They think it’s all over: it had better be!

Here we are, safe from relegation, on our way to Prague for our first European final in 47 years and amused bystanders as Leeds, Everton and Leicester fight for their lives.

But it could have been us, couldn’t it. The gloss of our European dream should not mean we ignore the near carnage of this erratic season. I actually thought that after a sixth and seventh finish and a club with their act together, that it was the end of the sort of season of pain that we were used to.

Embed from Getty Images

It shouldn’t happen, we are bigger and better than that. As we start to look towards next season, this sort of inconsistent season had better not happen again.

The mood, though, these past days has been a welcome change. Yes Declan Rice is going, despite the romantic pleadings for him to give it one more year. He won’t, he has an agreement to be allowed to leave this summer.

And does anyone out there honestly think that our beloved leader David Sullivan will want our captain to run down the last season of his contract and walk away for nothing with a £120m transfer fee disappearing? The very thought.

I can’t let the "departing" bit go without a big thanks to Manuel Lanzini. 225 games and 32 goals, but at 30 his legs and injuries may well not be up to the Premier League any more. But he’s been a joy, always on the front foot, always a smile and always that touch of sheer quality about him. Thanks for the memories, Manu.

David Moyes is not going anywhere, despite the considerable efforts of the 'Moyes Out!' lobby. And with 209 games and 89 wins over two spells at the club, he’s shown experience and knowledge to turn this campaign around.

He admits he could have been sacked on three occasions this term, but Sullivan and the board didn’t act. It's maybe as much as they couldn’t find anyone to take over or didn’t want to pay-up the £4m plus to terminate his contract.

We’ve even had old hacks like Henry Winter in the Times writing tribute articles. The main thrust was "there’s a difference between those who go to matches and those that rock up on social media with their opinions". I think I’ve been banging on about that for some while.

Like him or not, Moyes got a grip of a worsening situation ahead of the game at Fulham earlier last month. Just six points from eight league games following the shambolic defeat at Wolves meant something had to be done and to hell with all that progressive, possession football. Back came trustees Arron Cresswell, Pablo Fornals and Vladimir Coufal and the old counter-attacking style.

A 'Moyes Out' banner and away fans singing "you don’t know what you are doing". Thirteen points from the next nine league games and a Euro final place suggests he did know what he was doing. He hadn’t done much waving to the crowd since Fulham, but he was all smiles on Sunday after the win over a shocking Leeds United, who seemed to think we wouldn’t be too bothered after the heroics of Alkmaar.

Embed from Getty Images

I think it’s fair to say that the decision not to sack Moyes by the board has been vindicated, even if their reasons were maybe more financially pragmatic than honourable. It’s common knowledge that the club have been hawking Moyes' job around for months without any genuine alternatives.

And the managerial merry-go-round statistics are more than interesting; changing managers does not always work.

Take Chelsea, who are back to being a music hall joke, and Spurs. Both have had three managers each this term in a desperate attempt to reach the Champions League. They won’t even be in Europe next season and Spurs, ironically, are fighting for a place in the Europa Conference League. Remember they arrogantly jettisoned that tournament a season or two back, all a bit beneath them it seemed.

Down at the bottom. Leicester have had two managers, Everton three - I’m including Duncan Ferguson’s eight days in charge there - and Leeds also three. Two of those will be in the Championship next term.

And then there’s Southampton with four (Ruben Selles twice). And they’ve already been relegated. So that makes 18 managerial changes between six clubs, producing absolutely nothing. Bournemouth appointed Gary O’Neill in November, stuck with him and they survived.

Our good selves and Nottingham Forest both kept their managers for the season under relentless pressure to change. And we’ll both still be in the Premier League next season. Change in panic does not always have the desired results. I hope Sullivan doesn’t let this go to his head.

So now we are safe and looking to appoint a director of football, in effect to spend the Rice money, but only time will tell how that works in a partnership with Moyes and without doubt, the usual involvement of Sullivan and his agent-lead transfer policy. No DoF worth his salt would countenance interference of the level this club has had in the past from chairman/owners/board, call it what you like.

Where Rice goes, and despite all the wishful thinking, remains to be seen. Bayern Munich have been talking to his agent/dad while Arsenal are acting like the deal is already done. I understand the way of the football world, but I find that hard to stomach, all this talk about our captain while we have a European final in Prague to contend with.

The scramble for tickets has started this week, and only now have various policing and football authorities started to realise what a stupid decision it is - even 12 months ago - to plan a Euro final in a 20,000-seater stadium. That’s on a par with our cup final being staged at Bournemouth or Brentford.

Embed from Getty Images

It’s utter nonsense and leaves the Czechs to cope with many thousands from England and Italy arriving in their capital for a party. UEFA should hang their heads, they are not fit to run a bath let alone a football authority.

As for us, on our final league game of the season, it will be interesting to take part at Leicester without our own status being under threat.

We handled the 'integrity of competition' just right on Sunday, a strong team selected and an attacking approach. I’d expect the same at Leicester, who must win to have any chance of survival.

I can’t see us doing anything but attack, but if Everton win at home to Bournemouth it will be Leicester and Leeds for the drop.

It could have been us, had it not been for the win over Manchester United. Now we must make sure that with all the changes likely in the summer, we make sure that we are never in this position again.

The money is there, the talent is there even without Rice. No more excuses. The new infrastructure has to be right, we must run our club with the efficiency and forward planning of Brighton and Brentford.

The league is now more competitive than ever. We’ve had the top four, then the big six, then the super seven, but it’s bigger than that. Aston Villa boss Unai Emery claimed recently that the elite is now about ten clubs.

In the modern years it’s tough to break into what was a top six. Villa have done it once, Leicester three times, Southampton once, Newcastle once before this current season. David Moyes has done it three times, twice with Everton and once with us.

It’s that difficult. But we must make that step up. The structure must be right, Sullivan should have no real part of it because his style has not worked. Leave it to the football professionals, and that’s what we must aspire to. No more stressful relegation fights - we claim to be a big club, now’s the time to prove it.

* Like to share your thoughts on this article? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

* Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the highlighted author/s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the official policy or position of

More Opinion