Often, the Premier League has been self-titled as the ‘most competitive league’ ever, where even the 20th placed team is as tough as the one standing at the pinnacle.
Since it’s inception, Premier League has been full of surprises coupled with plenty of drama. It can rightly be said to be a basket of entertainment, quality, excitement, emotions and joy.
While every club love to play at the Premier League, staying in is a tough task. Every year three bottom-placed teams get relegated with the competition among them being as intense as top 3.
Over the years, Premier League has seen aplenty drama in the relegation sector. But for me personally, the 2004/05 season was the most dramatic.
Every year there is a team or two fixed of being relegated by the end of the season but in the 2004/05 season, there were four teams West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Southampton all doubtful of qualifying for next season.
And this is where Bryan Rodson’s West Brom created history and turned the relegation fight as interesting as it could ever be.
West Brom could register only 6 wins in the season but were decent in keeping 16 draws because of which they saved themselves from being relegated.
They were supposedly called the first team that will be relegated after standing last on the Christmas day. But the underdogs did not lose hope and registered 13 points in their last 10 games which eventually helped them make a dramatic comeback.
To be last on Christmas Day and not be relegated was the first time in the history of Premier League that such thing ever happened. No other teams before them were able to achieve such feat.
It all went down to the wire. West Brom took the relegation table to the ‘final day’ which is still remembered as one of the most exciting in history of Premier League.
It was May 5 wherein four teams were fighting on a Sunday that is historically renowned as ‘Survival Sunday.’ It was just like an epic movie having the most blockbuster climax.
No one expected that the team which was eight points away from safety during Christmas would fight for a place to get into the next season. West Brom’s success also depended on the failure of their rivals.
West Brom were sitting at the bottom before their final Premier League game that they eventually won with only 2 points difference between them and three relegated teams; Crystal Palace, Southampton and Norwich.
While Southampton lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United, Norwich City gave away their chances of playing next season, losing 6-0 to Fulham. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, were winning 2-1 against Charlton Athletic until 82nd minute when Jonathan Fortune equalised for the Addicks relegating the Eagles.
The Baggies won their final game 2-0 against Portsmouth and registered their 3rd win is last ten games which also included 4 draws helping them avoid the relegation.
Substitute Geoff Horsfield was the hero of the hour for the Baggies who bagged a goal when it mattered the most. After a fist-half scoreline of 0-0, Horsfield sprung into the pitch and volleyed a brilliant goal before assisting one for Kieran Richardson and ultimately winning the game 2-0.
West Brom finished 17th on the table with 34 points followed by Crystal Palace and Norwich City on 33 and Southampton came last with 32 points that season.
According to this BBC report: “It was an afternoon of drama and tension at the Hawthorns, with emotions ebbing and flowing as scores from the other games were received on radios and mobile phones.”
The Hawthorns went wild into the celebration of not being relegated and the happiness on their faces was extremely incomparable with it’s memory still being fresh in our hearts.