A Week in the Football League
With all eyes previously on Capello & Co, the national team’s Bloemfontein humbling has been something of a catalyst for the start of the new 2010/11 Football League season. Weeks gone by have generated next to no news for those of us more interested in what’s going on at Crewe or Watford than seeing James Corden wriggle his way into Jermaine Defoe’s affection, but these past seven days have witnessed a real surge in Football League activity.
Since the nationals are still firmly focused on the World Cup, I only had BBC Sport’s “News in Brief” page on the Red Button for company whilst holidaying in the Lake District, but there were some vintage stories worth retelling to anyone who cared to listen. In no particular order, I was dumbfounded by Nigel Pearson’s “will he, won’t he” sideways slide to heavily indebted Hull; intrigued by how good Andrew Driver might be if Burnley viewed the signature of Ross Wallace as a Plan B; and mildly irritated at the pace at which Sheffield Wednesday’s preparations are shaping up. With most of the deadwood already shipped out, Alan Irvine wasn’t messing around when he claimed his patched up squad would be comfortable in the Championship.
Elsewhere, it was a relief to see the end of the saga that was Barnet winger Albert Adomah’s departure from Underhill. Following several years of tiresome leaks to the media from his agent, the ex-Harrow Borough man has finally found a Championship manager willing to give him an opportunity at a higher level: step forward Steve Coppell. Going in the opposite direction at Ashton Gate this week was that slightly awkward-looking centre-half Jamie McCombe, who joined Lee Croft in signing for ambitious Huddersfield. The subject of a post on The Seventy Two, a new Football League blog, the Terriers have shown their hand well before the season’s beginning.
I was joined by a Brighton-supporting in-law on my trip northwards, so the final word goes to their quietly impressive start under new manager Gus Poyet. The Montevidean may have seemed desperate after being linked to all and sundry before securing the Albion job in November, but after comfortably keeping the Seagulls up last term it would be no surprise to see them challenging in the top six next time around. This past week has seen plenty of comings and goings at the Withdean: Liam Dickinson defied a recent assessment by fellow Unfortunate Scarf as a player whose ceiling is League 2 by joining Barnsley; Poyet and coach Mauricio Taricco’s South American scouting trip yielded its first crop; Matt Sparrow arrived from poor old Scunthorpe; and the volume was turned up on the club’s pursuit of Swindon mainstay Gordon Greer.
And that’s just the stuff that I can remember. Keep an eye out for similar reaction and comment over the next five weeks as The Two Unfortunates builds towards the beginning of the new season.