The English Premier League was yesterday thrown into constitutional turmoil as neither Chelsea nor reigning champions Manchester United emerged from the final day of the season with an overall points majority.
Following what has been the closest title run-in for years, the nation’s football fans awoke this morning to a ‘Hung Premiership’ – with no particular team able to assert themselves as outright champions:
PREMIER LEAGUE – Final Table:
Chelsea, who thumped Wigan 8-0 in their last match to clinch pole position, have confirmed that manager Carlo Ancelotti is now in coalition talks with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in a collective bid to kill off Manchester United’s Premier League dominance once and for all.
“Three years of Red Devil tyranny have brought nothing but misery to genuine supporters of the beautiful game,” said Ancelotti at a press conference this morning.
“Only Chelsea can deliver real change. With a little help from Arsenal, whose ideological, tactical and shirt-colour differences we obviously respect.”
“However, I will not be rushed into any agreement,” he warned.
Arsene Wenger added: “Although I believe Chelsea, with the highest points total, have the moral right to call themselves Champions, I think that only a coalition between ourselves and Chelsea can finally break Manchester United’s oppressive stranglehold on English football.”
“I will stare deep into Carlo’s eyes, give a Gallic shrug, and enjoy the ride on his coat-tails.”
But United supremo Sir Alex Ferguson has blasted the coalition bid, insisting his team, who thrashed Stoke City 4-0, are not yet out of it.
“By my watch we’ve got five games in hand,” he said. “I’m confident we can win those and secure the overall majority needed to retain our crown.”
Meanwhile, teams lower down the Premier League table have called for reform of the ‘first-past-the-post’ system to decide the champions.
Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish told us: “Personally, I support a system where the team that finishes ninth qualifies for the Champions League, but cannot join until the semi-final stage, thereby giving that team an underachievement-related financial penalty – yet also a realistic chance of silverware. Now that’s what I call a level playing field.”
And David James, goalkeeper of relegated Portsmouth, said: “Even after our nine-point deduction we’ve still finished with nineteen points.”
“Which, under a Proportional Representation system, would surely have entitled us to display the Premier League trophy in our cabinet for at least the Whitsun Bank Holiday weekend, before we are finally bundled through the trapdoor into Coca-Cola Championship hell.”