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EFL Championship 2016/17


Timmo
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Somehow that depresses me. Nothing against Newcastle, they were always going to go back up as that team should never have been relegated in the first place, but it just highlights how shit Villa have been this season. The overhaul needed to that 'squad' Randy Lerner somehow ended up with was massive and I think I said in this very thread I felt it was going to need at least three transfer windows to get where we need to be. I think I still stand by that, we've got some half decent players in but I'd say only Kodjia and Chester have been genuinely successful, the others have been various levels of mediocre or in the cases of Scott Hogan and Ross McCormack somewhere between very disappointing and outright disastrous.

Still, the chairman seems in it for the long haul and I dare say he was willing to take a transitional season but with the resources we have anything other than promotion next season would be a catastrophic failure. 

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On 23/04/2017 at 13:39, neoELITE said:

Villa are beating Birmingham - I really want Birmingham to go down due to what they did re: the management of the club. I'm sorry any Brum fans but it was disgraceful and stupid. Zola had a 9% win ratio. 

 

Every single Blues fan thought it was stupid too. 

 

A lad I work with is a Bolton fan and he's enjoyed League 1 so maybe it won't be too bad when Villa fuck us over. 

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Well I'd been waiting, for one :)

 

Relieved we managed to secure a playoff spot tonight, we looked like we were Towning it up the past few weeks although a lot of that has been down to bad luck with injuries in key areas rather than truly bottling it. I think getting a bit done over by the officials against Newcastle took the wind out of our sails too, if that game had gone differently the autos might actually have been on. That would've been pretty insane given we've supposedly got the third lowest budget in the division but 81 points (at least) is still an incredible effort. Really proud of what they've achieved.

 

And if we get Fulham in the semis.. Surely it can't be as bad as the 9-1 aggregate score they've already got on us this season?

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Yeah Huddersfield have done amazingly well.

 

I'd love to see them win the play offs.

 

So weird how you're such a bogy team for us though! :)

 

Strange team for us last night, our two wingers weren't playing and I think the squad is on the beach.

 

I don't want to believe it, but feels like Costa might have been sold already.  The optimist in me is hoping they're just not risking him now we're safe.

 

17,000 last night again, when I was growing up in the 90s anything under 24,000 was considered a bad crowd.  We're really sinking like a stone.

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Newcastle and West Ham raided by HMRC. Newcastle MD Lee Charnley arrested.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/newcastle-and-west-ham-raided-by-hmrc-after-transfers-investigation-a7702521.html

 

Quote

Newcastle United and West Ham have been raided by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs after an investigation into the clubs' transfer dealings.

 

Both St. James' Park and the London Stadium were the subject of warrants, and Newcastle's managing director, Lee Charnley, has been arrested.

 

Charnley has been a key cog in Mike Ashley's regime on Tyneside, running the club and being largely responsible for first-team recruitment. The 39-year-old doled out a net spend of some £70million in 2016.

 

...

 

 

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12 hours ago, Rsdio said:

And if we get Fulham in the semis.. Surely it can't be as bad as the 9-1 aggregate score they've already got on us this season?

 

My housemate's a Huddersfield fan and I'm Fulham. 

 

It's been a pleasant year in our house. (Guarantee you'll beat us in the playoff finals in a cagey 1-0 affair.)

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If Costa goes, we get around £25m for him - I won't be too unhappy with that!  Up to him - can't see why he'd stay but I guess we've got Cavaleiro, Marshall, Ronan, Zyro, Graham who can all play wide and if Costa was to go I'd expect a new winger to come in.

 

We just need the season to end - we're definitely 'on the beach' now.  Quite funny to see how worked up some folks are getting about our last 2 performances!

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2 minutes ago, BitterToad said:

 

My housemate's a Huddersfield fan and I'm Fulham. 

 

It's been a pleasant year in our house. (Guarantee you'll beat us in the playoff finals in a cagey 1-0 affair.)

