For anyone who reads my blog, or it’s the first time, you’ll notice it’s been another long while once my last one.
The Euros were bitterly disappointing for me, bar St. Ledger’s goal. Ireland were battered in a group of death, and in the end the two finalists came from our group, so it was no surprise really. The only thing for me to be proud of was the Irish spirit, despite a moaney-faced Roy Keane, saying there was no ambition for the players or fans.
Then there was a summer of Olympic sport, where my sporting crevasse was momentarily filled. It satisfied a competitive itch, even though, for me personally Ireland barely got a mention, and when they did it was for claiming a medal winner was actually British. However, I was happy enough for the British to do well and they did.
So during this summer, I’ve spent my time concocting ‘maybe posts’ and ‘almost posts’, but never got around to putting them down. This came down to freshness and being damn busy at work. What possibly can I say that hasn’t been said, as we reached our third cycle of repetition?
I argued with myself, but reason and sense told me to hold fire, see what Nigel’s putting together, and then you’ve got something to talk about.
As we know, this summer was Nige’s opportunity to put his stamp on the team, add hunger, drive, and a bit quality, whilst trimming the wages for the inevitable financial scrutiny of the FFP.
I’ve considered doing a full article on FFP, and how the constraints of this will actually help us in the long run in our possible ascent to the Premiership and the maelstrom impact of those who are paying overinflated wages midtable and below will start to crumble at their edges. However, I didn’t want to bore the arse off you. All I’ll say is that the current over inflated transfer prices of UK players will soon be a thing of the past, yet this does not mean it’s a fair playing field. Those with money have conspired to agree to these measures as they’ve been stung by simply having money to spend.
Mo Money Mo Problems
This season is going to be damn interesting. There’s been another huge injection of cash into the CCC. The down and outs have money, new management, and ambitions! No not us, that was us three years ago. We’ve laid the template of how not to do it, and those who are now financially endowed took notice, and are taking the sensible approach.
The Big Playa Playas
Whilst I appreciate that there’s plenty of lists like this and they’ve actually come out well before the season started, I’ve not read any of them. Not a single one. All the rubbish below is my own assessment, and is probably tinged with biased, misinformation, and facts wide of the mark.
They have quality in their side that most teams in the Premiership would fall over backwards to have in their squad. That’s super great, but I like to think that the Venky’s have not learned their lessons. I understand that the sensible thing is not to throw your toys out of the pram and change managers, especially if you’ve given a long contract to one prior to being relegated, but from my limited understanding of how they’ve gone about things, they haven’t a clue, and Kean for me is not going to provide them the promotion that they desperately need.
They are not loaded, but have just come down from years in the Prem. Bolton must win promotion or they are in the deep do-dos. Financially crippled, they’ve done well to keep good players, though they’ve barely made many moves in the transfer department, they’ll do okay. But the immense pressure might tell both on the players and on Coyle. Desperation may cause them to implode.
Looking at the team sheet, I’d be inclined to say they have the strongest team in the CCC at the minute. They have done exceptionally well to keep their players and may well be down for auto promotion if it wasn’t one thing – Stale Solbakken. This appointment will either go down as a work of genius or will fail disastrously. With little or no knowledge of the CCC, we may have found this year’s Sven.
Wolves are financially with their backs to the wall, and can least afford to not find themselves back in the Premiership with probably the highest wage bill in the CCC. But when prospective managers were queuing up to turn down the job, you know it’s a chalice that is full of poison.
They have big money behind them, yet they’ve purchased sensibly and brought in a manager who has done well with moderate amounts in the past. He excelled at Bournemouth, and did well at times with Doncaster Rovers. They may surprise people with some of their results this season, but for me, they are a year behind us in preparation for ascension. Though I do throw an envious Irish eye over their acquisition of Simon Cox.
For me they are the dark horse. With Zola managing them, and the money and connections they are one to watch out for. They have loaned in some unknowns from foreign lands with their owners happily owning two other clubs (Granada & Udinese), but if you look at their team sheet, it doesn’t read badly even outside these few loaned players.
It seems all you have to do is change your strip to make yourself a marketable and lucky team. Cardiff has a quality side and their Malaysian owners are absolutely no different than our own, and have probably just as much money and ambition. Do they have the players to compete for promotion. Yes, of course they do, but are they auto or playoffs. Hard to tell at this stage, but playoffs again methinks.
The also rans:
I’m pretty sure other fans will take umbrage of this part of my list, but for my they are the teams with potential, who can keep momentum from promotion last year, or the success they had at the end of the season.
I’m sure there’ll be a team I don’t mention who’ll surprise us all (or at least me and a few others)!
Charlton – Might keep the momentum from their excellent season last. All eyes on Powell & Kermogant.
Hull – Have Bruce as manager, have kept most of their best players
Middlesbrough – Started to get in a groove in the final third of the season, perhaps might build on this.
Leeds – As much as I despise Colin, he’ll do a job, as he turns Leeds in to the Leeds of old. Tough, rough, and cheating shits – like he did at Sheffield United.
Where We At?
So at this point your thinking, shit I’ve read about all the other teams before, and in more detail, and with a better assessment than that drivel. You’re probably right. I not even put a pecking order or stated where teams will come in the league at the end of the season! What a shit article, the author won’t stick his flag in the sand, put his balls in the air and come off the fence!
Well I’m reluctant to do so, as last year has proven that it’s impossible to predict this league, as it is every year.
So I guess I should share my feelings on the state of our current squad.
It’s difficult to tell how the team’s work ethic and composure will hold during the season, especially in the final third where points really matter, and injuries and suspensions take hold.
However, it does look promising for us, Nigel has brought in some youthful enthusiasm and skill. Knockaert could well turn out to be our finest acquisitions by the end of the season in a position where we desperately needed a bit of flair and quality.
I am happy we’ve kept Beckford (ok the window is still open, and anything can happen), and I think we’ll see the best of him this time.
With young players also knocking on the door I think there’ll be little time for complacency and laziness, as they aren’t just there for numbers, they are proving quality prospective 1st teamers. (This for me is where Sven doesn’t get credit)
Do I see us as playoff or an auto promotion contender? Well it’s too early to say, and I guess I’m making a sensible assessment of our chances. I think we have fair chance of playoffs at this point, but signs are positive and if we keep up the performances as seen so far then why the hell not?
I’ll go over individuals in another post. It’s not the time.
I know that this is a shoddy piece, but it’s better than nowt! Ha!
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