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Thread: [STORY] From Riches To Rags

  1. #76

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    From Riches To Rags - 2016/17 May

    A break for the international weekend should have been the chance to grab a break, but there is no let up. I did my best to tie up the contracts of all the players who are currently expiring in June. I did seal a couple, but there are quite a few who are not interested in signing a new deal while relegation is on the cards. I’ll work out what to do about them at the end of the season. I also had to tell Christian Benteke that he was going nowhere and to forget any transfer requests. He still has 3 years on his current deal. Then there was the press accusing Scott Dann of complacency. I suggested that he was a model professional and that they should pick on someone who wasn’t currently out injured if they wanted a scapegoat. My final act was to send a message of goodwill to new Southampton manager Brendan Rogers.

    With our game on the Sunday, it was a chance to size up the other relegation contenders. Watford were impressive in beating Hull 3-1 at The KC. Rogers has his work cut out if Southampton’s 3-1 surrender at Bournemouth is anything to go by, while Middlesbrough are not mathematically safe following a goalless draw with Everton. These results meant that we were not yet out of it, but we did have to beat Liverpool, at Anfield, to keep the faint hopes alive.

    It was an unchanged starting 11, but we kept the 4-4-2 that was deployed for the second half with Spurs. I had a 3-0 record from the games played against Liverpool to date and it never looked like anything other than an extension of that record. Tomkins won a freekick which Delaney dispatched in the direction of Joe Ledley. Where were the ‘pool defenders, but quite frankly who cares. 1-0 and 4 minutes played. The second was just before the half hour. Townsend’s effort was spilled by Mignolet and Ledley pounced for his second. Within 4 minutes of the restart it was 3-0 to Palace. Zaha strolled down the right wing and his cross was met by Benteke who had the freedom of Anfield to pick his spot. Liverpool were all over the place. We had the ball in the net for the 3rd time in 6 minutes, but Schlupp was offside. That only delayed the 4th goal for a few minutes. Benteke was again free and brought down by Mignolet who was lucky to receive only a yellow card. Ledley dispatched the spot kick for his hat-trick. The first hat-trick of my career (Kun Aguero please take note). Into the second half and Liverpool had been given a rollicking. The ref was also taking pity and could easily have given us another penalty before he awarded one to Liverpool which Coutinho put past Speroni. It was a chance to rest some key players and give some otf the yout a run out. One of them, 18 year old Jason Lokiko looked to have got a debut goal, but again the linesman’s flag was up. And that was it, a convincing 4-1 win that lifts us off the bottom of the league.


    The fly in the ointment is that Hull play Southampton next and a Southampton win would end all hope no matter what we do against City. A win for Hull and it is virtually over due to their goal difference. We need that game to be a draw. We have reached the point of no return.

    The City game is turning out to be massive for both sides. We must win to have any hope of avoiding relegation. City must win to keep their slim title hopes alive. After losing the FA Cup final to Chelsea and going out tamely in the Champions League semi-final to Barcelona, the league is the only chance they have for a trophy. For the 3rd game in a row, we were unchanged, a bonus in such a limited squad. City lined up in a 4-4-1-1 and I instructed Benteke and Remy to target John Stones as the week link. It was however City that took first blood. Silva was way to skillful for a cart horse like Damian Delaney and must have beaten him 3 times before picking his spot. That was one of only 2 shots that City had all game. In contrast, we had 18 efforts, 9 on target. Nobody can accuse us of throwing in the towel. Eventually that pressure told, but Sako’s 76th minute strike to level the scores didn’t give us enough time to find a winner. Not that it would have mattered. Southampton had beaten Hull 1-0 with an 86th minute header from Shane Long. Watford, Hull and Palace were all down and United were champions.


    It was a strange final week where nobody had anything to play for except pride. Chelsea were marooned in 4th and were quite happy to have an FA Cup tucked away in the trophy room, but they did put out a very strong team so that they could give the fans at The Bridge a good season finale. Our only change was on the bench where Scott Dann had recovered from his injury. What a start. A melee in midfield broke in favour of Schlupp. He pumped a long ball into the box and big Benteke won the areal battle. 2 minutes played and Stamford Bridge was as quiet as a morgue. After that it was a pretty even game with both sides looking to attack. Batshuayi equalized, which was probably a fair reflection on the play upto the half hour mark. With both sides going for a winner, there was a flurry of penalty claims and both sides managed to find the woodwork rather than the goal. Remy and Benteke both had a goal disallowed. There was to be a winner, with the last kick in the last minute of injury time. It was a Ward cross and a Loic Remy header that sealed the win, and a fitting way for Remy to finish his loan and return to Chelsea. I’m not sure that Antonio Costa will be quite so pleased with him.

