Category Archives: The Championship Angle
Leeds United and Nottingham Forest look set for a three-way transfer tussle along with Hull City over Reading FC striker Adam Le Fondre (formerly of Rotherham United, Rochdale FC and Stockport County). ALF will surely plunder plenty more in the Championship, after a scoring for fun in the Football League with the Millers, The Dale and the Hatters, his home-town club. United and Forest are favourites to go up next season and, even though Reading are in no rush to sell, they will surely accept a handsome return on their £350,000 investment, should a bidding war take place.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Glenville Adam James le Fondre, aka ALF, has proved to be a goal machine at every level he has played at, poaching 146 goals from 360 games in all competitions. These are the kind of stats that are interesting more than just Billy Davies and Brian McDermott, managing two of the favourites to go up next season, with newly promoted Hull City also sniffing around. ALF got 14 last season in all competitions and was signed by Mr McDermott along with Matt Mills, now at Bolton, who is another target. McDermott knows the Royals inside out, after being unjustly sacked last February, so he will be doubly keen to plunder the side he built.
Le Fondre is the diminutive fox in the box. He started just 14 games last term, coming from the bench in the other 23 games, but still managed to notch 12 Premiership and 2 FA Cup goals. He got 4 braces, against Everton, Crawley, Newcastle and Chelsea, the latter two coming as a 69th and 65th minute substitute respectively. In 2011/12 he bagged 4 goals in 5 for the Millers, scored on his Reading debut against Doncaster (again as a sub), before finishing on 16 for the season from 22 starts (15 sub). ALF destroyed League 2 with 27 goals for the Millers in 2010/11 and 30 in 2009/10. The season before saw 20 for Rochdale, with 16 the season before that.
As an Imp fan, he was a killer, a constant thorn in our side, yet beyond our reach on a four figure a week wage. He had the tricks of the trade alright, but his first touch, poaching instincts and ability to take it in his stride, or get a clean shot off, was obvious. An all-round awesome predator, he nearly always scored against us, ALF looked destined to play higher and, despite not being the fastest or strongest of adversaries, he has already attracted £200,000 in officially undisclosed transfer fees courtesy of the Dale and The Millers. He can lay on a goal or two but a true striker has to have a selfishness, it makes them what they are, goals after all are the stock-in-trade. It was of no surprise to see him instantly click despite a two league jump, when the Millers sold him to Reading.
The chances are he will finally net the 7 figure fee his talent deserves. But this is a small price to pay for someone, who, if he starts every game as he should, has the pedigree to get the 20 odd-goals that would prove to be the Edge for Leeds or Forest. Then of course there is the not to small a matter of the mega money the Premiership will guarantee.
Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town appear to be gearing up to put their county and East Midlands football back on the map if the early signs are anything to go by. The Stags target is to get into the championship over the next 2-3 years whilst Forest finally look to have shaken off the debt hurdle that has held back a club that were once the neutrals favourite underdogs. Both sides have great managers, Cox stayed calm and kept the faith, as the Stags came good last season, after many of us had written his managerial obituary.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Billy Davies is a canny chap, driven perhaps by the motto ‘third time lucky’, who can deliver a return to the Premiership. He deserved better than that cruel contract termination in June 2011 after taking Forest to the play-offs twice. McClaren, his replacement, got nowhere near him, ensuring, now deceased Chairman Nigel Doughty, failed to get a just return on the reported £100,000,000 he ploughed in before his death. In July 2012 the Al-Hasawi family, from Kuwait, purchased the club but, Sean O’Driscoll and then 40 day wonder Alex McLeish failed to deliver. Frank Clark and others were also dismissed as the shambles continued.
Enter Billy Davies, just 20 months after his exit, who duly guided Forest to 8th after 11 games without defeat. Armed with a decent war chest you can bet he will deliver this season, building on a side that had already started to click. Leeds will take some stopping but Forest are the dark horse bet to go straight up (third favourites at 9-1). Expect a move for free agent Eric Lichaj (ex-Villa left sided player) and a double swoop for Adam Le Fondre and Billy Sharp to get the goals. Davies will have to wait for a decision on Billy Sharpe, with the striker not set for talks over his Southampton future until June 10th. but Reading do look set to cash in on Adam Le Fondre after relegation despite rebuffing Forest’s biggest bookies rivals for the crown, Leeds United. Rob Hulse (released by QPR) is also doing the rounds, but Davies is a patient calculating chap. He will have plenty more irons in the fire to ensure he finishes his quest.
