By Billy The Dog McGraw, landlord of the Toppled Bollard and Rampager of the Northern Hordes.
Continuing the unique and specialised services offered to you by Untold, and having indulged in a bottle of apple and mango juice to celebrate the new season, I present my first column of the 2010/11: to wit and viz, next season’s results.
Let’s start down the bottom, (as they say these days in West Ham) with the three plucky little clubs from the outer territories that have made their way against all the odds into the EPL to have a natter with the bigger boys and play the game with those in the know.
You can always tell their supporters for when you address them with a jaunty “I say!” they will retrieve a piece of chewing gum from the under-side of their hat, where they had parked it for safe keeping several days earlier, and then say something incomprehensible before contemplating the infinite.
Here’s the league table for the Championship at the end of last season…
|2||West Bromwich Albion||46||26||13||7||91||89||48|
So, I ponder as I sit in my little wooden shack in my allotment next to Mr Bergkamp, and with my computer powered by the steam from my Thermos flask, how will these gallant lads from the lower plains of the provincial backwaters beyond the deeper levels of grass cuttings and civilised behaviour get on in this unfamiliar territory of their new found home? Will they kick down the front door, or will they saunter in and hide behind the sofa while watching Doctor Who?
We might notice at first that all the six clubs in the list above played 46 games – which is jolly fair and balanced, and shows a public school spirit of the Championship missing in much of our daily life. Untold commends the Championship for its fair play.
But there the openness and honesty ends as Newcastle won 30 of the games but Blackpool only won 19.
As we know from the previous owner of Newcastle the girls up there are often seen with a sort of paternal muscular spasm about the mouth, which is the nearest thing they ever gets to smiling, while eating shepherd’s pie with its reduced level of shepherds, so we must make allowances.
The only jolly thing Newcastle have done in the last two years ago was have the owner sit with the fans at the Ems drinking a pint – a wholly illegal activity and one that should have had the club thrown out of the league and placed in the local reservoir. But of course the EPL management board ignored my complaints and had me arrested instead.
Key prediction for the Nukes: You can always tell people from Newcastle since they walk along like vegetarians fishing a caterpillar out of a salad. Don’t engage them in conversation, it only embarrasses them.
WBA are a bouncy team, coming up and down like yo-yos – just as the dreadful Bolton did years before. Will they make this year their chance to stay up? Question is, having they bought the DVD, “The violence of Stoke and Birmingham” what now? If they have a go at that style they will be another killer band of career wreckers. It is possible.
In the upper echelons of middle class Britain WBA is regarded as fairly fruity and is interesting because I can’t recall a single visit where I have not been worried by the number of dead fish in the street.
One thing to watch out for: the police always push visitors into the M5 as they proceed to the ground. The best advice is to nod at yon copper and shout “What-ho!” and then double back over the fence.
Key prediction: To balance their entry procedures the police will tell us that there is only one way out of the away end, and that will lead us down tiny alleyways at the end of which are waiting… a bunch of WBA fans, with their cheery banter and pointed sticks.
Blackpool ended 32 points behind Newcastle last season. Chances of staying up are zero. But we can all ride a donkey on Blackpool sands before they disappear forever, going bankrupt half way through the season.
What we must debate with seriousness and concern is whether the sins of the father are beset upon the head of the mother and son. On 3 April 1999 Karl Oyston took over as chairman of Blackpool F.C, following his mother, who took over from her husband who was serving a prison sentence for rape.
Cursed with too much money and a life of ease your average estate agent in the region is known to buy football clubs and fritter away his/her life in selfish idleness – and this may have been the case here. Such people waste time on frivolous pleasures such as sandcastle building and picking up young women while discussing the finer points of sandcastle making. It does not help the football.
Key prediction: a loss of 7 points for turning up at the wrong ground on the wrong day wearing the wrong kit and carrying an offensive weapon (ie a seaside bucket and spade) will only take them down earlier than they would have gone otherwise.
West Ham looked for a while like they were going back to their spiritual home of the 2nd division last season, but then turned it around, and then sacked their manager and brought in a load of pornographers to run the club. Since their approach to West Olympic as they like to call it, seems to be similar to that of running a porn magazine we might expect their club programme to be more entertaining than it was last season. The racism and violence is still there (just watch the video of their 3 pitch invasions in the Millwall game) but we can expect more jolly banter.
My late Aunt Skabbeldale was by way of being the blot on the Billy the Dog empire, a fan of the club. She kept 102 pet rabbits in the bedroom and apparently was a close friend of Owen Oyston. She ate onions while watching Maths of the Day and failing to spot that the square root of Frank Zappa was a teapot. She was eventually taken away and set loose in Luton – which was the last we ever saw of her.
Key prediction: Miss Hammer for September (featured in the programme) will like the long ball game and be studying energetic particles, while the WHU fans at the match against Blackpool will wear the t-shirts that they had for playing in Sicily altered to read Hammers against the Rapists.
Wolverine Powder were a bunch of negativists whose one bit of fun was to stand up against rules about not playing the best team and play their under 7s against Man U. The relief we had with the goal in the 123rd minute against them last season (or so it seemed) will have reduced my life by a good 123 minutes. This time I doubt they will pull off the trick again.
But I appreciate my analysis is short at this point, for I have not mentioned the catering at their quaint and devout homeland!
Here you can buy a cup of cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, slice of fruit cake, and a macaroon for one shilling and threepence. Of course it may not be your spill, so if you prefer you can go to the north stand with the toffs and venture into a bit of hot steak-pudding, with a sparkling limado to wash it down.
Key prediction: they will play a ladies team against Man U but kick the hell out of Arsenal. I will again attempt to buy a “Teach yourself Wolverine” but no one will understand a word I say (so no change there.) I will also spend the away game praying that my car (parked a good nine miles from the ground) is in one piece when I return.
Wigan I admire, simply because they have managed to come from the Northern Bakery Reserve Combination (South) to the EPL within about six weeks, and then stay there, despite only getting 13 people attend most league matches. Each year they stay up it is a miracle and I suspect sadly the miracle will end this year. (On the other hand they play football on a ploughed field which isn’t good).
But we must be fair. In the little wooden hut behind the toilet you can get a roll and butter and a small coffee for 1d (old money) and it won’t make you ill. At least it won’t make you ill much beyond Luton on the way back. Apparently Wigan have a catering team called “Borgia” – I don’t know the restaurant personally but apparently it is quality.
Key prediction: Arshavin will fall down a rut in the ground and a crane will be sent in to lift him out.
So at the bottom of the league I’d go for Blackpool, Wolverhampton and Wigan with WBA and Newc staying up. If that isn’t right then WBA go down again and either Wigan or Wolverine Powder stay up.
Not funny? Why not write something yourself?