LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Bobby Zamora of Fulham celebrates his goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on May 22, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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about 2 years ago Update 0 comments
So much for Blackpool's putative European adventure. Although there had been speculation that Blackpool had earned themselves a place in the Europa League via UEFA's bizarre Fair Play system, which granted England an extra palce in the competition and then gave it to whoever got the least cards and had the nicest fans (if you can work out the system, incidentally, there's a Fields Medal in it for you). Anyway, a red card earned by Zoltan Gera on the last day put favourites Fulham in some danger of losing out to Blackpool, but apparently that wasn't quite enough to see them miss out on their spot, so it'll be the Cottagers in Europe next season rather than Ian Holloway's now-relegated side.
It's worth pointing out just how close Blackpool did manage to come, however. They were quite literally a yellow card away from being tied with Fulham in the standings, losing out by one measly point out of more than a thousand. Neither Fulham nor Blackpool were particularly close to the top of the table, however. That honour, somehow, falls to Chelsea, who were chased by Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, both of whom qualified for Europe next year on their own merit.
It's slightly amusing that even had results not gone Tottenham's way in the final couple of weeks of the season, when they were faced with strong competition from Liverpool to the fifth spot, they'd have ended up in the Europa League anyway. All that finishing fifth did (apart from a slight increase in prize money) was deny Liverpool a European spot for next season.