On Friday at 8pm UK time, Reading and Derby County will kick off the 127th season of the English second division - also known as the Championship! 24 clubs will compete for 3 promotion spots to the Premier league (2 via automatic promotion and 1 via playoffs) and to avoid the 3 relegation spots to the third tier a.k.a League One.
Its looking like a really tight and competitive season. The league is absolutely full of ambitious player and managerial talent - the more time goes by the more it looks like a Premier League 2. If you want a competitive league with proper English football, that also has the spice of skilful players and forward thinking managers, it really is the place to go.
This is guide written by the fans who have come together on /Championship - an absolutely huge thanks to them. Do check out the sub, we try to keep it a good place to discuss the EFL, away from the rancid gloryhunting shithole that is /soccer (just kidding - I like this place). Lots going on, including a score predictor thread which is running all season.
This guide is in table order with the PL demoted sides first. Only 5 clubs today (because the Swansea one is a fucking novel and I can't fit any more in), the rest will be submitted tomorrow and Friday. Do bare in mind that not all the transfer news will be up to date as these guides were largely written a week ago. Point out to me if there are any clear errors with formatting or spelling.
How to watch in the UK: Live rights are owned by Sky Sports. They are upping the number of televised matches this season. Reading v Derby on Friday is televised. The weekly highlights show previously on Channel 5 is moving to Quest TV, which apparently is on Freeview. How to watch abroad: Depends, but in most territories, the iFollow Service is available, which is £110 to watch all a single club's matches. Bargain. I think the clubs that aren't on iFollow have their own similar streaming services. Check out club Youtube channels - quite a few of them post extended highlights now with their own commentary, including Derby, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and more. (You may need VPN to watch if you're abroad.)
Location: Swansea, Wales Nickname: Swans, The Jacks Major honours: Football League Cup (2013), Championship Play-off Winner (2011), League One Winners (1925, 1949, 2008) 17/18 finishing postion: 18th (Premier League) Transfermarkt squad value:€115.5 mil NOTE: This number is as of July 22nd, when we still have Mawson (€15 mil), A. Ayew (€15 mil), Bony (€10 mil), Clucas (€8 mil) and Fernandez (€8 mil), who are all pretty much expected to be sold, or loaned out, before the season starts. Without all of these players except Bony (who's injured for a while so it makes it unlikely he'll be sold soon), the squad value would be around €70 mil. Manager: Graham Potter joined the Swans on 11th June 2018. In 2010, he became head coach of Östersund, who were in the fourth tier of Swedish football. 5 years later, he got the club promoted into the Swedish top flight and in 2017, they won Svenska Cupen which qualified them for the Europa League where they managed to get through the group stage. He’s been applauded for what he did at Östersund and the way he managed to build the club up from nothing. The year after his success in the Europa league he signed a 3 year contract with Swansea. Potter is well respected by The Swans and after a few years of poor managerial and financial decisions his appointment is seen as a step in the right direction to bringing us back to our old ways of being a well-run club. Potter has been recognised for his "progressive" and "unconventional" coaching methods. At Östersund, he encouraged his players and staff to engage in community activities, such as performing in theatre and music productions which was designed to take them out of their comfort zone. Potter describes his style of football on the pitch as "tactically flexible, attacking, and possession-based". At Östersund, he deployed a flexible 3–5–2 formation centred on ball possession. Best player(s)/ talisman:With many of our best players being rumoured with a move away what good players that remain at the start of the season is yet to be seen. Alfie Mawson is probably our standout player. He’s been amazing for us since we got him and was a bargain at about £3m. He’s great in the air and is just an all round tank. Keeping him will be a huge boost for us and should be solid in the championship. Federico "El Pajaro" Fernandez has also been strong at the back with Alfie. The pair played with each other for the majority of last season and together became a solid unit. We will most likely sell him to reduce wages though. Jordan Ayew put in a great shift last season and was our top goal scorer. His work rate was immense and was able to drop back and defend when needed. He’s fast, able to beat a man and a decent finisher. Sadly all these players are transfer targets for other clubs and might not even be here at the start of the season. If we can keep a lot of our players we should have a decent season but who knows who'll be left by the end of the window… Rising star: Swansea’s U23 had a great season last year and with Potter wanting a young and fresh squad, a handful have moved up into the first team. Our standout youngster, Oliver McBurnie, joined Barnsley on loan in January last season where he went on to win a Championship player of the month award after 6 goals in 8 games and went on to win Barnsley’s Player of the year award. While only 22, he’s struggled to break into our first team but will most likely be our main striker for the coming season. Be on the lookout for his long legs, miniature shinpads and ridiculous sock length! LEGS LEGS LEGS!!! Connor Roberts performed well at RB last season and adapted quickly to the premier league where he battled Kyle Naughton to be in the starting line up and did great when given the chance. Decent at going forward and professional at the