 

This is the main reason I'm glad to see Leeds falling (moreso than local rivalry). After beating them twice they'd obviously somehow get the win when it mattered since football loves doing stuff like that. Plus losing to anyone else and ultimately seeing them go up you can take, but Leeds..

 

For what it's worth I think Fulham are the only Championship side I've seen that play better football than us on their day, it's a similar style but you do it with more pace throughout the team and that little bit more quality. Having someone like Martin definitely helps, our failure to actually address our horribly glaring striker issue over the past few years is what's stopped us really nailing it this season. We've created so many chances and had so much of the play yet our strikers have scored 12 between them and neither is really ideally suited to the system. Crazy we didn't push the boat out a bit in January really with the position we'd found ourselves in.

 

I guess the only positive I can take from our two results against you is that no other side should be as prepared for what you do well as we are.

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Crap game to end a crap season. I left before the 'lap of honour'. The last time I'll see Tom Lawrence in an Ipswich shirt, and probably the last time I'll see Bart in goal for us. The two of them were basically the own good things this season, and between them are the reason we're still in the division. 

 

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I see Christophe Berra has had the extra option on his contract taken up. I know Hearts were interested, and some suggestions up here that there may be a deal to be done for Calum Paterson, where Ipswich don't have to pay the development fee, but give us Berra in return.


Has he not been great this season, from what you've said @SuperMBo?

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We've taken up the option on Berra and Chambers, but I think its just smart business rather than any desire to have them as part of our future plans in the team. Berra was rock solid two years ago, a bit off the pace last season and this year he's just seemed disinterested I think (starting from around the time when the stories linking him with a move back to Scotland started). He's whole hearted but slow, not a leader in the slightest (we had Steven Taylor on loan, although injury meant he only played a couple of games, and the difference between someone of his quality and Berra and Chambers was night and day; he made everyone else 5-10% better defenders, as he was constantly telling everyone what to do, tracking runners, covering for people etc.) and a bloody awful passer of the ball. 

 

I'm being far too mean to him as I'm grumpy after the game this afternoon - he's been a really good player for Town but I'd be perfectly happy to see him go, especially if we get something in return. I think he could boss it in Scottish football as I'd imagine he'd get his mojo back a bit (I think he thought he'd already be gone by now) and he wouldn't have Chambers running about fucking things up like an inept comedy sidekick.  

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I think he'd do well for us, and is probably what we need, despite his slower pace. He's never been a great passer of the ball even when he was with us the first time around. 

 

The story goes that he wants to come back to Scotland because his daughter is up here, which may, as you say, give him at least some of his mojo back. I'm kind of hoping it happens. 

 

What's your take on McCarthy? Happy enough with him at the helm?

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14 hours ago, Butters said:

What's your take on McCarthy? Happy enough with him at the helm?

 

Hahaha, I was going to answer this last night, but thought it would descend into a drunken screed (whereas this will just be a sober rant). Short answer - definitely not happy. Longer (but still trying to reign it in) answer:

 

In my opinion (and what the hell do I know), there are two issues with Ipswich at the moment: 1, the owner (Marcus Evans) and how the club is ran, and 2, Mick McCarthy. 

 

Point the first - Marcus Evans 

I'll preface this by saying that, without Evans (or someone of his ilk) we wouldn't exist. We were skint, on the way out and if he hadn't come in we'd have either folded or kept going down until we were something like Coventry. There's a growing call for Evans to go, but to be honest I just think that's pie in the sky stuff - there isn't a conveyor belt of bored millionaires looking to lose money on us. But having said that - I think we're being ran really badly. We're an old fashioned, reactionary club and we're basically sleep walking towards irrelevance. It's been a shit season, people are leaving in droves (one of the side-effects of letting people pay for their season tickets on direct debit is that they can cancel the direct debit during the season - my row was full at the start of the season, and by the last game yesterday we'd lost about two thirds of people - long standing season ticket holders who just couldn't be bothered to pay and watch terrible football any more) so I was looking forward to seeing what they were going to offer for the season ticket renewal this year. They: 

