• You should not celebrate fourth

    Liverpool celebrate fourth spot

    It’s been a long, hard slog of a season, but there’s no excuse for celebrating fourth place and no exceptions should be made, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    The Premier League season came to an end yesterday and it was a great celebration of football – both City and Spurs banged in the goals as they finished the campaign in the same way they would wish to start the next one. Champions Chelsea were finally handed their trophy, richly deserved after Antonio Conte masterminded their rejuvenation.

    The less said/written about John Terry’s farewell the better, in my view. There’s no good excuse for starting the club legend and then bringing him off after 26 minutes and 50 seconds. He deserved more – either start and finish him, not bringing him on with 26 minutes to play. In the hysteria of sending him off like that, its easily forgotten that one of the league’s all-time greats exited the grand stage with a press conference.

    With the relegation battle wound up, the only drama lay in the determination of fourth place. City were never going to lose, not to Watford, who were giddy at the thought of the end of the season and the end of Walter Mazzarri’s time in charge of the club.

    It was a straight shootout between Liverpool and Arsenal. Both games were great to watch, Boro made the Reds sweat before being swept aside, while the Gunners scored early before Laurent Koscielny’s rush of blood to the head saw him sent off. Liverpool confirmed their return to the Champions League with Arsenal missing out for the first time in 20 years – there’s a lot to be said about that, but surely it’s now time to end Arsene Wenger’s time at the Emirates?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s no trophy handed out to a side with sound financials, a more than decent crowd attendance and that consistently finishes in the European places.

    Wenger cannot take the club any further.

    He has tried. And he has failed. A couple of FA Cup wins and some attractive football really matters little. You have to be winning titles if you want to have the approval of your fans.

    A fan should not be concerned with the financials of a club. Unless you are a shareholder, what difference does it make to have a rich club who fails to attract the top talent or to pay them well to keep them over the long term? As long as you don’t break the financial rules about fair play, then I say spend away!

    Football has always been and will always be about winning the league. Once you’ve done that, then win the double. After that? Chase the treble. And then you start again.

    Liverpool fans, at least the ones I saw at my local watering hole and the few that I haven’t unfollowed on social media, were behaving as if it were them and not Chelsea who were on top of the world. A reality check is vital – and no better time than when all is said and done at the end of the league – Liverpool finished 17 points off the top and failed to win half a dozen games that the fans and bookies would’ve expected.

    Is that really worth celebrating? When you finished well and truly off the pace?

    The same goes for the two Manchester clubs – City and United – both of whom have spent huge in the transfer market and both have fallen spectacularly short of their goals.

    If Jose Mourinho’s side go on to win the Europa League? Expect me to give the achievement what it deserves – a five-minute applause.

    After all, will winning Europe’s B competition make up for what has been a dreadful season? A season which saw them finish twenty four points behind Chelsea, seven behind Liverpool and 35 goals worse off when compared to Tottenham Hotspur’s goal difference?

    Not for me … I won’t be celebrating fifth place and you shouldn’t celebrate third or fourth either.

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