Blackburn

English Football’s Biggest Clubs : REVEALED!

It’s probably the biggest argument among football fans today; who is bigger than who? Rival clubs across the country will claim to be a greater presence in the game than their mortal enemies but who really stands above the rest? Southampton or Portsmouth? Newcastle or Sunderland? Liverpool or Manchester United?

The rankings below are determined by points allocated based on historical success and support – the two main contributors to a club’s stature.

Point system

Bridesmaids… Yo-yo clubs, Leicester and Birmingham are rewarded for their near misses and consistency in league position.

  • Seasons – 4 points for top flight season, 3 points for 2nd tier season, 1 point for 3rd tier season, 0 points for 4th tier or lower, 4 additional points for Champion’s League season and 3 additional points for Europa League season.
  • Trophies – 10 points for top flight championship, 6 points for FA Cup win, 4 points for League Cup win, 12 points for Champion’s League win, 7 points for Europa League win, 4 points for 2nd tier title, 1 point for lower league title.
  • “Nearlies” – 4 points for FA Cup final appearance, 2 points for FA Cup semi-final appearance, 2 points for League Cup final appearance, 1 point for League Cup semi-final appearance, 7 points for Champion’s League second place.
  • Fanbase- Average home attendances had been taken for every club since their inception. A combined attendance has been found to which each club’s record has been converted to a percentage. However, several people have complained that past attendances are now irrelevant and the only accurate measure of fanbase is current home attendance. As such the same method has been used but with average home attendances from the 2014–15 season. To ensure that history and support were measured equally; each club was allocated their percentage of 23,574 points (the total number of success points of all clubs).

Non-league clubs are not included in the ranking.

Rankings

*all data correct as of 20th June 2016

 

Rank Change from 2015 Club Pts
1 Manchester United 2506
2 Arsenal 2057
3 Liverpool 1950
4 +1 Manchester City 1669
5 +1 Newcastle United 1551
6 -2 Chelsea 1492
7 Everton 1466
8 Aston Villa 1436
9 +1 Sunderland 1370
10 -1 Tottenham Hotspur 1308
11 +1 Leicester City 1074
12 +1 Derby County 1066
13 -2 West Bromwich Albion 1043
14 West Ham United 1038
15 Wolverhampton Wand. 957
16 +1 Sheffield Wednesday 951
17 +1 Leeds United 912
18 -2 Nottingham Forest 910
19 Stoke City 906
20 Southampton 902
21 +4 Middlesbrough 865
22 -1 Blackburn Rovers 849
23 -1 Sheffield United 834
24 +2 Birmingham City 786
25 -2 Bolton Wanderers 778
26 +1 Norwich City 765
27 -3 Burnley 753
28 Preston North End 697
29 Crystal Palace 685
30 Ipswich Town 641
31 +3 Portsmouth 632
32 Fulham 627
33 +2 Brighton & Hove Alb. 612
34 +2 Huddersfield Town 573
35 +6 Watford 569
36 +1 Charlton Athletic 564
37 +2 Swansea City 560
38 -5 Cardiff City 554
39 -8 Hull City 540
40 -2 Queens Park Rangers 539
41 +1 Bristol City 524
42 +4 Bradford City 518
43 +2 Coventry City 493
44 -1 Reading 462
45 -5 Blackpool 445
46 -2 Barnsley 439
47 Luton Town 401
48 Notts County 391
49 Millwall 350
50 Bury 330
51 n/a Grimsby Town 326
52 -1 Rotherham United 324
53 +2 Plymouth Argyle 323
54 -2 Brentford 309
55 -1 Oldham Athletic 298
56 +1 AFC Bournemouth 297
57 -1 Swindon Town 273
58 +1 Leyton Orient 267
59 +2 Bristol Rovers 266
60 -2 Port Vale 262
61 -8 Wigan Athletic 258
62 -2 Chesterfield 254
63 +4 MK Dons 248
64 -1 Oxford United 226
65 -1 Walsall 217
66 -4 Doncaster Rovers 211
67 -2 Southend United 208
68 -2 Gillingham 190
69 -1 Carlisle United 181
70 Shrewsbury Town 168
71 AFC Wimbledon 163
72 -3 Crewe Alexandra 162
73 Northampton Town 159
74 -2 Peterborough United 138
75 -1 Cambridge United 129
76 Scunthorpe United 122
77 -2 Exeter City 120
78 -1 Colchester United 118
79 Hartlepool United 113
80 +2 Mansfield Town 108
81 -1 Rochdale 102
82 -1 Newport County 94
83 +1 Wycombe Wanderers 87
84 -1 Yeovil Town 83
85 +3 Burton Albion 78
86 Accrington Stanley 65
87 Stevenage 63
88 -3 Fleetwood Town 62
89 n/a Cheltenham Town 58
90 -1 Crawley Town 46
91 Barnet 43
92 -1 Morecambe 28