    And so the season closes with a successful relegation, although I think that it involved a lot of luck in getting the Palace job at just the right time. I might have to look at a different plan for next year.


    I’m pretty pleased with the 2 wins and 2 draws from the 4 games played, especially with the loaded fixtures. From what I have seen,if we can keep Joe Ledley and Christian Benteke for next season, they should rip the Championship. The board have also endorsed the end of season form, so I think I should survive the summer without getting sacked.



    Last edited by Kingsley; 04-05-17 at 01:26 PM.
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  2. #77

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  3. #78

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    Hurray! Same plan for next year then, keeping an eye on lower position league casualties?

  4. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Hurray! Same plan for next year then, keeping an eye on lower position league casualties?
    I think I might have been lucky that the Palace job came up when it did. I think I'm going to try something different next year. (Same again would be boring, and nobody wants to see Palace winning !)
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  5. #80

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    From Riches To Rags - 2017/18 Pre Season

    It was a nervous summer in South London, but I made it to the eve of the opening league fixture still in the hot seat at Selhurst Park. The first relegation is now completed.

    There may have been no major transfer activity, but it was not exactly a quiet time. The first problem was what to do about deals already set up by Big Sam


    Osborn and Hvidt were easy enough to deal with. I cancelled the transfers, however without some serious cheating, there was nothing I could do about Appiah, Souare and Williams. They will have to go down as players sold by me. It would have been good to keep that clean, but from now on I’ll have to accept any player sales agreed by previous managers. Souare and Williams might have been useful squad members, so I am sorry to see them go.

    To avoid any further problems I offered deals for all of the other out of contract players. A few accepted, but I was left with 6 rebels. They were all released for free so as not to go down as a transfer on my record. None of them had any part of my plans


    That left Jeffrey Schlupp and Connor Wickham as my only other problem players. Both had Relegation Release clauses in their contracts so if there was interest then there was little I could do. I got Schlupp to sign a new deal without any clauses, but Wickham thinks he can play for a bigger club. There has been no interest so far, but his valuation is higher than his clause, so I suspect it is just a matter of time. I think that 10 players were all offered new deals, basically anyone who wanted one could get what they asked for.

    I was not surprised that Julian Speroni retired as he was 38 years old. Mandanda still has 1 game of his ban to see out, so I only have 1 keeper in the squad for the season opener. I was delighted that Damian Delaney stayed on for another year. His 36 year old legs are probably not enough to be a regular starter, but as a squad player he is ideal.


    Also retiring were 1 coach, 3 scouts and 2 physios. It left me short of numbers, however as scouts are not much use, I promoted Eoin Jess to be a coach which is far more valuable. None of the coaches are particularly good, Jess is probably the best, but I do at least have a full quota.

    That leaves me with the following playing staff

    Keepers

    Steve Mandanda, clear first choice and great for this division, but question marks over his discipline
    Kleton Perntreou, an untried Greek youngster who I hope has read the stories of his amazing forebarers.

    Defenders

    Scott Dann Very useful central defender. Probable starter and possible captain
    Damian Delaney Useful for the squad, but the 36 year old is probably past it as a starter
    Ryann Inniss Back from his season at Southend. Useful squad centre back
    Martin Kelly Fullback who can play both flanks. 1st team squad and no issues in starting him
    Jeffrey Schlupp Very good left back who can play left midfield
    James Tomkins A starter at either rightback or central defence
    Kevin Toner Probably not ready for the 1st team unless there is an emergency. Can play left back or central defence
    Joel Ward Another fullback who can play both sides. Possibly our best player.

    Midfield

    Yohan Cabaye First of 4 very good midfielders
    Joe Ledley Likely to start with Cabaye in strongest 11
    Lee Chung-Yong Quality winger on either side
    James McArthur Another central midfielder who is good enough to start when needed
    Luka Milijovevic Probably 4th choice for midfield, but solid squad player. He is homesick, but has 2 years on his contract
    Bakaray Sako Can play anywhere across the midfield. Very useful for the squad
    Andros Townsend Mostly used as a left winger but can play on the right. Likely to start most games
    Wilfried Zaha Lightening pace that will terrify Championship defenders. One of our most important weapons.

