A parachute helps Fulham and smothers Millwall

ANYONE who watched Fulham’s calamitous 2018-19 season probably felt there was no way the team constructed by the club’s owner and his son was “too good to go down”. Certainly, even if the players bought in the summer of 2018 – an example of scatter gun team construction – underperformed because of a lack of cohesion, Fulham’s record was still poor and relegation was on … Continue reading A parachute helps Fulham and smothers Millwall

Fulham show calm regrouping pays off

ONE YEAR after newly-promoted Fulham were throwing money around and buying players for fun, the Cottagers found themselves back in the more humble surroundings of the Championship. The moneyball experiment, if that’s the right word for the way the club accumulated quantity over quality, was over and some of the higher profile names, notably some under-performing Ligue 1 captures, had been sent out on loan … Continue reading Fulham show calm regrouping pays off

Crowd reaction – why English and German fans are more loyal

RELEGATION is often a big blow to clubs in Europe’s top leagues, mostly because it comes with financial implications, despite parachute payments. TV money and legacy wage bills are the biggest issue, but income at most clubs is affected by lower attendances. Or is it? Football fans are known for their undying loyalty and a major setback often brings out the best in them, particularly … Continue reading Crowd reaction – why English and German fans are more loyal

State of Play: Derby County – Yearning for Past Glory

TWICE League champions in the 1970s, Derby County are often considered to be a Premier League club in the waiting. But it has been more than a decade since the Rams were last in the top flight, despite going close to winning promotion on a number of occasions. The club has spent big to try and bridge the gap, but the current situation is unsustainable … Continue reading State of Play: Derby County – Yearning for Past Glory

Why the Championship is more interesting

ALMOST EVERY week, the Championship provides an enticing clash that commands the attention of the media, committed fans and neutrals. Last weekend, it was Leeds United v Sheffield United, a game that paired the second and third-placed teams in the division. When the Championship resumes on March 30, Middlesbrough play Norwich City and Sheffield United meet Bristol City. The Premier rarely gives us a completely … Continue reading Why the Championship is more interesting

State of Play: Ipswich Town – Decline and Fall

IPSWICH Town have not fallen as far as the third tier of the English game since 1957, but unless something dramatic changes in the closing weeks of the season, the club looks set for relegation. The club’s owner, Marcus Evans, has publicly stated the drop into League One will not create massive financial problems and has tried to present a relatively relaxed profile to the … Continue reading State of Play: Ipswich Town – Decline and Fall

State of Play: Sheffield Wednesday – club for sale?

JUST BEFORE Christmas 2018, Sheffield Wednesday owner Dejphon Chansiri hinted that he was prepared to sell the club he bought for £ 37.5 million back in 2015. He was speaking at a fans’ meeting and the subject of the club’s finances was being discussed. Sheffield Wednesday had been spending significant sums on wages and continued to make substantial losses. The current situation was unsustainable and … Continue reading State of Play: Sheffield Wednesday – club for sale?

Ground debate: The Championship – a league with appeal

ALTHOUGH the English Football League’s Championship is characterised by overspending, with wage bills outstripping income, the appeal of the division appears to have grown in recent years. Perhaps it is the competitive nature of the Championship or because it represents football away from the hubris and excesses of the Premier, but increasingly, people find the second tier of the English game very attractive. The average … Continue reading Ground debate: The Championship – a league with appeal

Blades running strong

NOBODY really expected Sheffield United to mount a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League this season, but the Blades are sitting at the top of the Championship table and have confounded the tipsters’ predictions in the opening months of the season. When the bookmakers’ priced their odds for the 2018-19 campaign, United were 8-1 to win the title, which placed them roughly in … Continue reading Blades running strong

The parachute men

IT’S  a gleaming white stadium is the Liberty, you see it very clearly as the train snakes its way into Swansea station, and it still looks clean enough to feature on a TV advertisement for white emulsion paint. These are hopeful days in this corner of Wales. Hopeful because last season, the club was relegated after seven years in the Premier League, a period that … Continue reading The parachute men

Lampard’s lament in Cold Blow Lane

POOR old Frank Lampard, he didn’t stand a chance. He’s faced Leeds United and Millwall in consecutive weeks and come away with zero points. What’s more, he’s been confronted by two of the most partisan sets of fans in the game and if the reception he received from Millwall’s loyal band is anything to go by, he’s had a rough ride in his first three … Continue reading Lampard’s lament in Cold Blow Lane

Wolves are back, but can they become a credible power again?

IT’S good to see a grand old name like Wolverhampton Wanderers back in the Premier League. One of the founding members of the Football League in 1888 (they finished third, behind Preston and Villa), they’ve long been a club with a great history – three league titles and four FA Cups – rather than an institution with a rosy future. But that all could change … Continue reading Wolves are back, but can they become a credible power again?