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CHAMPIONSHIP FANS’ 2019/20 SEASON PREDICTIONS PART 2 – LUTON THRU WIGAN

CHAMPIONSHIP FANS’ 2019/20 SEASON PREDICTIONS PART 2 – LUTON THRU WIGAN

Billy Grant (@billythebee99) caught up with fans and bloggers at all 24 Championship clubs to find out their thoughts on their last campaign. How they felt their rivals will do this campaign. Who the best fans they came across last season were. And what was their most anticipated away day.

We also found out how they felt their teams will get on this coming season.

Check out Part 1 Barnsley to Leeds by clicking here. 

 

Luton Town

Lewis Williams, @LewisT_Williams
Lewis Williams YouTube 

This season’s prediction: 18th

Last season prediction v actual prediction

n/a

How would you describe last season for your club?

Fantastic. Winning the league under legend Mick Harford was brilliant. Losing Nathan Jones to Stoke City at a critical time in the season didn’t help but, for me, it made the team stronger.

Going on a 28-game unbeaten run during a season under two managers was a joy to watch.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?

To not get relegated. Getting relegated wouldn’t be the end of the world. But it would be a great season to not go back to League 1.

As it’s our first visit back to Championship in over 10 years, myself and other supporters would be delighted to finish 21st or higher.

How are you getting on in the transfer market? Bought or losing anyone?

For the last two seasons, we have been playing the diamond formation. With this system, you play attacking fullbacks. We had Jack Stacey and James Justin causing chaos down the wings of League 1 and 2.

With anything in life, if you’re good at something people are interested – just like Bournemouth and Leicester. If you’re playing outside the Premier League and a Premier League club comes calling. You cannot turn down an opportunity like that.

Losing both Stacey and Justin will be a massive blow for this upcoming season. However, the sales from our former fullbacks have allowed the club to reinvest that money back into the squad.

This season we have broken our transfer record in signing Simon Sluga. Simon is a Croatian goalkeeper that has represented his country and played European football.

Also, the additions of Callum McManaman, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Martin Crainie have provided the squad with Championship experience.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

Mick Harford.

Stepped in as caretaker manager from January until the end of the season.

Stepped aside from his usual role as head of recruitment to managing a team to the League 1 title.

When it comes to players, for me, you can’t pick one.

In goal, Shea won joint golden glove. Two centre backs, Bradley and Pearson, were consistently solid. Stacey and Justin both got into the EFL team of the season.

Shinnie and Pelly in the middle were tremendous with their consistent link-up play and performances.

Finally, Collins with the goals. When a team goes on a 28 games unbeaten run, it’s challenging to pick just one player as a hero. For me, they’re all heroes.

Who was your biggest disappointment?

Nathan Jones.

He left the club at a significant time in its history with a new stadium looming, players to buy and Luton flying high in the league.

Before he left the club, he said, “Why would anyone want to leave this football club?”

Days later he then leaves the club and takes his staff with him.

Luckily enough, what seemed to be a crash-landing month turned out to be one of the best months in the history of the club.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?

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James Collins.

His goals will be vital in ensuring Luton’s Championship survival. If you have a striker that doesn’t need many chances to score, then getting points from games will be easy to come by.

Collins has scored 44 goals in our back-to-back promotion campaigns.

Other than your teams (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Fulham

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Millwall

What team is going to win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Preston North End

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Stoke City

Depending on if Nathan Jones lasts until February, the return of him back to Kenilworth Road will have plenty of excitement with both teams eager to win.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Charlton Athletic. Despite the outgoings with their owners, the fans still support the team in their numbers.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Back-to-back-to-back promotions? It has to be Championship survival.

Predicted league finish?
Anything higher than 21st will do me.

However, I feel we will finish 18th. Just need a couple more players.

Middlesbrough

Robert Nichols, @rob_fmttm
Fly Me To The Moon Fanzine

This season’s prediction: 6th

Last season prediction v actual position 

Predicted position – 2nd. Actual position – 7th

How would you describe last season for your club?
Disappointing and frustrating

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
Hopeful of at least seeing some good attacking football and young players developing. Fingers crossed this can take us into a top six finish.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We lost Flint and and Downing but everyone is delighted to see the back of Braithwaite. We’re starting to sign young, promising players with Marcus Browne. Question is – can we hold onto Britt and Randolph? We will need them.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Darren Randolph was quite phenomenal in goal. Rightly Championship keeper of the season – but shhhh we don’t want to lose him.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Martin Braithwaite. or the second season in a row he couldn’t wait to put a transfer request in and rock the boat. After we refuses his move, he buckled down. However, on the field the Danish international appeared to be running backwards through treacle until liberated with a loan move.

