The Doc's Diagnosis: Villa vs Newcastle United

No matter how hard Sky Sports and the press tried to dress it up, there were a clutch of sides this season who just weren't good enough. I wish I'd had an accumulator this morning on all four of them getting beaten, but I didn't.

I'm sure during the summer we'll muse on the way the Premier League continues to polarise, but in seasons past with 33 or 34 points on the final day, you'd have been history for a while.

Villa turned up and sort of did their job today. In fact, they were very Villa: played a bit of nice stuff, with a few of the payers working really hard and another few showing some real pace and some real muscle here and there. I suppose it almost looked like top six stuff at times, barring some embarrassing finishing and the odd defensive faux-pas.

I actually think Villa were caught unawares: it seems to me that O'Neill got the boys really up for this game, what with 5th to play for and more points than last season and all that. And even more, with an army of Toon fans coming to B6 to shout on a team who were going to fight for every scrap. But the opponents never really turned up: I mean, we should have been on the back foot all game, being battered by a side desperate to stay up and fighting for Geordie pride.

Well we weren't.

And this is why I feel upset for the average Newcastle fan: he gave his all today in sweat, nerves and tears - but his players consistently lost 50-50 balls, balls in the air and even dead certs in their own half to Villa. No fan deserves that sort of performance. They especially don't deserve it on the last day when their players should be giving it their all.

I have mixed feelings. I'm a Villa fan, so I'm pleased we won. But I know that the Magpies fans care about their football, and I don't think they deserve to be subjected to the god-awful circus that Mike Ashley has put them through. They need to be in the Premier League and it's my belief that the EPL needs Newcastle as well.

You know what, I can't be bothered to do a piece on the game. Curtis Davies, Nicky Shorey, Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner were good - the rest were on cruise control.

But my man-of-the-match, for what it's worth, is Nicky Shorey who was excellent. Composed, confident, positionally excellent and skillful all day. Top marks.

The Doc´s Prescription

I feel sorry for Alan Shearer and the loyal Newcastle fans who back him. It should never have come to this for them, and both the owner and the players need to have a really good look in the mirror.

As football supporters who were used to having a desperate club regime in the past, I hope you will all see how close we were to going the same way, and offer your sympathies and best wishes, not to the establishment or players of Newcastle United, but at least to its loyal fans.