Blackburn gets a lump of coal for Christmas

The team at the bottom of the table of the English Prermier League on Christmas Day has been relegated at the end of 19 of the 20 seasons the league has been in existence. It’s called the Curse of Christmas. Blackburn Rovers are this season’s recipient of the lump of relegation-threatened coal in their Christmas stocking.

One of the founding members of the Football League, the club from Lancashire are in the dreaded 20th position with only 10 points and nearly half the season already played. The last time they were relegated was at the end of the 1998-99 season, only five years after winning their first and only Preimer League title. They were promoted back to top-flight football after only two seasons in the next-lowest league. Blackburn remain the only club not named Arsenal, Chelsea, or Manchester United to win the Premier League title.

But, who knows? Perhaps Blackburn can join the 2004-05 West Bromwich Albion club as the only team to buck the Curse of Christmas. At the end of that season, West Brom were in dead last place going into the season’s last game day. But none of the other near-bottom teams — Norwich, Southampton, Crystal Palace — could get a win on the final Sunday, while West Brom defeated Portsmouth 2-0 to avoid the drop. It’s been dubbed ‘The Great Escape’.

The way things look on this Christmas, it will likely take another such miraculous escape from the jaws of relegation to save Blackburn’s stay in top-flight football. Check in on the league’s final day — Sunday, 13 May 2012 — when Blackburn face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London. A win over the Blues on the road to save being relegated would be a survival act worthy of a name of its own.

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