Monday, 25 May 2009


There's nothing like relegation to put football in a different perspective. When you're contemplating next season in the Conference, with a 10-point deduction, and hear Eamonn Holmes on 5 Live wittering about Man Utd retaining the Premier League and heading off to Rome, it is a very short trip to the off-button!
Newcastle fans will be feeling much the same this morning. When Chester went down to the Conference for the first time in 2000 it felt like a family bereavement. Ridiculous, but true. I would guess that Newcastle fans will also be feeling pretty sick at the performance of their team at Villa Park yesterday. They had a decent spell halfway through the first half but that was it. Their second half display was pathetic. Talk about going out with a whimper. What on earth was Michael Owen doing, plodding around in midfield in the last 20 minutes?
Don't know if the TV cameras caught it but the Villa fans hoisted a banner reading: "Who's your next Messiah - Ant or Dec?" In the way that football fans uniquely do, they summed up the whole Newcastle story in so few characters that even Twitter would be happy.
For me it was a memorable way to sign off the season with Setanta. Not for all the expected reasons though. The M6 was closed in two places so the journey to the Midlands from Liverpool took in numerous rural spots on A-roads that corkscrewed through Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire. Got there in just enough time to sort out an ISDN problem before recording my scene-set for Setanta UK and doing a longer, live version for Setanta Ireland. The press facilities at Villa Park have nosedived since last season - more on this when I get the chance to post my next "View from the Press Box." And the game didn't really live up to its billing.
Anyway, despite my (temporary) feelings of detachment caused by Chester's demise, I'm still rooting for Burnley to make it eight North West teams in the Premier League, and 100% behind Everton to bring back the FA Cup on Saturday.
So that's it - my football broadcasting over for another season. On with the motorbike action now. I'm planning to provide updates on the buzz and gossip from the Isle of Man TT on TTwitter throughout the coming fortnight. I'm away to the three-legged isle on Friday, and meeting up with the production team and my fellow commentators late Friday afternoon when Radio TT will launch on air at 5.15pm.

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