Month: June 2013

2013–14 Football League Championship Fans’ Preview (Part 2)

With little time left before the clubs of the 2nd tier return to their hallowed turf. The fans of all 24 clubs have a chance to voice their dreams, opinions and concerns for the 10-month battle that lies ahead.

Ipswich Town
@S_BaileyITFC

False dawns… Ipswich have remained in the Championship for 12 consecutive seasons.

Home ground: Portman Road (Capacity: 30,309)
Nickname: The Tractor Boys
Rivals: Norwich City, Colchester United
Last season: 14th
Odds: 22/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Greatest hope would have to be going up as Champions. Other than that, just promotion!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Another mediocre season. Things finally seem on the up for us and it would be typical Ipswich if we had another boring, average season.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a couple of wingers, a goalkeeper and a centre back.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
All 23 teams. Twice, haha. QPR maybe. It would be nice to finally see us win at the City Ground, I suppose.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Aaron Cresswell, promising left back with Premier League teams sniffing around. Tommy Smith, young international centre back. Frank Nouble,striker. Has been around the block for someone so young but can really push on next season and will hopefully score a shed load.

6. Who will win the league?
QPR, if they can hold on to a few of their top players and manage to bond as a team they should be unstoppable.

7. Who will go down?
As always, a tough one to call. Yeovil will be on everyone’s list but promoted teams usually surprise. I’ll go with Barnsley, Huddersfield and Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
It’s the Championship, Yeovil could win the league and QPR could go down. I think Bournemouth might surprise a few people. Maybe a top ten finish.

9. Where will you finish?
Top 6, hopefully. Although we’ve said that for the last 12 years.

 

Leeds United
@AlexMetcalfLUFC

Sleeping giant… Investment will be key for Leeds United

Home ground: Elland Road (Capacity: 39,460)
Nickname: The Lilywhites
Rivals: Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sheffield Wednesday
Last season: 13th
Odds: 18/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
The dream would be automatic promotion obviously, would settle for playoffs.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Being the same old Leeds, selling best talent and being in a relegation battle.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We’re desperate for wingers, and a creative presence in midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Always nice to beat Yorkshire rivals like Wednesday and Huddersfield, would be nice to beat Reading for Brian.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Sam Byram, best young defender in the league. Chris Dawson is a young lad with a lot of potential if he gets game time. Matt Smith could surprise a few people too.

6. Who will win the league?
I fancy QPR if they keep the majority of their squad.

7. Who will go down?
Barnsley, Yeovil & Huddersfield or Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Bournemouth will do better than most people fancy I think. Also think Bolton could do quite well.

9. Where will you finish?
10th without a whole lot of investment. 5/6th if we get a couple of decent signings.

Leicester City

@BertLCFC

Vengeful… The Foxes are ready to swat the Hornets.

Home ground: King Power Stadium (Capacity: 32,262)
Nickname: The Foxes
Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Coventry City
Last season: 6th
Odds: 11/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
That we get promotion! It’s been too long.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
That our Thai owners pull out. Don’t want us going the same way as Portsmouth.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
I’d say in the midfield area the most, although we need a new centre back to partner big Wes Morgan.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
That’s easy, Watford.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Obviously I’d say Anthony Knockaert, he’ll have a better seen than the last. Matty James & Chris Wood as well.

6. Who will win the league?
A toss-up between Reading and QPR, I’d say Reading. Decent squad for this league and a manager that knows how to get out of the league.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Barnsley And Doncaster. Other than Yeovil it was a tough call.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich. Finished very strong towards the end of the season and have a good manager.

9. Where will you finish?
Somewhere in the top six, but I’m hoping in the top two.

Middlesbrough
@JackWithoutJill

Bottle… Boro fan Jack Harris fears the Smoggies may be in trouble.

Home ground: Riverside Stadium (Capacity: 34,988)
Nickname: Boro
Rivals: Newcastle United, Sunderland, Leeds United
Last season: 16th
Odds: 33/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Looking back at least season, I’d be happy to get a top half finish. I think it’s going to be difficult for us to stay afloat this year.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation. We aren’t a team that can bounce straight back, if e go down, we will stay down for a long time.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a good centre back. A proper captain. Someone who can lead a team week in, week out. A proven goal scorer is always nice though.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Everyone hates Leeds, right? I always love it when we beat them, especially at their place.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
If we keep him and he’s fit, Muzzy Carayol. One of the few players who can actually run at a defender and isn’t scared of a 1-on-1.

6. Who will win the league?
I think it will be between Bolton and Reading. Bolton finished strong last year and Reading just seem to be making the right signings.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Doncaster and Barnsley. Maybe us depending on the first half of the season.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I think Bournemouth may cause a few upsets.

9. Where will you finish?
18th.

Millwall
@AlfieIrving

Sustainable… Jackett-less Millwall hope they can challenge.

Home ground: The Den (Capacity: 20,146)
Nickname: The Lions
Rivals: West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic
Last season: 20th
Odds: 80/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To comfortably avoid relegation, and make it in to the top half of the table. As well as finishing above Charlton!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Fans abusing Lomas, atmosphere turns sour, results begin to go against us and we end up on a manager merry-go-round with no stability.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Striker, strikers and more strikers. Serious lack of goals in 2013, from 5th to 20th, almost relegated.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Got to be Charlton, definitely.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Andy Keogh and Liam Trotter. Both had poor seasons last time round, but I believe Lomas can get the best out of them!