 

- Raised prices 

- Got rid of the old £10 11 and under season ticket (replaced by a new £50 12 and under season ticket, so for a friend of mine who took his two sons, 8 and 9, to games - his costs went from £20 for the season to £100, before he pays for his own ticket)

- Raised the senior price threshold from 60 to 65

- Got rid of student prices to be replaced by a 23 and under price (so mature students have to pay full price) 

 

In return, there's a derisory rebate if we sell 12,750 tickets. I think we'll be lucky if we sell 10,000 - expecting around 9,000. As far as I can tell, they basically just figured loads of people would stop coming anyway because of McCarthy so worked out the maximum amount they could charge without losing the likes of me. No one I know is looking forward to next season - we've renewed out of some bizarre grim commitment to a club that no longer cares about us. I want them to look at Huddersfield and their pricing structure this year - I've got no finance background but I would have just thought that there are fixed overheads that the club pays for every game anyway so having 10,000 at £30 a ticket or 20,000 at £15 a ticket is a no brainer - as the 20,000 will spend more at the club shop and on pies and beers.

 

Even something like the programme - I don't know anyone who buys ours anymore, something like the Wolves programmes with their covers is a cool, interesting idea. If I was a Wolves fan, I'd probably buy every programme this season with a view to having them all framed (and never doing it and having them in a box in my loft) - I made a half hearted attempt to get a copy of the Ipswich one. Ipswich's programmes are just full of empty interviews and shit adverts. Evans isn't going to put money into the club - fair enough, so we need to be more clever in terms of what we do in terms of sponsorship, procurement, pricing, community engagement and with the money we do have. But we're not doing any of that - our secondary sponsors (after Marcus Evans himself) are things like the Dove Pub (a great pub - you should go there if you come to Ipswich for an away game) but they're not going to be putting in the money we need to be relevant again, or third tier Facilities Management companies like Vertas (apologies if you work for Vertas). And all the while other clubs are either getting richer, better run or smarter than us. 

 

 

Point the second - Mick McCarthy 

And into that cauldron of mediocrity we have Big Mick. He has had two big successes with us - he kept us up in 2012/13 and got us in the playoffs in 2014/15. However, in my opinion keeping us up in 2012/13 was basically what was expected - he took over in November and had a good team, we were just being managed appallingly by Paul Jewell (who was putting more effort into his after match quips to Sky Sports News than his tactics at that point). I'd expect anyone competent to be able to manage us out of that situation and it played to McCarthy's strengths (and in spite of everything else, he is a very, very good man manager - all the players and staff at the club love him).

 

2014/15 however was a brilliant success - he massively overachieved with the team that he had and that season should go down as a major feather in his cap and, assuming he doesn't alienate the entire fan base before he goes, he should be remembered fondly for that season. But in spite of that ... I almost think that season is the reason we're in the state we are now - we were top at Christmas, then spent cock-all in January and limped to sixth and lost valiantly to Norwich in the Play-Off semi finals. I think both McCarthy and Evans thought they had cracked it at Christmas, incorrectly thought they could basically make us competitive on a shoestring budget and identified McCarthy as key to it all, and we've slowly slid to irrelevance since.

 

The following season McCarthy claimed to have the best squad he's ever had and I think he was right, but he basically showed no idea how to use it - we basically regressed to the cliched 'McCarthy Team' but with all the negatives and none of the positives. We hoofed it up to Murphy, but didn't have anyone supporting him to get knock-ons or to be in the middle to actually score after he'd held it up. We crowded the midfield and broke up the opposition's play, but didn't have anyone that actually wanted the ball that could pass the ball forward. We played a counter-attack tactic, but were slow and over defensive so there was no-one in the opposition's half to actually attack with. And as we've got shitter, McCarthy has got more entrenched in proving himself right and damn the consequences. He has favourites, and he's the Manager and can play who he likes so fair enough, but his don't seem based on footballing ability or form but rather people that the media or the fans have had a pop at him for playing, so he'll keep playing them until they play well so he can then crow about it in post-game interviews.

