Three Surprise Relegation Candidates

Posted by on Oct 12, 2010 in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It’s said that the table never lies and, prompted by the circumspection of the yawning international break, that 10/11 game mark can be prophetic indeed. Portsmouth have shown enough vim in recent weeks, plus enough converted cash, to hint that their current position is a false one, and Sven should steer the Good Ship Leicester to safety, no matter how rockingly hilarious it would be should be fail to do so; but, across the divisions, there are clubs whose fortunes seem already engulfed in quicksand.
Take Bristol City, still not recovered from a terror show of a first week – defeat at the hands of newly promoted tyros Millwall and then the departure of the Quiet One Steve; optimism has fizzled out and David James left preening. One might have expected the Palace, after their narrow escape, and Preston to struggle, but the Robins were among the pre-season favourites. A bitter battle over a new stadium has been plagued by nimbyism (not untypical in the oval chasing Sou’West) and results have been simply horrid. The break will have been welcomed by Keith Millen after Norwich plundered both three goals and points nine days ago now – City are staring into the mire.
In League 1, it’s Brentford who are perplexingly propping up the pack. The Bees seem to have forgotten how to fight – their recent reverse at the Orient an example of deflating times. With Łukasz FabiaÅ„ski rumoured to be on the point of dislodging Manuel Almunia for good at Arsenal, the informed might actually place their options on another Pole, Wojciech SzczÄ™sny. Inspired between the uprights for Brentford last year, he’s now gone, along with the dozen or so points he probably saved. Andy Scott seemed to walk on surf for three years – he’ll need everything to pull the Griffin Park club out of this slump.
Brentford’s one high point of a start lacking in confidence was a triumph over Everton in the League Cup. With Reading and Liverpool vanquished, Northampton Town will appreciate that feeling – but they’ll also not like occupying the twenty second spot in League 2 one bit. Having nervously glanced over their shoulders as the only two sides now beneath them battled it out at Underhill recently, they now take on a Hereford United side and new caretaker boss Jamie Pitman. Andy Holt’s assertion that players are quicker than officials has to be up there with the quotes of the season so far and his description of “lightning fast” League Two players will have most scratching their heads. After losing to Macclesfield and Cheltenham, Cobblers need to focus.

Rob Langham
Rob Langham is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 50 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.


  1. Lloyd
    October 12, 2010

    Must admit that the Robins are looking pretty ropey; they remind me of the position that Argyle were in last year. You're absolutely spot on to point out the effects of the ongoing stadium issues; we ourselves have a similar problem down in Devon. See here for a good PAFC related piece.

    The David James fiasco also seems to be having an effect, and it's telling that Jon Stead and Jamal Campbell-Ryce were both in the XI that lost to Norwich. Their quality isn't in doubt, but maybe the reasonable form of their ex-sides since their departures is no coincidence?

    It's still early days, but trips to Cardiff and QPR during the next three games are a tough ask for a struggling side.

  2. Lanterne Rouge
    October 12, 2010

    Ouch – that's a nasty fixture list – City need to be careful not to be cut adrift.

  3. mirkobolesan
    October 13, 2010

    Cardiff City vs Bristol City will see Craig Bellamy lining up against David James.

    Wonder what odds you'd have had on that at the end of last season?

  4. Stanley
    October 14, 2010

    Shame to see that, after a brief absence from the country, Brentford are still carrying League 1 on their shoulders. Not sure that the addition of Lewis Grabban on loan will do much to improve matters either. Pacey (an attribute to which neither Gary Alex nor Charlie Mac can lay claim) but his `potential' has long since become a joke at the Den.


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