Statistics

  • Liverpool just pip Manchester United to the title of ‘most successful club’ in English football, accumulating 1165 points, five more than United.
  • The least successful club in the Football League is Morecambe who didn’t tally a single success point.
  • Everton have spent more time in the top flight than any other club – 111 seasons.
  • Eight clubs have never fallen out of the top two tiers of English football; Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United.
  • The biggest club to have never won the top flight was Leicester City but is now West Ham United.
  • The biggest club to have dropped as low as the third tier is Aston Villa.
  • The biggest club to have never won the FA Cup is Leicester City.
  • The best supported club in England based on average attendance is Manchester United.
  • Rotherham United are the biggest club to have never graced the top flight.
  • Whereas, Exeter City are the biggest club to not have played in either of the top two divisions.
  • The biggest clubs in each of the top four divisions are Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United and Portsmouth.
  • The smallest are Bournemouth, Burton Albion, Fleetwood Town and Morecambe respectively.
  • The biggest English club to have never won the Champion’s League or European cup is Arsenal. The smallest club to do so is Nottingham Forest.
  • The biggest underachievers in the Football League currently are Portsmouth who are two divisions below their ‘natural level’.
  • The biggest overachievers are Burton Albion and Bournemouth who are competing two divisions above their ‘natural level’.
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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.

Déjà Blue – Leicester Plunged Into Managerial Turmoil

With every new season comes a fresh set of expectant foxes and with the inspiration of London’s 2012 Olympic Games and last season’s failures a not so distant memory, Leicester fans had been more expectant than ever of setting the record straight. The season started well for the Foxes with a convincing 2-0 home win over Peterborough United. Nevertheless, three consecutive defeats to Charlton, Blackburn and Burton Albion would leave some fans calling for Pearson’s head.

Under fire… Some Leicester fans are calling for Pearson’s removal

It appears to be the same old for Leicester just four games in to the competitive campaign. A vicious cycle consisting of pre-season hype, an opening day win followed by a handful of defeats and in fickle Leicester fan nature, boos are already ringing around the King Power Stadium.  First4LCFC carried out a Twitter poll following Leicester’s league cup exit asking whether Pearson should stay or go with 76% wanting the manager to remain in his position. However, just under a quarter of Leicester fans still think even more change is best for the club.

But the minority campaigning for Pearson’s dismissal seem to have obtained short-term memory loss. It is no secret that last season, Leicester fans bemoaned our dreadful lack of consistency, a quality that is key to escaping this division at the right end. So changing our manager FOUR games in to the season is surely nothing but a hindrance? If we go back as early as last October and the dismissal of Sven-Goran Eriksson, we can see that changing managers mid-season is not beneficial, leading to months of false dawns and ultimately disappointment. As the saying goes, mistakes are made to be learned from and if we learned anything from Sven’s reign at Leicester, it’s that knee-jerk decisions get you no where in football.

Harsh…Sven was a victim of City’s fickle fanbase.

Another point to argue is that of Leicester legend, Martin O’Neill who came under fire during his early days at the club following some disappointing results. However, given time and patience  he managed to lead Leicester to two major trophies and gave us a wealth of Premier League memories on his way to becoming one of Leicester’s greatest ever bosses. It’s imperative that we back Pearson during this season. The key to success in the second tier is consistency and that has to start with the manager. The Foxes had been playing well in the league and have been unlucky to take just 3 points when we should have had at least 7.  Leicester also made 8 changes from the starting line-up at Blackburn for the mid-week 4-2 defeat at home to Burton Albion, indicating that some fans may be catastrophising.

Admittedly, it’s not the start that many had hoped for. Most people craved for us to hit the ground running and avoid playing catch-up to the league’s early leaders but sacking Nigel Pearson will only make that challenge harder. There’s no denying that we need to start turning performances in to results and that any Leicester side should be dealing with the likes of Burton Albion but those defeats are in the past now and there are still a minimum of 44 competitive fixtures left this season. So all Leicester fans really need to do is follow the club’s now cliched mantra and keep the faith.