6. Who will win the league?
For me, QPR. Very strong squad, lots of depth and a great manager. Twitch.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Doncaster and Huddersfield.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich Town.

9. Where will you finish?
13th-15th.

Nottingham Forest
@Harry_Martin_14

Fearful… Forest are wary of their East Midlands rivals.

Home ground: City Ground (Capacity: 30,576)
Nickname: The Reds, The Tricky Trees
Rivals: Derby County, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Notts County
Last season: 8th
Odds: 12/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Obviously, like any other fan; promotion.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Derby doing well, as I can see that happening.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
A new striker for sure, a couple of wingers and a goal keeper.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
LEICESTER!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Henri Lansbury, Adlene Guedioura, Simon Cox, Greg Halford and Karl Darlow.

6. Who will win the league?
In my opinion, you can’t predict anything in this league.

7. Who will go down?
Like I said, I have no clue.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Charlton & Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
1st.

Queens Park Rangers

@Adz_Graham

Favourites… QPR fans are cautiously optimistic

Home ground: Loftus Road (Capacity: 18,360)
Nickname: The Hoops
Rivals: Chelsea, Fulham
Last season: 20th (Premier League)
Odds: 6/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To contend for a top 6 finish giving us a slight hope of promotion.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Biggest fear has to be doing a Wolverhampton.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds United for ruining our last day of the season promotion party!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Depending on who stays… Taraabt, Andy Johnson.

6. Who will win the league?
I believe this season may be Watford’s.

7. Who will go down?
Bournemouth, Yeovil and Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Once again Watford may be not expected to win the title.

9. Where will you finish?
5th.

Reading
@AdamTucker_

Fancied… The Royals are predicted success.

Home ground: Madejski Stadium (Capacity: 24,224)
Nickname: The Royals
Rivals: Swindon Town, Oxford United, Aldershot Town
Last season: 19th (Premier League)
Odds: 11/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Winning the league title and returning to the Premier League.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Replicating Wolves and suffering successive relegations.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
The midfield, last season in the premier league the service to the frontmen was below par.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Probably Leeds, due to Brian Mcdermott!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson Kanu, both stand out players last season.

6. Who will win the league?
Nottingham Forest or Reading.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Huddersfield and Doncaster

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Derby or Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
1st/2nd.

Sheffield Wednesday
@AlexandraSWFC

Safety… The Owls have survival on their minds.

Home ground: Hillsborough (Capacity: 39,812)
Nickname: The Owls
Rivals: Sheffield United, Barnsley, Leeds United
Last season: 18th
Odds: 66/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To have a fresh start, get some creativity into the team, cement our place in the league.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
A relegation scrap again, but it’s likely.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Going forward definitely. A prolific goal scorer is needed. Then perhaps a centre back.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds or Barnsley.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Michail Antonio, Lewis Buxton.

6. Who will win the league?
Forest or Wigan.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Huddersfield, and either Bournemouth or Millwall.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich.

9. Where will you finish?
Hopefully around 14th-17th.

Watford
@david_wfc

Borrowers… Watford will be impacted by new loan rules.

Home ground: Vicarage Road (Capacity: 17,477)
Nickname: The Hornets
Rivals: Luton Town, QPR, Crystal Palace
Last season: 3rd
Odds: 14/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
That we can get promoted.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Not retaining key players such as Abdi.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a CB , CM and ST as an option.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
QPR , Leeds , Blackpool.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Forestieri and Battocchio.

6. Who will win the league?
Hmm… Reading?

7. Who will go down?
Sheff Wed , Yeovil , Doncaster.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
AFC Bournemouth.

9. Where will you finish?
I hate this question… 9th?

Wigan Athletic
@CharleyH91

Distracted… The Latics’ European venture could hinder them

Home ground: DW Stadium (Capacity: 25,133)
Nickname: The Latics
Rivals: Bolton Wanderers
Last season: 18th (Premier League)
Odds: 12/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To go straight back up, or another miracle cup run.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
To take a double drop and get relegated again.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
This is a difficult one because we have a much changed squad but we could definitely use a better defensive record.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Bolton.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman. If we can keep hold of that pairing then I’m confident we’ll do well in this league.

6. Who will win the league?
It’s been quite a few years since I last followed the championship closely and it’s a very competitive and unpredictable league so I really couldn’t say. There’s no stand out teams for me.

7. Who will go down?
Same as above.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I can see Bournemouth surprising a few people and doing quite well this season.

9. Where will you finish?
This could go either way, dependent on the new manager and which players we keep/sign… anywhere in the top half.

Yeovil Town
@DazRTaylor

Underdogs… The Glovers are desperate to disprove their doubters.

Home ground: Huish Park (Capacity: 9,565)
Nickname: The Glovers
Rivals: Weymouth, Bournemouth
Last season: 4th (League One)
Odds: 250/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Survival! We are being written off already, just like we were for our eight seasons in League One.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation. The club have worked so hard to get where we are, I would like a few years at this level.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
I would say centre back especially. We lost Dan Burn back to his parent club and that is a big hole to fill.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
QPR. Last season, our playing budget for the entire season was £950,000. They have players who earn that in ten weeks.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Marek Stech in goal. Czech Under 21 international and will play in the top flight one day. Paddy Madden up front. Ed Upson in midfield.

