League 1

oldham

Oldham Athletic 0 v Wigan Athletic 2

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Oldham Athletic and Wigan Athletic have both fallen on relatively hard times as of late and find themselves at opposite ends of League One.



Oldham, under Joe Royle, were one of the founding clubs of the Premier League in 1992-1993 and Wigan won the FA Cup as recently as 2013, the year the club were also relegated to the Championship.

Is this Tranmere Rovers Vintage the Real Deal?

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The general disbelief at Tranmere Rovers' spectacular beginning to 2012-13 has all the same brought with it a highly pleasurable set of sensations – with most onlookers happily surprised at the Wirral's finest's unbeaten start and clear lead in League 1. Even the manager himself has seemed perplexed infront of the microphone– for while clearly confident in his players' abilities, he is aware as anyone of the limitations placed on a club of Tranmere's size by budget and resources.

League 2

Another set of half-baked proposals from the Football League

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Two summers ago, I stood on the stoop of a pub in Oxford and was interviewed over the telephone by the We Are Going Up podcast about the proposals to introduce reserve teams of Premier League clubs into the Football League.

Met with a volley of outbursts and snorts as it was, the idea was given short shrift in most quarters (aside from Mark Warburton – a man who .

We Are Going Up! Interview: Podcasting the Football League

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[H]aving made a number of appearances on podcasts in recent years including Two Footed Tackle andThe Tilehurst End, our founder writers Lloyd and Lanterne Rouge are perhaps inclined to go in the corner and hide, such are the demands of stationing oneself behind the microphone. Hence, we are in admiration of anyone who has stuck at it, let alone done it really well indeed.

Alcohol and Football: It’s Time To Let Football Fans Enjoy A Drink

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[S]o many aspects of modern football are nonsensical. The vast web of ethical and logistical issues surrounding the inherently flawed decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is a topical example. So, too, the negligence of so many directors in steering their clubs headlong into financial catastrophe, despite fully understanding the risk they take in offering players wages that far exceed their clubs' ability to generate revenue.

Book Review: Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters

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Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters by Daniel Gray Published by Bloomsbury 2013, £12.99 ... [A]t times reading Daniel Gray's Hatters, Railwaymen and Knitters is, despite the ugliness of the title, a joyous experience; an author who clearly enjoys using language talking with warmth and wit about football, people and social history.

Academies and the EPPP: Can the Footballing Authorities Do More?

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[T]wenty one months ago, we relaunched a redesign of our site with a post from John McGee on the Elite Player Performance Plan - still to this day one of most talked about and read articles. However, coverage of the EPPP has been greatly diminished in recent months and a degree of normality has settled in.

The Two Unfortunates/Cult Zeros Crossword Winner

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[W]e are very pleased to announce the winner of The Two Unfortunates/Cult Zeros Cryptic Crossword competition which we launched in April. Although it took our co-founder Lanterne Rouge four months to complete a mere quarter of the puzzle and fellow blogger Lloyd completely unable to answer a single clue, we are pleased that Jamie Upton was far more fleeted in the brain matter stakes – and Jamie is our worthy winner.

2012-13: An Elegy

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[H]aving seen our original brief cast asunder when one of our teams was promoted to the Premier League a year ago, equilibrium has been restored and it's with a mood of keen anticipation that we look forward to blogging about the Football League and other topics in the new season. For now, however, we have decided to sign off for a month's rest - but not before Steve Wright of the Nottingham Forest blog Mist Rolling in from the Trent supplies us with a few final words as well as a note of hope for the future.

A Football League SWOT Analysis: The Threats

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[T]he stethoscope we have applied to the Football League over the past week has revealed a not altogether satisfactory heartbeat and the fact that the weaknesses section of our study has been easily the most read does indicate that there is concern for the competition's health among supporters.

A Football League SWOT Analysis: The Weaknesses

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[O]f course by its very definition the Football League is weak – comparatively. While it's true that West Ham and Southampton skilfully negotiated the step up to the Premier League this past year, both enjoyed wage structures and transfer budgets way beyond the scope of second tier clubs. Yesterday's opening post on thisfour day SWOT analysis salvo perhaps painted too rosy a picture of the League's attributes.

A Football League SWOT Analysis: The Strengths

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[A]s the three divisions of the Football League steel themselves for life without npower and this website prepares for a month long summer break, we thought it would be appropriate to give the competition as a whole a health check, minus thermometers, but deploying that now established method of the SWOT analysis – beloved of the world of Business but pretty much applicable for any large organisation.

Sponsoring the Football League: A Short History

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[W]hat's in it for them is a commonquery that springs to mind when assessing football sponsorship and indeed, since the financial crisis of 2008 kicked in, one might ask the question more forcibly? Why did Coca-Cola, for instance, feel that a wet Tuesday evening encounter between Crawley and Stevenage or a juddering tackle from Stephen Hunt would help them sell more bottles and cans of their precious elixir?