2012-13 Football League Championship : Fans’ preview

The new season of the best 2nd tier in the World is less than a month away and the fans of the 24 clubs preparing to do battle over the next 9 months are chomping at the bit to voice their opinions, dreams and concerns for the coming campaign…

Title Contenders

Blackburn Rovers

Bounce-back-ability… Rovers fans are Kean to return to the top flight

Last season: 19th (Premier League)
Home ground: Ewood Park
Rivals: Burnley, Bolton Wanderers, Preston North End
Bookies’ prediction: 4th

Questions answered by Carly Brown http://www.twitter.com/carly_brown_

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Promotion! – I think we can do it. We’ve had some decent signings that can strengthen the squad and fill our weaknesses from last season

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Missing out on promotion. Slacking in important games. Giving up..

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We was weak in defence and midfield last season at certain times. Need strong commited centre midfields

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Easy one. Ask any Rovers fan – DOUBLE OVER BURNLEY!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
I think Danny Murphy will be strong for us this season. If key players from last season stay I think they will shine in the Championship

6. Who will win the league?   ~
Bolton..                                         

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
 I think newly promoted Sheff Wednesday and Huddersield will do unexpectedly well               

8. Where will you finish?
2nd

Bolton Wanderers

Nailed on… Ryan Taylor is just as confident as the bookies are for a
top-flight return by the Trotters.

Last season: 18th (Premier League)
Home ground: Reebok Stadium
Rivals: Blackburn Rovers,  Manchester United, Wigan Athletic
Bookies’ prediction: 2nd

Questions answered by Ryan Taylor http://www.twitter.com/razzat93

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
To go back up at first time of asking!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
To have a poor home form and injuries like last season.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
 A left back and back up goalkeeper.


4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Blackburn and Burnley.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Chung yung Lee, Holden and Kevin Davies

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton (I hope!)

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Blackpool

8. Where will you finish?
1st

Cardiff City

Unlucky… The Bluebirds are serial play-off chokers.

Last season: 6th
Home ground: Cardiff City Stadium
Rivals: Swansea City, Bristol City, Newport County, Leeds United
Bookies’ prediction: 7th

Questions answered by Jordan Jones http://www.twitter.com/jordanjonesy

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

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Failing dramatically despite the investment.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Wingers and Striker

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Mason, Velikonja, Whittingham and Bellamy(pending he signs)

6. Who will win the league?
 Cardiff if the right players are brought in, failing that Blackburn                                    

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Dark horses will be Watford                      

8. Where will you finish?
3rd place, narrowly missing out on automatic promotion

Leeds United

Unpopular… ‘Dirty Leeds’ and ‘Colin Wanker’ may be a match made in Hell.

Last season: 14th
Home ground: Elland Road
Rivals: Manchester United, Chelsea
Bookies’ prediction: 5th

Questions answered by Carl Watson http://www.twitter.com/CarlCarlito75

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Takeover completed and wave bates goodbye

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation

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

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Lees, Kenny and Snodgrass

6. Who will win the league?
Leeds

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Huddersfield

8. Where will you finish?
Top

Leicester City

Modest… Favourites Leicester are staying much more grounded this time around.

Last season: 9th
Home ground: King Power Stadium
Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Coventry City
Bookies’ prediction: Champions

Questions answered by Dean Goodsell http://www.twitter.com/deangoodsell

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Promotion, pure and simple. After so many seasons of saying “this is our year”, just once it would be nice to have it finally come true.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Another season of mid-table mediocrity. We’ve had so little to celebrate over the past few seasons, just something would be nice.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Our strength in depth. In positions such as central defence, on the wing and even in goal we do not have decent back up. If anything is to be our downfall this season, I fear it may be injuries and suspensions.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Bristol City. After having them do the double over us last season, I feel some revenge is in order.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…

Jamie Vardy – Boasts a very good goalscoring record in non league. If he can make the step up, he will certainly give opposition defences some concern this season!

Ben Marshall – A promising youngster who had a good end to the season last term. With a good eye for goal and a mean set piece on him, I’m sure we can expect to see more of the same this year.

Wes Morgan – A typical Pearson-esque ‘no nonsense’ defender. Big, strong and competent on the ball, it’ll take a brave man to get past him!

6. Who will win the league?
Birmingham. A decent, young manager at the helm, who some say was unfairly dismissed from Huddersfield. Lee Clark will certainly be eager to prove his critics wrong. They’ve made good use of the transfer market so far, bringing in experienced players such as Ambrose and Mullins who are joining an already decent Championship setup. Also, without the added pressure of European football this season, I feel they will be a tough nut to crack.                                           

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Huddersfield. It’s not uncommon to see teams from League One achieve success in the Championship, Huddersfield will be on a wave of momentum after winning the playoffs last season and will look to emulate the likes of Norwich and Southampton. If they can keep the core of their team from last season, they will certainly surprise a few people this season.