back. Hopefully potter puts him ahead of Naughton. What happened last season?: What Happened last season?: After our great escape the season before and with Paul Clement at the helm there was optimism that the 17/18 season could be our turning point where we start rebuilding 'The Swansea Way". How wrong we were. After a disastrous transfer window where we sold Sigurdsson and never replaced him and started panic buying the week before the transfer window closed we were left an obvious hole in our team. We had no creativity in midfield and no one could kick the ball into the box to save their life. And just to rub it in further Renato Sanches turned out to be more disappointing than Bob Bradley. With the team sitting bottom of the table Clement was sacked in late December. Then along came the wise talking Carlos Carvalhal who managed to rebuild the confidence the team had lost. Our results took a turn for the good, beating Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley and West Ham consecutively at home. He pulled us out of the relegation zone and things were looking good. However, the good times were quickly followed by the bad times. Our form turned and we didn’t win a single one of our last 9 matches. We were quickly relegated after pitifully losing to both Southampton and Stoke in our last 2 games of the season. Highlights (Or lowlights): The pass by Renato Sanches that summed up his and our season Swansea City 3-1 Arsenal Summer transfer business (so far): At the end of last season, it was clear we needed several transfers, both in and out. However, this would all depend on the manager we got. Yan Dhanda (Free, Liverpool): A 19 year-old Midfielder, Yan Dhanda left Liverpool this summer and joined the Swans in a free, before we even hired Graham Potter. At one time one of the most promosing youngsters in Liverpool's Academy, injuries slowed down his progress, and ultimately made him fall behind other players. Citing lack of first-team playing time, Dhanda decided to join us this summer in hopes of getting regular playing time in the senior squad. Through 3 pre-season games, Dhanda has been one of the brighest and most impressive players in the squad, even scoring a game-winning goal and smashing a penalty in a shootout against Genoa. With our current injuries and shenanigans involved in our midfield, Dhanda has a good chance of becoming a starter and hopefully guide our midfield during the season. Jordi Govea (Free, Real Madrid): Another 19 year-old from Ecuador, Jordi was the first signing under Potter. Not much can be said about the lad, but this is what Real Madrid had as his bio:
Jordi is an Ecuadorian defender who possess three key qualities for a player in his position: he's skilful, is able to go past a player and has a good shot on him. He's left footed and is able to send in good crosses on the run.
With Martin Olsson currently as our starting LB, and Kyle Naughton as the backup, the hope is that Jordi can develop on our U-23 squad and hopefully move up to the senior squad in coming years. Also the only man I've seen do a medical while wearing jeans (https://twitter.com/SwansOfficial/status/1015251916132057089) Joel Asoro (€2 mil., Sunderland): Yet another 19 year-old, a Swedish winger who has represented his country in the younger levels, he was Potter's first senior signing. With world-class speed, and some impressive skills, Asoro was able to score 3 goals and get 2 assists last season in 26 apperances for Sunderland. While these numbers may seem a bit disappointing, many of these games were sub appearances on a very dysfunctional team. Along with Dhanda, Asoro has been one of the most impressive players during preseason, constantly beating his man with either speed or skills, and whipping in good balls to Legs. At the current rate, Asoro appears to have a good chance of starting on the right wing spot, with Nathan Dyer and Luciano Narsingh backing him up. Predicted starting XI: NOTE: This is gonna be assuming Mawson, A. Ayew, Clucas, and Fernandez are all sold by the start of the season. If by some reason they end up staying, they are pretty much guaranteed to start. Based on the pre-season games so far, a lineup looking like this would be plausible, with Rodon most likely to be replaced by a CB (possibly Scott McKenna) when we buy one. Our second unit is looking something like this. Best case scenario: Graham Potter is able to motivate and make sure our senior players (Fer, Carroll, etc.) stay fit, along with our youngsters being able to make an impact as expected, and also we retain Mawson, Fernandez, and Clucas, we can finish in the top 2 and get promoted automatically. Worst case scenario: Our worst case scenario, and something many of us fear of happening, consists of primarily 3 things. 1. Graham Potter isn't given enough time to build an identity with our squad and is sacked by the midway point of the season by the greedy, dumb American owners. . 2. We end up not replacing the players we sold properly like last summer, therefore having a squad with holes everywhere and no chemistry. 3. Our youngsters such as Asoro, McBurnie, Dhanda and company don't pan out and progress at all, thefore becoming mediocre players. This would all culminate in us looking like Sunderland, and making relegation a probability. Prediction: Realistically I see us selling Mawson and company in the last days before the season starts and not replacing them properly until later on. Because of this, as well as our current injuries with Fer and Clucas, I can see us initially struggling to build an identity but over time, we will start playing like Potter wants us and finishing the season strongly. 8th place, missing the play-offs by 4 points What will happen to your closest rivals?: The scum that is known as Cardiff City will break the record for lowest points ever accumulated in a Premier League season, getting 5 points all from draws, and will therefore get relegated with 17 games to spare.
