What the fans say...
Birmingham City 4-1 Blackburn RoversDan Hobbs: Now that we are finally out of our misery, despite a fantastic last-day victory against Blackburn, I can look back at the catalogue of missed opportunities that was our season. The team showed plenty of times at St Andrew's that they had enough about them to stay up, yet threw away an alarming number of winning positions to drop points. Away from home was a different story, as the apparent lack of belief that they could compete in this league led to the regular occurrence that the team just didn't turn up. Defeats on the grounds of nearly all our rivals are what ultimately condemned us to another season (or more) outside the top flight. One last comment is for the morons who broke the crossbar after the match - what were they trying to achieve, and who exactly is going to 'sack' the board when they own the shares?
Alan Griffiths: Was I spitting feathers on Sunday? You bet I was. The game against Birmingham, as I have stated so many times, summed up Rovers season, another game best forgotten. I can forgive Friedel for his mistake, that gifted Birmingham their first goal, but I can't forgive the inept display by the majority of outfield players, who appeared to be thinking of their summer on the beach instead of a crucial game that would have given them entry into Europe, especially when all the other results went our way. Rovers finished seventh in the Premiership yet it's been a season of under achievement and one can only reflect on what might have been, if players had put in the same amount of commitment as supporters who travel the length and breadth of the country. European qualification was lost earlier in the season, but with the lifeline of the Intertoto, maybe I'm naïve to think that players would have given a blood and sweat final push, instead of the inept performance against relegation fodder Birmingham City.
Chelsea 1-1 Bolton WanderersDavid Esposto Simply put it was not the result the Stamford Bridge faithful were hoping for. With the Premier League title on the line Chelsea put up a valiant effort, only for the result to go sour after Matthew Taylor's goal at the death – therefore granting Sir Alex's men their 10th title in 16 years. But while the Blues failed at attaining domestic glory against Bolton, the crowd of 41,755 was left with their hearts in their mouths, as inspirational captain John Terry was stretched off after a collision with Petr Cech, ending his day, and putting a damper on Chelsea's hopes of winning the title. On the bright side though, not many fans or gambling types would've put their money on Andriy Shevchenko to score the vital goal, but nonetheless he did, sending the crowd into frenzy and a worrisome mood at the JJB.
Matthew Taylor's 90th minute strike spoiled the potential title party for Chelsea with a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge as Manchester United retained their Premier League crown. Substitute Andriy Shevchenko's second-half strike was cancelled out and it gave the fans something to taunt the Blues supporters about... and it is always good to end on a high. That is not to say the season has been a success. Far from it. Megson's reign has been devoid of any excitement other than that of avoiding relegation and that was more relief. At least now we have the summer to buy a striker... and hopefully a few more players so we can move away from the type of boring tactics Megson employed during this campaign.
Derby County 0-4 ReadingRoderick Coustan: We were some way beyond embarrassing, a moon off that planet. The third goal was a tight angle effort from the sub, Kevin Doyle, and they went ecstatic after 68 minutes, but it all went quite, quite, quiet when Fulham scored after 75 minutes. Means we get to play them next season, and that's not good - the Blues are down too. The worst would be Leeds up... Their fourth was on the 90 minutes, salt in the wound, Stephen Hunt cross Leroy Lita header from half-a-dozen yards. Despair on a fine sunny day, we're the laughing stock, how quickly can this be turned around? Do we really have £40m for players? There were some pretty angry fans there asking where the money's gone. Having voted themselves player of the season, they occupied the pitch. We left them to it.
Paula Marcus: Reading's biggest win of the season wasn't quite enough to keep Reading in the top flight for a third year. Just three more goals would have been enough against a Derby side that lived up to their billing as the worst ever Premiership team. The day had the full mix of emotion, with a goal from Harper sending the away fans mad. Further goals from Kitson and a much needed boost for Doyle looked to have been enough, but by the time Lita scored his last minute goal our fate was out of our hands. At least we went out with some pride and the annual random inflatables day helping build a fantastic atmosphere. The season has been a real rollercoster, but I'm sure there is little doubt we deserved relegation in the end. Whilst the season itself can be seen as a failure, the way the fans have united after relegation has been fantastic with fans gathering to show support for Steve Coppell. The way the club and fans have reacted over the past few seasons leaves me with nothing but pride at being able to call myself a Reading fan and here's to a good next season in the Championship.
