Another week of relaxation, with our league fate sorted and our next season to start on August 5th and finish on May 5th. If that's not an omen, I don't know what is. Last time we ended a season away on that auspicious date, we lost 0-2 at Tranmere but still went up as Championship (the day the mags buggered up the best chance of a top-flight title in half a century). Time for a silly bet, methinks. All we have to worry about now, apart from the jokes that we cracked a year ago and which are now being hastily recycled by the mags, is the battle for 19th place, and the right to proclaim ourselves Top Dogs in the North East. Effectively, 19th, 20th, and 21st place in the English league structure is pretty rubbish for the region, but it is what it is and probably owes nearly as much to geography as it does to the ability of the people managing the so-called Big Three. OK, probably nowhere near as much, but I'm trying to find excuses for our demise as I, and the rest of us, continue to dodge the heavier bits of debris amongst the fallout from our relegation.
The announcement that we'll be losing a dozen first-teamers (I know that's more than a team, but that's what they say) at the end of the season has had us wondering if the reserves will become their replacements, or if we'll be bringing in a brand new (to us) Dirty Dozen to get us back up. We've been desperately googling various players from the lower leagues to see who's both available and able. If relegation hasn't brought us down to earth with a bang, the fact that Moyes is reportedly looking at players in Scotland certainly has. Look, I've nothing against Scotland or its people, but let's be honest - the standard of their football is pish.
We've also been trying to convince ourselves that perhaps Defoe, despite all his talk of moving to be closer to his family, will decide to stay, and that Pickford will refuse to move because he loves us. We can dream.
We're also stuck between a rock and a hard place as far as selfishly looking at where we have to travel next season. Beat Swansea, and that makes them favourites to join us if Hull win - and we have to travel to South Wales. Lose, and Hull lose, and we take the Pussycats with us and ensure a shorter journey. Ki say he likes us, but not enough to forsake his club's place in the Premier League, the rotten bugger.
As befitting our final home game, we decided to have a bit of a wander from our usual pre-match haunts, and hot-footed it down to the Salty, once a compulsory venue. Likewise, the Kings, where the sunshine proved to be the highlight of the day. 3000 Swansea fans, all paid for by their players, made for a decent atmosphere but we didn't join in because of sloppiness after 8 minutes and the inevitable goal. Look, they might play in all white, but they're only Real Madrid when playing against us.
Oops, I forgot, we kicked south
Jones O'Shea Kone Manquillo
Ndong Seb Denayer
Borini Defoe Anichebe
Look, I'll save you the ignominy of having to trawl through another match report by saying that we were pitifully awful. There were three added minutes in each half, but being perfect honest we could have been out there a week and not scored. Denayer lasted barely 20 minutes before limping off to be replaced by Gibson, who spent 70 minutes redefining the word 'negative'. Look. I'm all for giving a bloke a chance, but Hell's teeth, he made Bracewell look like Kevin Phillips. Anichebe followed Denayer to the hospital before half time, replaced by Khazri.
It got no better. In fact it got worse, as we passed to white shirts, fell over, and generally looked like the worst pub team in Durham - and I did 20 years for the Bittermen. Abysmal atrocious appalling, as John Raine (Bittermen captain) would have said.
Man of the Match? Billy Jones. Does what it says on the tin
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