Would you believe that some people, somewhere, think Man Utd will be relegated? And that others say the axe will fall on Spurs, Chelsea, or Man City. Some even say Arsenal will go down.
That’s democracy for you, so please, please, no histrionics, vitriol or gratuitous insults. There have been enough of them these past few weeks and it’s time for civilised behaviour between gentlefolk, like we always get when discussing football.
Now the transfer window’s open our relegation poll has closed. It attracted at least 700 people, possibly more, who cast some 2,137 votes. Every club in the Premier League received some votes, with Man Utd, Spurs and current champions Leicester getting into double figures. Everton, with only two votes, were deemed the least likely to go down. You can see the full results here.
Wishful thinking aside, most people focused on the promoted clubs and a few, dare I say, strugglers near the bottom last season. Even so, there were a couple of surprises. Hull are favourites for the drop, with 389 votes. Given their off-field circumstances and the fact that they finished last season in fourth spot and came up via the playoffs this is understandable but Burnley, worthy Championship winners, were only one vote behind and took second spot in our poll.
Next, and one hundred votes better, came Bournemouth, slightly ahead of ‘Boro, with Watford the only other club to get more than 200 votes.
Then came Sunderland, ahead of West Brom, another choice that surprised me as they have Tony Pulis as manager and he doesn’t get relegated. Crystal Palace completed the list of clubs getting 100 votes or more.
100 votes seems a reasonable place to draw the line, and eight clubs is not a bad number for a longlist, so they will do for starters.
Some time around the start of the season I’ll ask you to choose which three of the eight will go down. By then there will have been transfers in and out (Bournemouth have already let Sylvain Distin go and brought in Nathan Ake on loan from Chelsea, what do you think of that, AFC fans?) and you’ll have a better picture of what’s going on. Then during the season I’ll use more of my dodgy numbers to review progress towards safety, or the lack of it, for the clubs which top that poll, and of course, for Sunderland AFC, whom I’m hoping will let me sleep peacefully next season.
See you then.