    I also have Jordan Blinko (AM L) Luke Dreher (M C) Michael Phillips (M C) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (M C) Randall Williams (AM R) and Ben Wynter (M C) who I can call up from the reserves if needed.

    Forwards

    Christian Benteke He will cause havoc in Championship defences. I expect him to be the leagues top scorer
    Frazier Campbell Useful striker who is wanting 1st team games
    Connor Wickham Not as good as he thinks he is, but I do need him to hang around

    I also have Jonathan Benteke (S C) Sullay Kai-Kai (F RC) and Jason Lokiko (F C) who I can call up from the reserves.

    The action starts at home to Ipswich and the opening fixtures should see us pick up a few points


    I’m going to try something different this year. I doubt I’d survive a relegation battle with Palace, so I’ll try to find a club in trouble much earlier. If I can keep them just above relegation for most of the season, I might get away with a bad couple of games in the run in. There is an early contender as Graham Barrow is in trouble at Wigan before a ball has been kicked.
    Last edited by Kingsley; 05-05-17 at 09:34 AM.
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  6. #81

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    If you were going for promotion, I'd say that you still have a very good starting XI to work with.

  7. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    If you were going for promotion, I'd say that you still have a very good starting XI to work with.
    Absolutely. You could have a very good starting 11 and have Delaney, McArthur, Sako and Townsend on the bench. The quality drops off after that and there really is nobody to step up if Benteke or Mandanda are out.
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  8. #83

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    From Riches To Rags

    Just caught up on this
    Last edited by Redknapp69; 05-05-17 at 08:59 AM.

  9. #84

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    Interesting developments at the end of last season, worked out perfectly in the end.

    I don't think it's unthinkable that you could survive another relegation, depending on the chairman's patience. If you've got your sights set on the Wigan job, then at least you have a great early opportunity to put the gaffer under even more pressure.

  10. #85

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    From Riches To Rags - 2017/18 August

    First up for the new season was a visit from Ipswich. They had bolstered their squad by spending over a millon to bring in 14 players, including the likes of John O’Shea and Adam Armstrong. Except for Palace, everyone had been spending, even Rotherham had laid out £35k ! The biggest spenders were Sheffield Wednesday who spent over £8m, incuding £4.5m on Jordan Rhodes who was the biggest single deal. Leeds £5.4m were the second highest spenders. I think that Laurent Blanc had probably the strongest squad at Watford where Tom Cleverley and Dieumerci M’Bokani were added to a squad who had finished last season strongly. At Palace, we had no new recruits.

    Continuing with the 4-4-2 that had done well in the run-in, I had no option but to give Kleton Perntreou his first ever start in goal. Steve Mandanda was the only other keeper and he is serving the final game of his suspension. Up front, the partner to Benteke would be Connor Wickham and Frasier Campbell on the bench. Scott Dann took over as captain from Damian Delaney. It took just 4 minutes to break down a packed defense. Zaha picked up a through ball, hit the bye-line and cut back for Zaha to lash home our first for the season. Soon after, Wickham got his head on a Cabaye cross to make it 2-0 and Benteke pounced on a fumble by the keeper for our 3rd. Quite why Lefebvre was unhappy with his defenders is beyond me ! Benyon pulled one back to remind us that this was a contest and we saw out the rest of the game without incident. A solid opener and no fresh injuries.

    3 changes to face a Wigan side who had lost their opener at Villa. Mandanda took over in goal and both Schlupp and Zaha were away on international duty, so Martin Kelly slotted in at left back and Andros Townsend on the left wing. It was a slaughter. It took Joe Ledley just 2 minutes to lob Silvestri who was way out in noman’s land. Ward made it 2-0 from the spot after Ledley had won a penalty, Townsend got the 3rd following good play from Benteke who showed that he is more than just muscle and Milivojevic got our 4th having come on for Cabaye. The only downside was that Scott Dann pulled a hamstring and will be out for 3 weeks. So bad were Wigan that on another day we might have got double figures. On this evidence, Graham Barrow has a lot of work to do to keep his job.


    Gillingham away would be our League Cup opener. After defaulting with Man City last year, I wanted a win, but with so many players not fully recovered from the Wigan game, I was forced to make 8 changes. Campbell and Lokilo would lead the line, Innis get a rare start with Delaney in central defense. Randal Williams makes his debut on the right wing and Kevin Toner his first start under me. We were still way too good for Gills. Campbell and Lokilo both scored twice and Lee Chung-Yong also joined the action. We will be away again with a trip to Norwich in the next round.