6. Who will win the league?
It *should* be QPR, but I think they will crash & burn. So I will go for Leicester City.

7. Who will go down?
Barnsley, Doncaster & Bournemouth.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Ipswich Town. Mick McCarthy has done it all before.

9. Where will you finish?
20th.

2013–14 Football League Championship Fans’ Preview (Part 1)

With little time left before the clubs of the 2nd tier return to their hallowed turf. The fans of all 24 clubs have a chance to voice their dreams, opinions and concerns for the 10-month battle that lies ahead.

Barnsley
@MattBFC93

Home… No club has spent more time in the 2nd tier than the Tykes.

Home ground: Oakwell (Capacity: 23,009)
Nickname: The Tykes
Rivals: Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Leeds United, Doncaster Rovers
Last season: 21st
Odds: 125/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Continue from the second half of last season so that we don’t have to endure another season in a relegation battle.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Fans get overexcited about the second half of last season, the team don’t perform as we’re all hoping and we are relegated.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We conceded a lot of goals from set pieces, and we are yet to address that. 1 or 2 centre halves are needed.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Sheffield Wednesday, especially after losing twice to them last season.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
New signing from Bayern Munich, Dale Jennings. Could be a huge player for us this season after learning from the likes of Arjen Ribben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller. Could also be a big season for Jacob Mellis after his first full season last year, and goals are expected from O’Grady after his loan move was made permanent.

6. Who will win the league?
Sneaky suspicion Reading could do well. Most of team kept together, adding to it with Wayne Bridge and Royston Drenthe. All that along with a top manager in Nigel Adkins.

7. Who will go down?
Doncaster, Yeovil and Huddersfield.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
 Hopefully ourselves. If not, maybe Charlton.

9. Where will you finish?
11th.

Birmingham City
@_RMurray

Money talks… Brum fans fear for their finances.

Home ground: St. Andrew’s (Capacity: 31,079)
Nickname: The Blues
Rivals: Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion
Last season: 12th
Odds: 28/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
 To get taken over.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
To go into administration.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
If Curtis goes, the back four.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Ipswich, Forest, and maybe Leicester.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Nathan Redmond, and Marlon King.

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton or QPR.

7. Who will go down?
Huddersfield, Sheffield Wed, Yeovil.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Charlton.

9. Where will you finish?
13th.

Blackburn Rovers
@CarlyBrownn

Home ground: Ewood Park (Capacity: 31,154)

Rebound… Rovers fans are hoping for improvement.

Nickname: Rovers
Rivals: Burnley, Bolton Wanderers
Last season: 17th
Odds: 20/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Promotion.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Having a repeat of last season, where there is no stability..and not getting near play-offs.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Generally midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Burnley, of course.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Jordan Rhodes?

6. Who will win the league?
Reading.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Barnsley and Bournemouth.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Er, Sheff Wednesday?

9. Where will you finish?
7th, proper optimism there.

Blackpool
@RobC1887

Wobbly… The Seasiders are fearing the drop once more.

Home ground: Bloomfield Road (Capacity: 17,338)
Nickname: The Seasiders
Rivals: Preston North End, Burnley, Bolton Wanderers
Last season: 15th
Odds: 40/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To avoid relegation, this summer has been very worrying.
Greatest hope is a top half finish, somehow.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation, obviously.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need to strenghten our midfield and attacking options. Ince, Phillips
and probably Gary Taylor-Fletcher going leaves us with pretty much nothing.
Plus we only have Basham and Fergy still in midfield.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Bolton. Our last two games against them were brilliant too.
Preston in the cup would be a nice win. Also Burnley and Blackburn.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
I’ll be boring and say Matty Phillips, his development has slowed a bit though.
Bob Harris or Basham might stand out too.

6. Who will win the league?
Not a clue. Bolton have impressed me a bit in the transfer window.
Watford won’t come anywhere near, new rules have cornered them.
QPR won’t be as good as people are expecting, unless Redknapp
clashes a few heads together.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, maybe Birmingham, maybe Wednesday, maybe Huddersfield,
Forest, us, Barnsley… Not Doncaster though.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Doncaster, and maybe Yeovil might surprise a few. Doncaster are a good team.

9. Where will you finish?
We’ll finish between 12th and 24th… I’m gonna sit on the fence, sorry.

Bolton Wanderers
@FansBolton

Confident… Bolton fans are optimistic for the season ahead

Home ground: Reebok Stadium (Capacity: 28,100)
Nickname: The Trotters
Rivals: Bury, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Manchester United
Last season: 7th
Odds: 11/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To go up.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
That we lose Holden.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
A new striker.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Wigan or QPR.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Holden.

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Huddersfield, Reading.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Forest.

9. Where will you finish?
2nd.

Bournemouth
@Eloiseee_Gullis

Dark horses… Fans are weary of new boys, Bompey.

Home ground: Dean Court (Capacity: 10,700)
Nickname: The Cherries
Rivals: Southampton, Reading
Last season: 2nd (League One)
Odds: 20/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Realistically the first goal is to stay up, anything better than
that would be fantastic.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Personally Max Demin leaving and us being in financial
trouble.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Probably midfield, as we have skill but lack strength
and experience.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
I’d say Matt Ritchie and Brett Pitman.