Location:The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, West Midlands Nickname: The Baggies, The Throstles Major honours: 1x League title, 1x League Cup, 5x FA Cup 17/18 finishing postion: 20th in Premier League (relegated) Transfermarkt squad value: £101.16m Manager:Darren Moore or Big Dave as he's known to Albion fans. A club icon as a player in the early 2000s, he returned to look after our U23 squad before being promoted to assistant manager by Alan Pardew in January. Following the end of Pardew's horrific reign, Moore took temporary charge with Albion facing inevitable relegation. He led us to wins over Newcastle, Spurs, Man Utd and a draw with Liverpool, somehow taking our futile battle for survival to the final week of the season. Following this he earned the head coach role permanently. Moore is loved among the Albion faithful, largely due to his reputation as a player here. He heavily favours a 4-4-2 formation and at the back end of last season, tended to soak up pressure and play on the counter attack. It will be interesting to see how his approach differs in a league where we are one of the favourites, not fighting to survive (hopefully) Best player(s)/ talisman: It's an interesting situation for Albion currently. There are plenty of Premier League quality players still in the squad. A lot depends on if they are picked off before the deadline shuts. Chris Brunt is a club stalwart and likely to be reappointed as captain. He is adored by the fans and in my opinion will be an incredible asset in the championship. His set pieces alone will bring 10+ goals to the side. Kieran Gibbs is a high quality player who appears to be set to stay and should make a big difference. Jay Rodriguez, Craig Dawson, Salomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli should all make a big difference in this division IF they stay. In all honesty I expect to lose a few of the above. Sam Johnstone appears to be an astute signing to replace the outgoing Ben Foster. Rising star:Sam Field he's one of our own! He looked completely at home against some of the top Premier League sides last campaign. A box-to-box midfielder, he's full of energy and looks so comfortable on the ball. I expect him to be a major part of our side this season, having just signed a new long-term deal. Kyle Edwards is an exciting attacking midfielder who has been impressing in pre-season. He may have a part to play following a loan spell at Exeter last campaign. Jonathon Leko looked like a potential world-beater when he first came through a couple of years back. A lightning quick winger full of tricks. A loan spell at Bristol City and limited appearances later he seems to be losing his way. Will be an interesting one to watch. Finally, the enigma that is Olly Burke. After signing with us last summer for £15m, he failed to impress any of the four managers we had over the season. He looks exciting when he comes on, without any end product so far, and was unfairly blamed for a loss at West Ham by Alan 'Coward' Pardew. We all know the talent he's got. Hopefully we can see it this season. What happened last season?: Let's not talk about it... We finally escaped the stranglehold of Tony Pulis, only to opt for the human joke that is Alan Pardew and duly hurtled towards relegation. Four of our players stole a taxi and then played (and lost) the following weekend. Pardew was sacked about 3 months too late, and Moore took over, restoring pride with some notable wins over Man Utd and Spurs. This season we also lost the great Cyrille Regis, and the outpouring of emotion and the coming together of the club during the weeks after his passing was something special. Summer transfer business (so far): We started by releasing Claudio Yacob, Boaz Myhill and Gareth McAuley. Yacob and McAuley will be greatly missed but it is perhaps the right time for them to go. Jonny Evans departed for Leicester for a cut-price £3m, Ben Foster left for Watford and James McClean has departed for Stoke City. Sam Johnstone has been bought in to replace Foster, with Jonathon Bond arriving as backup. Kyle Bartley has joined from Swansea City and it appears that Harvey Barnes will soon be arriving on loan from Leicester. Finally, James Morrison is currently out of contract but still with the club. His future is uncertain. I am very happy with Johnstone and Bartley. It has been a quiet window for Albion so far but that is largely a good thing. The squad is packed with Premier League talent and the window is more about keeping hold of them. There is major interest in Dawson and Rondon, along with interest in Rodriguez, Hegazi and Chadli. If any of the above go, then we would need to replace. Otherwise I would be happy with another striker and another CB. It is also worth mentioning that every player in the Albion side suffered a 50% wage cut upon relegation which means that we are financially sound despite relegation, but may lead to more big names leaving. Predicted starting XI:This is my best attempt. It will undoubtedly be 4-4-2. We may see Nyom in at right back and perhaps Barry in for Field. Obviously about half of this side could leave, so we shall see. Best case scenario: The bulk of the side remains and the quality in the side shines through as we breeze to automatic promotion. Worst case scenario: The better players leave or do not put the effort in. Moore cannot transfer his great start into his first full season in management. We become embroiled in a relegation battle Prediction: It will be somewhere in the middle. I'd like to think we'll go up automatically but I think play-offs are more likely. 6th What will happen to your closest rivals?: Villa won't go down but will settle into mid-table, despite the recent takeover. I think Wolves will do well in the PL, although I don't know how long Nuno will last before a big club comes in.
