Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Early Tips For English League 1 2011/2012

Before I delve into League 1 for the coming season a quick update for League 2. This week Torquay United appointed Martin Ling as their new manager to replace the outgoing success story that is Paul Buckle. see here for details of my league 2 review.
Martin Ling was the manager of Cambridge up until 1 February this year when he was sacked following a dreadful run of 4 straight defeats after being given the dreaded vote of confidence. Martin doesn't meet the profile of a manager that will win League 2 next season so my tips on League 2 remain unaltered.

League 1 has become a very interesting league over the past years with many ex premiership teams falling into this league. I'm not sure why this is happening, perhaps its due to the amount of money these clubs lose when they fall out of the premiership and need to rebuild. Recently we have seen Manchester City, Leeds United, Leicester City, Nottingham Forest and Southampton join this league but eventually get out again. Manchester City as we know are a champions league outfit! This league therefore has become very competitive so is very hard to get out of as the league still has the likes of Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday in it. Joining them from the championship are Sheffield United, Scunthorpe United and Preston North End - all 3 will be keen to make the stay as short as possible. It's a massive fall from grace for Sheffield United who finished 8th in the 09/10 season and 3rd the season before! Oh how things could have been so different! Joining these sides from League 2 are Chesterfield, Bury and Stevenage, all 3 have done well to get promoted but I don't think any of these sides will trouble the very top of League 1. History shows us that jumping from League 2 to the championship in consecutive seasons is not out of the question as Peterborough did it between 06/07 when they finished second in league 2 and the second in 07/08 in league 1, but they didn't win the league. Southend did manage the feat in having won the league 2 play offs in 04/05 and then winning the league 1 in 05/06 - so its not beyond teams to do it but I feel there are too many big sides this season that will stop this from happening.

The last team to be relegated and win the league title were Norwich City in 2009/10, they lost their opening game 7-1 to Colchester but quickly turned things around and have infact bounced straight up into the premiership! In 2008/09 again a team being relegated jumped straight back again, this time it was Leicester City. So it looks like those with money can do well at this level and get out of the league. This seasons winners were Brighton, here is a team on the up, moving into a new stadium and doing well.

So for League 1 i'm looking for a well organised club with money to spend at this level. Preston are under the stewardship of Phil Brown ex-manager of Hull City. He has always done well at his clubs and is a man to motivate a team to get results. He kept Hull in the premiership for longer than perhaps they had the ability for on paper so in my eyes he knows what to do! His backroom staff include David Unsworth and Brian Horton, again 2 great football brains.

Over in Sheffield, United have appointed Danny Wilson into the managers seat. This guy has extensive experience in these leagues, he even manged Sheffield Wednesday! Go explain that to the Aston Villa faithful today!!!!

The question is do Sheffield United have any money to help Mr Wilson on his way. I think Sheffield will go well but I think they will just fall short of winning the league, could have a strong play off shout.

Finally we have Scunthorpe. This team were last in this league in 08/09 when the got promoted via the play offs after being relegated the previous season. They have been a bit of a yoyo club in recent history having won League 1 in 06/07. I don't see them as a side to run away with League 1 so will discount them as well.

Of the teams in the league from last season we have Huddersfield, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday. Huddersfield lost the play off final, Charlton had a dismal season and Sheffield Wednesday avoided going out of business! Huddersfield finished 3rd and lost the play off final to Peterborough, in the last 10 years the team finishing third and not being promoted has never gone on the following season to win the league!

A look at the odds for next season shows us that Sheffield Wednesday are favorites for the title at 5/1. I see this as a bit odd as there is no full confirmation of large investment being pumped into the club but maybe I'm not aware of something!

We can see Preston at 13/2 third favorites behind Huddersfield at 11/2. For me, I'm a fan of Phil Brown and Preston, I see them going well and having a good season, he did well at the end of last season when there was little chance of survival so Mr Brown has had time in the job on the field so is probably best placed of the relegated teams to win the league.

I will keep an eye on Scunthorpe in the early days at 20/1 as they could surprise a few as they are not the most fashionable club in this league.

My next review will be on the championship in the coming days.

1 comment:

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