The last day of the Premier Legue season was a nail biting experience for hundreds of thousands of fans, players and coaches in the stadiums and millions at home and in pubs in front of giant screens. I finished up at the Reebok, home of Bolton Wanderers, playing Aston Villa for the chance to get 6th place and a ticket to the EUFA Cup draw. I rode the train with the Villa fans, colourfully attired in cowboy, indian, gorill, rabbit, superman and other costumes but it was too much for one fan,
Dressed in a King Penguin suit, with that distinctive red and gold on the forehead to distinguish him from the 'normal' penguin outfit, he jumped over the wall after his team had equalised to make it 2-2, and 'invaded' the pitch, which is a criminal offence in England. He was promptly pounced upon by two bobbies colourfully dressed in...-bobbie's uniforms!!, and led a away to happiness in a cold, damp cell. I have never seen a waddling 'Charlie Chaplin' style penguin jump so high on National Geographic Channel. It was a very exciting match to round off an incredibly exciting season at both ends of the table, and the one point for The Trotters was enough for Europe. They were coached on the day by Little Sam- Sammy Lee, who had succeeded Big Sam -Sam Allardyce who was cheering from the Directors box. Allardyce had resigned, stating that he had taken the club in the shadow of Old Trafford less than half an hour away, as far as he could. Two days later he was appointed manager of perennial under achievers Newcastle United with a stadium twice the size of The Reebok. The trouble with Bolton Wanderers are that 'they are too near to Old Trafford and too far from heaven.'
I had been at Old Trafford earlier in the day which has packed as always for the crowning of the champions of the Premier League for the NINTH time. There must have been 300 stalls on Sir Matt Busby Way and other approaches selling all sorts of souvenirs,and the smell of fried onions and hamburgers of dubious origin, and the pubs outside had long lines of waiting fans.,and in the crowded MEGA STORE I counted 20 tills working overtime at the check-out counters. West Ham United and the sensational CarlosTevez spoiled the party by scoring the only goal in first half injury time for a 1-0 victory and SAFETY. Across the Pennines in South Yorkshire the Blades of Sheffield United managed to go down 2-1 against a 10 man Wigan United and lose their Premiership status after only one season. They are relegated along with Watford and Charlton Athletic.
Meanwhile, in The Championship Birmingham City and Sunderland go up to the Premiership automatically. Sunderland were BOTTOM early in the season and then the miracle man Roy Keane arrived and they WON the league. They will be joined by either Derby County and the winners of West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers after a Wembley decider. Leeds United were docked 10 points after going into administration the day before their final match. At 3.15 they called in the auditors, took the easy route and 12 minutes later Ken Bates bought the club back with a new company and 70 million US dollars in debts wiped out. Doing that prior to the last match meant that they wouldn't start life in Division I (the third tier) next season with a points deduction.