Sunday, 22 May 2011

Rapture For AFC Wimbledon

I have the draw priced at 3.23, but perhaps Udinese v AC Milan should be added to the Strong Draw Picks based on their current price of 1.72. The draw has traded as low as 1.5 and no higher then 2.28 so clearly the usual rules do not apply. Udinese need just a point to advance through the "gates of paradise" (as coach Francesco Guidolin puts it) and seal the fourth Champions League spot, and one imagines that AC Milan won't be too concerned about winning. The two teams drew 4-4 in Milan. It's a huge opportunity for provincial Udinese, since qualifying for the Champions League will be a lot harder from next season, now that the Bundesliga has overtaken Serie A in UEFA’s table of coefficients.

Other than this game, with the relegation issues already settled, none are meaningful and probably not a good week to do much other than back the draw at Brescia and lay a few favourites for small stakes.

Spain wrapped up their domestic season yesterday, with Deportivo La Coruna being relegated after 20 seasons at the top. They wouldn't have been relegated if these things were decided on my Elo ratings, since they finished in a relatively decent 13th place, and it would have been Real Sociedad taking the drop with Almeria and Hercules, who finished the Spanish Strong Draw picks for this season with a 0-0 at a tasty 3.8.

A little over two years ago, I wrote

What price on AFC Wimbledon topping this league next season? I have to say that when the club was formed I thought the whole enterprise was doomed to failure, but in less than seven years the club are now just one step away from the Football League and playing the likes of former top division teams Luton Town and Oxford United. That is a great story.
The great story is even greater now as AFC Wimbledon win a deserved place in the Football League next season. (I say deserved in reference to the fact that they finished clear in second place, six points ahead of Luton Town, in the regular season).

Say of them what you will, but play-offs make for dramatic finales to a season. Luton should be back next season, but I suspect most neutral fans were behind Wimbledon yesterday.

Five promotions in eight seasons after starting their competitive life with a 1-2 loss against Chipstead in 2002 in front of 4,215 fans, is quite impressive, and only once have they failed to improve upon their previous season's finishing position.

The full-time Chief Executive's salary? - He receives the nominal sum of one guinea a year, because "it sounded posher than a pound".

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