6. Who will win the league?
I think potentially Forest.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Millwall and Burnley.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Us!

9. Where will you finish?
Mid-table I reckon if we start off well.

Brighton & Hove Albion


@LiamHollister

Lone seagull… Albion fans will miss their rivalry with Palace.

Home ground: AMEX Stadium (Capacity: 30,750)
Nickname: The Seagulls
Rivals: Crystal Palace, Portsmouth, Southampton
Last season: 4th
Odds: 14/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Promotion. If we get a decent manager (Oscar Garcia) it’s
very possible.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Not sorting the manager situation out soon enough costing us.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Well at the moment we don’t have a left back so we’ll need one of those!
A centre back or two would also be nice.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Now palace are up, we don’t have any rivalries. I don’t like Leeds
or Burnley, so them.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Leo Ulloa, Will Buckley, Andrea Orlandi, Liam Bridcutt if he stays, Kuszczak and
Spanish dave (David lopez) if he signs his new contract.

6. Who will win the league?
I think Reading. They’re really going for it with their signings.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil, Blackpool and probably Barnsley. I can even see it happening
to QPR, like it did with Wolves.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Charlton and Ipswich. Charlton are in pretty much the same position as we
were last season, it turned out well for us. Mick McCarthy has turned Ipswich around.

9. Where will you finish?
 It’s hard to predict without knowing who the manager is and whether key
players re-sign or leave. If we have Oscar, I’ll say 3rd.

Burnley
@Gav_BFC

Grudge… The Clarets are desperate to beat Blackburn.

Home ground: Turf Moor (Capacity: 22,546)
Nickname: The Clarets
Rivals: Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End, Blackpool
Last season: 11th
Odds: 66/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Beating Blackburn Rovers for the first time in 35 years or reaching a play-off place.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Being dragged into a relegation dogfight.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
All over the place, only have 3 strikers as of yet, Charlie Austin wanted by
several Premier League clubs, Danny Ings wanted by old boss Eddie Howe at Bournemouth
and Martin Paterson, contract is near end and there’s been rumours
he’s not signing a new one.

Midfield – we lack a player with creativity, we have some good wingers in
Ross Wallace and Junior Stanislas but no one in the middle that can pass a ball.
Defence – Conceded one of the most goals last season, need a real leader to help our young lads at the back.
Goalkeeper – Lost our number one Lee Grant to Derby County, our number two Brian Jensen,
whose decided not to stay at the club after 10years and our 3rd choice Stewart, who we never
really saw much of. Was on loan at Alfreton Town, also released. However we’ve signed Tom
Heaton from Bristol City and Cisek from Oldham.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Blackburn Rovers, haven’t beaten them in near 35 years, surely this season is our time?

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Cameron Howieson, teenager, yet to be given a real chance with the first team.
Looked very impressive for the Reserves and the Development squad. Also Danny Ings,
I can see him taking over Charlie Austin’s footsteps and bagging 15-20 goals this season.

6. Who will win the league?
Wigan Athletic if they keep hold of some of their players, got some real gems in
that team and they love to pass it around.

7. Who will go down?
My three that I predict to go down are; Yeovil Town to finish at the bottom,
Doncaster Rovers next up and then Barnsley.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Bournemouth; Eddie Howe has again done wonders at this club for the second time in
his managerial career. I can’t see them getting a play-off place but they’ll be mid table,
considering they were in League Two fighting to stay up not long ago.

9. Where will you finish?
With a manager who loves playing hoof ball football and rumours of us signing Kevin Davies.
No higher than 17th.

Charlton Athletic


@KyleAndrewsCAFC

Tempered… Kyle Andrews isn’t sure what to make of Charlton’s ‘dark horse’ label.

Home ground: The Valley (Capacity: 27,111)
Nickname: The Addicks
Rivals: Crystal Palace, Millwall, West Ham United
Last season: 9th
Odds: 40/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Chris Powell or one of the board members get lucky
and win the Euromillions, the money is invested into
the playing budget and we’re able to compete financially
with some of the bigger teams in the league allowing us to
add strength in depth to the squad and a 20 goal a season
striker. On an equal financial playing field and with a
talented squad, Powell works his magic and leads his
side to the title.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
We’re forced to sell our best players and don’t replace them,
Powell gets frustrated with the lack of financial support and leaves,
we return to League One.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
With only one senior striker at the club at the time of writing, it has to be
up front. It looks as if Jonathan Obika will join, but he isn’t going to be a
20 goal a season striker.  A pacey striker with excellent finishing to
compliment the hard work of Yann Kermorgant would be a dream.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
After the embarrassment of losing at home 2-0 to Millwall last season,
six points against our South East London rivals would be welcomed.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
It’s only a matter of time before Chris Solly is playing in the Premier League,
whether that’s in a Charlton shirt or not. The academy product consistently
performs to a high standard and rarely, if at all, puts a foot wrong. Youngster
Callum Harriott showed promise towards the end of the season, whilst Yann
Kermorgant will continue to terrorise defences.