 

Our player of the year for the last two years has been Bartosz Białkowski (our goalkeeper, never a good sign). However, McCarthy likes our other goalkeeper Dean Gerkin. Gerkin is an average Championship level goalkeeper and makes mistakes. I think Bialkowski is an excellent keeper and I assume he'll be in the Premier League next year, or at an upwardly mobile Championship club. McCarthy kept playing Gerkin last season until the mistakes got too much and he had to bring Bialkowski in, who did excellently. Then Bialkowski missed a match as his father died, and rather than just play Gerkin that one game, he kept playing him, until again the mistakes got too much, instead of bringing his superior keeper back. A couple of games ago, he even said that Gerkin was the reason that Bialkowski was so good, as he kept him on his toes and pushed him to be better. And he keeps doing this across the team - playing and bigging up his favourite no matter how badly they play - e.g. bringing Jonathan Douglas back for games, or just talking about him in pre and post game interviews when he's not even in the squad ("Dougie is different class" is a common refrain - Douglas was the subject of a fan video that went viral after the Newcastle away game, https://twitter.com/RachelC_6/status/789887960120455168)

 

 

And as we've got worse, and the attendances have gone down, and the atmosphere has got worse (and even then we're a soft lot - McCarthy basically has to put up with a few half hearted boos and tame songs), he's just doubled down and got more stubborn. Other teams' fans like McCarthy as he's seen as a straight talking Yorkshireman and for a while he was. But this season he's lost it - whereas he used to throw a few light swear words in with a cheeky grin, now he swears a lot and it's no longer funny, light hearted stuff, now he's just a bitter old man. After the Newcastle game (by far the best performance this season, the highest attendance and 'Bobby Robson day' - a marketing driven event but we love our club history at Ipswich so a fairly major deal) McCarthy said "They are feeling it a bit and I did say to the lads there are 25,000 coming here to watch. I said, ‘Not us by the way, I’m sure none of the fuckers are coming to watch us the way we’ve been playing here". And I know it's precious, but come on! Why call the fans fuckers? But that has basically been him all season - he feels slighted by the fans so goes out of his way to antagonise them.

 

And following that great result against Newcastle what does he do away at Rotherham? Makes 9 changes and loses. What has he learnt? Probably only that you can't make 9 changes to a winning team and expect everyone to gel and play well but surely he knew that already. 700 away fans went - sod 'em. We gave 4 points to Rotherham this season. Then he goes back to the same team as against Newcastle for Shef Wednesday yesterday and loses. Why? Only he knows. 

 

I fully expect him to be here again next year, and I think we'll go down. With crowds of around 10,000 (depending on how many away fans there are) and I fully expect McCarthy to blame everyone else but himself for it. If I was his agent I'd be telling him to get out now, as other than the Lincoln debacle, I don't think the national media has cottoned onto how badly he's doing, so he could still get himself set on Soccer Saturday or BT Sports or whatever. Another season like this, and he'll be screwed. 

 

Ultimately, I just don't accept that low budget has to mean shit with regard to Ipswich. I think there's a lot that can be done with regard to coaching and team tactics that mean you make the most of what you have. The cliched McCarthy Team is one that maximises dead ball opportunities and closes games out - we're not like that at all. We let in goals for fun, we're terrible at throw-ins (both our own and oppositions, we always let the opposition play it out from throw-ins, I don't think we're taken a good throw in in the oppositions half all season), we're crap at corners, we constantly take short, quick free-kicks whilst not being set up or having the players who can do something about it - the centre-halfs have still gone up for the ball into the box, but we'll play a short one, cock about for a bit then lose it. We bought Kieffer Moore for £10,000 in January - all six foot five of him (he's not very good). But we bring him on and lump balls up to him without actually having any other change in tactic to take advantage of it - he knocks the ball on to ... no-one as we've taken off Freddie Sears to bring him on so there's no one with the pace to actually take advantage of it. We spend what little money we do have on loan-players who sit on the bench and do nothing whilst our youth players get frozen out and don't progress. 

