The Football League in 2011 - A review of the 72: Part 2 of 2
Happy New Year’s Eve – here’s part two of The Seventy Two’s review of the Football League in 2011 through further reading. A bit like those episodes of Friends or The Simpsons which were just clips of previous shows, essentially. But then by the time you read this I’ll be in north Wales taking a hard-earned break and you might be bored and in need of something to read. Have a great night!
The second half of the year began with Joel Clyne’s look at a Nottingham Forest exit from a Derby County perspective, giving an interesting angle on the departure of Billy Davies.
The majority of July was taken up by the league ladder series which gave a collectively predicted Championship table which was recently revisited as we reach the halfway point in the season.
The lack of original pieces in July is easily explained – I spent most of the summer, it seemed at the time, collating this rather comprehensive season preview along with that other Football League blog The Two Unfortunates. Worth a look to see how your side is faring compared with the predictions offered by one of your fellow supporters.
The following day saw an intelligent piece of foresight from Nottingham Forest supporter Steve Wright on whether his club were right to be making prudent plans for the future.
There was also a fantastic historical piece from Rob Doolan on the fascinating tale of Birmingham City and the battle of Ancona as Blues limbered up for their Europa League campaign.
In light of new-look Doncaster’s 2-1 victory over Leicester last weekend, this post from Leicester fan Duncan Harmon on why he wanted Donny’s previous incarnation to beat his side is worth bringing back too.
The highlight of September was Media Week, seven days of posts featuring some of the best writers around. I’ve picked out my favourite three – Andi Thomas’s dissection of the Premier League’s attitude towards newly-promoted teams, Gavin Barber’s hilarious rant at the national media’s portrayal of Ipswich Town and Glen Wilson’s word-perfect analysis of the BBC’s Football League Show.
The month was rounded off by a couple of celebrations – Stephen Marshall enjoyed the day when Derby County only needed ten men to beat bitter rivals Nottingham Forest and I revelled in a crazy night of Championship results, the most stupendous of which was Crystal Palace’s unlikely 3-1 triumph on their own derby day at the early pace-setters Brighton and Hove Albion.
October was a controversial month, taking in the question of foreign television rights in the Premier League and the advent of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP). In answer to these issues, I wondered aloud whether Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre’s intentions could be good for English football, Adam Bushby from Magic Spongers wrote an enlightening piece about EPPP which offered an alternative to the plan before I went a bit off the wall with this reworking of the theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to address the issue of EPPP.
Away from controversy, I also paid tribute to how Peterborough United’s nobodies were proving everybody wrong and gave an opinion on why Sven-Goran Eriksson failed at Leicester City after the Swede’s sacking at the King Power Stadium.
October ended with Blackpool fan Chris Walker’s interesting perspective on Ian Holloway’s transfer policy, which I had to title ‘Donkey Dodging’.
As we headed into winter, it seemed apt to watch the BBC’s stunning Frozen Planet series with a woolly football hat on. This bizarro-world was the result.
I also got a bit emotional about the return of Nigel Pearson to Leicester City and took a look at the contrasting fortunes of former Football League players Darren Pratley and Chris Eagles at their new club Bolton Wanderers. I then confessed my Leeds United-related sympathies.
There was something about 22nd November that made The Seventy Two want to delve into the depths of the foot of League Two. That day saw both this post on a new low for Plymouth Argyle and Haydon Spenceley’s glimpse of life for Northampton Town after their 7-2 defeat to Shrewsbury Town in caretaker manager David Lee’s only match in charge.
November came to a close with a long-awaited celebration of Southampton’s ability to rack up points at home, something of a curse given that they then lost their 100% record in their next game at St Mary’s.
December has, of course, been dominated by the 25 Best Players in the Championship series.
Having already been labelled the best team in the Championship at one stage, Ipswich Town subsequently found themselves among the worst teams in the division – much to Gavin Barber’s horror.
Joel Clyne then returned to a familiar theme at Derby County, for whom stability is coming at a cost.
The year is coming to an end with some general nonsense, including whether celebrating the best players in the Championship is a rarity and an alternative Championship league table for the calendar year.
It just remains to say thank you to anyone who has contributed, shared or simply read something on these pages this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and there will be plenty more next year.