Day: August 6, 2011

Match Of The Week: AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bristol Rovers

A lot of people worked very hard for this moment. In modern football, a considerable amount of time, paper and  bandwidth is spent on celebrating a relative few, but at Wimbledon it was the likes of Erik Samuelson, Kris Stewart, Marc Jones and Ivor Heller, who refused to let their club die with a that was brought about by little more than carpet-baggers. Today, though, is not a day for protesting. Today is a day for a celebration. It only, as the song goes, took nine years for AFC Wimbledon to rise from the Combined Counties League, and the glow to come from the club with promotion to the Football League has shone over all of English football during the entire summer. In the midst of all of this excitement, the scale of the challenge facing the club cannot be understated. They lost arguably their two best players – Danny Kedwell and Steven Gregory – during the summer, and on their limited resources, League Two may prove to be a culture shock to supporters considerably more used to winning far more matches than they have been losing each of their opening three matches, all against sides relegated from League One at the end of last season, may prove to be a shock to the system. Indeed, the relegation of their opposition today, Bristol Rovers, at the end of last...

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The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Previews: Sunderland

Well, no-one can say that he’s not ambitious. Steve Bruce’s summer in the transfer market has been one of the most interesting of all Premier League clubs, with a clutch of signings which hint at a manager that is no longer satisfied with perpetual Premier League survival and mid-table security, and would like to push on towards something a little more substantial. Last season, the team sat in the exact middle of the Premier League – a tenth place finish that saw no danger of relegation, but no serious push towards Europe. At what point, we may start to wonder, is owner Ellis Short going to start looking for a return on his investment at The Stadium Of Light, though? It’s a question worth asking, because the Texan businessman has been putting a lot of money into the club and, in recent years, annual losses have been large. It’s not a situation that can continue indefinitely, but a windfall in the transfer market this summer has helped them out. Jordan Henderson is an obvious, definite prospect for the future, but even those that might normally oppose clubs selling their best young players to bigger clubs would have to admit that Liverpool’s £20m offer for the player was one that couldn’t be refused, and it isn’t as if this money hasn’t been reinvested back in the team. Indeed, Sunderland have...

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The Twohundredpercent Pre-Season Predictions: The Championship

With the division in general overviewed by Ian yesterday, it’s time for the final of the three official twohundredpercent Football League pre-season previews. For those that haven’t seen the other previews, we’ve gone about them slightly differently this season. With the transfer window affecting some managers psychologically to the point that they build their team by the end of the transfer window, rather than the start of the season, predicting how it all ends up before teams have finalised their squads is tricky. It also means that I can’t correctly crow about correctly predicting that Doncaster and Preston finished 21st and 22nd last season. NOTE: Each group of teams is in alphabetical order, rather than the order I think they will finish in. NOTE 2: This prediction was thrown together before I knew the result of the Hull City v Blackpool match. PROMOTION CONTENDERS Having sacked Brian Laws, Burnley managed to persuade Eddie Howe to leave Bournemouth, and try to work his miracles in East Lancashire. Chris Iwelumo, Tyrone Mears and Chris Eagles have been sold, yet the first team looks a little stronger, with Keith Treacy (seemingly courted by the entire Championship), and two of Manchester City’s more highly rated youngsters (Kieran Trippier and Ben Mee) arriving on season long loans. Charlie Austin only played four times after arriving from Swindon in January, before injury hit, so he...

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