Once More Unto the Breach: The Football League Season Draws to a Conclusion

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[T]onight, Watford travel to Leicester City at the onset of a nail biting weekend of Football League fixtures. With a great many issues still hanging in the balance, our two founding bloggers, Lloyd and Lanterne Rouge convened to discuss the prospects: ... Lanterne Rouge: As a Plymouth fan, you've mentioned to me that you are still worried about the drop - it's quite possible mathematically but will take a chain reaction of perhaps sub-nuclear proportions for Argyle to go down to the Football League.

The Football League Awards and Fried Egg Sandwiches

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[H]aving somewhat nervously accepted an invitation to Sunday Night's Football League Awards, my tension was only heightened as I negotiated a cabal of smartly turned out livery men to enter into the Xanadu like surrounds of mega-venue The Brewery, at the heart of the City of London, a few paces south of hip Whitecross Street.

Top 5 Unheralded Managers in the Football League

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[W]ith the managerial merry-go-round operating at warp speed over the Christmas break, and the recruitment seemingly limited to just Michael Appleton and Sean O'Driscoll, we thought that it was time that some of the lesser-touted managers of the Football League received some attention. Many readers will no doubt want to nominate other deserving individuals, but, to get things started, here is our list of five gaffers achieving great results with limited resources.

Blogging the Football League

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In the summer of 2011, we clubbed together with the now sadly retired The Seventy Two and decided to create The Football League Blog Network. This allowed for links of the best club blogs covering the NPower League to be gathered together in one place. Blogging is rarely, if ever, a full time occupation and finding the time to maintain a website can be difficult.

Stepping up: negotiating a multi-division jump

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[W]andering around Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in a jet-lagged haze last November, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a club shop selling merchandise for an English football team. Nothing too surprising in that, you might think - after all, the Premier League is hugely popular in South East Asia, and we had been welcomed to Thailand by Singha Beer in association with Chelsea and on our drive into the city centre were confronted with tower-block-high adverts featuring Wayne Rooney's pasty bonce.

MK Dons

TTU Go Predicting: A Club-by-Club League 1 Preview 2014-5

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[W]hen asked by the esteemed editors of this site to compile a preview to the League One season I had to first humbly remind them that my own team, Carlisle United, were cruelly and indignantly relegated to League Two at the end of last year. There followed a degree of brow furrowing consternation before an uttered agreement that 'I'd do'.

TTU Go Predicting: A Club-by-Club League 1 Preview 2014-5

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[W]hen asked by the esteemed editors of this site to compile a preview to the League One season I had to first humbly remind them that my own team, Carlisle United, were cruelly and indignantly relegated to League Two at the end of last year. There followed a degree of brow furrowing consternation before an uttered agreement that 'I'd do'.

Things to do in Milton Keynes when You’re Dead Bored

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[O]n Saturday, I found myself in the vicinity of Stadium: MK in advance of the League One fixture between Milton Keynes Dons and Preston North End. As we have discussed before, paying £20 to enter the arena is no more of an option than inviting Keith O'Brien to take control of a kindergarten, so I was left with an afternoon to twiddle my thumbs.

Preston

Which of Brentford’s Players Will Step Up?

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[H]aving recently conducted a player by player analysis of Leicester City's readiness for Premier League football, it's clear that the exercise is a markedly different one when it comes to the process of transition lower down the pyramid. Take League One – a division that has been fearsomely tough this year, with six teams dominating to the degree that the points total enjoyed by Preston North End would have been enough to challenge for the verytitle in League 2.

Graham Westley and Stevenage Are Not Disappearing Yet

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[I]in a fascinating article in the most recent issue of The Blizzard , one which largely debunks the idea that football has any real likeness to the game of chess, Scott Oliver bemoans ‘the obsessive measurement of atomised players' individual contributions' measured by way of ‘output', suitable perhaps ‘for ‘the neoliberal market' but not for ‘the socialist midfield'.

Eye Witness Assessment: Leyton Orient and Preston’s Summit Meeting

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[A]t the start of the 2012-13 season, blogger Chris Lines posited the theory that that year's League One title might be there for the taking and a shot shy Sheffield United, a Doncaster which bounced back far more easily than one might have expected and a Tranmere team that simply fell off a cliff did help the divisionlive up to that billing.

Can Simon Grayson make it Four Promotions?

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[L]eague One still hurts for Preston North End supporters. Although current travails don't come close to the dark days of the 1980s when the club flirted alternately with going out of the league and out of business altogether, a fanbase reared on the successes of the David Moyes era, not to mention the enduring legacy of the Invincibles, are very unwilling to accept the third level as their place in the natural order of things.

Pompey’s Revival is Likely to be in Vain

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[O]n the qualified basis of the League One table alone, Portsmouth Football Club are upwardly mobile enough to consider survival a possibility as the season enters its final months. On Good Friday, I had the pleasure of witnessing the new Pompey in the flesh on a skin-chafing afternoon at Deepdale.

Colchester United Look to Chelsea for a Few Favours

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[I] was on a training course last week and amid the strains of FreeLove Freeway, one nugget of wisdom stood out – apparently, it's unfashionable these days to recruit an expensive new CEO from elsewhere as empirical evidence shows promoting from within often bears better results. I'm in no position to refute this thinking and this season's Football League skirmishes have been characterized by a recruitment policy that is fully in keeping with these straitened times.