8. Where will you finish?
6th

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Woeful Wolves… ‘The Glass Fox’ is hoping that Wanderers’ defensive troubles are a thing of the past.

Last season: 20th (Premier League)
Home ground: Molineux
Rivals: West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Aston Villa
Bookies’ prediction: 3rd

Questions answered by ‘The Glass Fox’ http://www.twitter.com/The_Glass_Fox

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
My hope and that of many Wolves fans is that we can start playing some attractive football and improve on the performances of last season

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Going back to long ball football consistently, Wolves need a change from the style of play that happened under McCarthy

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
The defence has been an issue for 5 seasons now but the imminent signing of Vadim Demidov maybe a coupe for the new manager.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
The local derby with Birmingham is always a big game and a positive result against Blues would be a fantastic thing.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Wolves players to look out for the new signings Sigurdarson who a fast and strong Icelandic striker, who has been compared to Ibrahimovic

6. Who will win the league?
I would love for Wolves to go all the way but I can’t look past Forest if they spend big and Blackburn, who have a really strong

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I think Simon Grayson could take Huddersfield to the playoffs this season, I also think SWFC could have back to back promotions.

8. Where will you finish?
With Wolves might heart says they will get automatic promotion but my head thinks that the playoffs would be a good achievement for us.

Play-off hopefuls

Birmingham City

Contenders… Brum are gunning for promotion and regional rivals, Wolves.

Last season: 4th
Home ground: St. Andrews
Rivals: Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion
Bookies’ prediction: 10th

Questions answered by Liam Radburn http://www.twitter.com/Raggy118118

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

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Becoming a mid table team

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

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Butland and Redmond

6. Who will win the league?
Blackburn                              

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

8. Where will you finish?
6th

Blackpool

Expectant… Gollum’s Tangerine army think this is their year.

Last season: 5th
Home ground: Bloomfield Road
Rivals: Preston North End, Burnley
Bookies’ prediction: 8th

Questions answered by Bob http://www.twitter.com/RWC_TheWire

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Anywhere in the Top 3, but as long as we are in the play-offs and have a strong chance of getting promoted I don’t mind

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Losing another play-off final or missing out on promotion on the last day for whatever reason. Losing to Bolton (Mate’s team) is also bad.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Another goal-keeper as back-up wouldn’t be a bad idea, and same again with a defender. Would love to sign Stephen Dobbie fully, and maybe a back up striker.  Actually, I’ll say a back-up striker who we can ease in to replace Super Kev

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Would love to beat Bolton, Leeds and Burnley. Beating all the Yorkshire teams wouldn’t go down badly really.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Incey and Matty Phillips always look good on the wings, Cathcart is still young and improving, our midfield all stand out too.

6. Who will win the league?
Anyone out of: Us, Bolton, Wolves, Blackburn, Birmingham and Forest. If I had to pick, I’d say Birmingham.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Hopefully us, seen us written off quite a bit but a top 3 finish is easily on the cards I reckon. Play-offs without a doubt. If not, I’d say Leeds, Leicester or Middlesbrough

8. Where will you finish?
Somewhere in-between 2nd and 8th. Depends on how well the likes of Blackburn or Forest do, no-one can weigh them up at the moment.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Determined… The Seagulls are desperate to win football’s most illogical rivalry.

Last season: 10th
Home ground: AMEX Stadium
Rivals: Crystal Palace
Bookies’ prediction: 9th

Questions answered by Simon Sheppard http://www.twitter.com/SeagullSimon

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
My greatest hope for the new season? Same as every other Championship fan really, That my team gets promotion to The Premiership.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear? Losing at home to Palace again!

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
It’s only 2 now after signing Kuszcak in goal. We need a proven Championship goalscorer, and a tough tackling midfielder.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Palace!!! It’s important we shut up Da Croydon Massiff this season.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Vicente obviously, but Buckley, LuaLua, Bruno, Bridcutt, CMS, Barnes, Bridge, Noone but to name a few

6. Who will win the league?
I think we will be there or thereabouts, but my tip for The Championship is Blackburn.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
This seasons “dark Horses” Brighton. Not saying that because I’m a fan. but made some great signings, more to come, you watch us go!

8. Where will you finish?
Where will Brighton finish? Anywhere in the top 6, but I have a sneaky feeling it will be 2nd.

Charlton Athletic

Realists… Dan Finch doesn’t think the Addicks should be aiming for the Premier League just yet.

