Clarets ready to move on up
It’s over four weeks since promotion to the Premier League was clinched with a 1-0 home win against Queens Park Rangers. We are not officially a Premier League club yet, that will come when we are presented with our share, but with the Football League season coming to an end yesterday, it is worth a look at what we are leaving behind and where we are going.
Although they won’t be in the Championship or the Premier League, I do have to start with AFC Wimbledon. Yesterday, on the anniversary of the birth of their club, they were promoted for a sixth time in fourteen years to reach League One where they will face the other lot from Milton Keynes after they’d suffered relegation from the Championship.
The wounds will never heal. It was so very wrong then and nothing has ever changed my view on that. We can’t go back and at least the new club did finally admit that they were a new club who had simply bought a place in the Football League. It would help now if they would just do the one thing that they can do, and that is to drop the word Dons from their name. It would at least allow the two clubs to move on with hopefully the newly promoted club winning the two league encounters next season.
Burton are one of the clubs promoted to the Championship as the franchise drops. That’s a new ground we’ve missed on next season although we probably shouldn’t be too bothered, we will be getting a tick at the Olympic Stadium where West Ham will play after a deal that’s even bettered the one Leicester eventually got with their stadium when they went into administration.
Aston Villa, Newcastle and Norwich are the clubs who we’ve passed on the way up this time. Us and Norwich have been avoiding each other for a number of years now and we haven’t met in a league game since Eddie Howe’s first home game in charge in 2011.
The three will immediately be placed as favourites for promotion I would assume along with those who just missed out this time, the likes of Brighton and Derby. It’s all change at Derby with disrespectful Nigel and his ostrich going in with Chris Powell, who started last season as Huddersfield boss. I’m told promotion could be a priority next time.
They aren’t the only Championship club set to be under new management. Oscar Garcia is the current favourite for Forest but at Leeds it is anyone’s guess. Massimo Cellino has been casting his net far and wide for a new man but no one seemed to want it. So bad has it got that I wouldn’t have been surprised to get a call myself. As it happens, Steve Evans finally left this evening after requesting a meeting to clarify the position. Like all the others he’s sacked, Cellino did not do the deed himself. Garry Monk is the new favourite. If so, more fool him, is he really that desperate for work?
Meanwhile, Blackburn and Reading have come under fire from former players over the way the respective clubs are being run. Kevin Gallagher has accused the Blackburn hierarchy of dithering in their search for a new manager while Simon Cox has hit out over Reading moving away from the values that led to so much success in recent years.
Any sign of a crisis at Ewood always goes down well with Burnley fans. We all laughed when Paul Lambert threw his toys out of the pram recently and walked out as manager and we’ve had more than a few chuckles along the way as their search for a replacement got so desperate there was a different favourite to land the job almost on a daily basis.
But even I couldn’t have envisaged that the recently deposed Houston Dynamo boss Owen Coyle could suddenly go odds on for the job. This is a man who has known nothing but failure for the last five years. He’s been found out at Bolton, at Wigan and now at Houston. Bring it on I say.
Reading were always a small club until John Madejski grabbed hold of them sometime in the 1990s and they nearly went all the way in 1995 until the aforementioned Coyle helped keep them out of the Premier League by scoring one of his twelve Bolton goals in the play-off final.
But things have changed there. Firstly they sold out to the Russian with no money and the club has now been in Thai ownership for almost two years. They’ve moved managers out on a regular basis but they did come up with a song for their supporters which made them a bit of a laughing stock as much as anything else.
Now Cox, has taken to Twitter to say he is disheartened by the current state of the club. He wrote: “As a supporter and a former player it disheartens me to see the way the club is in its form today,” accusing the owners of not doing things the Reading way which was priding themselves on hard work with overachieving people who love the club. His former team mate Jem Karacan said he’d nailed it.
One club where it should be all celebrations is Hull. Having, like us, made an immediate return to the Premier League you would think everything would be bouncing on Humberside but it’s not the case. Manager Steve Bruce is considering his future as are a number of his players, whilst supporters who did make the Wembley trip are making claims for a refund having been packed into trains like sardines for the return journey with conditions described as appalling.
Those fans are still at war with the owners over a new membership scheme but with the chairman ill just now it seems they have a rudderless ship until the club is eventually sold with an American consortium waiting in the wings. They are pressing ahead with their membership scheme although they have now caused further chaos by allowing fans back in to seats from which they had originally moved them under this new scheme.
I’m not thinking there will be too many clubs in crisis in the Premier League next season. Given the money we are all getting it is hardly likely that will be the case but for some, as always, relegation could prove absolutely disastrous.
That won’t apply to Manchester United, although I’m sure most football fans would love it if they were to go down. Last week they sensationally announced that Jose Mourinho would be their new manager. I bet no one saw that coming! I was wondering whether the poor man will be able to fit it in alongside all his street walking in London. It was all he was doing last week with Sky Sports News cameras following his every move almost 24×7.
That leaves Everton as the one Premier League club currently without a manager. Frank De Boer (pictured), who has recently left Ajax, has been top of the list since Roberto Martinez went, but it is fairly obvious that they would like Ronald Koeman, the Southampton boss although the Saints are doing all they can to get him on a longer contract.
Southampton have really established themselves in the Premier League since winning promotion four years ago. It’s hard to imagine that back in 2009 they had the begging bowls out when we played our last away game there before going on to win promotion at Wembley as they dropped to League One for two years. After finishing 14th in 2012/13, their first season back in the Premier League, they have followed that up with final places of 8th, 7th and 6th in the last three seasons.
Executive director of football Les Reed said that’s made it more difficult for the younger players to break into the first team and he’s now looking to establish partnerships with Football League clubs and clubs in Europe to get these players out on loan.
“What’s important at this stage of their development is games under their belt. It’s something we take very seriously. We haven’t loaned players out in the past because they’ve come completely through on the journey and got into the team,” Reed said. One of the players they’ve had out on loan this season is Lloyd Isgrove at Barnsley and he scored the third goal in the League One play-off final, but Reed says that many other loans have not been successful.
That’s an area where we’ve certainly been weak in the last few years, but the second half of last season saw all of Tom Anderson, Cameron Dummigan and Luke Hendrie enjoy long term loans in Leagues One and Two. It’s something that needs to be built on. Maybe the planned academy changes will help address that.
I think, from now, it is time for Up the Clarets to concentrate on the Premier League but one thing’s for sure, we’ll know if Coyle is about to take over at Ewood. We’ll be able to smell the bullshit all the way from the Turf.Follow UpTheClarets:
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