Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic are preparing to sue West Ham if West Ham manage, somehow, to stay in the Premiership on Sunday.
You’d think that if West Ham were relegated, both Sheffield and Wigan would let the matter lie and not push for punitive damages. And considering the fact that a lawsuit will not compensate for relegation, it is in Sheffield’s and Wigan’s best interests to ensure that West Ham are relegated.
And here’s how they can make that happen.
If West Ham get a point from their Old Trafford game, the party’s over – they will survive, and as a result one of Sheffield and Wigan will be relegated. In that case, Sheffield and Wigan will go all out for a win, although Sheffield will know that even a draw should see them through.
If West Ham lose, things get a lot more interesting. Sheffield could throw the game, allow Wigan to win by a single goal and thanks to better goal difference, both Sheffield and Wigan would go through, relegating West Ham.
I’m not suggesting that Sheffield would do anything of this sort. But let’s face it – it’s far easier to get West Ham relegated and avoid the whole mess rather than have one of the two main suing clubs relegated and then embroil the three clubs in a legal battle. Plus there’s no guarantee that either Wigan or Sheffield will collaborate with the other if one of them is in the Premier League and the other isn’t.
Right now, Wigan have the most to lose, which is why they’re making the most noise.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Wigan and Sheffield played a cagey game till half-time, then checked the West Ham – Manchester United score and depending on that score, base their strategy.
Eventually though, it’s hard to imagine that either club would collaborate – not because of legal repercussions, but simply because they’re not going to trust one another.
And that’s a shame, because the drama would have made this far more interesting than a silly court case. As things stand, Wigan are still not good enough to stay up on their own, but if they want to prove that theory wrong, they’ll have to beat Sheffield United away and then pray that West Ham lose.