Last season: Champions (League One)
Home ground: The Valley
Rivals: Millwall, Crystal Palace
Bookies’ prediction: 14th

Questions answered by Dan Finch http://www.twitter.com/MiniFinchy

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Stay in the league Keep Solly and Keep Jacko on form!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Losing to Palace! Can’t be dealing with that or relegation

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Need a goalie or another centre back. Someone Like Maguire from Sheff Utd.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Palace or Sheffield Wednesday.. Hate ’em both

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Chris Solly, Yann Kermorgant, Rhoys Wiggins and Danny Hollands

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton should

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Wouldn’t say no if Derby are up there if they can keep form maybe Middlesbrough

8. Where will you finish?
17th around there 🙂 #coyr

Hull City

Lonely on Humberside… Bitter Hull want to sink their claws in to East Midlands’ Leicester

Last season: 8th
Home ground: KC Stadium
Rivals: Leeds United, Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe United
Bookies’ prediction: 14th

Questions answered by Nicholas Smith http://www.twitter.com/Nicks648

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
My greatest hope for the new season is that we will get automatic promotion I am quietly confident under Bruce it can happen

2.What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that we under perform and battle relegation however I find this possibility highly unlikely with a mid table finish probably our worst position

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Our team needs a new centre back with jack Hobbs out injured a winger who can beat a man and two new strikers a desperate need due to us scoring only 47 goals last season

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
I most want to beat Leicester twice I still have a very bitter taste towards them with regards to Pearson .

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
I would say the player to look out for is Robert Koren can make something happen out of nothing and was sensational last season

6. Who will win the league?
I think it is likely it will be a relegated team like Bolton or Blackburn to win the league

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
This season’s dark horses will be huddersfield they’ve made some good additions and under Grayson I can see them getting play offs

8. Where will you finish?
I think we will finish 3rd this season however I wouldn’t be surprised to see us get automatic

Middlesbrough

Redemption…’Boro are hoping they can avenge last season’s heartache

Last season: 7th
Home ground: The Riverside Stadium
Rivals: Newcastle United, Sunderland, Leeds United
Bookies’ prediction: 12th

Questions answered by Lee Bailey http://www.twitter.com/smoggy_1986

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Hopefully the playoffs at least, was gutting to miss out on the last day last season. Should be getting top 6 this time round

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Squad Depth, our squad is small and injuries to key players cost us a top 6 place last season

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need a creative midfielder, who can unlock stubborn defences, need an experienced LB to give joe bennet competition and some RB’s

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Leeds, dont like Warnock and they are our closest rival in this league.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Marvin Emnes, could be doing nothing one second then scoring the next, Rhys Williams and a FIT (keyword) Matthew Bates

6. Who will win the league?
No idea, this league is insane, take your pick from Boro, Wolves, Brum, Leicester, Blackpool, Bolton, Blackburn.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Barnsley always favourites to go down but they seem to do okay, maybe Huddersfield. Millwall if they carry on last seasons end of form

8. Where will you finish?
Top 6 at least, I want to say top 2 but who knows.

Nottingham Forest

An East Midlands club with money? Where have we heard that before?

Last season: 19th
Home ground: The City Ground
Rivals: Derby County, Leicester City, Sheffield United, Notts County
Bookies’ prediction: 6th

Questions answered by Zack Grundy http://www.twitter.com/zackgrundy26

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
My greatest hope is that we can finally end our poor streak in play offs and get promoted back to where we belong.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is that the fans will expect too much and turn on the team after a few bad results.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Defence no doubt, currently we only have one defender who started consistently last season.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Derby! After losing twice to them last season it makes me want to beat them even more than usual.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Dexter Blackstock, Chris Cohen and Chris Gunter.

6. Who will win the league?
Blackburn.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Huddersfield, if they keep Rhodes I am certain that they will be near if not in the play offs.

8. Where will you finish?
I think we will finish near the play offs but not in them.

Sheffield Wednesday

Renaissance… The Owls are ready to perch in the play-offs

Last season: 2nd (League One)
Home ground: Hillsborough
Rivals: Sheffield United, Leeds United, Barnsley
Bookies’ prediction: 13th

Questions answered by Victoria Wood http://www.twitter.com/Victoria1867

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Play offs or mid table, no need for pressure this year!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Biggest fear probably relegation or signing Joey Barton!

