Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Newcastle May Seek to Sell High Earners

The latest reports in the British tabloids suggest that Newcastle United are beginning to give serious thought to instigating the necessary preparatory measures to bring their expenditure in line with their impending Championship status following their devastating relegation from English Football's top flight on Sunday. The Toon slumped to a poor 1 - 0 defeat by Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday which confirmed their relegation in spite of Hull's home defeat to English Champions Manchester United by the same scoreline. This has inevitably forced the powers that be at St James' Park to start giving sincere thought to their massive payroll of players salaries - rumoured to have accounted for around 70% of the North East clubs £100 million turnover during the 2008 - 2009 season. Clearly this is unsustainable at championship level, and in spite of stars such as Damien Duff pledging their future to the club, departures of high profile playing staff look inevitable.

One name that in particular will surely alert the attention of Premier League managers is (possibly) former England striker Michael Owen who is now out of contract, and at a reputed £100,000 pounds per week in wages looks almost certain to seek pastures new in order to reignite his international ambitions. The 29 year old has been shunned so far by England coach Fabio Capello and is desperate to get back into contention for international selection following a nightmare injury plagues spell in the North East.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Pressure Mounts on Championship Final Day

The final round of fixtures in the English Football Championship is set to commence this afternoon with a number of key issues yet to be finalised. Wolves have already taken the top spot in the league after a fantastic season which has seen them dominate almost throughout - playing some classy football in the process. However, there are 3 other clubs all vying for the second automatic promotion place this afternoon. The early kick off this afternoon sees 2 of these candidates face each other in a dramatic finally, with Reading set for a crucial clash with Birmingham at the Madejski Stadium. The visitors are currently in the driving seat in the race for second spot, and a win will ensure they bounce straight back into English football's top flight following the disappointment of relegation last year. Even a draw will be sufficient for the Blues, should Sheffield united fail to beat their old boss Neil Warnock's Crystal Palace side. The Blades themselves still have a shout for automatic promotion. The South Yorkshire outfit need a win, and also need Birmingham to avoid victory against third placed Reading.
At the bottom end of the Championship league table the equation is much more straightforward. Barnsley travel to Home Park knowing that a point against Plymouth will ensure their Championship status regardless of other results. Meanwhile Norwich - the only other possible candidate for the final relegation place - must beat already relegated Charlton at the Valley and hope The Tykes are beaten by Plymouth if they are to avoid joining their hosts and debt-laden Southampton in the depths of league 1 next season. It is sure to be a tense finish to what has been an excellent season - and with the play offs still to come their is bound to be further heartache for all fans of Englands second tier clubs.