18th to 20th Positions – The Relegated Teams, those teams who will play in the Championship next season.
18th place. Hull City. 4 and a half out of 10. Manager Mike Phelan was named the new manager in August after Steve Bruce left a calamitous situation (that was none of his fault) weeks previously with no money for players and City down to the bare bones. What the owners were up to is anyone’s guess. Surprisingly under Phelan Hull started magnificently going top of the Premiership early on and Phelan was Premiership manager of the month for August, after that Hull didn’t win a thing and Phelan was sacked in early winter. Mario Silva came in just after Christmas and Hull looked like they might survive after he found 4 or 5 members of a possible Hull cavalry in the transfer window. This was despite losing their best player in the January transfer window in Robert Snodgrass who was still leading scorer 5 months later with 7 goals. Silva led the Tigers to a number of huge results but Hull just couldn’t survive the drop as teams above them equally found good if not better form. They scored 37 goals but let in 80 with a goal difference of minus 43 so maybe they deserved relegation. Although in their defence of what their was they were the only team of the bottom 3 who gave it some wellie as they battled hard for survival. Mario Silva resigned to the dismay of many fans and Hull City are back to the Championship and back to square one.
19th place. Middlesbrough. 2 out of 10. You have to feel sorry for the north-east fans and you have to feel sorry for Chairman Steve Gibson who seems to have given his all to the club. Unfortunately Boro were awful in the season. I blame the manager Aitor Karanka who was sacked late in the campaign, but he’d already done the damage by deriding the fans, picking the wrong team, relying on the defence too much, failing in the transfer market and having about as much awareness of the Premiership as a fart in a trance. The fans will not be sorry to see him go and Steve Agnew was left to pick up the pieces for the final few matches with Middlesbrough’s dreaded fate out of his hands. Boro will regroup I’m sure under Gibson’s guidance although Gibson might be more aware of who he brings in this time around. Just 5 wins all season from 38 games paints it’s own depressing picture but only 27 goals scored, ouch, that was two less than Harry Kane on his tod. Yup just 0.7 goals per game. Gibson says he will make big changes and I expect him to do so.
20th place. Sunderland. 1 out of 10. You have to feel sorry for the north-east fans. Unfortunately Sunderland were beyond awful this season. I blame the manager, hang on are we talking Middlesbrough or Sunderland. Well in this case Sunderland this time around. You know you are going to have an uphill battle all season when your manager in this case David Moyes announces in August he expects his team to be in a relegation fight. Oh the fans must have been joyous of those pearls of wisdom so early on. The truth was Sunderland didn’t even put up a fight going down like flys in a vacuum cleaner. They were atrocious. Only two players came out with any pride in tact, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford who was outstanding, mind you he had a hell of a lot to do. While frontman Jermaine Defoe was magnificent once again scoring a brilliant 15 goals for the bottom club and getting back into the England team (and scoring). Defoe kept them in the Premiership last year with his goals as Sam Allardyce saved Sunderland from the drop but although he again had a great campaign Defoe couldn’t keep Sunderland up twice. Sunderland’s second top scorer had 3 goals. Moyes resigned at the last death throes of the season and that was probably the best news Sunderland had all season as Defoe said goodbye by switching to Bournemouth. Moyes told a female reporter she should get a slap that got him into trouble with the FA during the season but the slap in the face for the Stadium of Light fans was Moyes darkness and negativity through the 9 months. For Moyes his CV is now in shreds, one success, keeping Everton in 7th place for more years than you can think of and 3 failures at Manchester United, in Spain for Real Sociedad and now at Sunderland. David take a break, get some positivity back, and maybe go travelling. I hear Sam Allardyce is looking for a trekking buddy in Nepal.