He then slagged us off.

Not a popular figure on Teesside. Good riddance.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?

Lewis Wing. Signed from Northern League Shildon and has really kicked on and will look to pull the strings and ping the passes from midfield.

Also packs a mean shot.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Leeds United – but only because this will probably put a hex on them.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Maybe Wigan Athletic.

I hope no one does a Bolton. But I do fear with the way some clubs are spending and being creative with FFP

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
After Norwich and Cardiff the season before, this is such a hard one to call.

I wonder if Bristol City might actually complete what they have promised over the last two seasons and get promoted.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
LEEDS is the team most Boro fans look out for.

Always a heady atmosphere and keenly contested.

A Boro win is long overdue.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Always the Bees. Great characters and they know how to enjoy their football.

After all their defeats to us over the years, I could appreciate their celebrations after finally beating us last season.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Promotion

Predicted league finish?
6th. A play-off finish and will hopefully win them.

Heart over head time but isn’t that what football is about to dream.

Millwall

James Blewett, @MillwallJDB

This season’s prediction: 15th

Last season prediction v actual position 

15th v 21st

How would you describe last season for your club?
Last season was very disappointing. Whilst lions fans were not expecting a repeat of the 8th finish of the year before, I don’t think we envisaged very nearly slipping out of the Championship.

Apart from a lively cup run, a lot of the performances were pretty dismal and it would seem, listening to Neil Harris, there have been a lot of unspecified problems off the pitch

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
After a very active summer in the transfer market and several players leaving, the hope from the fans will be be for a fresh start. I think it could be quite a tough season as I still worry about where the goals will come from.

But I’d like to think we’ll finish mid table

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We lost the Gregory-Morison combination and shed quite a squad players – some of whom weren’t up to the championship. We’ve signed eight so far.

Maloney form Bournemouth looks exciting and Malumby from Brighton (on loan) also sounds a great prospect.

Otherwise we’ve brought in some experienced Championship players such as Smith and Pearce who can hopefully steady the ship

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Ben Thompson returned from loan at Portsmouth and was excellent – possibly a key reason we stayed up.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
A lot of the squad underperformed but I was particularly disappointed by Ben Amos who we signed on loan from Bolton and thought might be an answer to our long-term goalkeeping problem.

He wasn’t.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
Thompson and Maloney are the obvious candidates

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Fulham look strong (although Parker is untested).

As ever the Championship is wide open in my opinion

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
I think Charlton will struggle.

Bowyer seems like a good coach but they have barely strengthened and will do well to stay up

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Now there’s a nightmare name from our recent past. I think Barnsley may do better than some anticipate.

Also Preston were one of the best footballing teams I saw at the Den last season

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Always love a Leeds game at the Den. I’ll look forward to a few London derbies this year

What fans impressed you most last season?
Ipswich fans turned up in numbers and were remarkably cheerful given the dross they were served up – being beaten 3-0 at the Den

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
For Millwall not to slip into relying on long ball game so much and mix it up more

Predicted league finish?

15th (hopefully)

Nottingham Forest

Scott Eley, @Scott29Eley
Munich and Madrid

This season’s Prediction: 8th

Last Season’s enthusiastic prediction from a fellow Forest fan:  2nd. Actual finish: 9th.

How would you describe last season for your club?
Hugely disappointing. The self implosion witnessed at Forest last season was not only massive frustrating, it also had a hint of embarrassment about it too.

Big player investment had us fans buzzing for the new season,. 22k season tickets sold.

By mid November, the bubble had burst.

Sitting 7th in the league and doing OK, a battle of wills broke out between the manager and board.

Something was up with Aitor Karanka. The mood had changed. Two months later, he was gone.

His departure wasn’t handled particularly well and it limped on for weeks. A painful slow death for many. The squad had been affected too and a slump in form reflected that.

