Soapbox: we’re safe – Blackpool, West Ham and Wigan doomed

There’s a big maybe, or series of maybes. First of all, Tangerine dreamers, Hammers and Latics straying this way should take comfort: Pete Sixmith‘s specialist subject is geography not maths. But he’s done the calculations using the BBC predictor page (see footnote*) and very much wanted the headline to read: “It’s official – we’re safe.” To M Salut, that sounded too much like tempting fate …


Whiling away
an hour at work this morning, as my Year 11 group negotiated a tricky Media Studies assignment by comparing the online version of Bliss magazine with the printed one (cutting edge of academic education at Ferryhill – we annotated in Latin!), I turned to the BBC predictor page and worked out the rest of the season’s results.

And the good news is we will not go down. Indeed, we will finish with the princely total of 42 points, a real tribute to the effort and determination shown since January.

What you have to do is to predict the scores for the remaining Premier League games. As you predict each set of scores, the league table changes and shows you what will happen if what should happens.

My thoughts on this are thus;

Bolton (a) :

0-0 … the Trotters are still smarting from the hiding they took from Stoke City in the semi final, so they are not in the rudest of health. In addition to that, Owen Coyle played a pack of unknowns in the A666 derby with Blackburn on Saturday, so even our bunch of serial underperformers might manage to hang on for a point- as we did two years ago in the BB (before Bruce) years.

Wolves (h): lose 2-0 …

as we will be safe after our backs to the wall draw at the Reebok, we can afford to be charitable to the gold shirted hordes from the Midlands. Mick Mac will have them fired up and I am sure they will be up for the fight. Our players may well be strolling around looking at holiday brochures. Their defence is as bad as ours, so you would expect a high scoring game – but not with our forward line. I would imagine that the Wolves will be warbling their Jeff Beck anthem all the way home as they guarantee a third consecutive Premier League season.

West Ham (a) lose 2-0 …

the Hammers will be thinking about Championship fixtures by the time we get there – local derbies against Millwall and QPR – and we will be in beachwear mode. So, a 2-0 win for the Jellied Eel boys and a long journey home for us: plenty of time to think about who will be in charge next season. Avram Grant will be available.

Now I realise that this is all conjecture and that there are many possible combinations. We could strike a rich seam of goalscoring form, with Steeed showing us how he became Fulham’s second highest Premier League scorer and Cattermole hitting the target.

Or it could be like Saturday gone.

For what it’s worth (not much), I have Manchester United winning the league by six points from Chelsea, with Arsenal, City and Liverpool claiming the other European places.

Newcastle are set to finish 12th.on 44 points, ahead of Villa on goal difference and then us on 42, two points ahead of Blackburn Rovers.

The bottom three are, according to Sixsmith’s Fool Proof Predictions, Blackpool on 38, a point behind Birmingham City and then West Ham on 37 and Wigan who are bottom with 36 points.

So, we have escaped relegation by four points, a reason for great celebration on Wearside and in County Durham. This season’s new look team will be broken up and be replaced by next season’s new look team and we can look forward to progress and be five points away from the drop zone in May 2012.

However, I had another go at it, working on the assumption that we would lose the last three games 2-0, 2-0 and 3-1 and that Wigan and Blackpool would dig out huge results, with the Pie Munchers winning at Villa and Stoke and beating West Ham at home and Olly’s Gallant Lads gaining unlikely, but not impossible wins at White Hart Lane and Old Trafford plus fellow Lancastrians Bolton allowing them a comfy home win.

Admittedly, this model assumes that Manchester United will beat Chelsea and then throw away the title by losing at Blackburn before Andy Reid hits a last minute winner to keep Blackpool up and hand the title to Chelsea by two goals over Arsenal and three over United, so it may not be entirely accurate.

Down would go the Hammers, us and, ahem, Aston Villa. If I changed it a bit and gave us a point at Bolton and had Blackburn winning at West Ham instead of losing, it would be Villa and the Mags to go down.