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We’re pretty covered now. Wouldn’t mind signing Antonio though

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
 L**ds, moreso now Warnock is there!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
one to watch – Maguire

6. Who will win the league?
I’d like to say Bolton but I’d be wrong! Forest maybe? Controversial!

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Same as 6

8. Where will you finish?
Probably mid table

Mid-table Stragglers

Burnley 

Lost in the shuffle… Burnley are one of few clubs that don’t fancy their chances.

Last season: 13th
Home ground: Turf Moor
Rivals: Blackburn Rovers, Preston North End, Blackpool
Bookies’ prediction: 17th

Questions answered by Kieran Dallimore http://www.twitter.com/KieranClaret

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

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation

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

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Charlie Austin, Danny Ings, Marvin Bartley, Jason Shackell

6. Who will win the league?
Wolverhampton Wanderers

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Huddersfield

8. Where will you finish?
11th

Derby County

Charge… The Rams want to defy the odds and grab a top 6 finish.

Last season: 12th
Home ground: Pride Park
Rivals: Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Leeds United
Bookies’ prediction: 19th

Questions answered by Jon Mills www.twitter.com/JonMillsDCFC

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Hoping for a play-off push but we are a selling club under the American ownership.Ok with new signings BUT loss of Shackell/Green massive

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Barker out for season, we cashed in on Shackell and Green has gone so if new signings are not enough we might go backwards this season

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Definitely need at least one new centre half, a left back and a striker

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Same as every season – Florist!!!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Tom Naylor (only 20) did well when he arrived last season. Jeff Hendrick is class. Will Hughes from youth team could make a big impact

6. Who will win the league?
Always look out for the relegated prem teams. Not sure Wolves will do well but Bolton and Blackburn both have a chance

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Promoted teams have done well recently. Fancy Sheffield Wednesday to have a good season

8. Where will you finish?
New signings look good so if we get a decent centre half, cover for left back and a striker to score 15-20 goals, I fancy a top 6 finish

Huddersfield Town 

Buoyant… Terriers’ fans think the good times are back at the Galpharm

Last season: 4th (League One)
Home ground: Galpharm Stadium
Rivals: Leeds United, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday
Bookies’ prediction: 16th

Questions answered by HTFC Hub http://www.twitter.com/HTFC_Hub

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Our greatest hope for this season is ultimately to stay up and would be in absolute dream land if we managed to get into the play-offs.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Our biggest fear has to be getting relegated. Nobody wants to go down a league especially after waiting 11 years for promotion.

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
#htafc‬ need to strengthen in midfield. Two great signings so far but need one more. Also a forward alongside Rhodes is badly needed.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Most fans would say Leeds but I’m not too bothered. A lot of Yorkshire derby’s this year so would be nice to win a few of those.

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Last seasons top goalscorer in England…Jordan Rhodes. Also Hunt, Scannell, Higginbotham, Norwood, Clayton. We have a very strong squad.

6. Who will win the league?
Tough question. The league is going to be so tight this year. Too early to say especially with the transfer window still open.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I’m going for ourselves. May sound big headed but with a couple of extra signings we can really make our mark on the Championship!

8. Where will you finish?
Would settle for anywhere above relegation zone. However realistically I believe we will finish around 8th spot. Maybe even play-offs!

Ipswich Town

Mainstay… Ipswich have been in the 2nd tier for 10 consecutive seasons.

Last season: 15th
Home ground: Portman Road
Rivals: Norwich City
Bookies’ prediction: 15th

Questions answered by Daniel Crack www.twitter.com/DCrackers_ITFC

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
My greatest hope would be a top 10 finish

2.What’s your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is yet another low midtable finish

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
our defence , as we conceded the 2nd highest amount of goals in English football last season and we’re short of cover at the back

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Peterborough.. to get them back for spanking us last season!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Emmanuel Thomas and Lee Martin

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton, although Brighton are in with a serious shout of finishing as champions!

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I think Leeds will be the dark horses, they have a great manager in charge and they are signing some great players

8. Where will you finish?
I think Ipswich, with the current squad will finish a worrying 17th place, but they all depends on who we sign before the 18th august

Watford

Surprise package… Zola’s hornet army are ready to ambush the league’s big guns.

Last season: 11th
Home ground: Vicarage Road
Rivals: Luton Town
Bookies’ prediction: 18th

Questions answered by Chris ‘Manic’ Mundy http://www.twitter.com/Manic_Mundy

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Zola to inspire the team and for Watford to get top 6.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
The team not responding to Zola

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Mainly strikers but also left mid

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Sean Murray & Jon Hogg

6. Who will win the league?
I think Blackburn will win the league .

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Tough one but maybe us..I really think with the right players we could do well.

