Manchester sports team
The best decision I ever made was giving up the day job as a gas fitter to become a sports journalist. And it's a little known fact that I was once runner-up at the Butlin's boxing championships...
But enough about me, what do I love about sport? The intensity and the uncertainty of competition. The feeling of elation when my team wins something, but you know what, I think it's an even better feeling when you know you can have another season of what you've just witnessed.
That's where promotion and relegation comes in. You may or may not be aware that Super League (that's Rugby League to the uninitiated) have decided to abolish relegation as of now - therefore defying the laws of gravity, because in their eyes what goes up doesn't necessarily come down, or vice versa.
Some of the great moments of sport have been created just by retaining your current status, I have personally had the privilege of being witnessing a few. In fact, don't just take my word for it, ask any Oldham Athletic fan about the last week of the 1992/93 season when the 'Latics looked dead and buried, and were nailed on certainties to be relegated from the Premier League. But somehow against all the odds they won three games in six days to stay in football's top flight.
Only last season, as the BBC Radio Manchester reporter, I witnessed a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Bolton Wanderers as they mounted a last gasp effort to ensure another season of Premier League football, in fact in their earlier Premier League days they went one better by surviving on the last day of the season by beating Middlesbrough at the Reebok 2-1.
I recall being invited into the Bolton boardroom for a celebration drink, where everyone was reflecting on the campaign and saying " We can't go through another season like that again." To which I replied, "why not?"
Let's face it if you can't win something and you do become embroiled in a battle for survival why not make the most of it? It's a terrific feeling when you know you're safe, and most importantly it retains interest for all the teams who, without relegation, would see their season disintegrate into a meaningless pastime.
Anyway I digress, back to Super League, despite my love of blood and thunder scraps at the foot of the table it's been decided that they will become a thing of the past by the Super League clubs.
Instead they want to try to provide a bit more stability to the sport, without putting too much pressure on teams to just survive. Maybe it will work, but will it bring about the same level of competition when, frankly, results won't matter as much?
You see, I think it's part of this country's culture to retain, in some way, promotion and relegation. Don't stamp on people's dreams and aspirations - come on, be honest would you ever have imagined Wigan Athletic playing and staying in football's top flight?
last updated: 11/07/2008 at 08:44