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The Sweet Relief Of Relegation

Sunderland's Premier League status has all but slipped away, but Roker Report guest Phil Randle sees nothing in the endless cycle of survival to mourn over.

Laurence Griffiths

Susan Boyle has just about been shoehorned into her frock and is about to sing. It's that close. Another relegation.


A sigh of relief. We are finally out of the that awful league where we have to pay through the nose to have the Grim Reaper hanging over us season after season and be expected to be thankful for it.

Quite how Richard Scudamore and the Premier League have got so many clubs and fans fooled into thinking that it is the be all and end all to be cannon fodder with no hope of ever achieving anything is miraculous and equally as shameful.

Each season 13 clubs have one aim and one aim only - to not get relegated. Why? What possible reason is there to want to go round in circles, playing for pretty much nothing year after year? Money. Nothing else matters. Fans do not matter, winning cups does not matter. Earning enough money to be able to pay average players and leeching agents obscene fortunes is the aim of the game.

Where have the romance and excitement gone? Is there realistically ever a chance of a dark horse roaring up the outside and even challenging for the league let alone winning it? Nope. Is there a chance of a dark horse roaring up the outside and grabbing a Champions League spot? Nope. Is there a chance of a dark horse roaring up the outside and qualifying for the Europa League via the league? It is very, very unlikely. Great, eh?

People will point to Southampton as a pillar of what can be done if you get it right. They've had a superb season and are the example for everyone else to follow. Southampton are currently 8th in the table and 9 points off Man Utd who are having their worst season since before Luke Shaw was even born. The whole thing is just tragic.

For the filler, the also rans, the no hopers, the Premier League is just a life sentence of misery. For those of you that have watched the Shawshank Redemption each new season is like Red going up for his parole board hearing. He has no chance, has had no chance for years but time after time he goes, is polite, doesn't rock that boat, gets told to f**k right off and then thanks them for the opportunity at the end. No matter how much hope you have, no matter how good you think your year has been, you may have even managed to avoid meeting Leroy in the showers - it is the same result. Nothing changes and it is just more of the same.

Bollocks to that and bollocks to the Premier League.

We do not compete in it, we just exist. If I supported one of the ‘big' 7 clubs I think I would probably enjoy it. There would be a point and some meaning to it. I take no enjoyment from just being on the same pitch as those clubs. Apart from Man City at home we are generally tragic against the big boys and either try and steal a point by defending for our lives or get royally humped whilst being expected to fall over ourselves to praise the opposition for the privilege.

The Championship doesn't have glitz, it doesn't have glamour and it doesn't have players like Suarez, Hazard and Toure. It's an extremely tough division that takes guts and a long old slog but it is competitive. We could easily be as crap again next season but equally we could also win it. It is something different and we are hardly strangers to it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't the best thing since sliced bread and I do have massive sympathy for any staff that are let go (not the players - bunch of sh*thouses) and any exiles that won't get to see any of the matches on Internet streams but neither is it the end of the world.

If we win I'll be celebrating every step of the way despite knowing where we will end up again. It won't be the promotion I will be celebrating - it will be the romance. If we're as inept as we have been this season then I will go to my next parole hearing and at least know that I have a chance of getting out.

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