8. Where will you finish?
Between 8th / 6th

Relegation candidates

Barnsley

Grit… The Tykes are ready to scrap for survival

Last season: 21st
Home ground: Oakwell
Rivals: Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Doncaster Rovers
Bookies’ prediction: 24th

Questions answered by Tricky Walker www.twitter.com/tricky_bfc_

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
I think mid table if KH works his wonders .. But loosing RVT and Butterfield. I think it will be about surviving this season!

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Being a small club with no cash… Our biggest fear in injuries and suspensions!!

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
I like to see a big, strong CB come in and a play-maker in CM to fill Butterfield boots.

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Good Question. But every Barnsley fan it has be Dee Dars ( Sheff Wed ) haha

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Jim O’Brien.. but us fans would love to see Mido hit top form.

6. Who will win the league?
Hard question.. I’d say Blackpool..

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I’d say Dirty Leeds with Warnock in charge..

8. Where will you finish?
15th?

Bristol City

Recovery… Melissa Spencer hopes for an improved showing from the Robins.

Last season: 20th
Home ground: Ashton Gate
Rivals: Bristol Rovers, Cardiff City
Bookies’ prediction: 22nd

Questions answered by Melissa Spencer http://www.twitter.com/MelissaSpencerX

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Greatest hope is improving on last season, no-one fancies a relegation battle again, so I’d be happy with top half/midtable.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Biggest fear would obviously be going down. we’ve managed to establish ourselves as a Championship club, don’t want to lose it!

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We need another striker & new centre half primarily, also need a new GK too. We’ve been linked to Buzsaky who is the midfielder we’ve been screaming out for!

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
I want to beat Cardiff & Leeds. Cardiff always have a nack of beating us! My boyfriend is Leeds, and they normally beat us so its about time we beat them!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Definitely Albert Adomah. He’s attracted a lot of interest from PL clubs. I’d also recommend looking out for our young winger Yannick Bolasie, not been featured much but when he has, he’s been a gamechanger.

6. Who will win the league?
Bolton, said it as soon as they went down. They have the facilities, and the players, and the manager. They will bounce back.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
 I’d like to say us – but i think Huddersfield will be. They’ve strengthened significantly, and I think Simon Grayson has what it takes to guide them up there.

8. Where will you finish?
I think we’ll finish in between 10-17th. The league is so tight this season, anyone can go up or down.

Crystal  Palace

Staying up… The bookies may have underestimated Palace

Last season: 17th
Home ground: Selhurst Park
Rivals: Brighton & Hove Albion, Millwall, Charlton Athletic
Bookies’ prediction: 21st

Questions answered by David Jamieson www.twitter.com/JamiesonDavid

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Keep building on the progress made since coming out of administration. And win all our derby games – Charlton, Millwall and Brighton!  If all else fails finishing above Brighton will do nicely

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Losing to Brighton and not matching the ambitions of some of our more talented youth products like WIlfried Zaha come season’s end

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We’re in desperate need of goals so priority is a striker who can score regularly. A CB is also required and possibly another winger

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

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Wilfried Zaha – if he keeps progressing at the rate he has it will be another torrid season for opposing full backs                                              Jonathan Williams too – his breakthrough season was disrupted by a broken leg but this should be a massive year for the little magician

6. Who will win the league?
The Championship is probably the most competitive league in Europe so it’s anybody’s guess.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Palace, hopefully!!! Think the bookies have been hard on us with only P’boro and Barnsley less likely to be promoted according to them

8. Where will you finish?
Toward the top section of mid-table, which is where we should’ve been last year before starting to run out steam around February

Millwall 

“No one rates us! We don’t care!”… Lions laugh at talk of relegation.

Last season: 16th
Home ground: The Den
Rivals: West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic
Bookies’ prediction: 20th

Questions answered by Total Carnage http://www.twitter.com/TotalCarnageMFC

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
Top 10 finish

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Chairman leaving and going into administration

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
Forward line especially a goalscorer

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
Most like to beat Leeds United but MUST finish above Charlton and Palace for the 3rd consecutive season

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Keogh, Trotter and Henderson.

6. Who will win the league?
Nottingham Forest (If their new owner is true to his word re transfer budget) If not Blackburn.

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
Dark horses – Huddersfield

8. Where will you finish?
Think we will finish 9th

Peterborough United

Fox hunt… Andrew van den Bent-Kelly wants Foxes scalp.