Portsmouth 0-1 FulhamPortsmouth seem to think that having qualified for the FA Cup final that the season is over, such is our form, or lack of it, at the end of the season. If it hadn't been for the arrival of Jermain Defoe in the transfer window, and the fact that he is cup-tied, there would have been nothing for the loyal fans to cheer. Many supporters have become increasingly frustrated that they forked out a lot of money for season tickets and have had to stand and watch a side that was totally disinterested at the end of the season. Still, if we win the FA Cup I'm sure we will all forgive them.
Tom Wille: Just one month ago Fulham were at 50-1 odds to avoid relegation. Had someone put some money on the Cottagers to avoid the drop, he/she would be a rich person as Fulham pulled off one of the more improbable comebacks in the last month of the season to stave of relegation and keep its spot in the Premier League for the 2008-2009 season. The final bit of drama came at Fratton Park against Portsmouth. Knowing that fellow relegation strugglers Reading and Birmingham City were winning comfortably, it was apparent that Fulham needed to win over Pompey. After a first half in which Portsmouth controlled a bit more of the possession and looked the more dangerous side, Fulham braved the storm and kept things at 0-0. As the second half progressed, Fulham began to put some pressure on Portsmouth and it finally paid off when Danny Murphy headed home Jimmy Bullard's inswinging free kick to give the Cottagers a 1-0 lead with a mere fourteen minutes to play. Fulham held off Portsmouth in the end and pulled off a massive comeback in the last month of the season to avoid relegation. After going nineteen months without a win on the road, Fulham ended the season winning three in a row. The last month of the season overshadows what was a disappointing first eight months. However, the Whites saved the best for last and for supporters of Fulham the months of April and May 2008 will long live in our memories.
Sunderland 0-1 ArsenalRoy Keane said at the start of the season that he did not want the black Cats to simply avoid relegation by finishing 17th and he got his wish as we finished 15th. Keano described the season as 'satisfactory' and although I would have settled for survival at the start of the season I kind of agree with him. Some of the players really didn't cut it and after telling them so vie press conferences it was evident that they all fought to the final whistle in the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal. However, I expect the Stadium of light's exit door to be continually rotating in the off season.
David Young: Arsenal finished the season with a victory over Sunderland and just four points behind Manchester United. The game was settled by a Theo Walcott goal. The young Englishman sprinted onto a Gilberto pass and finished emphatically. It is hoped that he will conjured up many moments like that next season. 83 points is a creditable total but supporters will spend the summer thinking about what might have been. We really did come so close. On the positive side, the squad has shown a massive level of improvement since August and has far exceeded expectation. Hopefully, Arsene Wenger will build on that for next season.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 LiverpoolColin McCullough: On a dramatic last day of the season elsewhere, this was another poor show for the fans at White Hart Lane, particularly in the first half. Although the result was not going to change Liverpool's league position, Spurs could have moved into tenth - and the top half of the table - with a win. Fernando Torres put an end to those hopes, beating Dawson in the air to set up Liverpool's first and leaving the same player trailing in his wake as he slotted home the second. Spurs finish the campaign ten points above the relegation zone and a massive thirty points behind the top four, but at least with European football secured thanks to victory in the Carling Cup.
Kevin Brodie: We'll we can see by the performance of both teams which team was motivated more to win the match. Spurs didn't seem all that bothered, minus about 10 minutes into the second half. Liverpool bossed the match from start to finish. Skirtel was great as was Gerrard (minus some poor passes in our third). Torres got his goal to break Ruud's record, Dawson had to pull up his shorts as Liverpool's number 9 went round him. Reina only had one save to make of note and it was a brilliant one. Overall we had a good campaign in the league but did not mount a serious title challenge which was a shame. Our form at home was patchy as we drew too many games that we should have won. The biggest disapointment of our league campaign was our performances against United. We were just terrible both times. The other games that stick out was the Chelsea match at home when we were robbed and Reading away. Our best performances were both Newcastle games and beating the other half of Liverpool both times.
