Looking at West Brom and Newcastle, should we be asking, "Would relegation be such a disaster?" Both have gone down, regrouped and apparently come back so much stronger - and under rookie managers at that!
I must admit that I fancied both to struggle and there is still time for the form of both or either to collapse, but looking at the Prem at the moment, it is difficult to see either going down. Newcastle are probably the best comparable with ourselves. They struggled for a couple of seasons and went down in complete disarray. But they then took the Championship by storm and seem to have grown as a squad for the experience. I always fancied Nolan as a player and suggested we should buy him before Newcastle snapped him up but, apart from him and Carroll, the team isn't all that. They are just playing with confidence.
Let's take the nightmare scenario for a moment. We go down. The wage bill would have to be cut. Cole would be sold. Big loss? Don't think so. Upson would go. Do we care? Not really. Green would leave. Does that matter? He has lost us as many points as he won for us over the last 18 months. Behrami would go, but Valedictory is on his way in any case. McCarthy would have to stay because Weight Watchers don't have a team, but he would score in the Championship anyway. Parker would leave but Parker should probably have been sold in any case. Dyer would also go, but he rarely plays so that's no great loss either and Boa would either have to play for peanuts or find a new club.
So clear out that lot and we would cut the wage bill by £350,000 PER WEEK, or £18.2 million per year! (And another £20,000 a week if Boa goes!) We would probably bring in £15 million in transfer fees too, effectively offsetting the loss in Premiership revenue for a season, given the parachute payments that now exist.
And so we face a season in the Championship. Wouldn't we have a team good enough to bounce straight back up, even without signing replacements for the big 5?
I fancy this team would take the division by storm:
Stech: Jacobsen, Da Costa, Gabbidon, Ilunga; Barrera, Noble (Captain), Hitzlespurger, Collison; Piquionne, McCarthy.
The subs bench would read: Kovac, Sears, Spence, Nouble, Boffin, Reid, Spector, Tomkins, Faubert, Hines, Stanislas.
True we look a little thin in midfield, but we have some good kids coming through. Maybe the Championship is the right place to blood them. Who knows, Sears, Nouble and Hines might finds their feet, banging in goals for fun and coming back to the Prem rejuvenated. Maybe Hall will come through. Maybe Brown will emerge as the new left back we so desperately need.
One thing is for sure, we couldn't come back a worse team than we looked all of last season. Maybe a year down is exactly what we need. Sometimes, as Newcastle appear to be showing, you have to suffer major trauma and surgery to come back stronger. As Doomsday Scenarios go, it doesn't seem like the end of the World!