Saturday, October 29, 2011

Relegation and Amercanitis

photo by americanistadechiapasvia PhotoRee

Rumors are running rampant of foreign EPL owners conspiring in smoke-filled rooms to scuttle the current relegation system.  John Henry, principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, which (in turn) owns Liverpool, announced recently that he had no intentions whatsoever of attempting to tinker with the current system.  As a fan, I sure hope he’s telling the truth and that most of the other owners feel the same way.  First, I love meritocracies and the relegation system epitomizes those ideals.  Plus, a relegation system provides extra incentive to excel (or at least not suck).  As an example, the Miami Dolphins might benefit from the kick in the butt that would come from not even being allowed to play the New England Patriots.

But for many fans, the biggest reason to love relegation is that games which would normally be unimportant suddenly become hard-fought, exciting clashes between two bottom-dwelling teams who are fighting for their EPL lives.  Such games provide enthralling entertainment at both ends of the table toward the end of the season, ending either in improbable victory (Fulham 2008) or heartbreaking defeat (Blackpool 2010).  We Americans are often accused of imposing our will on the rest of the world regardless of the desires of the beneficiaries of our “magnanimity” and “best intentions.”  Let’s just please not meddle with a system based on merit that works.

And speaking (sort of) of Americanitis, has Liverpool caught the same bug that has infected the American national team for years?  This hearty strain of “can’t-seem-to-put-the-ball-in-the-net” disease has plagued the stars and stripes in every national competition for years, and now appears to have migrated across the pond.  Liverpool’s last two league fixtures have resulted in 1-1 draws in which they repeatedly shot wide and hit the bar more often than Andy Carroll on a bender in Dublin.  The Kop are switching to Gregorian chants pleading that the recent 2-1 victory over Stoke in the Carling Cup provided an effective antidote.  We’ll see when they take on West Bromwich Albion this weekend.

This is farlieonfootie for October 29.

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