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Titanic's Crewe

By: Richard Lord
Date: 10/04/2002

WHICH would you rather have: the points or the games in hand? Looking at the league table a month ago Crewe sat in 19th place, two points ahead of Grimsby in 22nd place and the Railwaymen had the bonus of FIVE games in hand.

It's certainly not their maiden voyage as Crewe have been in the First Division since 1997. Now, after striking the iceberg on March 5 - from which their current poor form began - Crewe could sink out of the First Division without a trace.

Their defeat at Birmingham tonight leaves Crewe in 23rd place and they have run out of games in hand. They have picked up just four points over a run of ten games, and that doesn't include one victory.

Crewe's last success was a 2-0 win over Barnsley at Gresty Road at the beginning of March but since then they have dropped 26 points out of a possible 30. They have the second worst goal difference in the league after Stockport.

Tonight's victory for Birmingham is good news for Mariners fans as it means with just six points to play for, Town have got a slender two-point advantage over Barnsley and Crewe in the relegation zone going into the vital run-in.

Crewe did have 41 points from 34 games and Grimsby - who had just thrown away a 2-0 lead over Walsall on the same weekend - had 39 points from 39 games. Walsall were in trouble, Barnsley were living on the edge and Sheffield Wednesday were by no means safe. Rotherham had just been dragged back into the dogfight.

But Crewe? No, they are not in trouble. Five games in hand and a two-point head start surely eliminated them from the relegation calculations.

Over the past month we have witnessed what a Cup run can do to your league form, and ultimately, your season. Managers have always said Cup runs do nothing for your league form and Dario Gradi will testify to that.

Grimsby now have 47 points from 44 games, and after their latest defeat Crewe have 45 points from 44 games.

Manchester City, Bradford, West Brom, Gillingham, Wimbledon and now Birmingham have all contributed to Crewe's slump down the league table. Only Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace have provided any respite for the Cheshire side.

If Crewe do go down, they will only have themselves to blame. Then again, managers have always preferred the points!

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