David Hirshey writes regularly for Deadspin about soccer.
I told you so. That's right, way back on August 6, 2007, five days before the start of this interminable but historic season, I correctly predicted the order of finish at the top of the league: ManU, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. If only the Lords of the EPL had listened to me then and awarded the title to United, think of all the pain and misery we could have saved ourselves, to say nothing of my liver.
But it had to play out, and for the first time in 40 years the Prem was decided on the final day — the final ten minutes of the final day, actually.
Otherwise, I'm afraid it would have come down to superdelegates.
If you're a ManU fan, well done, ol' chaps. If you're a Chelsea supporter, ha ha, you rich fuckers; sorry you didn't get to pop the champagne, but John Terry's elbow will have to suffice. And if, let's say, you root for a certain team from North London that for the three quarters of the season had the look of champions only to choke balls deep down the stretch ... do you even bother with alcohol, or just snort heroin through that rolled up Matthew Flamini Wallbangers poster that you've ripped down last week when the ungrateful French bastard decided he'd rather lose titles in Italy than England?
Don't get me wrong. ManU deserved their championship; over the course of nine grinding months, they displayed the kind of steely commitment that the rest of the Big Four lacked. They also played some exhiliarating soccer that saw their attacking troika of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez score an incredible 79 goals. And yes, they had the best manager in the world. Sir Alex may be an insufferable blowhard, but he knows how to get the most out of his players. Fear, of course, is a great motivator, as is his benevolent despotism — like when he looked the other way after his Portuguese meal ticket went five-on-one with a group of young business women in his hot tub.
Believe it or not, I, too, have a magnanimous side and, believe it or not, it has nothing to do with condoning prostitution. So let me applaud Chelsea for making this such a memorable season. They fought right up until Ryan Giggs sealed the title with the second goal against Wigan in the 80th minute. In the wake of Mourinho, no one, especially me, expected Uncle Avram to do something special, and yet Chelsea came within two points of winning the league and now has a chance for redemption when they meet United in the Champions League final on May 21. If I were ManU, I wouldn't hire a second engraver just yet for that CL trophy. Based on the James Bond villain look Chelsea's owner Roman Ambramovich was rocking during the game, let's just say I would bring my own borscht to Moscow.
As zen-like as Ambramovich appeared after Chelsea's title hopes had ended, his fellow billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed was deliirous after Fulham pulled off one last miracle to avoid relegation by beating Portsmouth 1-0. So giddy was Fayed you'd have thought that he just seen evidence that Queen Elizabeth herself was driving that car that killed Diana and Dodi. His team had been officially declared dead on the operating table two weeks ago, but somehow they shocked themselves back to life with only 15 minutes remaining between Prem survival and long bus rides to Barnsley and Colchester. Fayed had promised the Fulham players a freezer full of Harrod's caviar and smoked salmon if they stayed up, but that hardly explains the eruption of joy and relief at the final whistle. There were all of Uncle Sam's boys — Deuce, McBride, Keller and Bocanegra — dancing around the pitch, stripped to the waist and hugging it out. You could understand the celebration of man-love after what Fulham had gone through to survive, but if they have any hopes of not finding themselves in this position next year, they may want to find a more macho mascot than Hugh Grant, who looked even more satisfied in the stands than he did when he got that $75 blowjob from Divine Brown.
So it's finally over, this season that gave us so much drama, suspense, anguish, joy and Ashley Cole vomiting on a woman who wasn't his wife. When I looked around at Kinsale yesterday, I saw the ManU fans chanting "Campeones, Campeones, ole ole," and I wanted to spread the love, too. So when the final EPL standings flashed on the screen, I put my arm Mid-Table Mikey and said, "Hey look, Spurs came within 38 points of the title."