Martin O’Neill’s arrival was supposed to jump-start Forest’s season but it divided the fan base over the following weeks. We couldn’t get out of 2nd gear. It wasn’t horrendous under O’Neill. He just needed to hit the ground running and it didn’t happen.

Some fans had already written O’Neill off before a ball was kicked. Some were convinced that he was the man to restore former glories. Others just wanted a manager to be given some time in the job.

Optimism was replaced by vitriol on social media and fans spent the rest of the season arguing the toss rather than pulling together.

It wasn’t our finest hour as a fan base but you couldn’t question the passion for the club. The self-implosion was complete.

The mood was fully in reverse.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
A top half finish has to be the aim as we try to forge a new identity under new manager Sabri Lamouche.

I don’t think any of us really know how this will pan out so expectations are in check (not a bad thing at Forest). Forest reaching the playoffs is a very optimistic prediction for me but promotion will be the owners aim.

Chuck in some more new faces on the pitch and the probability of this all coming together by Christmas is slim.

It would be an amazing if it was achieved.

The new manager has had to re-schedule an over excessive pre-season and has already lost a key player in Joao Carvalho to injury. We’ve got a really tough start so my worry is that if this doesn’t come together quickly and the axe will be looms again.

History certainly points towards that fate.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We’ve been trying to trim a top-heavy squad so Ben Osborn – who has been at Forest since 8 years old – leaving for Sheffield United has probably been the most significant departure.

He couldn’t really nail down a first team position with us so it’s a really good move for him and not too damaging for the team.

We’ve brought in a few unknown quantities. Silva from the Portuguese League looks like he might adapt well to English football and Semedo (on loan from Benfica) showed some promise in Friday night’s draw with Real Sociedad.

We have also brought in goalkeeper Muric (on loan from Man City). He has come in with a reputation of being a top prospect.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Joao Carvalho signed from Benfica.

In my opinion, Joao is the most natural young talent we’ve had at Forest since Andy Reid came through the ranks many moons ago. He’s a cracking footballer who will hopefully get better from last seasons experience.

He’s a wizard on the ball but sadly, he’s currently out injured – on the receiving end of a brainless tackle in our first pre season game at Alfreton Town.

It’s a blow. It’s a bit harsh on Joe Lolley as he had a great season with goals and assists.

An unbelievable buy at £500,000 from Huddersfield

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Gil Dias. Came on loan from Monaco with a huge repudiation. He was poor and was gone in the next transfer window.

Equally as disappointing though was Carvalho being left on the bench by Martin O’Neill for pretty much the second half of the season.

It didn’t help that Aitor Karanka had over-cooked Carvalho before Christmas. He was running on empty and it appeared that O’Neill didn’t fancy him on that evidence either. A rest after Christmas would have been understandable but there was no sign that Carvalho was coming back. £13m worth of talent sat on the bench. It was a foolish decision in the eyes of many and O’Neill was rightly criticised for his glaring omission.

Carvalho could have been the difference between Forest scraping into the play offs and not. His individual performance in the 3-0 win over Middlesbrough was one of the best I’ve seen for some time by a Forest player.

Shame our play-off hopes had dissappered by the time O’Neill decided to start him.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
I’ve mentioned Carvalho and but Joe Lolley has the ability to be to get us out of the league and have a massive influence on our season. If he can top last season’s achievements then we might be in with a shout of the play offs.

Another one to mention is Swede Alex Milosevic, signed for free in January and so far, he’s looked a good bit of business when he has played. He’s a typical big Scandinavian defender but he rarely goes to ground and is a composed figure at the back. There is plenty of competition for places in the centre of our defence so we’ll see if he makes the grade, he’s definitely good enough in my eyes.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Fulham have retained their key players and looked to have bolstered their squad with some cracking additions over the summer. Anthony Knockeart is up there with the best on his day.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
I’d put in on Derby County just for the sake of it.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
I’d like to see Luton Town do well. They’ve been on an amazing run in the last few seasons and I thought they did really well to get promotion after losing Nathan Jones to Stoke. B

It will be a big test for them but why not?

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Derby is always the one to look forward to in the East Midlands. The build-up and atmosphere is right up there. It’s better than Christmas Day if you win. But if you lose, it’s a disaster.