 

I think I lost any hint of a coherent argument a while back, so in summary I think McCarthy has lost it. He's a great man manager and his players love him, but a terrible tactician and his pride and stubbornness will take Ipswich down next year. I would take anyone as our next manager over him.  

 

Next question (apologies for the rambling). 

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Absolutely no need to apologise @SuperMBo! Appreciate the full explanation, and it definitely made for interesting reading.

 

From the outside, I've never had much time for McCarthy due to his attitude. He comes across as negative, and not giving a damn what anyone but he thinks. I wasn't sure if that would be different if it is your side that he is managing, but it seems not from what you've said. Your description of him is pretty much exactly how I see him, but I don't have anything riding on it, so I can't begin to imagine how frustrating it must be as a fan. Even in his approach when asked about Berra going back to Scotland - he basically said that Berra would be at Ipswich next season whether he wanted to be there or not. I know it's Ipswich's decision, but you'd think he would want to talk to Berra first and make sure he was happy to stay.

 

The situation with Bialkowski is crazy, and it would be sad for you to lose him based on McCarthy's stubbornness. I have to say, I was laughing for a good few minutes on that video of Douglas. It was like something from Soccer Aid!

 

If McCarthy was to go, is there someone that you would like, or who would be favourite to replace him?

 

In terms of Evans, it's a story that seems to happen time and time again in football. At Hearts we had Vladimir Romanov, who was mad as bag of frogs and is still on the run from Lithuanian authorities, reportedly by hanging out with his pal Vladimir Putin. He did some terrible damage to our club, but also brought great success at times. But more than anything, he saved us when he first came in. If we had moved to Murrayfield, having sold Tynecastle, I don't think we would have lasted long as a club. We're now starting to see some turn on Ann Budge, despite her stopping the club from not existing at all a few years ago, a rescue effort that was not only ridiculously complicated (thanks to Romanov), but also within hours of being derailed. Football fans can be fickle and have short term memories, so it was nice to see you acknowledge Evans role, even if he isn't the man for the job any more.

 

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I realise this is a few days late but think it's very important to mention that this years prime "I don't know how we got three points off of you, you play great football" team Fulham have made the playoffs. 

 

Expect us to outplay Reading, miss a penalty and concede a few shit goals at a stadium near you soon.  

 

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Interesting thoughts @SuperMBo on McCarthy.  Many parallels between Ipswich in 2017 and Wolves in 2012.  I definitely think that he reaches a certain point with the clubs he manages where he can't do anything else, and a change is probably best for the club as well as McCarthy himself.  Yet he sticks around longer than perhaps he should.

 

Hindsight is a great thing, but we really should have sacked him around October/November time in the season we went down, but we stuck with him and only got rid of him after the 5-1 home defeat to West Brom - no-one is going to survive after getting a tonking like that against your deadliest rivals but by then, the damage was done.  Our planning was dreadful and we ended up appointing Mick's assistant - Terry Connor - for the remainder of the season.  Shock horror, we went down without winning another match that season.

 

As for his character - yes, of course he is arrogant.  Every decent football manager HAS to be, and they have to be confident in their own ability.  More often than not at Wolves, his stubbornness was rewarded.  But I think his general demeanour can wind people up the wrong way, but that's the blunt, gruff Yorkshireman in him.  Some of our fans never took to him, even though he's easily the most successful Wolves manager in my lifetime.

 

I love the guy - he's an absolute gent, but I completely see your point about the current state at Portman Road.  A change is needed - as long as it isn't Terry Connor.  Or Stale Solbakken.  Or - far worse - Dean fucking Saunders.

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I'm a blues fan so might be looking at it with blue tinted glasses but I see Forest going down ^_^ Blues & Blackburn are ahead. With blackburns 2 goals and it looking like Brentford haven't turned up I don't think they will go down. So us and Forest I think are fighting for it now  ^_^

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