Glory and Pride: A Fight to Stay Alive
From beginning to the end of a season, there is one word that teams are hoping to stay away from: relegation. The word relegation brings fear to not only players but also clubs trying to financially stay afloat. A word not necessarily used when it comes to soccer in the United States but when it is mentioned throughout the rest of the world, fear comes afloat.
Relegation is defined as to put someone or something in a lower or less important position or rank. It means the movement from top flight football to bottom of the totem pole characterized by shit pitches, lower crowd volume and under appreciation. Though a negative connotation, relegation upholds the fight to stay alive meaning life or death for some smaller clubs. It can also rejuvenate a club financially and mentally to make sure their name isn’t mentioned with relegation again.
Halfway through the season as the ground start the thaw, the relegation battle starts to take shape. Some teams have no worries at this point but others have no choice but to think about it on a game to game basis. In some terms also known as the other battle, relegation can be just as important as winning the championship, to lower level teams.
The concept of relegation in soccer is a constant rotation of teams trying to improve the quality of the game by bringing up the best quality of soccer possible. There is always two sides to a story and there is no difference in that when it comes to relegation. When speaking about the negative impact of relegation, the most pressing factor is money, money, money. The implications of being relegated is huge as it comes down to losing sponsorship, television revenue and ratings, competition, organizational change and the loss of key players. Overall, the negative outweigh the positives with teams losing close to 41 million euros in regards to relegation.
In a lighter note, similar to a snake shedding its skin there is the thought of rebirth of losing almost everything but forcing that team to live between its means and bringing the team closer together as the reality check comes forward. This reality check forces teams to stop relying on the all star or the key player and moves the focus towards a unified team.
In England, relegation is as wide open race as you are going to see as there is only an eight point gap between 10th place and 20th place. Fullham has almost solidified itself towards relegation with numerous poor showings throughout the first half of the season. With Swansea City at 28 points in 10th place and Fullham in last place (20th) with 20 points, there is a battle to stay alive for 10 teams. Many of these teams have already seen their days in relegation recently and are trying not to go back. The teams with the most to lose would be Fullham and Aston Villa as both have been in the top tier for 10 plus years. With the EPL commanding such a large audience with its broadcasts on NBC and NBCSPORTS, none of these teams can afford to be relegated.
In Italy, the race is far less more congested as there is only five teams that should be worries about relegation. Starting at the bottom with Sassuolo and Chievo who have almost guaranteed themselves to be relegated as they haven’t shown any competitive nature to stay in the top tier, there is a battle to see who that last team will be. Bologna, Catania and Livorno are fighting within a few points of the bottom to ensure they aren’t hurt financially and mentally. In the Italian league, there is a sense of pride and honor to be represented in the Serie A as there is two different owners between Serie A and Serie B and the difference is a lot larger than that of the EPL and its second league, English League Championship.
In all, there is the positives and the negatives that surround relegation but in all, no team wants to be associated with relegation. There are some teams that never have to worry about it because of the ownership that backs the teams but also the quality of the players they have on their team. If you get demoted for a job or rejected from a group of people, there is that sense to prove people wrong. A soccer team has that ability with eleven guys on the field that can change the culture of its fans, town and its reputation.
Tuesday February 18th:
UEFA Champions League- Bayer Leverkusen v. Paris Saint Germain-1:45 pm
UEFA Champions League-Manchester City v. Barcelona-1:45 pm
Wednesday February 19th:
UEFA Champions League-AC Milan v. Atletico Madrid-1:45 pm
UEFA Champions League-Arsenal v. Bayern Munich-1:45 pm
English League Championship-Nottingham Forest v. Leicester City-1:45 pm
Thursday February 20th:
UEFA Europa League-
FK Rubin Kazan
Friday February 21st:
German Bundesliga- Schalke 04 v. Mainz- 1:30 pm
Saturday February 22nd:
Barclays Premier League-
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
Spanish Primera Division- Real Madrid v. Elche-9:00 am
Spanish Primera Division- Real Sociedad v. Barcelona-1:00 pm
Spanish Primera Division- Almeria v. Malaga-3:00 pm
Italian Serie A- Bologna v. AS Roma-1:45 pm
German Bundesliga- Hamburg SV v. Borussia Dortmund-8:30 am
German Bundesliga- VfL Wolfsburg v. Bayer Leverkusen-11:30 am
Sunday February 23rd:
Barclays Premiere League- Liverpool v. Swansea City- 7:30 am
Barclays Premiere League- Newcastle United v. Aston Villa- 7:30 am
Barclays Premiere League- Norwich City v. Tottenham Hotspur-10:00 am
Spanish Primera Division- Osasuna v. Atletico Madrid-2:00 pm
German Bundesliga- Hannover 96 v. Bayern Munich-10:30 am
Italian Serie A-Livorno v. Hellas Verona-5:30 am
Italian Serie A- Inter Milan v. Cagliari-8:00 am
Italian Serie A- Sampdoria v. AC Milan-8:00 am
Italian Serie A- Juventus v. Torino- 11:30 am
Italian Serie A- Lazio v. Sassuolo
French Ligue 1- Toulouse v. Paris Saint-Germain-7:00 am
French Ligue 1-Lille v. Lyon-2:00 pm