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Day: August 17, 2012

The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Stoke City

The coming nine season will be the fifth since Stoke City ascended back to the Premier League, and in surviving comfortably in this division they continue to frustrate the game’s self-appointed purists. Stoke remain the nearest thing that the division has to an antithesis of the self-image of twenty-first century football. They neither tiki nor do they taka, and for those who are mortally offended by the sight of a football in the air – and it is perhaps worth pointing out at this juncture that these people are seldom those that actually pay for tickets and season tickets at The Britannia Stadium – these offences are compounded by the fact that they have been successful since their promotion, having defied those who predicted that they would plummet like stones upon their arrival amongst such aristocratic company. Seldom have they been overly concerned by relegation scraps, and on top of this they made an FA Cup Final and even had a go in the Europa League last season. One thing that Stoke City have done in recent years is spend money, but the indications this summer have been of a tighter rein on the purse strings, with the club having to sell in order to buy. As a result of this, Stoke have had a quieter summer in the transfer market this year than in recent years, with perhaps...

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Pompey’s Spider Trap: Chainrai Walks But His Web remains

It appears us Pompey fans have upset Mr Chainrai and he no longer wants to own our club. In an spate of dummy spitting of some awe-inspiring magnitude on Wednesday he withdrew his bid to be our ‘reluctant saviour’ for a third time. Firing a tirade of self-exposing blame-shifting Mr Chainrai has taken up Portpin’s bid and walked. A Freudian psychoanalyst would have a field day with this little list of beefs. As one of those that has clearly contributed to beef number one, ‘the negative criticism and lack of support for our takeover by the fans of this club,’  I feel it incumbent on me to return the compliment.  It has to be said though, that my blogging colleagues and I would like it known that we are happy to take this beef squarely on the chin. We feel the negative effect Mr Chainrai has had on the club since October 2009, wittingly or unwittingly, warrants such criticism. Chainrai walking, however, does not completely free the club from his web. Whilst he remains the creditor-in-chief with a charge over Fratton Park, he still retains some influence over its future. He is still the chief negotiating force to be encountered by anyone wishing to take over ownership of the club. This appears to be something of a one horse race currently as the Pompey Supporters Trust seem to be the...

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The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Southampton

Once again, this seasons Premier League kicks off with a club that was involved the lower divisions of the Football League just two years ago, with Southampton having repeated the feat that Norwich managed at the end of the 2010/11 season by getting promoted from the Championship at the end of their first season back in the division. Of all of the achievements that can be managed in English football these days, it often feels as if this is the one that doesn’t quite receive the recognition that it deserves. Any club that gets promoted into a new division these days would ordinarily be happy enough to enjoy a season of consolidation and getting used to its new surroundings, but for Norwich and Southampton this turned out not to be enough and, in a competitive division and with one of the English games prizes on offer, Southampton tore from the pack last season and to a second successive promotion. A lot has changed since the club was last in the Premier League in 2005. Crippled by the financial burdens of the cost of building St Marys Stadium and with boardroom politics hopelessly out of control, a twenty-seven year stay in the Premier League had been ended by the decisions and actions of those at the time in charge of the custodianship, but the hangover was a lengthy one and...

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The 200% Pre-Season Previews: The Championship

With less than 48 hours to go, Rob Freeman interrupts the Premier League Previews to bring the first of three previews of the football league. In a break from tradition, the previews are mainly predictionless, considering that most clubs won’t finalise their squads until the transfer window closes at the end of August. That and previous predictions have not been the most accurate… One of the biggest themes in the Championship as we head towards the start of the season is the implications of the Financial Fair Play introduced in the Football League’s highest division, however, because it was only voted for in the spring, clubs will have two years grace before sanctions kick in. Unlike the UEFA version, however, the Football League’s FFP system doesn’t seem to be high on transparency. For a start, the FFP regulations haven’t been made public as of the time of writing, with just an overview as part of the original press release made public. As well as this, the sheer number of undisclosed transfers in the division (just one out of 42 cash signings have had their fees announced) suggests that the Championship chairmen appear to have voted in FFP as a way of reducing, rather than increasing transparency within the sport.   Barnsley have been many people’s favourites for relegation, but when he was at Rochdale, manager Keith Hill was known...

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