It won’t be easy as we have two difficult away games in our last four, but if we can win our two home games against Birmingham and West Brom we have a chance of finishing in ninth. Looking at it realistically, Bolton in eighth are probably that little bit too far away from us to catch up, so a ninth placed finished is probably the best we can muster now.
That would be a great achievement for a newly promoted side in my opinion and would far surpass my pre-season expectations. I thought we were good enough to avoid relegation, but I thought it would probably be a lot closer than what it’s turned out to be. If you’d have said ‘top ten’ at the start of the season I’d have smiled and admired your optimism!
Finishing in the top ten would be a massive boost for the club in my opinion. There is a certain status attached to being a top-half team. A steady club that isn’t too far from the European places and is far enough away from the relegation places will surely be seen as an attractive proposition by ambitious players?
Then there is that prize money, which obviously goes up the higher you finish up the league. I’m going by figures that are a few years old now, but the bottom club used to get £2.5 million in prize money, topped up more prize money for each position higher. The prize money per position is now around £800,000, so a top ten finish would easily bring £10 million into the club.
Hopefully a top ten finish will show the current set of players, especially the likes of Jose Enrique and Joey Barton, that getting into Europe is not too far away and that they don’t need to leave to find it. If they see the players coming into the club that they believe can help get them there then may just be persuaded to stay a bit longer.
A top ten finish would also be a good thing when it comes to the commercial side of things aswell. Being associated with a team in the Premier League is a draw, but being associated to a team in the top ten carries a higher level of prestige with it. This could be another way to increase money coming into the club.
The benefits of a top-half finish are many, and with safety assured (albeit not mathematically yet) and not a lot else to play for I’m glad the players and manager seem to have set a target of a top ten finish.
If they could sneak ninth it would be great as it would mean that we’d finish above the Mackems. That would surely be a kick in the nads for the inbreeds who were polishing off those passports getting ready for that next level. They should be embarrassed to be honest. All of that money spent, not one fit striker at the club and nearly half of their starting XI is on loan from other clubs. Massive indeed!
It’s not just money we are playing for, or commercial deals. It’s local pride. Finishing above the Mackems will be sweet revenge for all the rubbish they’ve dished out to us over the last couple of season and will give us our status of North-East top dogs back.
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