Monday, May 18, 2009

Diomansy Kamara for Fulham (v Newcastle United), 16 May 2009

Newcastle's defeat to Fulham on Saturday pushes them back into the bottom three and therefore requires the result of the Hull City v Manchester United game to go their way next weekend.

I can't help thinking that this leaves Sir Alex in a bit of a predicament. Having sewn up the title with a listless display against Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime, and with a Champions League final four days after the Hull game you could hardly blame Ferguson for leaving out his "star" names and sending a reserve team out against the Tigers.

The problem here is that the age old issue about "the integrity of the league" rears its head. Can you imagine the storm that would develop if Ferguson sent out a team made up of fringe and reserve players who were duly dispatched by Hull therefore sending Newcastle to the Championship? (admittedly, this scenario involves Hull beating any team Ferguson chooses to send out which, in their form, is pretty unlikely).

The other factor of course is that Shearer famously turned down Sir Alex on a couple of occasions, and so there is not much love lost between either Ferguson and Shearer or, let's be fair, the United faithful and the Toon manager.

Early reports suggest Ferguson is likely to leave out some of the bigger names players for the game (Rooney and Ronaldo have been mentioned) and I very much doubt he'd send out his under 15 team simply to send Newcastle down. If the Geordies lose to Aston Villa, it will of course all be irrelevant. If they don't, though, Ferguson's team selection will come under the most intense scrutiny and any sense that he sent out a considerably weakened side will incur the ire of every Newcastle fan for years to come.

1 comment:

Mosher said...

I'd been thinking the exact same "Fergie revenge" thing myself. However, is he really that bitter?

Wait. This is Fergie. Arse.

I'd not blame him for failing to field the important players in the last game, though. With the CL final coming up and nothing to play for in the league it makes complete sense to ensure they don't get injured. However, as you say, if he fields 11 teenagers then questions will be asked. But what could be done about it? We're talking about the man who refused to enter a team in an FA Cup competition as defending champions a few years ago!