6. Who will win the league?
As things stand, I can’t look beyond Reading. The signing of Royston Drenthe
has signalled their intentions and Nigel Adkins, an excellent manager in his
own right, has a fantastic squad at his disposal. I also expect Nottingham
Forest, Leicester City and, if they get their house in order, QPR to be up there.

7. Who will go down?
The Championship will be a step to far for Yeovil, who will struggle alongside
a host of mediocre Championship clubs. I predict Huddersfield and Barnsley
to drop down to League One after just surviving last season. 

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
As much as I’d like to say Charlton, I just can’t see it, so I’ll opt for Bournemouth.
Any team with Eddie Howe in charge will be an impressive one.

9. Where will you finish?
Heart says 6th, head says low mid table. Powell’s work in the transfer window will be crucial.

 

Derby County
@RBooth9

Optimism… The Rams are ready to charge for the top 6.

Home ground: Pride Park (Capacity: 33,597)
Nickname: The Rams
Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Leeds United
Last season: 10th
Odds: 33/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
As any football fan will say at the start of the season, I’m hoping for a
promotion push! All signs from around the club are positive and that we’re
set for a big season! So hopefully this will be out year.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that the long term plan goes pear shape
and we settle for mid table mediocrity again,
or worse get relegated. I personally think if we struggle this year,
the fans will turn against Nigel and the board.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Our Defence. Richard Keogh has been a rock at centre back and Jake Buxton has
also been good cover. Shaun Barker will hopefully return this season but it’ll take
him a while to regain his fitness. So a new Centre back would be a good addition.
But our main concern is finding a left back. Gareth Roberts has left and a deal for
Craig Forsyth from Watford has apparently fell through. A new left back is a must!

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
The obvious one is Forest! We’re unbeaten in the last 4 against them so hopefully
the run continues. There’s no better feeling than beating them, especially at the City
Ground. Another game we always look forward to is the games against Leeds!
Always a great atmosphere when we play them and we’ve enjoyed a lot of success
in this fixture. 9 wins in row I think the record is.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Johnny Russell: signed from Dundee Utd this summer and he’s coming with
quite a good reputation. 20 goals in 38 games in any league is a great record!
Hopefully he’ll be the striker that we’ve desperately needed over recent years.
The second player is Will Hughes. Already got a huge reputation and has fully
deserved it. Brilliant talent, plays with such maturity for someone so young.
Another youth player coming through from the academy is Mason Bennett made his
first team debut aged 15 and impressed so far, hopefully gets a few more starts
this season.

6. Who will win the league?
If the off field dramas at QPR don’t take over, I can see them winning the league
or being a strong force.

7. Who will go down?
I’d like to see Yeovil stay up but I think they’re going to struggle. Doncaster, Millwall and Barnsley I
think will also be down the bottom come the end of the season.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I think Bournemouth will be the surprise package of the season. Eddie Howe seems to
work wonders down there.

9. Where will you finish?
I’ve got a feeling about this season so hopefully we’ll get in the play-offs . I’m
going with an optimistic 5th.

Doncaster Rovers
@SuperRyanDunphy

Return… Donny are back and here to stay.

Home ground: Keepmoat Stadium (Capacity: 15,231)
Nickname: Donny
Rivals: Leeds United, Barnsley
Last season: 1st (League One)
Odds: 150/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Greatest hope will be to push past 12th, but lets face it, its probably
unlikely, but this club always dreams!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We have 9 players at the moment… So everywhere! However we do
not have a goalkeeper, so that has to be it.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Brighton. Fans of DRFC and in particular our chairman have hated this
club since Lewis Dunks horror challenge on Billy sharp practically relegated
us last time in the Championship.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Rob Jones, no need to look you cant miss him. 6ft 7 ageing yet quality,
it takes something special to get past him.

6. Who will win the league?
Reading, comfortably.

7. Who will go down?
Millwall, Yeovil, Burnley.

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
We may just surprise a few…. However I think Derby will finally pull away
from mid-table and get a play-off spot.

9. Where will you finish?
14th.

Huddersfield Town

@JRTerrier24

Recovery… The Terriers are confident of changing their fortunes.

Home ground: John Smith’s Stadium (Capacity: 24,500)
Nickname: The Terriers
Rivals: Leeds United, Bradford City
Last season: 19th
Odds: 100/1

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
I think with the right signings, a play-off spot isn’t out of
the question, and following the last 2 days, it’s looking more
promising.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
A sort of Peterborough-esque second season where
we just fall apart and get relegated, and knowing Town as I do,
it’s definitely not impossible.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Definitely strikers, though the acquisitions of Stead and Paterson have been very
welcome, every Town fan wants James Vaughan to return.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Like with every season that we’re in the same division, Leeds is the big one, although
after our drubbings last season, Leicester too.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Jack Hunt is always being touted for his great crossing ability, but if he regains his form,
Oliver Norwood too, especially his free kicks.

6. Who will win the league?
Hard to say. I will say probably either Forest, Leicester or Reading, and if they
get a decent replacement for Poyet, Brighton.

7. Who will go down?
Yeovil and Doncaster definitely, the third one will be interesting, but I’m going to
say either Millwall or Barnsley. (Would prefer Leeds though)

8. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I see Bournemouth doing well under Eddie Howe, maybe play-offs, and also
Derby County if they can string a good run or two together.

9. Where will you finish?
I would like to say lower top half, but every Town fan would say “As long as it’s
not bottom 3”. Play-off spot would be added bonus.

