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May 25, 2009

The last look at the weekend

Toon Doon, Deeper and Doon

Noel Gallagher will be a happy man having opined in the build up to 'Doom Sunday': "I hope Newcastle go down. There's no better sight than seeing fat topless Geordies crying." I'm sure they'd like a half decent Oasis album one of these days, Noel - but I'll tell them not to hold their breath, eh?

Noel got his wish after the Toon demonstrated exactly why they deserve relegation and the financial meltdown that comes with it. If their players deserve to become Championship fodder the board deserve to be parachute-paymented straight down to the Conference. Where to start with those clowns? Shunning Kevin Keegan in favour of Dennis Wise? Employing Joe Kinnear? Leaving Chris Hughton in charge for five games before appointing Shearer? Appointing Shearer?

The pie-guzzling cry babies in the away end managed to splutter their way through a final burst of ''Shearer! Shearer!'' at Villa Park despite just one win in his eight games in charge, while most of the players at least had the good grace to look a bit dejected. But like actors dredging up painful childhood memories in order to cry for a role, they were probably just mourning the fact that their freeloading days on monster wages are well and truly over.

How to boil an idiot

The beneficiaries of yet another spineless Newcastle display were Hull City and Phil Brown. A true measure of how terrible the Toon have been this season is that they were beaten to survival by a side with one win in 22 games, who have returned a staggering eight points since Christmas.

Despite this near-crippling run of form it was all smiles at the final whistle before some goon handed Brown a live microphone so he could screech something about this being ''the best ride'' he's ever been on in no discernable musical key. Funnily enough he didn't manage to squeeze a line in about his horrendous on-field team talk at Man City or his inflammatory comments before he took hapless Hull to Sunderland. Now he can add making a fool of himself in front of the world to his long list of proud achievements in the Tigers inaugural top flight campaign.

Believe me, there was nothing positive to come from his diabolical ditty but we can at least take one small shred of comfort from the fact that he had the good grace to warble down the mic THEN get stuck into the red wine rather than Delia Smith, who famously did it the other way round.

Fergie's integrity: Intact

Fergie escaped from Hull with Manchester United's reputation intact and swerved the savaging that surely would have ensued had they rolled over and succumbed. He may as well have played United's under 14-side at the KC, or just fielded 11 brown paper bags with faces drawn on in black marker pen. Either side would still have won comfortably.

As it was Darron Gibson extraordinary strike was enough for the reserves, who should have scored four or five if the two kids up front hadn't had their own game of Hoggy all afternoon, shunning glaringly obvious passes to each other in favour of trying to beat five players before nutmegging the 'keeper.

Lord Fergie was grinning like a Cheshire cat at the final whistle as his big mate Browny toasted survival. The only surprise is that Ferg didn't turn MC too and smash some phat ryhmes down the pipe or provide backing for Brown in the shape of some human beatboxing. Rome is next for him and his well rested superstars.

The leaving Legends

If you added together Tugay and Sami Hyypia's Premier League years you'd have someone old enough to wander into their local, slam three English pounds on the fake-pine bar and coolly order half a mild. Their respective cheerios couldn't have been more contrasting though.

You may have noticed in the course of the season that I'm not a massive fan of Sam Allardyce but this time he got it spot on, affording Tugay the decency of 85 minutes playing time before his eight years of loyal service were toasted warmly by a slight titter of applause from six flat-capped pensioners and a gaggle of greyhounds who had somehow found the courage to take on an afternoon watching Blackburn and West Brom on a rare sunny day in Lancashire.

Miserly old Rafa didn't afford Sami such luxuries though, forcing him to warm up for the same amount of time Tugay played before finally giving him a whopping six minutes of action at Anfield. He clearly means a bit more to his team-mates though, who hoisted the sobbing Finn shoulder high so he could say a proper goodbye to the Kop once and for all after a decade in Red. Fare-thee-well, wise old men.

I, Sbragia

Sunderland also had reason to celebrate as they can now lay claim to the title of 'most Northerly Premier League football club'. Their paltry tally of 36 points would normally be enought to condemn any side to the Championship too but thank the Lord for their nonsense North-East neighbours.

Immediately after the game Ricky Sbragia and chairman Niall Quinn immediately located the nearest TV camera and washed their dirty hoisery in public - providing the sort of breaking news moment pompous media monolith Sky lives and breathes for. Ricky looked about as comfortable as a fish in a microwave when he mumbled something about a bigger name being required, although he failed to elaborate on why a club who has just scraped survival by the skin of their teeth deserve any kind of big name at all. Didn't work last time did it?

Niall, a terribly nice bloke, described how Ricky, a terribly nice bloke himself, was a terribly nice bloke and that he was brilliant and that he had a job for life at the club.

I, for one, will miss good 'ol Sbragia-y. The Black Cats may get a bigger name but will it be as hard to pronounce or spell? We live in hope.

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