Sorry Derby finally relegated

Derby County’s brief and bitterly disappointing stay in the Premier League finally ended as they were relegated yesterday.

The Rams claimed their 11th point of the season after a 2-2 home draw with fellow strugglers Fulham consigning them to life back in the Championship.

Disappointed Derby manager Paul Jewell told the BBC: “It has been a long, hard season, a terrible season and a very difficult time.”

“Now that relegation has been confirmed there is only one thing that matters and that is the start of next season,” he added.

And, as well as being relegated after just one season in the top flight, Derby also look set to become the worst ever side in the history of the Premier League.

Sunderland claimed just 15 points in the 2005/6 season and Derby now need five points in their last six games to save themselves from abject humiliation.

But with County having scored just 16 goals so far this season, it seems increasingly unlikely that they will be saved from an unenviable place in English footballing history.

The Black Cats must be breathing a sigh of relief.

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Impressive United put one hand on the Premier League trophy

Supporters of Arsenal and Chelsea hoping for a Manchester United slip yesterday would have been sorely disappointed as the Red Devils continued their relentless march to glory.

A resilient display earlier in the day by the Gunners saw them overturn a 2-0 deficit at relegation-threatened Bolton despite having just 10 men for around an hour of the game.

But United were ruthless in their 4-0 victory over Aston Villa, who battled to an impressive draw at the Emirates just a few games earlier, as Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez helped the champions to another three points.

With the Red Devils leading by six points with just six games to go it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to catch them, despite the fact that they play both Arsenal and Chelsea next month.

Following the demolotion of Aston Villa, Ferguson said: “The title doesn’t feel that close for us, but there is great confidence in the way the team is playing and that’s great at this time of the year.”

You have to think that he is playing mind games – United have one hand firmly grasped on the Premier League crown and it doesn’t look like they’ll be letting go.

Resilient Arsenal not getting enough respect

Despite Arsenal only being defeated once in the Premier League this season pundits and fans alike have not been giving the Gunners the respect they deserve.

Apart form the shocking cup defeats to Tottenham and Manchester United, Arsenal have had an outstanding season but have been constantly told they are not good enough to claim the title.

In truth, the Gunners probably have the weakest squad on paper but with their best eleven they are than a match for any team in Europe.

The title race will go right down to the wire but with the north London side still leading with just ten games to go they are certainly in with a very good chance.

And it is about time that they are given credit for what has been an outstanding season.

Rant of the week: Cultural aspirations

There is something that can be said for people who are comfortable enough within themselves to take real pride in their cultural influences.

One of the most interesting things about living in a multi-racial, multi-faith Britain is the different foods, music and entertainment we are exposed to.

However, it seems that there are some who are almost ashamed of their likes and dislikes, who aspire to attain a “high-culture”.

And conversely some interests are frowned as “low-culture”, and it is these things that some will try and distance themselves from for fear of ridicule.

When did it become so important to have a passion for the theatre and foreign movies, when what you really want to do is watch a big budget blockbuster.

Why has it become fashionable to deny a liking for mainstream pop music, or rap and garage, and pretend to like more underground, off-the-wall music?

Is it necessary to fake an interest in fine wine and foreign cheese, when all you really want is a bit of English mature cheddar and a can of Carlsberg?

Are you opinions less valid because you read The Daily Mirror rather than The Guardian?

And who decides which cultural influences are more valid than others? Should I really like Shakespeare more than Tarantino because I am told to? Or should I just admit that Pulp Fiction is better than Othello and not care what people think?

To me it seems odd that some people are so intent at being ‘classy’ that they seem to disregard their true cultural habits, to become something their not.

When in reality perhaps we should just be content in liking what we like and not what we are told we should like.