Thursday, January 17, 2008

HatterDon's Thinking Cap

[By HatterDon, 'terrace contributor and FUSA maestro]
Time for a little perspective?

It’s Tuesday morning here in South Texas and we’ve finally got a little rain to wash out our winter terrorist – Mountain Cedar Fever. It’s typical, I suppose, that the spoors that give me the use of about 1/10th of a single nostril at the best of times don’t really come from a cedar tree at all, but that’s neither here nor there. The fact is that I’m breathing a bit now, and my brain is actually functioning. Time to concentrate on my depression now.


I expect to spend some of this afternoon watching my first love on Fox Soccer Channel while trying to keep track of my greatest love through match tracker. Luton are on to a great Merseyside payday that might keep the old club alive for the rest of the season. Fulham are off to pirate country to play a bunch of boot boys in a bowl of chili. I don’t really care whether Luton win or not, because the fact that they are there is all that matters. As for the Whites, if they win tonight they have a tie with a non-league side, and that means a real chance of getting into the 5th round. A couple of away wins are on the cards if all goes well. What does this mean in terms of staying up? Will the momentum stand us in good stead for the rest of the campaign? Will it be the distraction that dooms us. Or, like Derby, are we already doomed and the Cup is all we have?

And that brings me to my peerless insight for the rest of the season. Here's what I'm seeing as I swirl round the drain with the rest of us.

1. Derby is a lock. When their new signings, their coach, and their assistant coach all agree that it's CCC for them next year, that's pretty much dead.

2. Wigan are staying up. It seemed impossible based on what they had, but the Birmingham City board's incredibly stupid decision to go with the "new owner" and pitch out Steve Bruce has been a windfall for the 'latics. They're not any more talented, but they're playing well, and they'll stay up. Fortunately, this means ...

3. That Birmingham City are underperforming. Ignore their point at Arsenal; they're on their way down.

4. Sunderland's high point of the season is over; they're one of the three for the drop.

5. Middlesboro are only a couple bad matches away from joining us at the bottom, and they're capable of sucking at a moment's notice.

6. Bolton's revival is over. Anelka has gone to Blue Hades, and Arc of a Diver Cisse is in Africa for a few weeks. They're heading down also.

7. We need to average 6 points a month for January/May, February, March, and April to have a shout of staying up. That'd be 39 points -- not enough to keep teams up in some years, but maybe enough for us.

8. The free-fall team -- Newcastle -- is high enough above the drop zone to be safe for the year. But for those 3 or 4 matches a year when Michael Owen is fully fit, they really play sucky football.

9. We need to beat Birmingham, Derby, Sunderland, for certain, as well as slamming a couple of top-10 sides. And maybe two wins on the road.

10. Here's your bottom 6: Derby [duh], Bolton, Birmingham, Fulham, Sunderland, Middlesboro. How they line up eventually is anyone's guess. The only cert is Derby going down. Unless we reassemble our feces, they won't be the only side wearing black and white to drop down.