League titles are often decided by slim margins.
A fact that Manchester City and Liverpool fans know only too well.
The pair go into Sunday’s Premier League denouement knowing that any slip-up will be fatal to their title chances. But it’s not just supporters of both clubs who will be feeling the tension.
The award of the Premier League trophy and the accompanying medals represents the finale of the season – the on-pitch cavorting of the winners, often the money shot after nearly 10 months toil.
The Premier League is well-practised when it comes to final-day showdowns and the uncertainty that inevitably accompanies them.
In 2012, for example, they packed off two presentation parties – one to the Stadium of Light, the other to the Etihad – as the red and blue halves of Manchester prepared for an afternoon of nail-biting against Sunderland and QPR respectively.
We all know what happens next. It’s why a statue of Sergio Aguero, the City hero that afternoon, was unveiled to mark the 10th anniversary of that triumph earlier this week.
Despite a last-second change in title party location, the trophy presentation seamlessly followed.
Regardless of what transpires in the 90 minutes on Sunday, the same thing will happen afterwards.
Hardly surprising given the amount of planning that goes into preparing for the final day.
Thomas Lyte are the official designers and makers of the Premier League winners’ medals.
And although the final destination of the Premier League trophy might not be revealed until nearly 6pm on Sunday evening, there will be no mix-up in the colour of the ribbons on the medals and trophy handed to the winners.
i understands that the London-based company – which also designed and made the current edition of the men’s and women’s FA Cup trophy – has already two produced two sets of medals, one bound for Liverpool, the other for Manchester, ahead of Sunday.
The sterling silver medals, which are 24-carat gold plated, are ready and waiting to go, sitting in their custom-made Premier League presentation cases.
With 40 medals going to the winners – they’re handed to players who have made more than five appearances, managers and officials – as many as 80 have been crafted by hand for this weekend’s finale.
One set will be handed over. The others will head back into cold storage.
It’s the same story with the trophy, with one currently residing in Manchester City’s trophy cabinet and an exact replica housed at Premier League HQ for exactly this eventuality.
The ribbons provided with the medals are also packaged up and prepared, with multiple colour combinations stitched well ahead of the final weekend.
Last season, Manchester City won at such a canter, that the blue and white ribbon was the only one to be screen-printed in advance.
The closeness of this year’s race means that the colours of both Liverpool and the current holders, have had to be screen-printed and then attached to medals that already have 2021-22 engraved on them.
At the final whistle, one set will find its way onto the necks of the victors.
The other will be quietly removed. The date, like the title dream, then erased.