Dexy’s end of season rollicking round-up part 1

by Dexy Longshot

Sunday, June 5th, 2011
 

With a week to reflect on the last 10 months of footy I can safely come to conclusion that it was a belter!  This 2010-2011 brought us the tightest Premiership in yonks with just the cats whiskers separating the top teams from the bottom. Some people are preaching that it was a very weak league compared to others of the past but surely the smaller gap points means that it is improving as a whole with the so called smaller fish giving the big whales a run for their money. I’d wager that most of our premiership teams would be top half certainties in any other European league. I’ll be taking a swift look at that as well as a brief look at Europe too and swipe at the bigwigs.

Let’s start with the premier League

My pre-season prem prediction in brackets

20 West Ham (13)
An excellent pre-season under Avram had me looking at lucky 13 for the Irons but it turned out to be the kiss of death. The hammers were simply shocking and even an influx of players in the mid season only brought about a mini resurgence before the rot started to set in again. I could bang on for hours about the Cockneys but won’t, just open any rag any day of the week and the owners will be doing all that for me. The appalling treatment of Avram over xmas with all the Martin O’Neill biz didn’t help at all and now the new Olympic Stadium tenants look forward to a fire sale of  the family silver (Parker & Green in particular will be massive but inevitable losses). The appointment of Big Sam will be the most crucial in the clubs history, let’s hope the Chairman spend less time in the papers and concentrate on giving Sam what he wants. If they don’t bring on the Air Asia take-over.

19 Blackpool (20)
In pre season I said “Ian Holloway is one of the games comedians and did a magnificent job of getting the seasider’s up, but like the big dipper, what goes up must go down and never has this been more so than with this group of players. They simply won’t cut it at this level and I can’t see anything higher than bottom.”. That assessment was pretty much spot although earlier in the season, everyone’s favorite 2nd Manager & the seasiders were ruling the roost with some excellent displays masterminded by Charlie Adam who surely will be on his way to Anfield. They scored hatfuls of goals throughout the season but were clumsy at the back. Unlucky on the last day of the season, the leagues top table will miss Holloway, let’s hope he bounces back soon.

18) Birmingham (9)
I think Alex McLeaish & Birmingham really performed badly in the 2nd half of the season, partly due to a few extra games in the cup run (although fairs fair, some fans would have taken that Carling Cup and relegation, it has been a while) and also the loss of Scott Dann in their defence. I fancied them equalling the 9th spot of the previous campaign but this year, they slowly got dragged into the relegation places (Although fair enough, there wasn’t much separating any of them a couple of months ago). I hear Big Ek is staying at The Brum but he will have big Ek-Ache if the owners tackle their own impending dosh debts by selling the cream of Birmingham. Their are some fine players who will be wanting away. If Alex can keep that defence together, he will have a big chance of returning first time round.

17 Wolves (15)
Part-time Irishman Mick McCArthy must be happy as Larry how things turned out on 2 weekends ago. When Kevin Doyle got injured a few months ago, I feared for for the Wolves but Fletcher stepped in just in time with some important goals and fellow Paddy Hunt finished the season at the death with a goal to keep the Wolves biting in the Prem for another season. I like McCarthy a lot, he’s not everybody’s cup of tea but I’d deffo want him with me if I was coming under fire in the trenches. I predicted 15th and think were it not for injuries to the boy Doyle, that figure was well within reach. Instead they finished 3 points behind that on 40 and surviving by a point. Proper backside on the bacon slicer time, as Mick might put it.

16 Wigan (19)
Things were looking decidedly crumbly in pie land when West Ham went 2 up in the first half at the JD, I was at that game and like everyone else around me, though it was bye di pie to the Latics. An hour later I was dreaming of Doncaster away and the people of Wigan were dancing on the pitch like it was a 70s saturday night down the Wigan Pier. I don’t know what Martinez said to them at the interval but it was certainly not his usual as Wigan used to be the kings of getting mullered, they have learn’t to man up and it has been rewarded with another season in the top flight thanks to survival Sundays 1-0 against Stoke at home (no easy feat). They will need more next season though if they wish to survive again (They have to improve the pies as well, best in the land???, I don’t think so.)