    There was more bad news for Graham Barrow who’s Wigan side had gone out to lowly Exeter. I think this actually meens his job is anything but safe.


    Cardiff were the first decent side that we had come up against. They had not had a great start, but I have no doubt that they will be at the business end of the league when it comes to prize time. Innis and Williams kept their places, but otherwise it was back to the strongest side I had. Defenses and goal keepersin particular, were all on top form, so chances were few and far between. I think that everyone who witnessed the game knew that this was destined to be 0-0 well before the final whistle.

    Wigan got their first point of the season. They led twice before being pegged back for a 2-2 draw at home to Bristol City. Sadly that was the final straw for Graham Barrow.


    My application is in the post.

    There was one final game, a trip across London to Brentford. Was it just a bad day at the office ? There were few pass marks and perhaps some did not like the physical challenge offered by Brentford. Tomkins was complaining of a nigglejust 20 minutes in. Ledley and Campbell said they were not able to go out for the second half, so when we had to call a stretcher to take Connor Wickham off with still 30 minutes to play we were down to 10 men. Despite these problems, we should not have gone down 3-0 and leave ourselves 3 points off the pace.



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  11. #86

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    oooow. I'd say it is a little too early to jump ship. Wouldnt it be better to get Palace to the brink of promotion, do a shitload of good for your reputation and step into a relegationjob come March/ April?

  12. #87

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    Ditto - My first thought was that it'd be too early to go to Wigan as surely you'd keep them up without trying

    Your call though obviously. I'm sure you have a masterplan!

  13. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ View Post
    oooow. I'd say it is a little too early to jump ship. Wouldnt it be better to get Palace to the brink of promotion, do a shitload of good for your reputation and step into a relegationjob come March/ April?
    I know where you're coming from. I'm still ranked 13th in England, so reputation isn't a problem for now. The problem with staying at Palace is the board expectations


    That doesn't leave me with much wriggle room. I've not been offered the Wigan job, but it would have to depend on their expectations. If it was battle bravely blah blah blah then I might just get away with taking them straight down. I'll also have a look at the chairman's "Patience" before accepting any offer.
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    From Riches To Rags - 2017/18 September

    It didn’t take the Wigan board very long to decide.


    “Stay clear of relegation” was not what I wanted. I expect that meens that I would get sacked if Wigan were to go down. David Sharpe has a 16 for Patience, so perhaps he would be lenient. I decided to accept.

    This does give me a 2 pronged attack on the relegation. My plan is to keep Wigan just out of trouble until the last few weeks and then drop into the bottom 3 right at the end. I’ll also be keeping an eye on any jobs that come up in March, April or May and keep open the option of jumping to a basket case club.

    Goodbye Eagles. Hello Latics.

    What have I walked into ? Well first of all I do have a full coaching team. None of them are particularly brilliant, but it is a full team. There are also 5 scouts and 2 physios, so it could have been worse.

    On the playing side, the eye catching name is Jussi Jääskeläinen. The Finish keeper has not yet hung up his gloves and has celebrated his 42nd birthday ! He still looks pretty decent, but I think he will be second fiddle to Marco Silvestri. And before there are any doubts, he is a player and not a player/coach


    The 1st choice defensive 4 looks to be pretty decent. Andy Kellett is a solid young leftback and I have a strong center pair in Craig Cathcart and Dan Burn. Right back is a little week, but I’m delighted to see Jack Hendry there. He is one of the best prospects to come out of the Thistle Weir Academy and I’ll probably be playing him on that basis alone.


    Midfield looks wry strong out wide. Gabby Obertan and George Boyd now have Johnny Hayes (Aberdeen) to give them competition. Michael Richardson has no competition for central midfield. His partner is probably between Egyptian Sam Morsy or my favourite named player Max Power !

    Other than that it is very thin pickings. There are several reserve players who will be getting the first team football that they are asking for.

    Oh ….. I nearly forgot ….. the main man

    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  15. #90

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    Taking the Wigan job would have been a no brainer for me. I'd expect you to survive if you're narrowly relegated and as you say, there's always the option to join another club in trouble if things don't go according to plan. Good luck!

  16. #91

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    Two people signing Will Grigg today on the forums

    42 old Jussi - I used to love having him in my FFL back when he was at Bolton.

