The £60m Question - Win Or Bust?
OK, so it`s not quite 'bust`, but we know that Premier League survival will earn the club at least £60m in TV revenue next year, even if we finish bottom, whereas relegated clubs (I can`t bring myself to write "whereas if we are relegated") will 'only` earn £23m in an initial parachute payment. As Prof Tom Cannon, a football finance expert at Liverpool University puts it; it`s like "profits of failure".
And I think we`re all agreed, it would be massive failure not to take the opportunity of the three points up for grabs at home to West Brom today, our destiny is on our own hands and we must grab the opportunity that has presented itself following Aston Villa`s defeat to Chelsea - a win today and we are 100% safe.
So, a message for Hughton et al: A draw is not good enough so there is no point playing for one; we have to go out with a line up designed to actually win a game of football.
The tactical preference (we attack much like a hedgehog does) that Chris Hughton possesses is well documented, and not worth going over again but we need to start with a team and tactics designed to get crosses in the box, get shots on goal and force our opponents into errors.
I was surprised to learn that we (along with Stoke) have had the lowest numbers of corners and shots in the top flight, which says it all. This season is not about Ruddy`s injury, Grant Holt`s poor form, bad refereeing or woeful finishing, it`s about our tactics.
Steve Clarke has stated in his press conference that the pressure is all on us. We must make sure that we conversely put pressure on his team, don`t give them a seconds` rest and start off on the front foot and get into a lead. If we go behind, I fear for us.
It`s an important one, but the question over the managers` future is irrelevant until the end of the season. I don`t care if bloody Alan Brazil is in charge, we just need to get behind the team and get the win - the players and fans have it in them even if the manager doesn`t.
There are lots of things we all miss about the previous regime`s tenure, not least the victorious cart-wheeling of full-back Marc Tierney. Chris Hughton is not exactly known for his ebullience, however if we do win today I expect him to fill the void left by Mad Marc`s absence, perhaps joined by McNally and Delia too. We live in hope.
Our message to Hughton and the players: WIN or bust.