15 Blackburn (15)
I feel like chicken tonight etc, those strange Venkys owners, whats all that about, i wrote earlier in the season that they had no idea about the game, just loads of money, i earmarked them for a big fall with Kean at the helm but i hold my chicken wings up, they did ok. Early big name signings unsurprisingly didn’t materialize although i’m sure they could have got Razor Ruddock and Ronaldo back out of retirement with some well placed bargain buckets around the pitch. they had a few highlights, Olson destroying Liverpool in mid season and the crucial games in the last month. I’d be a bit worried for next year though, that is if Keano keeps his job at all.

14 Bolton (14)
The Trotters were trotting all over the top half of the table like they owned for a few months mid season but they almost got drawn down into the pigs*it of the relegation sty. They can still take some positives, since canny Jock Owen Coyle came in from Burnley and miraculously kept them up,
last year, it has been full steam ahead. I like Owen Coyle a lot, he tries to have his teams play football the right way, something Bolton have lacked in recent times. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if someone from further up the Premier League food-chain comes in for him before the season even gets going. I hear he desperately trying to secure the boy Sturridge for another season on loan, they would be a canny coup indeed,  he was sensational in the last few months.

13 Stoke (12)
Stoke started to do something I have never seen them do before this season, they actually played some half decent football. The old kick and run approach of last season was altered (slightly) and we saw the flanks on fire as born again wing wizards Matty Etherington and Jermaine Pennent terrorised full backs with some outstanding displays. If they carry on where they left off last week, Fabio may have to keep them in mind for next years Euros. They have both provided readers with plenty of newspapers inches in previous years with off the field problems, speeding, prisons, gambling, damn right stupidity (Jermaine boobed big-time when dumped page 3 stunner Amii from Birmingham after she proposed to him, have you seen this woman!). Anyway after brief stints away from the Prem, they both came back to their very best and were the driving force behind Stokes campaign and gave gun toting Rory Delap bombs a rest. It wasn’t only in the league Stoke caused problems, they reached the FA Cup final for the first time since the 70s sadly losing 1-0 to Man City. It wasn’t the prettiest of finals but it gave the Stoke fans great day out. Almost a jackpot season all in all for the potters.

12 Newcastle (17)
I was a bit of with my Newcastle prediction and I apologise to all my Geordie friends. I underestimated the team and spirit and think if they carry on where they left of, they could be challenging for a top 10 place next season. That and the 35m Pardew has had burning a hole in his Farahs since the last minute Andy Carrol signing in January.  With Tarzan boy Andys iffy injury record, that may have been deal of the season for lovable Mike Ashley. Pardew is great man manager and has really got the group working as one, something which may have not been on the cards after Chris Hughton was dismissed. Nolan and Barton have been fantastic yet again and with some nelsons to burn this summer and the boos having a full pre-season, I feel Newcastle will go from strength to strength especially with the under-rated Reo-Coker and Carlton Cole on Pards cards.

11 West Brom (18)
West Brom have plenty of previous when i comes to ups and downs but they really excelled this season. Di Matteo started the season playing some dishy footy but it wasn’t enough for the bigwigs at Brom, hovering around the relegation area in mid season was not good enough and The Owls took a gamble with paying him of and getting some one else in. The someone was Roy Hogdson who himself was having a bit of mare in his first months at Anfield. Within 6 months, Roy had swapped European Cup night Euphoria and God-like status down by the Thames with Fulham to giving Liverpool their worst start in donkeys years and a swift elbow from King Kenny to West Brom where he performed a miracle on a small budget. Will it be Fulham all over again for Rwoy and West Brwom? I think it might, especially if he can keep onto most of his players especially Brunt who is very under-rated in my eye.

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