Derby’s historical envy over sacking Brian Clough and watching him go onto massive success at Forest underpins the resentment between the two clubs. It is a huge part of the rivalry and it’s not a surprise that Brian Clough’s name is on the trophy to commemorate each derby match.

Imagine giving that success away to your most hated rivals? Ouch.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Probably Bristol City’s fans. They were already on a cracking run when they came to the City Ground and they beat Forest so they were pretty chipper.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
To end the season with the same manager in place that started it.

Predicted league finish?
We’re still a few quality players short of a promotion bid so I’d expect a similar finish.

I’ll go with 8th. If Carvalho and Lolley can get in the team together, a good run wouldn’t surprise me.

Preston North End
Sam Martin, @socially_sam

This season’s Prediction: 10th

Last Season Prediction v actual position 

Last Season’s prediction – 5th. Actual finish: 14th

How would you describe last season for your club?
Lucky and unlucky. We had a very bad start to the season and for a while it didn’t look good. But we managed to turn it around and start to push for promotion. But again, we didn’t quite have a fighting finish.

Another season plagued with injuries didn’t help either.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
To remain consistent. We have been an mid-upper-table team for too long now. But we need consistent form if we are ever going to push for promotion

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We’re selling too much again and not bringing in the replacements. Callum Robinson has gone to Sheff Utd and will be a big loss. He was just starting to come good and had loads of potential. David Nugent has returned but I don’t think he will be a 20-goals-a-season replacement. But he is a fans favourite and the club needs a few experienced players around with such a young squad.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Callum Robinson was looking set to have a great season until he was injured. Player of the Year Ben Davies was solid all season. Alan Browne again was consistent and reliable.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Ben Pearson. He is a great player and 100% reliable. But because he picks up so many bookings and red cards, he never plays a full season as he is suspended every 5 to 6 games. He didn’t get to grips with his discipline issues last season and that probably cost us points.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
Very difficult to say this season. I don’t know where our star players are going to come from. Hopefully Nugent will work some magic, Person if he stays on the pitch and Browne in the middle can always be dangerous.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Probably one of the newly relegated teams from the Premier League – Fulham or Cardiff. I would say Derby but I think they are going to have lost a lot of their momentum with Lampard going.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Wigan or Blackburn Rovers

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Hopefully us

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Any of the local derby games and Fulham away is always a great awayday so happy we’ve got them back this season

What fans impressed you most last season?
Tough one. There are always the same clubs that bring a large away following which is good. But then I always admire the fans that travel all the way from the likes of Bristol on a wet Tuesday night in the middle of winter.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Injury free

Predicted league finish?
I think we are going to have a moderate season and probably finish mid table. Maybe around 10th

It all depends on injuries and if we pick up any last minute incoming players before the transfer deadline and hopefully not sell anymore!

Queens Park Rangers

Clive Whittingham, @loftforwords
Loft For Words

This season’s prediction: 16th

Last season’s prediction v actual position 

I think said 16th and we finished 19th.

But we had Steve McClaren so, you know…

How would you describe last season for your club?
Ridiculous highs and lows. Worst ever start to a league season. Mad panic at the end of the transfer window. Run of form through to Christmas that had us within four points of the play-offs.

Then off the edge of a cliff in the second half.

That plummet started with a combination of a congested fixture list coinciding with injuries coinciding with us playing the top eight in the league all at once coinciding with some very strange refereeing for which the PGMOL wrote to us and apologised.

But with confidence drained and the players run into the ground by McClaren’s stubborn team selection we were shagged by March and lost consecutive home games to Rotherham and Bolton which got him the sack.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
We’ve basically changed the entire team. Ten first teamers have gone – potentially with more to follow. A dozen have come in – again with more to follow. We also have a new manager in Mark Warburton. It’s an incredible turnover to attempt to pull off in one summer and remain competitive.

I’ll just take us staying out of trouble at this point.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
Everybody has gone. And a whole new load of everybody has come in.

It’s our first season without parachute payments and we were right on the Financial Fair Play boundary even with them. So there was a shortfall to make up which we’ve reversed by selling Luke Freeman, Darnell Furlong, Matt Smith and presumably Massimo Luongo before the window closes.

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A clutch of first-teamers have also been released at the end of their deals, including Jake Bidwell – who we couldn’t afford to keep at the silly wages we’d been paying.

