It’s getting towards that time of the season…
Football pundits and fans now start to take a look at their clubs and those around them and try and pre-guess who is going up and who will fall through that gaping, yawning trap door we call relegation.
All of those fans of clubs in the bottom half of the table are praying for divine intervention to avoid the misery and despair of the lower division or out of the football league altogether, and then another set of supporters are offering up prayers and all kinds of promises to the Gods of football, that their team will see glory in the coming months.
For others whose teams are safer than most, they are content with look forward to upsetting the relegated teams above them coming down to their leagues and taking six points from the teams promoted up to their league.
It’s a shame that teams go down, but that’s competition for you, and we all love it when we are winning and abhor it if our team are the one of the threatened two or three.
With this league, promotion to The Championship is the chance to be near the promised land of big bucks and TV rights, and the dream of being able to call yourself a Premier League team one day.
In truth, few make it, and if you take a look at the Championship and how hard it is to get promotion, how many clubs that have dropped from the Premier League are still floundering around in the vain hope of getting back? Most of them.
How many went up from League One only to drop back to reality the following season? Most of them. I guess I’m going to upset a few people here, but this is what I see in my half baked, deluded way…
Down into the League One will come Bolton. I’m not sure why, but I never liked Bolton. I wasn’t a fan of Big Sam, his style of play and the mercenaries that went there. They seemed smug to me, but not now. Sorry Bolton, but even the pies there aren’t great.
Rotherham are next. I’ve nothing against Rotherham, other than the fact their kit looks a lot like Arsenal’s? They just seem boring to me and so with them being fourth from botttom, I think it’ll be goodnight Vienna.
Charlton – I am cringing with this choice because I quite like Charlton. They always struck me as a family club, a nice team to watch and have had some decent players come out of The Valley over the decades. However, with the turmoil behind the scenes, I think that will be their undoing and it will be these problems that will unsettle the team and get them relegated. On the flip side – they will go straight back up again with the right manager (Chris Powell?).
Going up, I like Gillingham. I used to watch The Big Match on a Sunday and Brian Moore was a great commentator. I think in Justin Edinburgh, the club have a superb young manager destined for a bigger club in years to come.
Coventry City – Yes, they are four points behind Walsall, but I would like to see Coventry City do well. I’m old school and I remember Coventry in the old Division One. Time to get the old order back and so Coventry City need to go up.
Peterborough United – I hope they are the third team promoted. There’s no doubt that Burton Albion have done really well and I like Nigel Clough as a manager, but they just don’t do it for me, whereas I like the style of the Chairman at The Posh. He talks sense and he is passionate about his club, as is the larger than life, Barry Fry.
Going down, sadly, are Oldham Athletic – I think John Sheridan will just miss out on keeping them up. I hope Colchester United will keep their status. I’m an Essex boy and live near the town, but they are sadly not very good at all. The appointment of Kevin Keen seemed strange and they could just do enough to stay up, but they’ll lose George Moncur. Probably to arch rivals Ipswich Town! That has definitely upset lots of people.
Down go Crewe, who I have no affinity with, but just admire Dario Gradi’s work. A production line of great talent comes out of Gresty Road, but I’m sorry – the Railwaymen are goners.
So too are Fleetwood and Blackpool. I feel for the fans at Blackpool. Once again, off the field shenanigans take the eye away from the team at times and owners have yet to realise that upsetting the club, upsets the players and that in turn upsets the fans. When will they learn?
Fleetwood? I don’t know really, but I just see Shrewsbury staying up, rather than the Arsenal looking Cod Army who play at Highbury. Really?
Promoted would be Plymouth Argyle, Northampton Town and Bristol Rovers. Why? Well, like many people, I like the underdog and although it sounds strange, I always liked Bristol Rovers’ shirt growing up. Even their nickname, The Pirates, evokes romantic notions of swashbuckling heroes.
I am aware that most of those superlatives don’t necessary reflect the football team, but I just like them. I was pleased to see them bounce back into the league and I think fourth place in their first season back is stunning.
Next up, Northampton Town. I will admit there is only one reason why I quite like Northampton Town. Their kit is the same as my primary school football team and so it was the first competitive kit colour I ever wore. I also look out for Hearts and Torino in Italy – all because of the maroon and white kit. I know it’s sad and I can’t apologise enough, but equally, Chris Wilder has done a great job at The Cobblers and I think they’ll gain promotion, with or without my taste in kit colour.
Lastly, Plymouth are top of the league, have been consistently there or thereabout all season and should see it through.
To conclude, it’s a sad goodbye to York City. As a kid I recall their kit had a big”Y” on the front and as a city, I like York, but if you look at them as a team, it’s not good. Didn’t they name their ground Kitkat once? Have a break, York. Get yourselves together and come back stronger.
Sorry Yeovil, but you’ve been in decline for ages and I don’t see a way out. With John Still back at Dagenham & Redbridge, I think he will pull them away with his experience and League 2 know-how. There is something nice about The Glovers and their Celtic-like shirt, but the National League beckons.
All in all, I’ve just given you an in depth session on how to win friends and influence people.