Category Archives: 6. Summer So Far
A look at how the Premier League teams have been getting on during pre-season
by Rob Fielder, from the superb Ademir to Zizinho
Wondering who the top transfers of the summer are? Then look no further, but first the rules that I’ve applied. Anyone can spend £100m to bring a big star in, but the best transfers need to provide value. So I’ve set an arbitrary bar of £20m to see who has spent their money wisely (hence no Aguero, Pastore or Sanchez). Secondly I’ve looked at the suitability of the player for the club. Ashley Young (for instance) might well prove to be a great player, but in a team already blessed with Nani, Valencia, Giggs and Park how much scope will there be for him to succeed? Thirdly I’ve limited the list to just one player per club to make it more interesting.
by Sir Barinold Winston-Smythe
A faint glimmer of hope has lain long upon the horizon this summer. Slowly, as the hazy mornings and sodden afternoons have slipped by, the opening weekend of the Greatest League in Her Majesty’s Commonwealth has stepped towards us. That is, of course, until this week of unparalleled social unrest, of looting, of destruction. It now appears that the rioting of the past few days is set to impact upon the commencement of the season at the top table of English football competition. As of today however, only two teams would appear to be affected – the Hotspurs of Tottenham, and the blue half of Merseyside; Everton.
A team most certain not to be adversely hindered by such ruffian rapscallions however, is my beloved Stoke City. You will note that the worst night of rioting in London fell upon a Tuesday. Stoke however, remained calm, assured and poised for the long throw of justice to be wielded at a first hint of impropriety. As we have heard many times since our triumphant return to and consolidation within the Premier League, Stoke is not a place you’d want to travel to on a wet and windy Tuesday night. Not for the likes of Fabregas, Torres and Modric. And not for the disgusting social warts who besmirched the streets of this country’s finest cities earlier this week.
by James Shiplee
August 13th is finally upon us and Norwich City’s Premier League Survival Push 2012 is all set to get underway at the DW Stadium on Saturday. All that’s left to do is to take a look at the summer activity of the club and what this means for the coming season.
City Manager Paul Lambert, will of course again be integral this campaign. Regarded by many as the best young manager in the country, it’s hard to disagree looking at his achievements in the past couple of seasons. His decisions over the last two years have been great and having made a lot of game changing subs, he has demonstrated he knows how to affect a game from the touchline. His focus on fitness levels, confidence and playing until the last minute showed last year and it will be important to keep this going into the Premier League. Read the rest of this entry
by Richard Allen
Where to begin? Mark Hughes? Martin Jol? Europe via the back door? Off-season? What off-season?
First things first: Mark Hughes always felt like someone else’s manager. He did his best to look interested, but there were always undertones there, like he was doing us a favour by managing us: “look, it’s me, Mark Hughes. The Mark Hughes. At Fulham!” When he left to broaden his horizons or to find himself (in Dubai), well, nobody was that surprised or disappointed. At the time of writing he remains unemployed, with all the good jobs having been taken. The job Hughes thought he might get went to Alex McLeish!
by Danny Pugsley
Having successfully rid themselves of the monkey on their back City will go into the season facing newer and bigger pressures. Bringing to an end the long wait for a trophy should not be underestimated, and of course was a vital step as the club looked to develop its mind is now set to take its place amongst the footballing elite.
by Louie Silvani
Where do you start with Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club? Chief giant-killers or masters of their own downfall time and time again? With Mick McCarthy’s men, there is no middle ground. You either get the highest of highs, or the lowest of lows. Us Wolves fans dream of mid table mediocrity, we would snatch your hand off if you offered it us now because I don’t think most of our hearts could take another ‘Survival Sunday’.
by Rob Latham
Feeling a sense of confidence heading into a new season is always a fatal error for any football fan. Everything was looking surprisingly optimistic for Bolton Wanderers fans heading into the penultimate week of pre-season – a few players with a bit of quality and spark brought in, a few distinctly average players discarded and there was a positive buzz around the build-up to the new season.
We’d committed the fatal error of feeling good about your team heading into a season though. Suddenly, BANG: The footballing Gods made us pay by dropping two broken legs in the same week. The first, a double leg fracture inflicted on influential winger Chung Yong-Lee by a bunch of Welsh amateurs in Newport, the second a freak training injury for new right back Tyrone Mears, who had only been at the club for a week.
by James Riches
This time last year, the Championship welcomed a club on the brink of oblivion in Portsmouth, and two sides in Hull and Burnley who were, for want of a better word, rubbish. Fast forward twelve months, and the Premiership has shed two heavyweights in West Ham and Birmingham, along with Blackpool, lauded by many as being among the most entertaining outfits around last year.
Up from League One come sleeping giants Southampton, a reborn Brighton and an ambitious Peterborough determined to avoid a repeat of their last farcical attempt at this division. Add into the mix two former England managers, and we could be set for one of the most exciting Championship seasons ever.
Of course, we hear that every year, but then again it’s usually true, and this year really does look like improving once again on the offerings of last season.
by Dean Mears
It’s been quite a summer of change at Stamford Bridge this season, even though in terms of playing staff nothing much has changed at all. There’s a change in direction, a shift in focus, a realisation, especially by Roman Abramovich that he had got it all wrong. You see, since 2003 Roman’s aim has been to win the Champions League at any cost. Managers have come and gone, players bought and sold, all of which has made a dent in his bank balance that was bigger than his divorce The club now however has a young manager and are targeting a different style of player. The future could be very bright indeed for Chelsea, if only they could sign someone.
If I had to compare Arsenal’s summer so far to anything, I would compare it to the actual summer so far: the occasional sunny interval but mostly grey; lots of pissy rain and nothing but clouds on the horizon. Back in May, Arsene Wenger said he would be ‘very active’ in the transfer market. Now, unless he’s keeping everything back for a monstrous August transfer extravaganza, trading players like a slave driver in Roman times, it would be fair to say that we’ve yet to be anything other than vaguely active.