In their stead, a collection of free transfers, many of whom Warburton has worked with before (stop me if you’ve heard this one before) and hopefully at some point a striker. And goalkeepers. Many, many goalkeepers for some reason.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Antoine Freezman. Player of the year by a thousand million country miles. His single-handed destruction of Leeds, denting their promotion hopes and putting some air in our tyres, a particular highlight.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
It wasn’t a who but a what. The way the season fell away from such immense promise in mid-December was alarming. I haven’t seen anything like it since that year Millwall were top at Christmas and went down.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
With several players cashed in on, we desperately need one of Ryan Manning, Ebere Eze, Ilias Chair or Bright Osayi-Samuel to develop into a £4m player for next summer when we’ll have FFP issues all over again.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Wide open this year. None of the relegated teams look all that although I think Fulham will be top six. None of the promoted teams are that good. I have a fancy for Bristol City, which probably kills them off before they’ve even started.

Warnock will have Cardiff close, because it’s Warnock.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
I think it’ll be tough for Barnsley with the players they’ve lost. I can’t believe Birmingham can keep carrying on the way they do without it catching up with them. As long as it’s not us I’m not fussed.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Bristol City.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Honestly mate they all look a bit sh!t to me. We’ve won at Nottingham Forest now so that’s done. We’re considering doing a Barnsley v QPR + Sheffield Steelers Ice Hockey double bill on the Saturday before Christmas so maybe that.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Anybody who pays the train fares charged in this country to watch this absolute dog of a league holds my admiration and pity.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Another FA Cup run. One at least half-arsed, at least half-decent striker.

Predicted league finish?

16th

Reading

Dave Harris, @handbags82
The Tilehurst End

This season’s prediction: 14th

Last season prediction v actual position 
16th predicted v 20th actual

How would you describe last season for your club?
Difficult.

Paul Clement was, predictably, a terrible appointment. Most of his signings flopped. He tinkered, chopped and changed to find a consistent formula but never found a defined style of play or consistent results.

He alienated one of our attacking powers in Mo Barrow. But when our toxic Chief Executive, Ron Gourlay, departed with Gianluca Nani (who was only in post for a matter of days) in November, it left the writing was on the wall for Clement who was one of Gourlay’s appointments.

Ex Chief executive Nigel Howe returned and, after a protracted search, Jose Gomes was appointed.

Results were slow to materialize. But an immediate shelling of perceived deadwood high earners, a positive and engaging attitude and a galvanising presence brought the club and fans closer together.

With the signings of Ejaria, Baker, Martinez, Oliveira and Miazga, the inspiration and quality was there to escape relegation.

Fairly comfortably in the end.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
Progression from two seasons of relegation battles. We’ve signed Championship quality players interspersed with significant quality to give us a competitive team.

The manager is astute and has learnt a lot from the second half of last season. We have a core squad of players who want to play for the shirt and the supporters are as united as I can remember them.

We’ll be no soft touch like a lot of last season. But if we can progress to mid-table and the youngsters develop, then this particular Royals fan will be a happy man.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
It was becoming disconcertingly worrying as, thanks to the mass overspending for the third time in six years, our squad was bloated and far too expensive with salary costs at 190% of turnover value.

FFP was on the cusp of being breached so we were placed under a soft transfer embargo – unable to sign players until contracted players were shifted.

Out of contract players were shifted like Callum Harriott. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson has signed for Millwall. Marc McNulty has signed for Sunderland on a season long loan whilst Garath McCleary and Chris Gunter were the standout names to be sidelined this summer and told to find new clubs.

Biggest surprise loss was Liam Kelly who has gone to Feyenoord on the back of two disappointing seasons – linking up with Jaap Stam again.

We’ve re-signed Matt Miazga from Chelsea, and gone for Joao Virginia from Everton, both on loan.

Charlie Adam has been given a one year deal, and Michael Morrison from Birmingham was a welcome surprise. More signings are expected to complement the midfield and up front as we look lightweight in both departments. Plenty of ins and outs though.

The side will be unrecognisable compared to this time last year.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Yakou Meite. Clement gave him his chance. He scored goals, improved throughout the season and (after choosing not to leave the club in the winter) between him and Mo Barrow, scored and created the goals to keep us in the division.

