Monday, 25 April 2011

A Week Of Celebration For The Royals!

It seems that nothing is going to top Royal celebrations when it comes to grabbing the headlines this week. People will be dancing in the streets, singing their hearts out with songs of celebration and basking in the glory of a very special bank holiday weekend. Among all of the celebrations of the Royals, we likely will be firmly reminded that the Queen still rules and is very much unmovable at the top, and that the Wales's are refusing to meekly step aside despite pressure for other royals to replace them as next in line to the Queen. It looks like the other royals will need to wait a while to reach the top, though we are not quite sure yet. Even staff at the Palace will be celebrating. Despite recent financial troubles at the Palace, their immediate future will be secured and they will not be disappearing into oblivion. Even I am getting caught up in the excitement!

No, no, no! I'm not talking about that nonsense taking place on Friday. I couldn't care less about that. As far as I am concerned that is just a wedding between two people I've never met and never will. The only way that affects me is that despite the fact that they are rich and I am broke, I'm paying for a wedding that I'm not even invited to, and wouldn't go if I was! I've not even been offered a sniff of a vol-au-vont. Now that's just rude! I wish them all the best for the future, but please, please, please sort out your finances. I can't afford to help you out again!

I'm talking about the celebrations that will be taking place as the Royals of Reading secure a play-off spot, Queens Park Rangers gain promotion to the Premier League and win the championship, the Welsh duo of Cardiff and Swansea firmly in the mix of the promotion battle, and Crystal Palace surviving relegation.

This is the prospect we are facing next weekend after the exciting afternoon of football we have just been treated to. The championship table changed again and again as fortunes ebbed and flowed and goals flew in all over the country. This was a great advertisement for the excitement of championship football. It also showed just how competitive the division is.

The big story of the day was undoubtedly the promotion, non-promotion, promotion and then non-promotion of Queens Park Rangers. A tight game with Hull City ended 1-1. While they were leading 1-0 they were going up, but Hull's equaliser put paid to that. However, then Derby clawed their way back into the game with Norwich City, and as the QPR game ended, the draw at Carrow Road was enough to secure the hoops promotion - enough until Norwich scored a last minute of injury time winner. You couldn't make it up!

Norwich were involved in their own yo-yo battle with Cardiff as the afternoon developed. Cardiff did their bit by winning a competitive game with Preston - a result that sees North End relegated to Division One. That win put the pressure on Norwich and the topsy-turvy game at Carrow Road saw Cardiff and Norwich swapping places three or four times in the battle for automatic promotion. Norwich hold the advantage going into the final stretch.

The excitement and tension was not confined to the very top of the division. It took a late winner from Nottingham Forest over Bristol City to see them leap-frog Millwall back into the play-off places. Millwall's win at Scunthorpe had briefly looked like putting them in the last play-off position.

At the other end of the table Crystal Palace and Doncaster look to have avoided relegation barring an absolute disaster. Palace joined Doncaster on 47 points courtesy of an unexpected win over Leeds United. Mathematically, they can still be caught, but with goal difference taken into account it is unlikely. In contrast, Leeds now look like they need their own miracle to get back into the play-offs.

The biggest surprise of the day was pulled off by Sheffield United. 2-0 down to Reading after 20 minutes they looked dead and buried and relegation was a certainty. Somehow they pulled a 3-2 win out of the bag and kept themselves in with a mathematical chance of avoiding the drop. The defeat to Sheffield United also means that the Royals are not yet mathematically certain of a place in the play-offs.

This article could have been (and at various times throughout the afternoon was) very different. Today's results leave Queens Park Rangers, Reading and Crystal Palace right on the brink of celebration. The party has been postponed, but only by a week. It is almost inconceivable that any of them will not be celebrating next weekend. However, in the most exciting league in England - never say never!

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