  17. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Two people signing Will Grigg today on the forums

    42 old Jussi - I used to love having him in my FFL back when he was at Bolton.
    I know. ThePsi proper pissed me off by getting the Will Grigg song in first. Bloody work had stopped me from the game time of getting to the Wigan offer. I was pretty sure I would get it and had the video lined up.
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  18. #93

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    Guwon the Latics!

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  20. #95

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    From Riches To Rags - 2017/18 September (part 2)

    It is very noticeable how the player standard has taken a dive when moving to Wigan. I hadn’t really noticed much difference in the first team between City and Palace. True the bench was a lot weaker, but the first team held their own in the head to head. At Wigan there is a huge drop in standard and also in the number of players that can play in multiple positions. If I was wanting it, it would be a tough challenge to get this group promoted, but fortunately, that is not the plan.

    The first thing I need to do is to get Wigan out of the relegation zone. Providing I can stay there, and maybe add a cup run, I should be safe from the sack. Once clear, I can stay within 3 or 4 points until the last few games in May. The squad fits quite nicely into a 4-4-2, so I’ll start off with my wib-wobbed formation before reverting to the default 4-4-2 which should give a mixed bag of results.

    First up a home game with high flying Preston. Craig Cathcart was the only player missing from my probable strongest 11. He will be out for a month with strained ankle ligaments. In his place, Donervan Daniels steps into the middle of the defence. The other decision was up front where it was Luke Williams that accompanied Will Grigg. Williams also took the captain’s armband. The Latics had failed to score in 3 of their 4 games this season, but not this one. Preston didn’t know what had hit them. It was all Wigan and Morsy had already hit the bar before Grigg deservedly gave us the lead in just 11 minutes. It was simple, a low cross from Johnny Hayes and Griggs had made space to fire home a low drive. Fairly soon after it was 2-0 courtesy of a Georg Boyd solo effort. The third, still before half time, was a great team goal with Richardson and Williams creating the chance for Will Grigg to get his second. The game was won, we could relax for the second half and see out the game for 3 valuable points. We were upto 18th and out of the danger zone.

    Will Grigg is on fire.

    There was no reason to make any changes to the personnel, but it was the 4-4-2 default formation for the midweek trip to Huddersfield. It made little difference as we picked up from where we left off. 9 minutes played and Hayes’ overhit cross was collected by Richardson and returned to the far post for Williams to nod home. It turned out to be the only goal and the 3 points lifted us upto 15th. 2 wins, 2 clean sheets, Wigan fans are not used to this.

    Charlton are this seasons dark horses and they arrive at The DW as the league leaders, looking to secure back to back promotions.With only 2 days to prepare from the Huddersfield game it was wholesale changes, only Silvestri, Daniels, Boyd and Williams kept their places with everyone else rested. That didn’t stop us from starting brighter and taking the game to Charlton. Michael Mandron was the man who gave us the early lead with just his 3rd goal in 2 years. We continued to push on for a second, but it just wasn’t sticking up front. With an hour gone, we were made to pay for missed chances when my namesake, Kingsley, tackled Williams, then ran the length of the pitch to finish off a flowing passing move. It got worse when once again we were sliced open by a quick Charlton break, this time it was Vetokele with the finish and the Londoners could look forward to their coach trip back down the M6. But we were not quite finished yet. A long punt into the box caused Chralton all sorts of problems. In the scramble, the ball ended up in the back of the net and Michael Jacobs ran off to celebrate. Video evidence showed that it had actually come off the shin of Baudry and would officially be an own goal. Points shared and the board appeared to be happy with the performance.

    Before the Watford game there was some strange news from my former club.


    Yes, the very same coke sniffing former England striker who’s only previous experience was a short stint as caretaker player/coach at a Thai club. Ifhe is the answer, I’d rather not know the question. It wasn’t the only strange appointment. Arsenal plumped for former Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa to take over from Wenger, Tony Adams ended up at Hednesford and Emile Heskey at Dover. One new manager who was working was Pep at City. Having brought in Patrick Roberts, Diego Gondin, Jan Vertonghen and Samir Nasri (who he sold 17 days later for a £2.6m profit !), City have swept all before them and are already odds on to win the Premier League.