West Ham United 2-2 Aston VillaBilly Blagg: A stirring end to the season in bright sunshine and almost oppresive heat as Villa and the Hammers turned in a treat of attacking football. Events elsewhere ensured that Dean Ashton's late equaliser didn't harm Villa too much in their quest for UEFA Cup qualification as Everton had that spot sewn up long before the Hammer's forward blasted superbly in from the edge of the area. Nevertheless, this did extend Villa's poor win record at Upton Park and dented Nigel Reo-Coker's attempts to return to Upton Park with a win. Not that the former Hammer skipper did't try though, as he was involved in both goals specifically the second that put Villa ahead when his shot was spectacularly pushed out by Green only for Gateth Barry to hit home.
Jerrad Peters: Aston Villa's 2-2 draw at West Ham United was their season in a nutshell. Goalscoring and positive, attacking football was never in short supply. Indeed, but for a hatful of missed chances, Villa might have scored four or five on the day. Of course, multiple lapses in concentration negated a pair of brilliant strikes from Ashley Young and Gareth Barry. Nigel Reo-Coker was integral to both goals - first passing to young for the equalizer in the 14th minute before playing a neat one-two with Barry for the go-ahead just shy of the hour-mark. Dean Ashton's 88th-minute thunderbolt cancelled any chance of Villa earning an automatic UEFA Cup place. And while Everton's win at Newcastle effectively decided their fate, Villa's inability to finish-off a lackluster West Ham side was rather troubling.
Middlesbrough 8-1 Manchester CityWhat a great result! Although I do think that Man City had downed tools for the season in protest at what is happening to Sven. However, if we start next season with a similar approach, playing good football like we did last season and with a goal poacher up front in Alves we will pick up a lot more points. There is still a much work to do with regards to personnel in pre-season and if Southgate can do it well there is no reason we can't be challenging with the likes of Pompey, Blackburn, Man City - as long as we get a good start to the season. We have been linked with Newcastle's Alan Smith but I just don't see what he would bring to the club.
Wallace Poulter: Lay this one squarely at the feet of our illustrious owner. I have my issues, many of them, with Ethelred over the months but there was not much the manager could do as Boro were rampant in their 8-1 drubbing of City. Thaksin's dallying over Ethelred's future has created uncertainty at the club. Sure, the players are highly paid professionals but the quickest way to engineer a defeat is to create uncertainty in the minds of the players. Throw in a fairly ludicrous red card for Richard Dunne and all the ingredients were in place for an ugly day. There are many positives to take from the season. A top ten finish is nothing to sneeze at and in Elano, Petrov and Corluka the team struck transfer gold. Hart emerged as a potential England number one and Michael Johnson may be the best young player in the Premiership. On the negative, the failure to take advantage of the great start and the manager's fascination with Vassell were a source of endless frustration. There is a tremendous core to build on and City look on the up for the first time in years.
Everton 3-1 Newcastle UnitedTony Burns: Everton finally wrapped up the fifth spot they deserved with a 3-1 win over Newcastle and can look forward to UEFA Cup adventures again next season. The Blues topped the 'best of the rest league' despite heavy investment from the likes of Man City, Spurs and Villa last summer. Yakubu notched two goals to take him over the 20 goal mark while player of the season Jolene Lescott scored his tenth, a fantastic return for a defender. Everton should be an attractive destination for prospective signings this summer and hopefully we can keep our momentum going and break into the top four next time around.
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Wigan Athletic 0-2 Manchester UnitedLiam O'Connor Comment to follow...
Correspondent Wanted: What a weekend! Record-holder Ryan Giggs marked a lifetime's loyalty with a goal that delivered another Premier League title to Manchester United as we beat Wigan 2-0 at the JJB. The Blues will no doubt harp on about some poor refereeing, but as they didn't mange to beat bolton anyway it is all irrelevant. Giggs' had been introduced for his 758th United appearance, equalling a milestone left by Sir Bobby Charlton that will surely be eclipsed in Moscow on May 21. But all Giggs will care about is adding to a medal collection that continues to expand, containing all 10 championships won under Sir Alex Ferguson.
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