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire Nickname: The Potters Stadium:bet365 Stadium, 30,089 seats Major honours: 1972 League Cup 17/18 finishing position: 19th, Premier League Squad value: £127.8 million Manager:Gary Rowett signed from Derby in May. His honest attitude has brought lots of optimism to fans, who are looking forward to an overhaul of the Club. His style of play seems to change based on the squad he has available. Best Player:Joe Allen was vital to the Club last season, giving us hope that we would avoid relegation. His massive new contract signed this summer shows how loyal and committed to the Club he is, and will be a vital player this season. Rising star:Tom Edwards is a local lad who has won the Under 18 Player of the Year award twice in the Club. In the latter parts of last season he played some good first team football. What happened last season: A pathetic attempt at a season that had been coming for a while under Mark Hughes. Paul Lambert was appointed in January, but a win rate of just 2 in 15 matches wasn’t enough for him to keep his job and miss out on the million pound bonus offered to him. Transfer business so far: So far this has been a decent transfer window. Peter Etebo had an amazing World Cup for Nigeria and Benik Afobe looks really promising. Adam Federici has also been appointed to replace Lee Grant. Xherdan Shaqiri has left along with a few players like Stephen Ireland and Glen Johnson who will not be missed. Badou Ndiaye also looks to be on his way out, but it looks like Jack Butland will stay with us, which is massive. Perhaps most surprising are the new contracts signed by our 2 best players last season, Joe Allen and Moritz Bauer. Predicted Line up:Here is our predicted squad. I’m not sure what formation we will have. EDIT: This is a new version, complete with our rumoured new signings and in the right formation. Best case scenario: Stoke will finish top with an all-time Championship points record. Worst case scenario: A mediocre start to the season will see Rowett sacked and Stoke with a disappointing mid-table finish. Prediction: I think with our squad and our new manager, we will finish 1st. What will happen to our closest rivals? Port Vale will be relegated to the Vanarama National League.
Location:Villa Park, Trinity Rd, Birmingham B6 6HE Nickname: The Villans, The Villa, Prince William's Club, David "Twat" Cameron's Second Club. Major honours: 7 First Division wins, 7 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 1 European Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 Intertoto Cup 17/18 finishing postion: 4th Transfermarkt squad value: £67.77m and dropping fast Manager:Steve Bruce (for now). Former Man Utd playing legend who's been a fixture of English football for decades. He joined Villa in 2016 after successful runs at Hull, Sunderland (yes they were good once) and Birmingham City. A bit of a promotion specialist, he's taken Championship clubs up to the Premier League 4 times in the past and just missed out last season, losing 1-0 to Fulham in the Playoff Final. Tactically, he's fairly old school who prefers 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1, usually involving a big man up top. Fun fact: while managing Huddersfield in 1999 he wrote three novels, "Striker!", "Sweeper!" and "Defender!", which focus on main character Steve Barnes, a football manager. Barnes solves crime and takes on terrorists, and the books have become prized rarities. The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast managed to get a copy and read out some of the copy - suitably awful. Best player(s)/ talisman: There's only one Jack Grealish. A Villa boy through and through, he's been with the club since 2001 (aged 6), and made his way into the first team in the 2013-14 season. He's been the centre of controversy a few times, most notably getting on the beers and passing out on a Tenerife street. Playing as a number 10, his quick feet and dribbling skills provide a number of goals and assists, as well as fouls. He probably went down a bit too easily when first in the Premier League, but time in the gym has noticeably toughened him up and he's a much more solid player as a result. One of the better players in the Championship, and due to Villa's abject finances, a transfer target for the likes of Leicester. Rising star: Keinan Davis could possibly be it, potentially Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy as well. What happened last season?: Have you ever walked into a casino, spotted the roulette table and popped £10,000 on red? It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off. You've doubled your money if you win, but look like a right git if you lose. Villa figured this was a good way to approach 2017-18: spend millions on players, get in lots of loans, gamble everything on achieving promotion. After a so-so start, Bruce got the team playing well, stringing together a number of wins and moving through the playoff spots. Unfortunately they ran into a few teams playing out of their skin - champions Wolves ran away with the league and boasted a squad