The Most Important Game in Our Recent History
Date: Wednesday 30th April 2008I got to thinking this morning, just how important is the game against Sunderland next Saturday?
Most people have written off the Chelsea game (though I still think we can pull off a draw), which means the game next weekend could decide our fate as a Premier League club. I started to think of the repercussions that would follow relegation.
It's no secret that Megson would have a nice little pot of gold to squander on good players in the summer if we make it. Get relegated and that's gone: we'll be looking around for the best we can get from the Championship and Middle East.
It could also mean we lose some of our best players. OK, we already know Jussi's pretty much gone, and Diouf is packing his diamond-encrusted suitcases. But would the likes of Cahill, Taylor, Steinsson et al want to play in the Championship, especially when the likes of Hull and Stoke come knocking with the promise of top-flight football for another year? Also, if we did end up having to sell them, we wouldn't get half of what they're worth.
Which brings us to finance. Losing TV money would be crippling for our club, and we couldn't depend on gate revenue: if we can't fill the stadium now, what would our average gate be in the Championship?
There is also absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that we'll bounce straight back up. So many clubs have suffered relegation only to fall to the bottom of the table and beyond: Forest, Barnsley, Wolves, Leeds, Southampton, Leicester... the list goes on.
I myself am so looking forward to seeing Megson complete the transfer plan he begun in January. It's no secret that Megson will be looking to bring in a quality striker, along with a midfielder, and most
likely another centre back; looking at the players he's brought in so far - Steinsson, Cahill and Taylor, all of whom have main a huge difference to our first team - I'm seriously looking forward to seeing who he gets.
In my opinion, next Saturday's game against Sunderland is our most important game in our recent history. More important than the game that first guaranteed European football, more important than the game that promoted us into the Premiership, and more important then the game that got us to the Carling Cup Final.
We cannot fall at the final hurdle, not after leapfrogging our way into this position. The stakes are simply too high.