So I’ll do that and yippee, we are safe and we can laugh at Bent and Villa fans and the Mags and Gold and Sullivan and everything will look great. The Brucester will be a hero and we will have a grand summer laughing and laughing and laughing …………………………

As always, reality sets in and the first model looks the likeliest – and that’s not a ringing endorsement of the management team’s capabilities, is it?

Stop Press: One of my students (an Arsenal fan as well) did the predictor after completing his Greek prep and before he went to the outfitters for a new straw boater. He had us finishing ninth, having won all three games, with Blackpool, West Ham and Wolves sliding down into the boondocks of the Championship. It may be connected with his desire to gain a favourable reference for an apprenticeship with a building firm.

* Try it for yourselves at this BBC link. Having been bemused by Pete Sixsmith’s developing maths, M Salut had a go, too, but restricted it to our own results. Please prove me wrong. Mr Bruce; I – pessimistically (?) – had us finishing on 41 points, with a goal difference – optimistically (?) – of minus 20, and I’m still trembling.

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6 Responses to “Soapbox: we’re safe – Blackpool, West Ham and Wigan doomed” Subscribe

  1. salutsunderland May 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Sorry to Blackpool, Wigan and West Ham supporters. It’s only a spot of fun, if gallows humour can be fun, but do the BBc thing yourselves and tell Pete he’s wrong if he is. Just bear in mind anti-spamming filters mean first-time posters must expect a delay for moderation, as short as I – yep, it’s just me – can make it.

  2. Yiannis Skindilias May 3, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Let’s go for it:
    Anyone who has a mediocre forward can score against us, thus meaning a draw at bolton is largely impossible, especially a 0-0 one. Even if they can’t get one… we’ll get it for them (not far from Birmingham and Fulham’s opening goals)! 2-0 or 3-1 for Bolton.
    Wolves will realy be up for it… they ‘ll try to attack and as usual against any north east team managed by a former “top class” centre half they’ll get a few. But i tink we will to. Wolves are a defence orientated team (as all MMc teams). I’ll go for a 2-1 win, but it is very likely that Wolves getting forward to much may (knowing that we ‘ll eventually concede) might cause a Wigan with us scoring 1 or 2.
    West Ham, hope they’re down by then and get the 42 quid tickets as parachute money… we’ve never had a decent game down there since Julio scored in a promotion season a few years back, with young Ben Alnwick (mag GK older brother) in his second start for the lads. I think we ‘ll lose, but if they’re already down… so might be their psychology. 2-1 or 2-0 to them as we are toothless.

  3. Dave May 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    We won’t get another point and we won’t score another goal!! We will survive by the skin of our teeth and it will be another dreadful finish to the season. Then it starts all over again!! The supporters deserve so much better!!

  4. Ian_SAfc May 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    Hmmm, 0-0 at Bolton, I hope so.
    But I can see us losing 4-0 or something.
    Is Hendo and Catts out too?
    Why not put the youth team out?

    I also think we’ll not score another goal or get another point.

    For me, the training and physio methods have got to be looked at. So many players injured can’t be just a bad coincidence.

  5. Chris May 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Well, back in my day, Pete Sixsmith’s specialist subject was history. Where’s these geography and maths skills come from? And Media Studies?? How things change. Well, not everything changes, the same feeling of disappointment and rage remain with every passing season. One day, they’ll be gone and we’ll be celebrating a Champions League spot. Or maybe I’m a bit too deluded.
    Anyway, my predictor had us staying up comfortably thanks to 2 defeats and a win against Wolves. Wolves, Wigan and Blackpool taking the plunge.

  6. Geoff Mangan May 5, 2011 at 6:59 am #

    Chris – if you had travelled to as many obscure grounds as Pete, your geography would hit an Oxbridge 1st degree standard. Age starts to impact on history as the memory fades, however. God knows about the Maths skills though – he hid those well at school, somewhere close to mine.
    Great article as usual. I think we’ll grab a point form somewhere too.

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