Have Coventry City said Goodbye to the Ricoh?

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"Earthling Borough? Does that mean we've been playing on the Planet Zog these past few years?" The Coventry City fan who asked this question may well have enquired. The suggestion that the club could up sticks to play their home matches at Nene Park in Irthlingborough, once home of Rushden & Diamonds, 45 miles distant, has brought to a head the sorry tale of the Ricoh Arena.

Preston North End and the Compensations of New Towns

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Today we welcome When Saturday Comes author Jo Breen, a former season ticket holder at Bohemians 1905 in the Czech Republic and the first Preston North End follower to write for this site. On Saturday, Jo made the trip from her home on the Grand Union Canal towitness Graham Westley's return to the club which he did so much to build: Since moving to Milton Keynes I've found there are some towns where I've been to see North End play (Coventry and Leicester, for example) that previously I'd not really thought were particularly glamorous.

Swindon Town, Sheffield United and Financial Fair Play

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Perhaps the most significant occurrence of these early weeks of the 2012-13 season has been the transfer embargo imposed upon Swindon Town after the Robins became the first to fall foul of the new League 1 directives that a club's fees and wages should not exceed 65% of its turnover. You'll recall that a transfer tribunal's insistence that a combined £340,000 be coughed up for James Collins and Troy Archibald-Henville has tipped Swindon above the limit, much to the chagrin of their manager whose name escapes me for the moment.

Finances

How Swindon Town’s Link with Tottenham is Starting to Divide

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[W]e live in an era where the inviolable independence of football clubs is starting to become a thing of the past. After our recent examination of Charlton Athletic's Belgian connection, guest writer Alex Cooke turns his attention to the somewhat looser but still significant link between Swindon Town and Tottenham Hotspur.

Coventry City Face Up To Another Year in the Third Tier

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[W]hen, in March 2013, Coventry City left the Ricoh Arena in what, in hindsight, resembled Walter White's frantic attempts to gather his dirty money and bury it in the desert before Hank could reach it in the final season of Breaking Bad, it seemed almost inconceivable that the club's absence from its purpose-built stadium could be truly long-term.

burnley

Reminders of the Redknapp Era at AFC Bournemouth

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[E]ddie Howe's surprise return to Bournemouth at the back end of 2012 soon developed into a major exception to the ‘never go back' rule. Heavily bankrolled by League 1 standards, the Cherries cut a swathe through the upper reaches of the division and more than a few commentators were starting to regard one of the promotion places as tied up and dusted.

Can the rule of Laws be re-established at Scunthorpe United?

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On Tuesday, two goals from Niall Canavan helped bring about one of the most surprising results of the Football League season, Scunthorpe United travelling to Walsall and returning to Lincolnshire with a franklyinexplicable 4-1 victory. Here, Max Bell assesses the recentchangeover in managerial power at Glanford Park and the return of Brian Laws.

Brentford

Brentford are Aiming to be the Pride of West London

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On Sunday, Brentford were left with the acutely tantalising knowledge that a win over Southend in their FA Cup reply will mean a visit from locals rivals Chelsea in Round 4, but having assessed the Bees in the wake of their victory over Boreham Wood in the Autumn, it's really the League that is beginning to get the club's fans excited.

A More Consistent Brentford Can Challenge

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One perhaps expected more of Brentford Football Club this season. Clubs that finish comfortably in upper mid table in any given previous year can often be expected to be amid the following's challengers, untarred as they by the close miss of a play-off disappointment or the departure of players who have caught the eye via multiple television appearances.

The Rest

Promotion-chasing Blackburn banker material at 4/5 in acid test for Mowbray

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It’s been a difficult few years for Blackburn Rovers’ fans, although there are signs that the club is finally back on an upward curve.

Much has been written about Venky’s disastrous ownership of Rovers, but their appointment of Tony Mowbray as manager appears to have steadied a ship that looked a bit of a lost cause not that long ago.

Chris Kiwomya: a Chapter to Forget at Notts County

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[O]n appointing Chris Kiwomya to the hot seat at Notts County in the Spring, club chairman Ray Trew emphasized that this decision was taken with the future very much in mind: ‘When making this appointment we were looking for someone who could realise our long-term vision for the club, someone that we could work with to bring progressive success alongside the development of young, home-grown talent from our successful youth set-up'.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani: The World’s Deadliest Strike Partnership

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Every season, there continues to be a debate over what team has the deadliest strike partnership. While many are convinced that the days of a two striker formation are numbered, they seem to be proven wrong on occasion by a handful of exceptionally talented players who just cant stop scoring regardless of the league they play in.

Barbarism Begins Online: Football Trolling Gathers Pace

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[A] few days ago I had the pleasure of hearing a short speech from the great socialist doyen and one-time Labour cabinet minister, Tony Benn. In his address, he harked back to his time as the Government's Minister for Technology, noting a definition of the concept offered to him by a colleague upon his appointment.