that included several Champions League players. Neil Warnock's Cardiff couldn't stop winning and grabbed the second automatic promotion. In the playoff final Villa came up against a Ryan Sessegnon-led Fulham and were just pipped at the post 1-0. Summer transfer business (so far): It's one-way traffic, due to absolutely abysmal finances. Loan spells for Lewis Grabban, Robert Snodgrass, Josh Onomah and Sam Johnstone have all ended, which is almost the spine of the team (Johnstone in particular - he was arguably the best keeper in the Championship and personally bagged a number of wins). Plus clubs are circling to pick off whatever assets we have left (eg. Jack Grealish, James Chester). With no prospect of anyone new coming in, it looks like the youth academy will be getting a lot more game time. Predicted starting XI:Possibly this, but half these players could be gone before the first match. Best case scenario: Mid-table anonymity would have to be best case - Villa are a mess and could go down this time around. Worst case scenario: Our finances are the real issue - they are dire. Villa need to find £9 million this month to avoid going into administration. Owner "Dr." Tony Xia is a billionaire, apparently, but tax bills went unpaid and the question remains if he's able to support the club as generously as he has in the past. Administration, points deductions and potentially relegation to League One are all real possibilities right now. It's not looking good. Prediction: Due to financial irregularities in the 23 clubs above us, Villa will get into the Champions League and take out the likes of Atletico, Bayern and Real Madrid on the way to our second European Cup. "Taylor, Green, prepared to venture down the left. There's a good ball played in for Jack Grealish. Oh, it must be and it is! It's Keinan Davis!" What will happen to your closest rivals?: Unfortunately the Scum managed to avoid League One in the final rounds of the season. Here's hoping they go one better. Agbonlahor to re-sign for one game: the Derby. And score the winner, again.
Location: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough Founded: 1876 Nickname: The Boro (Or just Boro) Major honours: The League cup 2003-2004 season 17/18 finishing position: 5th Transfermarkt squad value: 79.34m Manager: Tony Pulis became manager of us in late December 2017, replacing the sacked Garry Monk after a pretty lacklustre few months of the campaign (despite where our league position was). Pulis is known in England for being the man that is never relegated when in charge of someone in the top flight. We are all aware of Tony Pulis' style of football. You start by having a strong and massive defence and maximise your use of set pieces to gain an advantage. Pulis is a lover of all set piece plays, whether that is crossing the ball in from a corner or free kick, or launching a ball into the box from a throw in, they're all in his arsenal of weapons. 'Pulisball' as it is pretty much known. Pulis has achieved promotion from the championship once before with Stoke, and I hope he achieves it again with us this season Best player(s)/ rising star: I mean, where else do I begin. Adama Traore. Arguably the best player in the championship on his day and is one of the most frightening dribblers in English football, maybe even world football. The winger is known for his speed and dribbling ability although is usually criticised for his lack of end product. Before last season I would've agreed, however 5 goals and 10 assists, with all but 2 assists coming before Pulis' arrival show the progression of the Spanish winger. As for other members of the squad, Ben Gibson, the prodigal son. Boro through and through he's progressed into a commanding centre half with the ability to play out from the back thanks to Karanka. He gained attention and emerged as one of the few given credit after our disappointing premier league campaign but was only the subject of one bid upon our relegation, from now manager Tony Pulis. It remains to be seen whether he'll be here come the first game of the season, but I hope he will be. As for future stars, Dael Fry, already has played 2 championship campaigns for us and looks as assured as a veteran of the game. Another centre half produced by our academy and he is being played in cdm this pre-season by Pulis, to add to his versatility. Hopefully a standout season for him, especially if Gibson does end up leaving. Finally, yes, he does always look as confused as images of him show. What happened last season?: Well, the first half of the season was tragic under Monk. We played really poor football at times and looked like we hadn't defended a day in our lives. There was also no consistency in the team, we'd win one game then lose the next. A key theme under both managers however, was our inability to beat those around us in the table. After Pulis' appointment the results picked up and it ended with us finishing 5th in the table. We ultimately lost in the playoff semi finals to Aston Villa but honestly, we didn't think we'd even be in the top half around Christmas. Summer transfer business (so