Room 101…Two

I realised since my last Room 101 blog which is now a year or so ago that there are plenty more other things on this planet that I don’t like and wish to eradicate.

Mary Poppins

Pompous… Mary Poppins is a cow.

I know she’s meant to be lovable and I know she was played by a true screen legend in Julie Andrews but my God, how arrogant is that woman? She comes floating in with her morbidly black umbrella and decides she’s the fucking queen? I mean her only solution to anything is to pump children full of sugar and she still has the audacity to claim she’s ‘practically perfect in every way’. Urgh, bitch.

American Sports

Nonsensical… Logically, this game should be called football, right?

Americans are great. I mean that. I really do… for the most part. They’re a proud nation with much to be proud of. But at times it comes across as undeservedly arrogant, especially when it comes to their sports. Football (not soccer) is the most popular sport in the world but in the States, baseball and hand-egg are the big games. Now, if the ludicrous rules and thoroughly uninteresting game-play of both isn’t enough to make you dislike the US’ sports, then their delusion over how important and popular they are should be. How can they call baseball’s top competition, the WORLD series when only one country is allowed to take part? They even label the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as the ‘biggest in sport’. I’m pretty sure River Plater and Boca Juniors would tell our friends across the pond something quite different.

Gary Barlow

Dull…. Gary Barlow is…………………………………………………………….. Zzzzzzzz

Given how boring this man is, writing about him at 12:21am is dangerous to say the least. I actually can’t say much more than that. He’s dull and he’s not even redeemed by his songwriting, which he seems to be lauded over. He was once good but his latest stuff including ‘Shame’ and ‘Sing’ are two of the cheesiest songs in existence. He falls in to the ballad clichés very often. I find it hard to believe that a person so fucking one-dimensional can be so famous and popular.

Chavs

Anti-social… Some people collect stamps, Chavs collect ASBOs

I’m not going to lie; I can be a snob. I really don’t like chavs. I mean, I’m not going to go as far as to judge people based on what they wear but I mean I don’t like the sort that hangs around town centres in groups, drinking Strongbow, wearing tracksuits and heckling old ladies with obscure slang. You know the sort of ignorant souls that go on Jeremy Kyle, get pregnant at 7 years of age, claim benefits and spend the rest of their lives sitting on the sofa, munching on a 24 pack of Hula Hoops with their one remaining tooth. In other words, these people are scummy and grimy and yuck.

The London Underground

Scary… I’d rather walk…

This place is a dark, dank, sweaty death tramp! It’s so awful, it’s pitch black, noisy and screechy. You hear stories about ghosts being on the tube, you go under a fucking river and people regularly try to kill themselves. I think I would be absolutely chuffed if my oyster card got revoked.

Thunderstorms

Scary… FUCK YOU THUNDER! YOU CAN SUCK MY DICK

I hate thunder and lightning. It scares me shitless, I literally hide behind objects during thunderstorms and will not move until they’re over. Why? Because about a year ago, lightning struck the window of the room I was in, whilst I was peeing and it was without doubt the scariest moment of my life. Honestly, just fuck off ligntning, you hot, electric cunt.

“You was” / “I seen”

Strict… Say it right or don’t say anything.

How do people get this wrong? It’s the most fucking irritating grammatical error around, just pipping the ‘definitely/defiantly’ debacle to the top spot. I associate this mistake with idiocy so if you get this wrong regularly then I probably won’t like you.

The Big Bang Theory

Over-rated… An average programme for average people.

This programme is the 2nd most over-rated thing in existence. It is popular on both sides of the Atlantic and I just don’t know why, it’s Dexter’s Laboratory except not animated. There is only one notable character with the rest rendered practically useless serving only conform to social and racial stereotypes. Sheldon’s only popular for being able to complicate simple dialogue, hardly the feat of good comedic writing. Is it really that easy to please the public? Well actually, yes, it really is. That being said, I’m sure the producers of TBBT are laughing all the way to the bank. I mean, it really is fucking depressing when ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is searched on Google, that the show comes up before the actual theory itself. Maybe, Kaley Cuoco is attracting viewership as the show’s piece of eye candy? Personally I preferred her in 8 Simple Rules but when it comes to this show I have only one simple rule; after the theme song (the only good bit), turn this shower of shite off.

Oasis

‘Heroes’… LOLZ, its so funni 2 act lyk a petulant twt all da tym LOLZ ❤

No, I don’t mean the drink. I literally can’t stand this band and unlike many, I rejoiced when they broke up. They are persistently rimmed and labelled as one of ‘the best bands ever’. I can’t take away their commercial and critical success but to me, they’re painfully average. One of the greats? My tits are they! I can recall two memorable songs both of which are so similar they may as well merge in to one 7 minute piece of monotonous drivel. They’ve almost become a cult thing amongst teenage football fans on Twitter too, I doubt you’ll find a more common bio than “*Football club*, Oasis, away days ♥” as if their music is now the official soundtrack. If their overly stated music that is arselicked beyond recognition by the masses isn’t enough to turn you off them, then you only need to be reminded of the members of this band; the Gallaghers. Referring to the easily impressed public I mentioned in the last entrant to Room 101, people seem to love Noel Gallagher because he swears in interviews. Apparently, a 46 year old man still acting like a Year 6 student that needs a smack on the arse is something that the average Briton likes. Both brothers have inevitably bought in to their own misplaced hype, not that you could blame them for that. Noel even had the audacity to claim that ‘music was dead’ citing pop music as responsible. I didn’t hear him saying much back in the pop-dominated noughties when he was still able to sell music himself, did you?

