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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


Relegation – It’s The Most Wonderfully Awful Time Of The Year

Written by on April 9, 2013 | 13 Comments »
Posted in English Premier League

It is something that most North American sports fans just cannot fathom. The idea that their team might be demoted to a lesser league based on poor performance is incomprehensible. Instead the home of capitalism rewards failure by offering a helping hand to under-performers by allowing them the pick of the next generation of superstars.

For the rest of the world and in particular the soccer world, relegation and promotion is a life-source for the game. Play well and you get rewarded; play poorly and you are punished. Darwinism at its most basic and most beautiful.

With most teams only having six games left in the Barclay’s Premier League and Manchester United ahead by 15 points going into Monday’s match against second place Manchester City, attention is focused on the fight for Champions League places (two from Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and a now slightly drifting Everton) and the battle to avoid the drop.

To read more please click on the link.

13 responses to “Relegation – It’s The Most Wonderfully Awful Time Of The Year”

  1. John Bladen says:

    Always difficult to predict… even at this late stage.

    I’m with you on the bottom two… I don’t see any escape for them. It would be hard to argue that either deserves to stay in the PL.

    When we get to Sunderland, Wigan, Stoke & Villa, though, I really can’t pick from them. Having picked Wigan to go down seemingly for the last decade (I know, not quite…), I’m reluctant to pick them again. Sunderland and Villa are a mess, really. Is Stoke any better? I’m hard pressed to see any of those sides being significantly more capable than the others.

    It seems we no longer have a top third, middle and bottom in terms of competitive ‘flights’ in EPL (if we ever really did).

    We have two (maybe three) at the top, a group of six or seven behind them and then the great unwashed (EPL style). Clearly this year QPR and Reading are not close to the same quality as the rest, but beyond that… would anyone be surprised if a few breaks had gone differently and Newcastle, West Ham or Southampton were circling the bowl?

    Go back a month and look at So’ton and Newcastle’s prospects… not good.

  2. Rob says:

    Bobby-What did you make of the Dortmund game? Particularly the last goal and Schmelzer not getting booked but Gamez getting yellow instead? Both seemed ok decisions with me.

  3. Ed Gomes says:

    I for one, will be rooting for Wigan to make it. I’ve expected them too all along, a lot to do with teams around them, but looking at that schedule makes me very nervous.
    Sunderland are a disaster. In looking at their squad they should have been better, right? I bet the fans are wishing O’Neill would have quit on them by January.

    The only thing that makes me sad about QPR is the owner getting hoodwinked by Hughes and now Harry. Hughes somehow deemed QPR worthy of him, and now Harry will collect some bonus even though they’ll go down. The courts should be on the lookout for new bank accounts in dog names. On a side note, it’s incredible that Harry didn’t do jail time. I believe one of his defenses was claiming racism over his heavy accent. He thought he was part of witch hunt. Lol.

    I wish the US had relegation in their sports. NFL being the only exception. If baseball had it, the Pittsburgh Pirates ownership couldn’t just pocket the luxury tax money they get and profit from others, no matter how bad they are. You could say the same for numerous other baseball clubs.
    The NBA would be great with relegation.
    The biggest issue is that the secondary leagues would have no revenue or fans. Take a look at minor league attendance numbers and that’s what you would be looking at. If baseball club got promoted, the facilities wouldn’t be good enough to drive revenue. People tend to forget that the Yankees had horrible attendance when they stunk. Even in a great sports town, you need to win.

  4. Rob – I have yet to see the game as I am on the road this week. Won’t see it till Thursday. Did catch highlights and there was certainly a level of doubt about three of the goals.
    Did see a few comments about Santana being “obviously offside” – wasn’t anything obvious about it in my view. The lead up however was a different matter.

  5. Alberta Gooner says:

    Really enjoyed this feature, Bobby.

    Safe travels to Prince George. I’ve run into their club at tournaments and they have an excellent program led by a former national team player. I’ve been told there is a thriving soccer culture in that community so I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions and more than a couple free drinks offered to you.

  6. Rob says:

    Bobby-Safe travels. Game was entertaining so at least you should enjoy it, looking forward to your analysis.

