooin although I’d trade Leeds or Reading (very impressed with their FA Cup play) for them. The last thing the BPL needs is another London Club. Norwich might be cool, get some green kits in the BPL.

    And I think the two perennial Wales powerhouses would be cool to mix things up.

    Plus like, Swansea have the absolute coolest kits by far of any team in the UK. I bet after a few years of top flight you could get the kids in America to become fans like the Raiders in the 90s…lol

    • trickybrkn

      March 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

      QPR back in the top will be exciting, that is if they can survive the points deduction for fielding the Arggie alla Tevez. The irony that its Warnock in charge can’t be over looked.

      I want Stoke down. They are a negative team and I’m sick of watching them. Their second goal yesterday was a prime example. The wall is formed and Huth, pulls Hitz down from behind, Higginbottom hits it to that spot. goal. It was thuggery gone wild yesterday…
      and the Ref was just poor all day on all accounts, but the tone was set, Stoke came out kicking….

      • IanCransonsKnees

        March 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        “the tone was set, Stoke came out kicking….”

        Yellow cards: Stoke 2 West Ham 3

        Fouls commited: Stoke 5 West Ham 14

        Final score: Stoke 2 West Ham 1

        • Matt

          March 14, 2011 at 4:19 pm


          trickybrkn needs to get over it already. the whining is getting old already. you are a west ham supporter so, no, life is not fair

        • trickybrkn

          March 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

          did you watch the match??? did you see how bad the ref was… calls on both sided muffed, free kicks for no contact, and then the Etherington dive… Walters wasn’t playing football, but rugby. Huth was Huth. But it was clearly a tactic from the manager. Then didn’t just challenge the the rammed the ball, and yes a few West Ham players banged back and got carded. but again… did you watch the match. I get I’m a subjective viewer, but did you watch the match?

          • IanCransonsKnees

            March 15, 2011 at 4:19 am

            I was there. I saw Victor Obinna’s flying kick, his subsequent pu**yfied rolling around and his justly awarded yellow card. West Ham are as cynical and dirty as anyone else and should have had more than one player booked fro dissent.

            I’ll be at the semi final too 🙂

    • Steve

      March 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Wolves have an awesome kit!

    • Karl Sears

      March 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Fair enough if you want Wolves to go down, but to call them thugs is a bit unenlightened – I thought the ‘dirty Wolves’ myth died a death before Christmas Their name was tarnished after the Fulham and Wigan games earlier in the season but since then their record has been good and at times their football has been first class. When John Terry called Wolves the best team that they’ve played home and away all season I don’t think it was because they kicked them off the park. A quick look at the Premier League’s Fair Play table will back me up.
      And one last thing…Wolves have an awesome kit!

    • Steve

      March 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm

      Just noticed your “play like thugs” comment. Brilliant from someone who obviously doesn’t watch them play.

    • The Gaffer

      March 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

      Dave, thanks for noticing Swansea’s kit, which I agree, is one of the best ones out there (both the white home one and the black one. I could do without the red one). Hopefully Swansea will impress on the pitch again as well as off it!

      Nice job by Umbro on a quality kit design.

      The Gaffer

    • The Bear

      March 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      Cardiff and Swansea are are Welsh and therefore should be playing in the WELSH leagues. End of.

      • Mike Lord

        March 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        ^^^^^At last, someone that talks sense.

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