6 questions for a Barnsley fan

By now you should know the drill: I ask the fan of our opposition 6 intensely searching questions so you know what to expect for the game ahead. Barnsley fan Liam Dyson was generous enough to answer my questions. Follow him on twitter @weststandbogs

1)After joining us in the survival party on the final day of last season, what are your hopes for the year ahead?

If you’d have asked me this at 2.50pm on August 3rd I’d have said mid table, a continuation of the amazing work Flitcroft did in the second half of last season and more of the same graft, hard work and good football we saw from a small squad.

However, after conceding 10 goals in our last 2 games I’m just hoping we manage to keep a clean sheet and manage to get a free kick in the opponents half before Christmas.

2)Do you have the right manager?
I think so. You don’t get the results and performances Flitcroft did without having something about you. However, it’s his first job, he’s going to make mistakes and is at the minute. I’ve still no doubt we’ll come good. I hope.

3)Who is your best player/one to watch?
Jacob Mellis. One of the only players in our squad that has any sort of quality. When he plays well, we do. There’s also Tomasz Cwyka or ‘Polish Tom’ that scores a few goals off the bench and always looks tricky despitr never starting games. After that we’ve got plenty of grafters but David Perkins stands out above the majority. And not because he’s an albino.

4)Which player is stealing a living?
I wouldn’t like to say…but I don’t particularly rate Tom Kennedy, our left back/centre half/quarterback as he’s known to our gaffer.

5)Any Huddersfield players who cause you concern?
Adam Hammill. Quality player on his day and I’ve no doubt we’ll give him the freedom of Oakwell to produce some of the stuff he did quite regularly for us.

Do you have a prediction?
6. 1-0 Barnsley. Or 6-1 Huddersfield

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6 questions for a Bournemouth fan

Thanks to @AFCBTony for these answers
1)After promotion last season, what are your expectations for the season ahead?

Massively looking forward to the season, we haven’t been in the second tier since 1990, so it’s a big deal for us. Given the size and quality of our squad, I think most fans would expect us to stay up. Think we’ll be fine at home, but will find it much harder on our travels (already lost 6-1 at a very good Watford side). Maybe 14th or 15th would be a decent effort. That said if we are doing OK at Christmas and our owner dips his hand in his pocket, maybe 10th…

2)Do you have the right manager?

Without a doubt. I doubt there is another club in the 92 with a more popular manager than Sir Eddie Howe…kept us in the Football League and has got us promoted twice. A legend as a player and a legend as gaffer.

3)Who’s your best player/one to watch?

Our left-back Charlie Daniels is pound for pound our best player for me. Solid defensively and loves to bomb forward. I really rate him and if he has another good season at Championship level, he could get picked up by a bigger club

4) Which player is stealing a living?

Wes Thomas…didn’t want to know last season, went out on loan to all and sundry…yet no one’s come in for him and it looks as if Eddie’s giving him a chance. He can’t hit a cow’s backside with the proverbial banjo…

5)Which Huddersfield player causes you concern?

Looks like Town have bought well, James Vaughan is an obvious threat and I know a lot of Watford fans rated Hogg

6) What’s your prediction?

We’ve had some decent games with Town over the years, there’s usually goals, I’m saying 2-2

Top 10 Premier League potential product placements

With news that Maria Sharapova is launching a range of sweets called Sugarpova, minds start to wander and wonder if our poor, underpaid superstars of the Premier League are really maximising their brand (a phrase which, if it isn’t in the Viz Profanisaurus, really ought to be soon). What could our heroes put their names to? Here’s our top ten:

10. Gareth Hay-Balers

9. David Sterling-Silva cutlery

8. Skrteling boards

7. Leroy Fur coats

6. Jonjo Shelving units

5. Charles N’Zog-beer

4. Guy Dremel multi-tool

3. Berba-toffee

2. Gary Medel-of-Honour

1. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buttner

10 things I’m most not looking forward to about the new Premier League season

It’s Premier League time again. The nine-month cavalcade of what is bound to be the best season ever cranks into gear and it’s arrival is greeted by a proliferation of articles about the ten things various journalists are looking forward to about the new season.
At the risk of sounding like a contrarian, here are the top ten things I already hate about the new season.