far): Just the three deals to talk about so far. We've acquired Paddy McNair from Sunderland who looks like a decent player. He's been utilised in right back and midfield during pre-season so it looks like they'll be his positions for the season. I imagine he'll play alongside Clayts and Howson in a midfield three. Aden Flint was signed from Bristol City and I think I'm in the minority when I say I don't like how much we paid for him. Obviously the man is a Pulis player but I'm a bit unsure about his defensive ability. That being said he's looked strong during pre-season and I'm sure Pulis will get the best out of him. Fabio departed our club for Nantes so we'll need more full back cover. As for the rest of the window, I expect Gibson to leave but will be delighted if he doesn't. One of our strikers will also leave and Braithwaite should follow after his decent World Cup performances. We'll probably bring in a striker and a winger and hopefully hold onto Adama. That'd be a successful window in my eyes. Predicted starting XI: My best guess The only other guess I could make is that Gibson might leave and then Ayala would start, but he's injured at this point in time. Britt might play over Gestede too if Pulis is feeling fancy. Best case scenario: It has to be top of the pile right? It's not out of the question to imagine us up there and if everything clicks then we've got a chance. A defence that scores more than some teams' strikers, Adama channelling his inner Messi and finding consistency, Rudy/Britt/Bamford scoring for fun. It could be carnage. Worst case scenario: I can't see us finishing outside the playoffs, if we did then that would be gut-wrenching. But if we did then that would most certainly be the worst. Realistically, it'd be losing in the playoffs... again, and if it were in the final again then god help me. Although saying this, now losing Bamford and maybe Traore will be a worst case scenario in itself, definitely if they're not replaced. Prediction: Have to be confident, although it always kills me. 1st or 2nd. Tony Pulis and his nice white trainers carry us to the promise land. That being said, we never do it the easy way. Best Match of Last Season Sorry Leeds fans, but it had to be. "Hattrick Bamford" as our Twitter account tweeted, 3-0 against Leeds with Adama running the show. Leeds clearly found some positive from the game as they're set to sign him off us. This was the sign of what we should've done more last season. Showed what Paddy could've been too if given an even more extended period in Striker by himself. Oh well. What will happen to your closest rivals?: Who even are our closest rivals in this league? We're in geographical purgatory. Can't say Sunderland anymore so what? Leeds? Bielsa either turns them into the well oiled machine they hope for or he succumbs to the old Leeds ways and is sacked by December. As for the Mackems, probably promoted from League 1.
You can watch the whole world cup online with Optus Sports, and you don't need to be a customer. You need to install the app on your phone, Android, or iOS. Sign up with them on the app, and setup the payment with them, it's $14.99/month, and you can cancel at any time. Once you are registered, you can use that login information to enter the normal website, which will allow you to watch the matches from your laptop, PC, etc... This is probably what you want to do, to watch the matches at your place. If you are indeed an Optus costumer, check here if you already have access to Optus Sport
Watching it at a pub
The Sports Bar at The Star Casino is going to be the largest event for every match. It's full of large screens, always packed, and it has the best atmosphere. This is the place to go if you're not sure about where to go. Note that lockouts don't apply here, so 4am matches are fine.
Cheers Bar will be showing all the matches as well. It's in the city, a smaller venue but will be fun as well. The bar itself is way better than the pub in the casino, but it can get pretty crowded as it's not as large. Also, note that even though this pub is open 24 hours, the lockouts apply here, that means that you can't enter after 1:30am, and can't buy alcohol after 3am. You can enter at 4am though, which is a bit annoying for the 4am matches as you'll miss the first few minutes. Otherwise you'll need to enter at 1:30am.
Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. If you want to experience the world cup more as a background thing, and are more interested in a pub, this is a good place for that. Also, no lockouts apply here, so that's another bonus. Make sure to arrive a bit earlier though as it can get pretty packed and sometimes they don't allow more people in.
Crows Nest Hotel, aka The Crowie. If you're on the lower north shore then this is a great option to go and watch the world cup as they're going to be showing all the matches. It's worth noting that they are of course outside of the lockout zone, so 4am matches should be fine here, although from their social media they said: "we will do our best to show as many as possible!", so not 100% sure about the 4am ones...
