What to expect on a fan-free final day of the Premier League

Things are about to get strange.

pjimageMitchPLJul20

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After almost 12 months, the Premier League season comes to an end on Sunday afternoon in what will go down as one of the most memorable campaigns (for all the wrong reasons) in the history of the game.

Super Sunday, when all the matches kick-off simultaneously, is usually the day when Sky Sports’ football coverage comes into its own, building up the drama from around Saturday lunchtime with the countdown to kick-off clock normally ticking in the top corner of your screens (even on their golf channel).

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Despite Champions League and relegation issues still to be settled, this year is going to look a little different, with supporters not able to access the stadiums and try their best to hijack the coverage by pretending to pray every time their team gets a corner.

Not to be deterred however, we still reckon Sky and the personalities involved, have the tools to make the final weekend of the season as madcap as ever.

DaveJonesSky

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The wall of cheers/tears

With fans being able to have their faces beamed to the nation following the restart via video links, we’ve seen clubs and TV networks showing supporters celebrating from their spare rooms or in front of the obligatory bookcase.

Would anyone be surprised if Sky went one step further on Sunday by setting up two video walls in the studio – one, The Wall of Tears, showing fans blub and bawl as their team heads towards the drop (or Europa League if they’re especially opposed to Thursday night football), while The Wall of Cheers is stocked s fans “going ballistic” in that fake way they do for the camera as their side closes in on victory.

Imagine anchorman Dave Jones impersonating Peter Snow and his legendary swingometer with marginally more tears and swearing, and you’ll have some sort of idea of what we’re driving at.

Gillette Soccer Saturday

Stelling’s Super Sunday strip poker

The image of Matt Le Tissier in the buff is not one you’d want to dwell on, but Jeff Stelling and his usual Soccer Saturday buddies could liven up our Sunday afternoon with a game of strip poker, football style.

Here’s the plan – Le Tiss, Paul Merson, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson all have to take off an item of clothing when there is a goal at the game they are reporting on. Whoever gets the Leicester v Man Utd and Chelsea v Wolves clashes should be alright to keep most of their flesh undercover, but the same can’t be said for Watford’s trip to Arsenal and if Champagne Charlie is at the helm, you just know he’s gonna be wearing nothing but his leopard-print underpants by full-time.

That’ll still be slightly less embarrassing than his p*ss-weak “patter”.

And the less said about his barnet from his Arsenal days, the better.

Also, why not keep a count of how many times the “As it stands” table gets flashed up on the screen? If there’s one we love about the final day of the season, it’s extracting every ounce of agony from those whose sides look doomed to the Championship for all eternity…

Or a couple of seasons anyway.

Chris Kamara

Chris Kamara’s final day bingo

Speaking of audience participation, thankfully Chris Kamara will be out and about – and (we assume) fully clothed – to cover one of the weekend’s meaningless fixtures. But this won’t deter Sky from regular visits to St Mary’s or Selhurst Park to get Kammy’s up-to–the-minute reports.

It’s a little known fact that the former Leeds, Stoke and a host of other club’s midfielder, is contractually obliged to say “Unbelievable Jeff,” at least five times during every broadcast.

That’s all we really want to see, right?

To add a little spice to the afternoon’s more pointless fixtures, why not have a go at trying to predict at what point during the game Kammy will utter the magic words – for example, twice between minutes 10-30, that sort of thing.

We’ve even been in touch with the traders to price this up for your entertainment, so watch this space. And there’s bonus points if you successfully predict when he’ll completely miss a crucial red-card, goal or penalty award.

Masked Invaders

Of course, no final day would be complete without the obligatory pitch invasion at full-time. Who will ever forget David Pleat’s impression of Red Rum in 1983 after his Luton side had saved themselves at Manchester City’s expense at Maine Road?

What a shame we never got to see Big Sam recreate that.

This year will be different of course, but there are still plenty of hangers-on in the stadiums who could lose it as they realise their club will be dining at English football’s top-table for another season.

While it’s unlikely that we’ll see Manchester United Chief Exec Ed Woodward doing cartwheels around The King Power should the Red Devils clinch Champions League football next term, we are expecting scenes of delirium in Stratford should Aston Villa complete their great escape against West Ham.

Come 6pm on Sunday we could witness Villa owners Nassef Sawris and Wes Edens, ignoring safe distancing protocols by leading a conga around the London Stadium encouraging their opposite numbers, Karen Brady, David Gold and David Sullivan, to join them in a good old fashioned East End knees-up?

A night of celebration in the capital for the Brummies will, of course, be diluted the following morning, when Villa chiefs discover star man Jack Grealish has already signed a prenup with Manchester United.

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What do you think?