The hope is he pushes on this season. If he can keep up the form and fitness then we could be on for a 15 to 20 goal season.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Difficult to pinpoint a single player really. But Sam Baldock, a signing for a reasonable sum, wasn’t worth that outlay. He is another player who Gomes hopes to move on.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
Yakou Meite and Andy Rinomhota. Meite for his goals, Rinomhota because he’s simply mustard. A real driving force in midfield who has taken to Championship football like he belongs there.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
I got this horribly wrong last season with Stoke. But bang on the season before with Fulham. I’m finding it hard to look beyond Fulham again. They just look like they’ve got masses of goals in them.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Tough one. There’s no standout poor side. QPR though, appointed a manager who I reckon has had his 15 minutes of fame and has done nothing of note really since he left Brentford. And on top of that they lack quality across the pitch. A season of struggle beckons.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
I got this one horribly wrong as well with Ipswich last season. Given their league position the last two seasons, would Bristol City be considered a surprise package? About time they broke into the top six isn’t it? I think this is the season they finally do it.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Matchday one v Sheff Wed just to gauge just where we are in comparison to a strong Championship side.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Ipswich. Considering their position in March, their fans turned out in numbers and got behind their team regardless. Can I do a prediction for League One?

They’ll be promoted…

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
A non-entity season where we are always clear of relegation and embark on a decent cup run.

Predicted league finish?
14th

And if by some miracle we reach top six, we’ll be outmuscled by one of the big spenders in the semi’s

Sheffield Wednesday

James Marriott, @JamesMarriott
Singing The Blues Podcast

This season’s Prediction: 6th

Last season prediction v actual position 
8th v 12th

How would you describe last season for your club?
A season of two halves – we were a mess under Jos Luhukay but then stabilised under Steve Bruce. Overall, bang average.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
A few weeks ago it all seemed promising – Bruce was addressing the imbalance in the squad and the plan seemed to be coming together.

Now everything’s up the air. My hope for the season is to see the recovery continue under a new manager. A top six finish would be amazing

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We’re under a soft embargo (again) and so just three arrivals all on frees.

No sign of imminent ongoings which is an issue as we need to shift a few players, especially strikers

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Michael Hector on loan from Chelsea was a rock

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Jos Luhukay

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
If Matt Penney gets a good run in the team we could see what he can really do. The lad’s definitely got talent

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
So hard to predict this season. Erm, Derby?

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Newcastle 😉

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Honest answer – Brentford

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
This season it’s Luton – because I’ve never been – and Brentford to say farewell to Griffin Park which holds fond memories

What fans impressed you most last season?
Villa and West Brom

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Jordan Rhodes bagging 30 before Christmas… or I’d settle for a Director of Football position being created at Wednesday

Predicted league finish?
It’s such an open league and we’ve looked good in pre-season. Sod it, let’s say 6th and sneaky play-off promotion.

Stoke City

Ben Rowley, @benarowley
The YYY-Files

This season’s Prediction: 2nd

Last Season Prediction v actual position
Duck fanzine predicted 5th. Actual position – 16th

How would you describe last season for your club?
A downright failure – plain and simple. Having recruited (seemingly) brilliantly after being relegated from the top flight, Gary Rowett’s and Stoke’s plan did not come to the fore.

For whatever reason(s), many fans of Stoke and other Championship clubs were surprised to see Stoke waltz win the league.

I bet the amount of people who thought they would have finished in the bottom half would have fitted in a small pub. Emotionally, fans finally lost their rag with the entirety of Stoke’s setup and the regime had to change.

After years of being told “everything will be fine”, Stoke fans were brought firmly back down to earth with a rather sharp bump.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
Promotion has to be the aim once again – however it comes. We still have an excellent squad and an exciting manager who seems to be taking us places.

Having said that, I just want us to put up more of a fight than we did last season. We lacked any personality or optimism and both need to return this season if the club wants its fans onside again.

Embarrassing home defeats and binary score-lines will only end one way for the Stoke hierarchy.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
A wholesale change was needed and it’s a wholesale change we’re getting. We only seem to be releasing players who’ve not been welcome at the club for a long time and, at the time of writing, there’s been no serious offers for even our most talented of players.