The Stags, will fancy their chances after going up as Conference Champions, following in a long line of clubs who have achieved back-to-back promotions. Out went Paul Bolland, Jamie Hand, Shane Redmond, Gary Roberts, Jamie Tolley, Andy Owens, Exodus Geohaghon and Nick Wright, whilst Chris Clements, Colin Daniel, James Jennings, Adam Murray, George Pilkington, Godfrey Poku and Jake Speight are all under contract. Ross Dyer, Ritchie Sutton, Matt Rhead, Lee Stevenson and Lindon Meikle, Lee Beevers and Anthony Howell have all signed new deals too, although Luke Jones has decided to try his luck at Stevenage.
There have been three new faces so far, defender Paul Back (Oldham & Tranmere) has joined along with central midfielders Keiran Murtagh (Macc Town) and Jamie McGuire (Fleetwood). Cox is still looking for half a dozen new faces, but the clubs ambition may change the mind of want away striker Matt Green. He was quality again last year, but the trial with Birmingham City has come to nothing and the Huddersfield rumour has been quashed. Keep him then add another winger, central defender and striker, then the Stags look good to go straight up.
Ex- Millwall FC manager Kenny Jacket looks set for the Wolverhampton Wanderers hot-seat whilst Paul Dickov is on the verge of the Doncaster Rovers job, even though Millwall and Sheffield United are keen to secure his services. Bircham should get the Millwall job if East London sources are to be believed. STMI take a look at the credentials of the favourites to get the jobs, which in the case of Wolves has back to back promotions potential written all over it.
Thankyou for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs
Paul Dickov replaced Dave Penny, a Rovers legend it has to be said, at Oldham and went on to build a youthful footballing side. The Latics peaked at ninth halfway through the 2010/11 season before finishing 15th. The following season saw them finish a credible 16th. Last season his shock resignation on 3rd February came a week after beating Liverpool 3-2 in the cup. The finances at Oldham are similar to the current ones at Sheffield United. Upon taking the reigns at The Latics, he had to shift Captain and player of the season Sean Gregan as well as top scorer Pawol Abbott. Whoever takes over at the Blades must face a big budget reduction, with most of what is left taken up by those on contracts through next season at least. Will Dickov want that or a patient, financially strong club like Doncaster who love a passing attacking game?
|Paul Dickov’s Managerial CV||From||To||Record|
|Oldham Athletic||9 June 2010||3 February 2013||141||43||37||61||30.50|
Kenny Jacket was the longest serving manager in the Championship up until his resignation this week. He cut his managerial teeth at Watford, before being relegated to assistant manager under old fox and enticer Graham Taylor. The duo got two successive promotions before finishing bottom of the Premier League in 1999/2000. When Taylor left Watford incoming Vialli did not fancy him, but Holloway at QPR did. Kenny spent 3 years as an assistant at Rangers, learning from another master, Holloway, before taking up the Swansea job, still warm from Flynn. He worked miracles in his first season getting promotion from League 2 and winning the Welsh Cup. The following season saw them win the Football League Trophy, retain the Welsh Cup, but lose to Barnsley in the play-offs.
Jackett left the Swans of his own accord in Feb 2007, taking up the job of reserve team manager at Manchester City 3 weeks later. However Millwall came knocking in the November and despite ruling himself out initially he accepted the job. The following season saw the revitalised Lions lose the League 1 play-off final 3-2 to Scunthorpe, at Wembley. They were back the following season, beating Swindon 1-0. Millwall finished 9th in their first season in the Championship – a tremendous achievement given the resources of the club and the unfair financial competition from ex-Premier League sides. The last two seasons have been solid with a semi-final appearance against eventual winners Wigan.
The Wolves job is the perfect project for Jackett. He will get the backing and has the ability to get a relegated giant back into shape and fast. Wanderers relegation and League 1 footing is a travesty for a club with such a heritage. He has learned from some of the most cunning managers in the game, takes no prisoners and can make water into wine. There are plenty of ex-Prem sides who have dropped to this level, got the right man in and been back in the Premiership with successive promotions. Kenny Jackett is that man.
|Watford||10 June 1996||2 June 1997||59||24||19||16||40.68|
|Swansea City||5 April 2004||15 February 2007||156||69||40||47||44.23|
|Millwall||6 November 2007||7 May 2013||307||130||74||103||42.35|