  7. Alberta Gooner says:

    Hey Bobby,

    Could you explain to Craig Forrest and Gerry Dobson that grabbing a shirt and pulling a player down in the box is a stonewall penalty? That there should not be any “controversy” no matter whether the referee or linesman makes that call? If Sportsnet is going to insist on employing commentators that are thick as seven planks, I’m going to spare myself from the stupidity and just illegally stream games and save myself $20 a month.

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    AG I agree. There was a jersey pull and that’s always a foul. It doesn’t matter if its rarely called in the box. A foul is a foul.
    Let me add that I am not an Arsenal fan. If anything I would really like for them to miss out on a CL spot, to see what would happen.

    That being said, I still don’t know how that was called a corner. On the third goal Walcott was offside, but before that Giroud might of just committed a foul on the header. Just a thought. All questionable calls coming on that line judges side.

    The bigger picture has to be how poor this Arsenal club is. Strange, because I actually think they do have quality. Granted the overall quality has diminished a great deal.
    For me Walcott is the guy they should have let go. Yes he brings pace and changed the match, but over the long haul he isn’t capable to be what he himself perceives to be.
    I know he scored but what is the difference between Podolski and Chamakh? Much fan fare, by Arsenal not fans.
    Why isn’t Ox playing more? Fitness?
    Us me or does Ramsey put teammates in bad spots. Gervinho was given the ball back on a couple of spots where he lost it, but he really shouldn’t have received the ball. Ramsey did the same to others on a few occasions. I know he’s missed a ton of time but does not seem to have good vision.
    I also see everyone falling in love with the new goalie, who has gotten the job like the last two did. Is it me or will he have some Almunia in him as well?
    I know that Arsenal gets killed for not spending, but we all know spending doesn’t fix everything. I just feel that they haven’t spent well.

    This is just my opinion. Granted this is my opinion, and that’s of someone who doesn’t follow Arsenal as much as a fan would. I’m just a fan that loves football.

  9. AG – excerpt from the notes that I just forwarded to FSN for Monday night’s show. I did not hear their comments but MHO was based on Tony Gales comments as colour commentator.

    “It was a penalty – Kei Kamara tugging on Giroud’s jersey. Just because the same situation is missed and not given doesn’t negate the fact that the call was correct. Same goes for whether the referee was closer to the incident than his assistant who appears to have made the decision.
    You can be 5 yards away and I am 25 yards away but if my angle is better I am better positioned to make the call.”

    Too may pseudo-controversies.

  10. Alberta Gooner says:

    Thanks for responding, Bobby.


    Agree it was probably not a corner that led to th goal, which was very similar to the phantom foul on Kamara that led to Norwich’s free kick for the opening goal. The officials didn’t cover themselves in glory but the penalty call was the correct one.

    Arsenal were poor but got a result. That’s what United have regularly done this year and that’s why they’ll wain the league.

  11. Ed Gomes says:

    I agree AG. Sometimes you watch this Man United squad, the last two years in fact, and you have to scratch your head. They, in my opinion, don’t look good at all. They’re not even scrappy, yet they gutted it out.
    Sometimes clubs give them too much respect and put themselves in danger.

    I know people go nuts about refs, but it all evens out. I’m one who believes the “Big Boys” do get preferential treatment, and I get it.
    Fans also complain about play, until it favors them. Time wasting drives trailing clubs and fans crazy, until their club does it.

    Arsenal has really wasted a wonderful opportunity. There’s no reason they shouldn’t have some of their stars still at the club, with better acquisitions, and thriving. You have a dis functional Chelsea, a sophomore slump from City and I’ve mentioned Man United.
    In my opinion this just might be Wenger’s best managerial job. Whether its his or the boards fault, Atsenal just aren’t up to par, yet they will beat out an undermanned Spurs squad.

  12. Alberta Gooner says:


    Today’s match against Everton is a great example of Arsenal dropping two points that United would have managed to win. That’s the difference between the two clubs at the present time. It’s going to be a big summer for Arsene Wenger. Apparently there’s 70m available to spent and there’s been plenty of names being bandied about. It will be interesting to see who comes in and who leaves.

  13. John Bladen says:


    Arsenal have developed an appalling ability to play down to almost any level of opposition (which is not to suggest that there is a huge gap between Everton and Arsenal). That’s not a good sign for any team, much less a big club hoping to earn a CL spot for next year…

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