April 15, 2009
With games coming thick and fast at this time of the season, time and tide certainly waits for nobody and that definitely applies to those of us in football.
This season may be far from over yet but the planning never stops for The Football
League’s competitions department who have, this week, confirmed the key fixture
dates for the 2009/10 season.
Next season will kick off on 8th August 2009, with the Carling Cup – which
celebrates its 50th year – getting underway a matter of days later during the week
commencing 10th August 2009.
As ever, Christmas will be a busy period with four games in nine days, all kicking
off on Saturday December 19th.
These fixtures will be followed by a midweek game on the 23rd and the traditional
Boxing Day fixtures, before the weekend comes to an end with a full fixture list on
the Bank Holiday Monday the 28th. Once again, there will be no New Year’s Day
fixtures as the third Round of the FA Cup takes place the following day.
The Final of the Carling Cup will take place on 28th February 2010, with the
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final a month later on 28th March.
The growing number of international players in the Coca-Cola Football League, and
the Championship in particular, has, once again, led to the Play-Off weekend having
to be split over two weekends during a World Cup year.
Unfortunately, the call-up period for the 2010 tournament falls during the May
bank-holiday weekend, the traditional date for the Play-Off s. Therefore, following
consultation with clubs it has been decided to schedule the Coca-Cola
Cola League 1 and 2 games being played the following weekend (League 2 – 29th &
League 1 – 30th).
Consequently, the ‘regular’ league season for the Championship will finish on the
weekend of the 2nd May, with Leagues 1 and 2 finishing a week later.
I think this is a bit of a shame because I do enjoy the excitement of all promotions
being settled over the one weekend and a bank holiday weekend does make for
good attendances at the finals. Never mind, needs must when it comes to the
ultimate challenge of the World Cup finals. Let’s hope it all worth the inconvenience
with England there and doing well; after all a good World Cup does generate
interest in the domestic game generally and particularly among the young and
those not previously interested enough in the game to attend their respective local
Football League clubs.
The Football League has announced the full shortlists for seven award categories in the Football League Awards incorporating FourFourTwo’s Top 50 Football League Players for 2008.
A total of 240 entries were received from clubs across all three divisions, a 22% increase on entries from the previous year. This year 32 clubs have been shortlisted for awards, with eight clubs earning more than one entry in the shortlists.
The closest we have got this time around is in the Goal of the Year competition with Jo Kuffour making the top twenty with his fine effort at Leicester City earlier in the season. Last year, 2007, you may recall, Rickie Lambert made it all the way to the top five with his remarkable and memorable goal in the early season away game at Luton Town; should have won it in my view.
The shortlist for the Mitre Goal of the Year category has now been announced. Each
football League club was asked to submit a nomination of their best goal from
2008, and in conjunction with the viewers and presenters of Sky Sports’ Soccer AM
these have then been narrowed down to the following top 5 contenders;
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – Charlton Ath v. WOLVERHAMPTON W (29th Mar 08)
Joe Garner – Southampton v. NOTTINGHAM FOREST (20th Dec 08)
Grant Holt – Rochdale v. SHREWSBURY TOWN (26th Dec 08)
Jordan Stewart – DERBY COUNTY v. Sheffield Wednesday (15th Nov 08)
Martin Woods – Charlton Athletic v. DONCASTER ROVERS (26th Dec 08)
Bad luck Jo, but I am sure we will be back among the front runners again for 2009 with the quality of goals that we have seen from the team already this year.
For more details you can visit the Soccer AM website. The overall winner will
be decided by the attendees at the Football League Awards gala dinner on Sunday
29th March 2009.
Expert judging panels were assembled for each category of award with the process of evaluating each entry taking place at The Football League headquarters on 28th and 29th January.
Having picked up the Best Programme award for League 1 as far as Programme Monthly is concerned we have once again fallen short when it comes to The Football League judges. I don’t really understand it to be honest because I have seen all the League 1 club’s programmes and The Pirate stands out for me.
Many congratulations to Keith Brookman and his team for a superb read each home match day. The Football League judges take just five programmes over the year to look at from each nominated club. Programme Monthly scan all programmes across The League week by week over the entire year and in some detail. That’s the award for me!