The Enmore. If you want to sit down and watch the world cup at a theatre, then this is your best bet. They'll be showing the socceroos games live in their huge screen(9×6m). It's ticketed ($11), so it means that you'll be able to sit down and enjoy the whole match comfortably. They even have bars, so this is a great option as well to enjoy all the matches.
Do you know any other good venue that is doing a special for the World Cup?
Sorry lads, in the car on my way to my third Christmas party in three days so this won't be a proper match thread. I'll do it up properly later. So anyway, it's finally here, Leeds vs PNE. We nearly went into the game ahead of them but unfortunately wolves couldn't pull their finger out to get another goal. Let's hope the lads band together and justify the ridiculous price! #PieTax
A disappointing result for a game that involved bad luck and missed opportunities. Worst of all, I'll have to listen to my boos go on about it non stop till the end of the season!
"Sometime in football matches you don't get what you deserve and I think that was certainly the case today. I thought we started the game really brightly, Silvestri made two or three outstanding saves in the opening period and ultimately the match really turned on it's head with a controversial decision." Full Comments
Fresh of the back of a fantastic win at home to Sheffield Wednesday, PNE look to make it 4 in 4 as they face bottom of the table Charlton. Complacency is key in an important game that at this stage we should 'expect to win' (if such a thing is possible in your promotion year). Hopefully confidence is high enough to see them over the finish line and continue the winning streak.
4 in 4. Fantastic form that is propelling us up towards the playoff places. Say at the start of the season we would have been 6 points off playoffs in February, nobody would have believed you. It might not have been an easy win but it was 3 points nevertheless. Onto a much different game at the weekend when the Lilywhites travel to Cardiff. A win would see us overtake them and move to 8th.
“It was always going to be a difficult game, Saturday took care of itself with the atmosphere and we tried to warn the players and the supporters that that can happen sometimes; where you have games Saturday-Tuesday and they are different types of games." Full comments
A big win the other day against Hull should give the lads what the need to get revenge on a team that cruelly beat them in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago. Let's hope that Garner can summon up some of the magic from that day and get the winning goal. Rotherham have struggled to get into form this season and remain tied on points with Bristol around the relegation zone.
Great comeback from the lads, somehow getting a goal in extra time to seal the point is the sort of luck we need to stay up and push on this season. Next game is Peterboro' in the cup, manager has a tough decision to make wether or not to field a strong cup team or just to focus on the league.
'Thought our supporters were fantastic and stuck with us after our first half performance'
A disappointing result against Ipswich at the weekend should be motivation for the lads to stick one to Premier League new boys Watford. Progression in this competition could do wonders for the confidence and getting any sort of result against a team of Premier League status will be good for the team. Watford are (hopefully) likely to put out a slightly weakened team as they have a big game against Man City at the weekend and will want to continue their so far good form (3 draws) this season. Overall this will be tough but it's probably the best time to play Watford and we are in with a real shout of getting a win.
Good victory over a top tier side. While some won't be too fussed about continuing tin the competition, it's still good progress for the team and, although it's an extra game, it's good for the team to have a nice little cup run. Onto a big game at the weekend against Hull, the boys will need any bit of confidence they can take. Attendance: 6,250 (369 Away fans)
"The early goal gave us a good confidence boost and throughout the game we did well. We limited them to very few opportunities and we had some good opportunities ourselves to extend the lead, so we are very pleased we have put on a good performance against a very talented Watford outfit." Full Comments
A good draw against Brighton could be a stepping stone to a win against 15th placed Nottingham Forest who are on a losing streak (4). With Bolton at the weekend, this could potentially be a great run of points if we can get the goals in.
Live commentary over at PNE Player However unlikely, there may be some streams somewhere so keep an eye out on First Row Sports etc.
We have received an initial allocation of 906 tickets in the Money Shop Bridgford Stand lower tier, with more available if needed, with adults £24, seniors (65 and over) £17, U18 £12 and U12 £6.
1 de Vries
15 Mendes da Graça
17 Castro Oliveira
Notts F. 1-0 Preston North End Kickoff Mendes 33' Oliveira 33' (1-0) GARNER 39' Mancienne 45' Half Time (1-0) HUGILL on for GARNER 45' ROBINSON on for WRIGHT 45' JOHNSON 56' Tesche 66' Jokic on for Cohen 72' Oliveira 73' Grant on for Oliveira 73' DOYLE on for GALLAGHER 77' Vaughan on for Mendes 83' HUNTINGON 90' 3 Added Mins Full Time (1-0) MOTM - PEARSON
A big shame we couldn't get a result. It seemed like they really left everything on the pitch after a good second half effort but it wasn't enough. They now need to dust themselves off and make sure they get three points against bottom of the table Bolton. This is a must win as the game after against QPR, who are now only 2 points behind us, will be very tough and it's always good to get points over a team near you.