Last season: 18th
Home ground: London Road
Rivals: Cambridge United, Northampton Town, Leicester City, MK Dons
Bookies’ prediction: 23rd

Questions answered by Andrew van den Bent-Kelly www.twitter.com/AndrewvdBK

1. What’s your greatest hope for the new season?
I hope we can push on from last season, but the league will be much tougher this year, so the priority has to be staying up again. We’re still in the process of establishing ourselves as a Championship side.

2.What’s your biggest fear?
Relegation. We’re still the smallest club in the league so we’ll be favourites to go down, as we were last season. After all our hardwork last year, suffering from Second Season Syndrome would be disastrous

3. In which areas does your team most need to strengthen?
We seem to have made the right signings so I don’t think any position needs a dramatic overhaul now. If Boyd and Taylor do leave then we may need another addition up-front, but I’m confident that the squad is good enough

4. Who do you most want to beat this season?
I appreciate that the feeling isn’t really mutual, but most Posh fans would love to beat Leicester!

5. Players in your squad to look out for…
Provided he remains injury-free, our new signing Danny Swanson looks the real deal. Two of our best players last year were Zakuani and Alcock so I hope they can produce similar levels of performance. Our new keeper Bobby Olejnik also has the ability to flourish this season

6. Who will win the league?
I’m going to go for Bolton

7. Who will be this season’s ‘dark horses’?
I doubt they’ll get successive promotions, but Sheffield Wednesday are one of the biggest clubs in the league and I wouldn’t put it past them to nick a play-off spot

8. Where will you finish?
It will be tough, but I believe we have a good enough squad to not only stay up, but improve on last year’s showing. I’ll say 16th

The Championship & Big Clubs

One of the most common and coincidentally annoying defence mechanisms in Championship fans’ repetoire is their persistence that they’re a ‘big club’. Whether it’s a Leeds, Derby or Blackpool fan, a high proportion of second tier fanatics will have some sort of superiority complex.

So, I took to the pages of Twitter and asked the fans of the Championship what criteria they took in to consideration when deciding upon who deserves ‘big club’ status in 2012. Typically, the most prominent responses were ‘history’ and ‘fanbase’. Secondary suggestions came in the form of most recent league finish and ‘potential’ i.e. their expectancy to achieve within the coming season.

Many football fans will be well aware that the room for debate in this subject is colossal so I’ve (attempted to) devised a set of criteria aiming to pinpoint the big guns of today’s second tier. Each team has been ranked in each category – 24 points to the top team and 1 to the worst. As history was such a popular suggestion, points are doubled in that category. Fanbase is measured by both last season’s home and away attendances, thus in effect doubling that category too.

Last season’s finish – Bolton Wanderers achieved the best finish of the Championship’s teams last season, finishing 18th in the Premier League. Huddersfield Town are awarded 1 point for finishing 4th and as eventual play-off winners in League One.

Going down… Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League.

Overall History – Blackburn Rovers have the ‘richest’ history of the 24 second tier teams. Peterborough United are the Championship’s minnows. (source: http://www.aboutaball.co.uk/aboutaball-historical-football-rankings/historical-ranking-of-english-football-clubs)

Historic… Blackburn Rovers won the 1994/95 Premier League.

Home attendance – Derby County possess the greatest home support in the league (*cough* free tickets *cough*). Whereas, Peterborough are once again last.

Packed… Derby County were the only club to achieve a sell-out last season.

Away attendance – ‘Dirty’ Leeds United are the Championship’s best travellers with Watford at the opposite end of the scale.

Marching on Together… Leeds away support is far superior.

Potential – Potential was measured by the club’s current winning odds for next season. Thus, Leicester City possess the most potential of the Championship’s clubs. Barnsley, this time are bottom. (source: http://www.oddschecker.com/football/english/championship)

Fox hunt… Leicester are the ‘most likely’ to achieve promotion.

When all the points are added the table of 2012/13 big clubs looks like this;

1.  Wolverhampton Wanderers – 123
2.  Blackburn Rovers – 122
3.  Bolton Wanderers – 119
4.  Leeds United – 113
5.  Leicester City – 112
6.  Birmingham City – 101
7.  Sheffield Wednesday – 99
8.  Derby County – 97
9.  Nottingham Forest – 95
10.  Middlesbrough – 90
11.  Blackpool – 81
12.  Cardiff City – 79
13.  Brighton & Hove Albion – 72
14=  Hull City – 65
14= Ipswich Town – 65
16.  Huddersfield Town – 60
17.  Burnley – 59
18=  Crystal Palace – 50
18=  Charlton Athletic – 50
20.  Watford – 33
21.  Barnsley – 30
22.  Bristol City – 29
23.  Millwall – 28
24.  Peterborough United – 20