January 1, 2000
Danny Coles – in the Football
League team of the week
for his performance against Yeovil
At the beginning of every season, the press and the media are all too keen to give their predictions after just a couple of fixtures, or even before the first ball is kicked. Your favourite paper will have told you who will finish top, runners up, and bottom of their respective leagues.
Remember this time last year? Blackpool for the drop; sorry, wrong, promoted. Remember the summer talk? Blackpool will struggle to win a game, especially away from Bloomfield Road; sorry wrong, won the first one 4-0 at Wigan.
So there you are then. Who are you going to read, who are you going to believe and what is your own view? I have my ideas for sure but nonetheless I have scoured this and that rag to try and get a fair take. On the official Football League website I found a League 1 Season Preview’. It was posted with just a few days of the close season left and came under the three main headings of ‘The Main Contenders’, ‘Surprise Packages’ and ‘New Boys’.
First of all the site says this, “On paper League 1 could be the most competitive of the three divisions, with about 12 teams all capable of sealing automatic promotion.” No list of the fancied 12 to be found, but the site goes on to say that as well as those who were there or thereabout last season there is the added edge of the arrival of the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle and Notts County.
So what of ‘The Main Contenders’ as the FL sees it. Well the site talks about four clubs under that heading. Perhaps as no surprise, our visitors today head the list. This is what the site has to say; “Southampton will fancy their chances of making an impression on the League this season following their strong second half showing during the last campaign. Alan Pardew’s side finished seventh in the League 1 table, after losing just three league games in 2010, no mean feat after starting the season with a ten point deduction.” The site goes on to say; “You wouldn’t bet against them this time”.
Well Plymouth Argyle no doubt would, for starters, after going to St Mary’s on the opening day and taking all three points. Leyton Orient may have a view as well following last week’s away draw to leave the Saints with just one point from two home games thus far.
Other most fancied sides include Huddersfield Town, Charlton Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday. Huddersfield, they reckon, have been one of the busiest teams in the transfer market as they look to return to the second tier of English football for the first time since 2001. History shows that being busy in the transfer market is no guarantee, but most observers think that the famous old Yorkshire club will be there or thereabouts come next May. However, like us, they have already conceded three second half goals at Peterborough this season.
It’s said that Phil Parkinson is hoping experience will spur his Charlton Athletic side on, but they have lost several key players from last season, including Jonjo Shelvey to Liverpool and Nicky Bailey to Middlesborough. Personally, I don’t think the London side are as strong as last season, when they failed to make the play off final, but seven points from three games is a decent start; we shall see. Sheffield Wednesday make up the list with the League site thinking that The Owls will be a match for most in the division, having lost their Championship Status on the very last day of last season.
The site is prepared to stick its neck out a bit to come up with three ‘Surprise Packages,’ Firstly Brentford, based largely on their form at the end of last season which saw them lose just four of the last 26 league games. Oops, first two games of this season both lost. Secondly Notts County having surged to the League 2 title last season. Oops, first two games of this season both lost. Isn’t that’s what watching professional football all about, you just never know from week to week. The third surprise team could be Brighton, so the site goes on to say. Bit of sympathy with this one, I have to admit. Nice little win at Swindon to start the campaign but undone by a Rochdale penalty in the 90th minute for a ‘surprising’ first home game draw followed by the defeat at Wednesday last Saturday.
Unlike the popular press, the League site has nothing to say about about relegation, or those clubs that may be involved in the scrap in the spring. Careful not to upset the member clubs no doubt; can’t say that I can blame them, politics and all that and anyway no one is thinking relegation this early on, are they? Another interesting feature on The Football League site is that they nominate their team of the week based on the performances around The League on the previous weekend. Well done to our man Danny Coles for making the line up following the Yeovil game.