"When you look back on the game, it's always interesting to see who got their man of the match, and the fact that it was their goalkeeper then it speaks volumes of what's happened tonight." Full comments
Just when you wanted it least, the International break reares its ugly head. An extra long two weeks of incredibly dull international football ends and we are finally back to the stuff that matters. PNE are at Deepdale to face Derby. A very tough match no doubt but the Lilywhites will be hoping it doesn't turn into 3 losses in a row.
Not an awful performance against a good side. Another one were we could have got something out of it but at the end of the day we just weren't good enough in front of goal and were sloppy at the back. Pickford needs some kicking training as I don't think one of his passed got to its target. We also need to try something over than long balls / crosses - it's not working so far. Attendance: 14,452 (3,234 Away fans)
"We didn’t do the simple things well, covering enough well defensively, closing the spaces down or passing it as well as we could do and that was epitomised by the second goal when it was given away too easily and that led to the free kick that Chris Martin put in the top corner." Full Comments
Do you have your tickets? It's sure to be a bouncing atmosphere at Deepdale come Saturday for the final game of the season when the Leeds Scum come across the pennines. Amazingly, unless it ends up an absolute landslide to Leeds, even with a win, they wont be able to finish above us. So that's good news. Anyway, cheers everyone, it's been a good season overall - we held are own in the Championship the first year back and even showed a bit of promise heading for the playoffs. Maybe with the right luck, lack of injuries and investment, we can push for the playoffs next season.
Had 0-0 all over it but thanks to a moment of craziness from Kirkland, the scoring opened up later on but Hugill saved our skins with a last minute goal. A fair result in the end and we finished the season above them! All round a great result and a very solid first season back in the Championship. BillyUK will be in charge of the end of year awards which will happen in the next few days. I'll also open up a discussion thread for the end of the season soon and we can keep an eye on transfers etc. Thanks for following the Lilywhites in the 15/16 season - been a pleasure as always.
"Today has summed up a lot of things we have done this year. We have played well, defended well, but just not been ruthless enough in the opposition’s 18 yard box. We had chances, but we took the wrong decision of not shooting when we should do and then shooting when we should have passed. It has been something we have talked about. We have to be better at those things next year, but ultimately we are picking at little things." Full comments
It's thick and fast at the moment for the Lilywhites - 3 games a week! A draw against a rock bottom Rotherham wasn't the best but at least it was another clean sheet and an all important point to add to the tally. It has been a good start to the Championship for Preston but this match is sure to be a very tough test, seeing the Lilywhites go up against the early pace setters Ipswich. A draw would be a good result and a win would be fantastic but the boys will have to be on top form.
Preston North End 1-2 Ipswich Kickoff Pitman 24' All PNE up until the goal. Ipswich counter and get a goal against the run of play Cunningham off for Woods 32' JOHNSON 37' Welsh 44' 2 Added Mins Half Time (1-1) Maitland-Niles off for McGoldrick 63' Fraser 65' Garner 74' Kilkenny off for Beckford 75' Wright 76' Gallagher off for Reid 82' Fraser off for Toure 85' Attendance is 12,330. 4 Added Mins Sears off for Emmanuel 90+3' Full Time (1-2) Daniel Johnson - Got the goal. Bad result but seemed like a good performance. Could have gone the other way on another day.
It seemed like a good performance but it wasn't to be as the league leaders show why they are setting the early pace. Ipswich took the lead with what feels like a soft goal, could have been defended better. Preston hit back with a fantastic counter attack and Daniel Johnson slotted calmly past the Town keeper. Unfortunately a draw or win wasn't to be as a great shot Ryan Fraser looped over into the top corner, out of Pickfords reach. Overall, Preston were the better side and were it not for a few moments of heroics from the Ipswich defence the scores could have been made level late one, but it wasn't to be. While the Lilywhites left without any points, they put in a very good performance that on another day could have gone the other way. Keep our heads up, onto Watford. Attendance: 12,330 (960 Away fans)
"They have got lots of quality about them and we had to make sure that if they were going to get a positive result they had to earn the right to get one – and that has been the case today. They will have come off the pitch knowing that they have certainly been in a game, and one bit of quality has won them it in the end. " Full Comments
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