Relegation would bring seismic change but Albion do have reason for optimism
And so it begins...AGAIN. These unprecedented times see the Albion playing Premier League fixtures in June and July, starting with the visit of Arsenal to a ‘fans free’ Amex this Saturday.
Nine games in 36 days, perhaps the most important 810 minutes in the club's 119 year history, the ultimate prize finishing 17th and above, a minimum of £150million in TV and commercial revenue.
To finish in 18th, 19th or 20th will represent the most significant relegation in the club’s history, prompting potential seismic change at the Amex.
To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, “In all the leagues, in all the world, this was the year you didn’t want to get relegated”
The Championship is arguably the hardest league in Europe to get promoted from in any given season, with the uncertainty of how season 20/21 will pan out, you can multiply that.
So will the Albion survive?
To reiterate what I said when I initially touched on this subject a couple of weeks ago, the prospect of empty grounds almost makes every game an even more level playing field.
And what the Albion will lose on the swings at the Amex they will gain on the roundabouts on their travels.
The provision of five subs rather than the regulation three does I believe play into the Albion’s advantage, with a number of ‘impact’ players on the roster already wetting the appetites of the army of armchair fans.
Take Liverpool and City out of the equation, and I believe the Albion are playing seven games for 21 points, currently on 29 I believe another 10 points will secure topflight football for at least another season.
But can the Albion get 10 points, from those 7 games?
I think they can, and if they don’t, they clearly weren’t good enough to stay up, so therefore don’t deserve to.
Covid 19 or not, the League tables do not lie.
Straight out of the blocks will certainly aid the Albion’s survival hopes, and perhaps there could have been worse opponents than Arsenal. I think even without the Amex faithful, the Albion will record their first ‘double’ of this campaign and run out 2-0 winners on Saturday afternoon.
In the process, it will put pressure on fellow relegation rivals West Ham and Bournemouth who both play on Saturday evening against Wolves and Palace respectively.
A week in politics may be a long time according to Harold Wilson, but it will be an even longer time before Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s ‘foot in mouth moment’ openly criticising Premier League footballers will be forgotten.
Asking footballers to take a pay cut, before refusing publicly to take one himself, Hancock has been shown up even more by the commendable and admirable actions of Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
Rashford’s ‘open letter’ to the Government asking them to make a u-turn and extend the free school meals scheme throughout the summer, proved to be a success with Rashford recounting his own childhood experiences in difficult circumstances back in Wythenshawe at the beginning of the 21st century.
To not lose sight of your roots is the ultimate accolade to any successful person, Rashford bearing his soul, and getting Government legislation changed, makes him in my book a serious candidate for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
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