Tough road back for fallen trio
Published : 26 Apr 2010 09:17:00Rss feed
TEAMtalk's James Marshment believes the three sides relegated from the Premier League all face a tough task in bouncing back next season. The pain of relegation is always a tough one for fans to take. But in the case of Burnley and Hull - both demoted from the top flight over the weekend - supporters may be forgiven for thinking they were always punching above their weight simply by dining at the top table in the first place. That said, there will be a huge sense of regret and remorse at both Turf Moor and the KC Stadium today. Burnley made a good start to life in the top tier and the 1-0 success over Manchester United at Turf Moor way back in August was the stuff of dreams. It was an obvious highlight of the season - and it quickly proved to be a case of peaking far too soon. The departure of Owen Coyle just down the road to Bolton and the subsequent appointment of Brian Laws suggested the club were already preparing for life back in the Championship. Fourteen defeats in the 17 league games since he took charge has only reaffirmed this. It promises to be a tough road back for the Clarets - playing the likes of Doncaster and Scunthorpe as opposed to United and Liverpool is never as easy to gee yourself up for. And their task could well be made harder if key performers Steven Fletcher and Chris Eagles, as rumoured, get their passports for an instant return to the big time stamped and approved. As for Hull, well it has been well documented for some time that relegation would hit the club extremely hard in the pocket. The club were elevated to the top flight for the first time in their history two years earlier, and after a last-ditch escape last time, their luck finally ran out this season. The gamble to hand bumper contracts to Jimmy Bullard and Stephen Hunt has backfired spectacularly, and getting these two off the wage bill will be the first task of chairman Adam Pearson. The decision to replace Phil Brown with Iain Dowie also failed to bear fruit for the Tigers, though I stand by the opinion that it is one the club had to take if they were to have had any chance of survival. When the dust settles on their relegation though, I think Hull can look back with affection at their time in the top flight. And I'm sure their fans are confident it won't be another 104 years before they find themselves among the elite again. The third side to suffer the ignominy of relegation were Portsmouth and while much has been said about their fall from grace, I do think the south coast club will be best equipped to win promotion next season. Obviously much will depend on their finances and they are likely to have a complete squad overhaul during the summer as the club look to balance the books. Just how quickly these new players gel will depend on how they fare next season. But given the siege mentality that has long existed at the club, I wouldn't back against them securing a top-six finish next term. But there's a long way to go before relegation nightmares can be turned into promotion dreams so, for now, we'll just have to leave these clubs to wallow in the mire.