UKIP / The BNP / The EDL

Supremacists… Closet racists the lot

I have no idea why people support these sham-organisations. They’re just xenophobic alliances, disguised under the common protestation that they want to ‘protect Britain’. Let’s face it, the average supporter is a braindead thug with a lower IQ than a Jacob’s cream cracker. Unfortunately, scare tactics work on many in Britain and few of those on the bandwagon seem to realise that nationalism, an ideology all three employ, was the founding principal of Adolf Hitler’s nazi party. Just a heads up, to the media slaves; nationalism and patriotism are very different things.

Lad Culture

#BanterLAD #RESPECT… #StupidCunt #FuckOffYouOdiousPricks

Another thing formed from moronic thinking is lad culture. Who is the fucking ignoramus that decided acting like a prat should be glorified and celebrated? I mean, I honestly think I could get ‘LAD points’ for mugging an old woman in the street. As long as I chose to define it as ‘banter’, another over-used term that muppets seem to crave, like some sort of verbal drug. If I’m being quite frank and I’m not often anything else, if you’re ever called a lad, the chances are you’re just a plain old cunt.

My favourite things

This blog is completely pointless and narcissistic but I feel like I moan a lot in my posts so I thought I’d share the things I really like and give them a bit of praise.

TV Programmes

“Shut up, I win”… Modern Family is my all-time favourite TV programme

1. Modern Family
Okay, maybe I’ve praised this show enough but then again, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of gloating about just how good this programme is. Its brilliantly observed  social commentaries, combined with impeccable writing of various types of humour make it a refreshing change from the average US sitcom. It’s already a classic and easily my all-time favourite TV programme.

2. Friends
Given the fact, I’ve spent my entire life watching re-runs of this show on E4 and now Comedy Central, it would be unfair not to have this among my favourites. Unlike Modern Family, it is a typical US sitcom, it’s just a lot funnier than the others.

3. How I Met Your Mother
Funnily enough, I was sceptical of HIMYM when I first heard of it. I assumed it would be a less-funny ode to Friends. And in all honesty, Friends is funnier but HIMYM’s interesting spin on the plot of an average US sitcom and it’s brilliant gimmicks make it stand out from the rest.

4. Desperate Housewives
I don’t even know why I liked this programme so much. It’s just so interesting, a perfect blend of drama and comedy that’s oddly relatable to every day life. At times, it is completely over-the-top and unrealistic but that can be forgiven when you consider it at its best. If you only watch one season of this show, make sure it’s season one.

Films

The force is with Star Wars… my all-time favourite films

1. Star Wars saga
Being honest, I’m not a big film person. Obviously, there are loads of films that I like but few that really stand out. Other than White Chicks and the Lion King, I struggled to think of anything that could compete with this, so it stands alone. Regrettably, I haven’t seen many of cinema’s modern classics (something I intend on correcting every summer but never do). Anyway, Star Wars is the ultimate sci-fi saga. I spent a lot of my childhood being obsessed with this franchise, meaning I have something like 20 lightsabers stored underneath my bed. It really is a great film, and yes the original trilogy is far better. It still shocks me that some people have never seen these films… and I hate them for it.

Albums

“‘Cause this is Thriller. Thriller night!”

1. Thriller
This is simply put the best album ever made. Featuring so many of MJ’s classsics including Thriller, Billie Jean, Beat It, P.Y.T., Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, The Girl is Mine and Human Nature, you can see why it’s the biggest selling album of all-time and my favourite.

2. Aim & Ignite
Okay, Fun. burst on to the chart scene in Spring 2012, with their hit “We Are Young” taken from their second studio album, Some Nights. While, that album is superb and only just misses out on a spot in the top 5, Fun.’s lesser known predecessor is even better. It’s melodic from start to finish with brilliantly crafted songs and lyrics that really make you think. It’s a shame they didn’t get much recognition for this album too.

3. Fearless
I don’t really care about the stigma attached to picking a Taylor Swift album as one of your favourites. I have a quiet love for country music and she has a well-known talent for song writing. In all honesty, I could have selected either Speak Now or Red to join the top five too but this album is just about her best.

4. Songs About Jane
When you were young, every family had that one album that you played in the car non-stop, every journey. This was ours. It really is brilliant.

5. Rumours
Again, a worldwide recognised classic. My love for this album probably again stems back to my quiet love for country and guitar music. It features many of the bands classics and is hard not to like. Although, funnily enough when I first heard this album, I hated it.

It’s worth noting, these are also my five favourite artists. Honourable mention to S Club 7 for providing the soundtrack of my childhood and yes, I still have a cheeky  S Club party every now and then.

Holiday destinations

Bude-iful… My favourite holiday destination

1. Bude
Ideally, an average looking seaside town in Cornwall is not the place you want to go on holiday. It’s mostly for personal reasons that I’ve picked this as number-one. Nearly everyone has a holiday destination their family goes to often. Bude is that for my family.

