CONGRATULATIONS to Derby County, last night mathematically confirmed as winners of the Gubbometer after they were shown last on Match of the Day for the 12th time this season.
They didn’t actually need to be the final game on MOTD this weekend to make certain of finishing top – just as long as Wigan or Fulham weren’t on last.
I did think of getting a trophy (perhaps a replica of Tony Gubba’s head made from tin) and dashing over to Pride Park to present it to the club on the pitch before their final home game of the season, against Reading on May 11. But I don’t think that would have gone down too well. And besides, it’s an hour-and-a-half to Derby from where I live.
Last night’s final match: West Ham 2 Derby 1
Commentator: John Roder
While Derby have been at the bottom of the Premier League for so long that they are in danger of being reclassified as sediment, West Ham have achieved the much more difficult trick of spending practically the entire second half of the season in 10th.
Yesterday’s unspectacular victory over the worst team in Premier League (and perhaps top-flight) history left the Hammers five points behind Manchester City in ninth, and five points ahead of Tottenham in 11th. If West Ham were a rail passenger, they would have an entire second-class carriage to themselves on a train stranded just outside Didcot Parkway due to engineering works.
Alan Curbishley, though, believes his team – and perhaps their manager – have been unfairly maligned. He pointed to a spate of injuries (football’s equivalent of engineering works) and asked for a little more appreciation.
“I will look back at this season as a success,” he said. “The problems we’ve been beset with just sum up this week. You can see this week the problems we’ve had.
“I would like to call for a bit of appreciation and realism. Considering the problems we’ve had this season, we’ve done all right.”
A psychotherapist would probably make two suggestions at this point: 1) Before you seek appreciation from others, you need to learn to appreciate yourself. 2) If you want appreciation and realism, for God’s sake don’t become a football manager.
West Ham certainly haven’t had as many problems as Derby have this season. For all you stats fans out there, the Rams are not only set for the lowest points tally in Premier League history (which you all knew), but will equal the second-lowest total in the entire history of the top flight – including the days of two points for a win – if they lose all their remaining games.
(Derby’s current total of 11 is the same that Darwen managed from 26 games in 1891/92, and one better than the 10 accrued by Stoke from 22 games in 1889/90.)
And Curbishley has had fewer problems to deal with than Jewell, who has not only seen his team fall to relegation like snow in an avalanche, but has also had his private life splashed all over the front of the News Of The World.
(Someone who might know these things told me a couple of weeks ago that Jewell’s now-infamous sex video – which appeared in the paper last month – was actually six years old. I’ve no idea if that’s true. But after reading this account of the NOTW’s dealings with Micah Richards over his own ‘sex scandal’, it is possible to imagine that the paper could have been holding on to the Jewell story for a rainy day.)
And no tinpot Gubbometer trophy can make up for that kind of humiliation.
1. Derby: 12 (Gubba difference: +1) – Champions
2. Fulham: 7 (GD: +2)
3. Wigan: 7 (GD: +1)
4. Reading: 6 (GD: +1)
5=. Birmingham: 6 (GD: 0)
5=. West Ham: 6 (GD: 0)
7. Gubba: 5
8. Blackburn: 4 (GD: +2)
9. Bolton: 4 (GD: +1)
10. Portsmouth: 3 (GD: +1)
11=. Aston Villa: 3 (GD: 0)
11=. Chelsea: 3 (GD: 0)
11=. Sunderland: 3 (GD: 0)
14=. Millwall: 2 (GD: 0)
14=. Walsall: 2 (GD: 0)
14=. Middlesbrough: 2 (GD: 0)
14=. Newcastle: 2 (GD: 0)
18. Tottenham: 1 (GD: +1)
19=. Everton: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Cardiff: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Wolves: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Bury: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Workington: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Huddersfield: 1 (GD: 0)
19=. Grimsby: 1 (GD: 0)
(NB. Where teams are level, positions are decided by Gubba Difference; the number of times a team is on Match of the Day last with Tony Gubba commentating.)