10. Debates about technology in the game to make crucial decisions that won’t be used above twice all season and the debate about the debate and the inevitable backlash when Hawkeye proves inconclusive.

9. The lack of coverage of anything/everything else in the sporting pantheon.

8. The BT-Sky ‘war’.

7. What Luis Suarez does next and associated discussion from people who know no more than the girl on a certain Manchester megastore checkout desk. [Note to subs – does Manchester still have certain megastores?]

6. Pre-match press conferences.

5. Post-match press conferences.

4. Match of the Day.

3. Gareth Bale’s goal celebration.

2. Bleating about squad numbers as if the Arabic symbol on a player’s back has ever meant anything of great significance.

1. The sheer banality of it all.

Oh and Ian Holloway

6 questions for a Millwall fan

As I’m steering clear of twitter, due to a transfer speculation overdose, I had to quietly find a Millwall fan to answer my 6 fan questions. Fortunately Charlie Mahoney @THRIIIIKER did me a huge favour & answered them brilliantly

After a poor start, what are your expectations for the season ahead?

1. I’ve not had any massively fixed expectations for the season because between the new managerial appointment and number of additions we’ve made to the squad, I see us as a real unknown quantity. Failure to improve on the previous one would of course be hugely disappointing, though.

Do you have the right manager?
2. Very difficult to say. He lacks experience and the West Ham affiliation will, though not hugely relevant to me personally, only fuel the discontent if things don’t improve. It’s vital that he turns this around quickly, or he’ll face immense pressure from the supporters.

Who is your best player/one to watch
3. We don’t have a wealth of young, up and coming talent, but I see Scott McDonald as a very strong calibre of player for us to have signed. Steve Morison can also be very strong at this level, and I think Nicky Bailey will become a fans’ favourite if he can avoid injury.

Which player is stealing a living?

4. I struggle to see what Josh Wright is bringing to the team these days.

Which Huddersfield player causes you concern?

5. James Vaughn is a very solid acquisition and could potentially be prolific at this level barring a reoccurrence of his injury problems.

What’s your prediction?

6. I’m going to go with a frustrating 1-1 draw

The 90 second Premier League preview. Sponsored by corporate greed & hosted by Jamie Redknapp

The last of our 90-second previews is the best 90-second preview in the world. Fitting.

Arsenal
Obscenely rich, make noises about spending money, but don’t. Could struggle.

Aston Villa
Obscenely rich, but trying to make savings on the wage bill. Could struggle.

Cardiff
Obscenely rich, which makes one able to ride roughshod over a club’s traditions no matter what everyone thinks. Could struggle.

Chelsea
Obscenely rich and don’t care who knows it. They surely can’t sack this manager. Could struggle.

Crystal Palace
Obscenely rich following promotion. Bewilderingly tolerated idiot in charge. Squad needs an overhaul for them to compete which doesn’t look like happening. Could struggle.

Everton
Obscenely rich, though like to plead poverty. Somehow managed to get Spain’s brightest young star to blend with silky Belgian up front. Hired relegated players and relegated manager – that always works out. Could struggle.

Fulham
Obscenely rich. Inoffensive club with squad boosted by Berbarotica. Managed to get another Dutch international keeper on the cheap. How do they do that? Could struggle.

Hull
Obscenely rich. Under the impression that hiring retired goalkeepers and goal-shy strikers is a recipe for success. Could struggle.

Liverpool
Obscenely rich. Short of defenders and missing star striker for several more weeks after unfortunate bitey incident. Could struggle.

Manchester City
Obscenely rich and spending it. Added more width and a manager who knows what he’s doing. Expectation sky-high. Could struggle.