Our incomings have been necessary – albeit not particularly stunning. We require certain players to suit Jones’ system and need to regain the type of characters that made Stoke successful in the first place.

There’s still time for a few notable ins and outs. The club seemingly hasn’t finished this window yet.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

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Peter Etebo. The one player we signed last summer who truly shone in the Championship. An athletic, strong player who provided glimpses of flair and weighed in with a couple of goal contributions too.

At 23 years old, he will only get better and I fully expect him to be Nathan Jones’ go-to guy in a four man midfield.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
With so many player disappointments, it’s hard to name one. But Gary Rowett epitomised everything that went wrong for Stoke. Having started out with optimism (almost arrogance), it crumbled into excuses, nervousness and sly digs at the fans all very quickly.

He was meant to be the one to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity for him and Stoke City. It wasn’t entirely his fault. But he’ll admit himself he must attribute a lot of the blame.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
Nick Powell has been excellent in pre-season – providing everything that Stoke has been missing over the last couple of years. Inventiveness. Flair. Confidence. He’ll help us to score more goals than last season, no doubt, and he’s certainly a headline-grabber. 

Having done so well with Wigan, you could expect him to perform even better with a (debatably) stronger squad around him.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Leeds. I didn’t expect Bielsa to stay and he will learn from last season’s mistakes. If they don’t win it, I’d bet my life on them making the top six.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Sorry Millwall, but I’m surprised you didn’t go last season.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
This may be a popular choice (and therefore not a surprise packet at all), but Luton. The club seem to have continued building on the foundations our current manager laid during his time there.

If they keep doing what they were doing when they were one of the highest goal-scorers in England, they’ll be alright… maybe better than alright!

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
It’s a tough question. But I wonder how the Leeds/Derby affair will propagate from their spat last season.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Birmingham fans I remember being really loud down at our place. Maybe it was the history with Rowett. But they stick out from last season the most.

The flare on the pitch was a bit stupid, mind.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
A fan zone. Or anything to do outside the stadium on a match day would be genuinely lovely. Failing that, winning the play-offs will do.

Predicted league finish?
Screw it: 2nd, going down to the final day. We never do it the easy way.

Swansea City

Steven Carroll, @StevenSOS1987
SOS Fanzine 

This season’s prediction: 13th

Last season prediction v actual position
Predicted position – 13th. Actual position – 10th

How would you describe last season for your club? 

On the pitch quite positive. 10th place and down to the last eight in the cup playing the way that made us successful was more than we could have hoped for.

Plus we had the added bonus of our young players shining. Off the pitch, not so great with many players leaving for a fraction of their value and disaster owners who are deeply unpopular.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season? 

More of the same. But with a couple of additions a play-off push could be in reach. However if we sell a couple of players, we could be in trouble.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
Only two new signings thus far. Brentford former left back Jake Bidwell and centre half Ben Wilmot on loan. Dan James has left along with the likes of Leroy Fer and Martin Olsson who were released.

We’re still a few players short

Who was your biggest hero last season? 


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Oli McBurnie. 20 plus goals and a real fans’ favourite. Without him we would have struggled.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Barrie McKay. He impressed on his debut at Sheffield United but did hardly anything else after that.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
McBurnie if he stays is the obvious one. Bersant Celina is our other main threat. Hopefully more players are coming!

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Cardiff because I’m awful at betting so if I put that money down it would harm their chances!

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Barnsley are a team I can see struggling.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Good question. No one stands out for me. Hopefully us

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Cardiff because it’s been over five years

What fans impressed you most last season?
Leeds always travel well and make plenty of noise.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
A new goalkeeper because we need one badly.

Predicted league finish?
Tough to answer before window shuts. But I’ll say 13th again.

West Bromwich Albion

Wayne Gordon, @AllAlbion

This season’s Prediction: 2nd

Last Season Prediction v actual position
Fair play Nathan Carr predicted position – 3rd. Actual position – 3rd

How would you describe last season for your club?
Frustrating. It always felt like we were capable of more and rarely saw it come together over a consistent period. Our longest winning run was just three games. This alone highlights the issues we had with consistency.

Although we were in the thick of the promotion race for the majority of the season there was always a feeling that the others were a step ahead of us.

