EPL finale set to cap an entertaining season
The curtain falls on the 2011/12 season this weekend. It has been an entertaining and enthralling spectacular season that has kept us football fanatics talking all year long. The agenda this weekend will be split, depending on where your loyalty lies. Fans of the Manchester clubs will have all eyes on the title race, those whose allegiance lies in North London will have their interest occupied by the race for the Champions League spots, and there will be overall interest in the relegation fight. It’s set to be a cauldron of footballing excitement. I believe all football fans have been doing their rituals hoping to influence the results in a certain way but we will all remain anxious as we hope the results go our way.
Manchester City remain in pole position to clinch the title but Manchester United fans are still hoping that QPR will stop them. I think if that happens it will be one monumental failure that will never be forgiven by Manchester City fans; and Roberto Mancini is aware of the stakes. I think Sir Alex Ferguson does not share in the optimism of some Manchester United fans but he will urge his players to go for maximum points.
In as much as the title race will be exciting, I think the chase for third and fourth will attract the most interest. Arsenal, Spurs and Newcastle are locked in a fight for the coveted Champions League places. In the relegation battle QPR and Bolton are going to try to avoid the drop. The mixture of emotion that we will go through tomorrow will be unbelievable.
Usually at a time like this it becomes unavoidable to look back at the highlights of the season. We have seen many goals, entertaining matches, controversial incidents and unforgettable moments. One enduring memory that will no doubt remain with us for a long time is Patrice Muamba’s miraculous recovery after suffering a heart attack. When it happened nothing mattered but his life, football took a back seat and many of us joined in prayers for his recovery. It was surreal that many of us felt connected to a player so far away but it just shows how much emotional investment we put into the sport. On that day football showed us that it’s more than just a game.
On a sad note, this season a number of Kenyan fans have lost their lives after disagreements over matches. I have written about this issue before and it remains one of the most unfortunate and regrettable happenings. Last year I was part of a radio phone in- programme on Radio Jambo where we tried to explore the causes of such incidents. As I recall, some callers said some people take results of their teams too personally. It doesn’t matter what the reason is - there’s no excuse for taking another human being’s life. I just hope that this is something that will not happen again.
Finally, in 2006 Alan Shearer, while playing for Newcastle United against Sunderland, suffered a knee injury after a collision. Shearer had been expected to retire at the end of the season but after his injury he was ruled out for the remaining matches. One of the UK tabloid newspapers put up a headline as a tribute to him titled That’s All Folks. I think that’s probably an apt way to end this column; I’ve enjoyed it and hope you have too.