This past fortnight (give or take a month) we’ve been asking the pilgrims of BlackpoolVital to vote on which team they are looking forward to facing the most this current season…
Dead last was the team from the South coast, Southampton with 3%. I personally can’t wait to face them at St Mary’s on 24th November, a lovely stadium (another new one for me and many other fans) and a team who were, at one stage, well established in the Premiership and of course were one of the runners up in the Championship Playoff Semi-Finals last campaign.
Charlton were next, with only 5% of the votes. For me, this will be the game to look forward to against a team who most definitely were well established in the Premiership with some good players – such as Luke Young and Jerome Thomas and now with the likes of Luke Varney, formerly of Crewe, on their books – and will most definitely go into this season as one of, if not the, favourites to clinch automatic promotion.
Next of the options that were given, Norwich and West Brom came in level on 6%. West Brom are another side that should be there or there abouts next season having come runners up in the Playoff Final last season against Derby County. With players like Curtis Davis – should he stay with them of course – Kevin Phillips, John Hartson, former Manchester United trainee Jonathan Greening and recent signing from Celtic, young Craig Beattie (whom I believe has a very bright future ahead of him), there is no doubt they have the quality in abundance to finish in the top 4 at the very least – and provide ‘Pool fans with a mouth-watering fixture seeing most of these household names play against the Tangerines.
Norwich are a side which ‘Pool know a little about following their FA Cup exploits last season. Had those games taken place in league format, each side would have come away with a share of the spoils and that is a good indication of what last season’s side – now with the new additions of course – can achieve against a mid-table Championship side. Perhaps not one of the more appealing games, hence it’s low percentage of votes.
Wolverhampton Wanderers came in a respectable third position – maybe it’s something to do with the similarity of the kits!! Another midlands side who has masses of potential under the guidance of Mick McCarthy who has put his faith in youth to build a team capable of challenging for the Playoffs. With Andy Keogh and now Freddy Eastwood on his books, they are a couple of players that have played against ‘Pool in the past and with the likes of Jay Bothroyd to further spearhead their attack, they will surely not be short of goals next season. Lets not forget also that Lewis Gobern, once a loanee with ‘Pool is still on their books and could well play against his former club should he dislodge the impressive former non-league player, Michael Kightly, from his right wing spot!
Surprisingly, the “Knobbers” down the road in Preston only came in 2nd, which can only suggest that ‘Pool fans believe that game will be a walk over and they won’t need to look forward to it as much! In all seriousness though, with the new “banding” system in place for away tickets, there will be fewer fans looking forward to the away fixture this season…as most won’t actually be able to get to see it (in person at least!).
And the winner is…….. **drumroll**
Former Premiership club….well…at least until the Tevez saga is sorted (if that ever happens!), Sheffield United!
Ever vocal Neil Warnock has since left the club to pursue Premiership football as a manager – but has yet to actually fulfil his plan – and former West Brom boss and Manchester United legend Bryan Robson has been installed as gaffer. Although not my favourite team in the Premiership last season – in fairness, they bored me on occasions but did have some good games against the likes of Arsenal – they are still a very good side capable of finishing in the playoffs at the very least. Personally I think they’ll finish 5th with Charlton running away with the league and West Brom finishing 2nd.
All of the above doesn’t really matter much though because every game this season – yes, even against Scunny and Colchester! – will be an enjoyable one with it taking place in The Championship!
With that in mind, this time around we ask you;
Where will the ‘Pool finish in The Championship this coming season?