Coming off the back of the Tony Pulis era and the less said about Alan Pardew the better, it was a breath of fresh air to see us playing entertaining football with plenty of goals. Defensive failures ultimately cost us too many points but we were nothing if not unpredictable.

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
Promotion. It’s as simple as that. We know that the best chance we have of returning to the Premier League comes in the few seasons immediately following relegation. This division can swallow up teams that struggle to adapt quickly, teams such as Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.

We don’t want to be in that situation.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?
We’ve lost a large portion of last seasons squad, though most were returning loanees, most notably Dwight Gayle and Mason Holgate. Key players Craig Dawson and Jay Rodriguez have been sold to Premier League sides and Salomon Rondon has been sold too.

We’ve been very smart with our incoming transfers so far this summer. Young, low cost players that know the division have come into the squad. Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff, Semi Ajayi from Rotherham and Darnell Furlong from QPR are all in their mid-20s with their best football ahead of them.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Dwight Gayle. He scored 23 goals last season and created a tremendous partnership with Jay Rodriguez. It’s no secret that Gayle is a good player at this level but watching him terrify defenders week in week out is a sight to behold.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Craig Dawson. He made it public that he wanted to leave last summer and it was evident that he went into full tantrum mode when he was made to stay.

He didn’t play anywhere near the level we know he is capable of and looked very disinterested.

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?

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Kyle Edwards. He broke into the squad and started to show flashes of quality towards the end of last season. One of many academy graduates that look promising, I think Kyle will play a large part in this campaign.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Fulham. They have an attacking front three that are more than capable of tearing teams apart at this level. They’ll almost certainly be there or there about come crunch time.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
QPR. They’ve added a number of new faces this summer but it all seems very much of the same old. Nothing I’ve seen so far has convinced me that they are anything other than relegation candidates.

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Charlton Athletic. They’ve made some clever moves in the transfer market and I can see them causing a fair few upsets this season.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Birmingham City. Our only local derby this season. The atmosphere is always spine tingling when the neighbours come to visit.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Sheffield United. They came to The Hawthorns in February for a fight between two promotion contenders. On the field they neutralised us and in the stand they never stopped singing. Come full time they knew the result was massive for them and they just got louder. They were certainly impressive.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
A prolific striker. We lost 45 goals this summer with Gayle (23) returning to Newcastle and Rodriguez (22) signing for Burnley. That’s a lot to replace and so anyone that can get near that is a must. Preferably that would be the return of Dwight Gayle himself though that looks unlikely.

Predicted league finish?
2nd. Slaven Bilić is a major coup for us and so far we’ve held onto a few key players – most notably Ahmed Hegazi, Kieran Gibbs and Matt Phillips.

Hungry young players added to our pool of talented academy graduates and has given us an exiting squad. It may take time to click but once it does, we’ll be strong.

Wigan Athletic

Adam Pendlebury, @PWUPodcast
PWU Podcast

This season’s prediction: 10th

Last season prediction v actual position
One of my PWU colleagues predicted 14th. Actual position – 18th

How would you describe last season for your club?
Last season was quite pleasing. The aim of consolidation in the championship was achieved with the help of a fantastic home record. Even the away form picked up in the last month!

What are your hopes for 2019-20 season?
To finish in the top half of the championship.

How are you getting on in the transfer market?

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I think OK is the best word to describe it. Antonee Robinson, Lewis Macleod and David Marshall will all add quality to the match day squad. Not too concerned about the release of fringe players. But clearly, the quality of Nick Powell and Reece James needs replacing.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Reece James

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Callum McManaman

Which of your players should we most be looking out for?
Gavin Massey

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Fulham

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Charlton

What team is going to be win the Ian Holloway trophy and be the surprise packet this season?
Barnsley

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Away at Luton. The only Championship ground I haven’t been to

What fans impressed you most last season?
Norwich City

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
To see a Championship Away win. I haven’t seen one since January 2017

Predicted league finish?

10th

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About The Author

BillytheBee Grant

Following Brentford for 30 years plus now .. write .. blog .. videoblog .. podcast ... photograph ...eat .. sleep .. Brentford .. am known to attend the occasional England match too (12 tournaments now) so am hardened to failure ... On the board and national council of the Football Supporters Federation. ... organised husky dog racing for a living back in the day ... as you do .. You don't wanna go up!!

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