2. Los Angeles
Most people say LA isn’t as good as it’s hyped up to be. But it really is, the climate, the people and the sights are all incredible. It’s a place you simply have to visit.

3. San Francisco
San Fran is a great city of diversity, it has such a varied nature to it, there are rural areas, coastal areas, Skegness-esque areas and big city areas. Accompanied by the climate which is great too, it’s a must visit. In fact, if it weren’t for the USA’s gun crime problem, the San Andreas fault and its proximity to Yellowstone, I’d move to California in a heartbeat.

4. Canary Islands
Particularly Gran Canaria and Tenerife, these islands are wonderful, just off the coast of Africa, it is always hot and just a great place to be.

My same-sex marriage speech

I was asked to do this by quite a few people actually. So theoretically, if I were to stand up in the House of Commons or House of Lords, this is what I would say;

I have always maintained that the best way to resolve an argument is to talk through both sides of it and make a decision, and that’s what I intend to do here.
I’m strongly in favour of passing the legislation that makes same-sex marriage legal but in truth, that’s irrelevant. In the next few moments, I won’t be speaking as a Liberal. I will simply be pleading my case as a human being.

The reasons for favouring this legislation are less in volume but no less in importance than those opposing it. Gay men and women across the country simply want the right to be able to stand before their loved ones and celebrate their relationship. It’s really that simple. To those, that say this right is already afforded to the gay community through means of a civil partnership, hear this; separate but equal is never equal, separate but equal is an inequality disguised as compromise.  The LGBT community of this country simply want to know that their inter-personal relationships are just as valued as any other.

They are the few but valid arguments supporting this legislation. The arguments opposing them are more numerous but dismissible. Many of these arguments are strongly linked to religion. Some theists out there are worried that the inclusion of gay couples will threaten God’s idea of marriage. Those advocates seem to have ignored much of what God said was acceptable in marriage. In fact, concubines, prostitutes, incest, rape and even kitchen condiments are all feasible in a Bible-based marriage but a relationship between two committed women for example is classified as immoral. This is not me taking a bash at religion; this is me taking a bash at religion trying to impose its views on government. Politics is a secular matter and theists have no right to assert their religious laws on the entire nation. Others claim that if this legislation passes in to law then those of a religious disposition will be forced to offer a double bed to gay couples at a bed & breakfast or to make a cake for a gay wedding, those worried about this possibility should probably find themselves another career because if you’re unable to cater for all cross-sections of society, no matter their gender, race or sexuality then public service really isn’t the place for you.
Away from religion, others are worried that this legislation will destroy the sanctity of their marriage and threaten their union. These people can be assured that allowing others the same union they have will not threaten theirs, these couples will still bicker about who gets the remote control and what to have for tea. This inclusion of gay people in to marriage will threaten heterosexual marriage much less than say Kim Kardashian’s 72-hour, just-for-fun marriage.
Some parents are also fearful of explaining to their children that two people of the same gender can be in love. Children are not naturally bigoted; if you tell them something they will accept it, these are people that believe in Santa, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. As a matter of fact, just this week I saw a mother post on to Twitter how she told her kids about their uncle who happened to be gay and her story went like this;
“I’ve been forced to explain homosexuality to my kids (aged 3 and 4) because their uncle is gay. This incredibly difficult and traumatic experience went as follows:

Child: Why does Uncle Bob go everywhere with Pete?
Me: Because they’re in love, just like Mummy and Daddy are.
Child: Oh. Can I have a biscuit?”

Every child is different obviously but this just isn’t an argument. A child is a parent’s responsibility. How can you ask a portion of the population to omit their human rights just to save you a potentially awkward conversation?

Then there are those who take it a step further and consider homosexuality unclean or unnatural, to those people I say this; homosexuality is commonly observed behaviour in tens of thousands of species, homophobia is only commonly observed in one. You tell me, which is unnatural.

Progressing down the line of opposition, parties like UKIP claim this isn’t the right time. Funnily enough, I agree. This legislation should have been passed sooner. How can we wait on human rights? Imagine if Rosa Parks had decided to sit at the back of the bus because it wasn’t a convenient time to make her stand that day, somebody. When will the time be? There will always be issues in this country, meaning there will always be an excuse for parties such as UKIP to set this policy aside.

My favourite argument against this legislation is that this policy of equal marriage will lead to incestuous marriages, marriages with animals etc. Simply put, that is nonsense. When women were granted the right to vote, it didn’t go to dogs afterwards. A goldfish can’t sign a marriage licence. This is no slope and it isn’t slippery.

Those opposed to this legislation, and this may be controversial, needn’t be considered anything else but homophobes. If you want to deny someone equal rights because of their sexuality under any of the aforementioned sub-arguments then that is homophobia. That is hate against love. This legislation isn’t about gay rights; it’s about human rights that have been denied to people of a certain predisposition for too long.

We hear frequently in this country of gay teenagers taking their own lives because they are treated like second-class citizens for being who they are. They hate themselves that much because they’re being brought up in a world, where there love is less important than their families’ or their friend’s. If we don’t allow this legislation to pass then more and more generations will grow up thinking their sexual preference means they’re worth less than everybody else. This law will change social norms and literally save lives. Change is coming, whether people like it or not. And those who oppose same-sex marriage today will forever be mocked on the wrong side of history.