Manchester United
Obscenely rich. New era begins. Bébé is still on their books, y’know. Reigning champions and favourites for a repeat. Could struggle.

Newcastle
Obscenely rich. Good recent history of buying cheap and selling on. Not a bad plan, but stodgy manager incapable of improving players undermines it. Boardroom comedy outshines all else. Could struggle.

Norwich
Obscenely rich. Recruited well after a difficult second season back in the top flight. Survival still the name of the game. Could struggle.

Southampton
Obscenely rich and not afraid to splash a bit about to improve, especially defensively which was an issue. Now need to find some goals. Could struggle.

Stoke
Obscenely rich and undoing the long-established but out-moded methods of doing what they did. It might take more than a tiki-taka defender and a Dutch left-back to complete the transformation. Could struggle.

Sunderland
Obscenely rich managerial ego trip. Some decent signings – Jozy Altidore is a better player than last time he was in England – but still too reliant on too few players. Could struggle.

Swansea
Obscenely rich and spaffed a lot of that on a striker, which they needed. Raided Spain to great success last year and have gone back for more. If anything, look better now than 12 months ago. Could struggle.

Tottenham
Obscenely rich, but still seemingly unable to sign a striker (oh they got one). Chucked another Belgian at it, as is the modern way. Could struggle.

West Brom
Obscenely rich overachievers. Now established in the Premier League, but will do well to match last season. Anelka comes in, Odemwingie still not escaped. Could struggle.

West Ham
Obscenely rich and survived their first season back with little alarm. Added leadership and experience in the form of Razvan Rat, but largely remain the same, moulded in their manager’s idiom. Could struggle.

Manchester United have bigger problems than their midfield.

Once again we’ve been fortunate enough to get the great Alex Timperley to write for 90second football. Read his thoughts here then follow on twitter @weneedyoualex

Manchester United have been on the receiving end of an uncharacteristic level of criticism over the pre-season, all of it deserved. David Moyes acting like a star struck, incontinent teenager; Rooney acting like the massive bald baby that he is; the ludicrous “#UnitedContinues” hashtag. Over and above all that, popular wisdom says that the one area where they have truly failed this summer: Midfield.
This is incorrect.

Their midfield undoubtedly has a large hole in it. This is where a joke about Anderson being able to plug a large hole would normally suffice, but it feels cheap. When Michael Carrick is the most dynamic midfielder, it is a problem. When the young hope is the soon to be 24 years old Tom Cleverly, it is a problem. When Ryan Giggs is still a vital cog of your midfield at his age, it is a problem.

But it is not the biggest problem.
Take a long look at the defence. Braptain Rio and Nemanja Vidic are still top quality, despite their age and both apparently being made of glass. Who is there beyond this? If Both Ferdinand and Vidic were to suddenly retire, for instance because of injury or old age, then who is there to step in and be the bedrock of a Premier League or Champion’s League winning side. Jonny Evans would be the Senior Pro.
I’ll give you a second to read that again and let it sink in.

Jonny Evans would be the senior central defender for Manchester United. Behind him currently are Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Both are talented players in an obvious way, but as first choice over a 60 game campaign?
Smalling has an eye for a pass and a top drawer first touch but is one of the more injury prone footballers that have played in the Premier League era. We still don’t know what Jones’ best position is. He has all the hallmarks of being excellent, and is a tough little bastard to boot, but he keeps getting shifted around, not getting a run in any one position.

Man United have no convincing defender who bridges the age gap between the successful Rio/Vidic axis and the youngsters. Evans is not a convincing footballer and has little experience leading the line and shouldering the hopes of the Old Trafford faithful alone. It is no fault of his own, but through his time at United he has always been supported by World Class defenders. That is a good situation to learn technique and defensive skill, but being surrounded by players like that your whole life does not teach leadership.

This is a problem that will be rearing its head in the next few seasons. The joy that my United supporting friends felt that Vidic completed a whole 90 minutes speaks volumes.