IT WOULD seem 2012 will be the year that the Red Rose finally wilts.
While there was tension aplenty in Blackburn Rovers’ 2-1 defeat by Bolton Wanderers, the actual outcome resolved nothing in the fight for an escape route from the Premier League relegation zone, and if anything the evidence seemed to point to the fact that these two clubs are going to struggle to beat the drop in any case.
And just above them lie Wigan Athletic completing a triumvirate of failing clubs proving that Lancashire is truly languishing in the top-flight this term.
But perhaps it is really about time the Lancastrians let someone else have a go at Premier League football.
This season there are seven representatives – City and United of Manchester along with Liverpool and Everton – from the north west, and in recent seasons the percentage of Premier League places swallowed up by the region was even higher at 40% as Burnley and Blackpool had a turn at the top table.
But by the end of this campaign I can see that being down to 20%, with the Latics, Trotters and Rovers failing to find a way out of their woes.
In some ways it is sad for Wigan who have been defying the odds since they reached the top flight in 2005, and in Roberto Martínez they have one of the most personable and attack-minded managers in the English game.
Bolton have enjoyed their moments in the sun and reached Europe, but now seem to be struggling to compete as the financial ante is upped season after season.
However, I find it hard to find much sympathy for the club from Ewood – but plenty for their supporters.
If ever a club sold its soul it has to be Rovers.
You have to feel someone decided to take the money and run when Venky’s turned up, and the exit soon after of seemingly disgruntled chief executive John Williams, very much a Rovers man who fiercely defended former owner Jack Walker’s legacy, suggested there was something wrong in the corridors of Ewood.
When Rovers won promotion to the Premier League in 2001 then skipper Garry Flitcroft unveiled a T-shirt that bore the legend ‘Jack – this one’s for you’ and there was real pride about the club.
It is hard to imagine that if Rovers manage to stay up – despite having the ignominy of being bottom of the table at Christmas – that current club captain Ryan Nelsen will celebrate by unveiling a T-shirt with ‘This one’s for the Indian chickens’ on it.
But there will be some balance to the Lancastrian equation as the title will be residing in Manchester!