    Back to Wigan and it was a return to the starting 11 that had earned the 2 earlier wins. Watford at Vicarage road under Laurent Blanc are a very strong outfit, easily the best squad in the division. To be fair, we did give a good account of ourselves and did present Gomes a few problems to deal with, but the home side were easy 2-0 winners. It means that we slip down to 19th, still out of relegation trouble.

    It was the same 11 that travelled the few miles up the M6 for our next game at MK Dons. In quite probably the worst display that I have witnessed, we went down 4-1 to our fellow relegation candidates. Barely anyone deserved passmarks today. Silvestri and Hendry were the worst, with 4 ratings. Will Grigg got our goal, but even he was hardly on fire. Indeed, since that first game thare has been barely a sign of smoke.

    Finally, Derby. Could we bounce back ? Three changes, James, Obertan and Vaughan replaced Kellet, Hayes and Williams. He may have been anonymousfor the last few games, but Grigg brought his A game to this one. After a pretty dull opening half hour, Derby defender Keown made a total hash of a clearance. It was close to an air-shot and Grigg took full advantage to give us the lead. 2 more goals before the interval, first an equalizer from Vydra and then Richardson fed Grigg who dropped his shoulder and turned, totally bamboozling his marker and placed his shot in the corner of the net. The hat-trick goal duely arrived just after the hour, a floated cross from Boyd and there was Will Grigg to head past Darlow. Sadly we couldn’t see it out. Tom Ince’s 89th minute strike should have only been a late consolation, but with virtually the last kick of the game Olsson found himself in space and tried an effort from the corner of the box and beat Silvestri who was unsighted by the mass of defenders. I don’t think that we deserved that having been dominant for most of the game and having the games best player in Will Grigg.


    All in all, the plan is working out pretty well. 19th and 3 points above Wednesday in 22nd, I’ll take that going into May. There are some big relegation battles next month with Reading, Millwall, Rotheham and Wednesday all on the schedule. I’ll do well to come away from that just 3 points ahead !


    Final word though goes to the Wigan fans as they celebrate that Will Grigg hat-trick

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  21. #96

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    Some big teams above you in that division so should be the dog fight you are looking for

  22. #97

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    Hope your plan works out nicely. If the team put in some horror displays like they did at MK Dons then you could be on the right track!

  23. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Some big teams above you in that division so should be the dog fight you are looking for
    There are some big teams below us too :-)
    Cliche alert ...... There are no easy games at this level

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    Hope your plan works out nicely. If the team put in some horror displays like they did at MK Dons then you could be on the right track!
    We do need some inconsistency .... and Will Grigg to smoulder occasionally !
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    From Riches To Rags - 2017/18 October

    The league position was stabilized last month and the board are looking for a “long and successful era” under my management. In fact when asked, the Wigan directors are “Delighted” with my performance. How little they know ! It is therefore time to sort out some of the contracts. First and foremost is Gabriel Obertan who had a £700k non-promotion clause in his current deal. In addition, George Boyd, Michael Richardson, Marco Silvestri and James Vaughan all have minimum fee clauses which although higher than their current value, might still tempt someone.

    Dan Burn, Jake Buxton, Jack Byrne, Michael Jacobs and Andy Kellett all have relegation clauses which I need to sort out now and there are a total of 13 players out of contract next summer. A few have unrealistic expectations of 1st team football, so there is no way that I’ll be able to sort them all, but even so, the club’s legal team are going to be busy this month.

    It is also a busy month for the team. Even without any League Cup ties, there are 6 league fixtures scheduled. First up is a relegation 6 pointer away to big spending Sheffield Wednesday. It was a match which saw very little action for 87 of the regulation 90 minutes. Those who arrived lateand missed the opening 3 minutes would have been very disappointed. We had a penalty claim from Jordan Rhodes rejected, a brilliant save from Lee Nichols to deny George Boyd the opener, and a stunning strike from 25 yards out by Michael Richardson that earned all 3 points. Time will tell on whether this is a good or a bad result for us, but for now it takes us well clear of the relegation places and upto 16th.

    Still on a high from the Wednesday game, the fans turned up at the DW to welcome QPR. We were unchanged and looking to put a spanner in the visitors promotion hopes. We have a habit of starting well and have scored first in most games. This was no exception. Ariel Borysiuk clattered Morsy and the penalty was an easy decision for the ref. More controversial was the yellow card he produced when it could easily have been red. Luke Williams dispatched the penalty to give us an early lead. The game was decided in 2 minutes, just before halftime. Silvestri looked to be letting the ball run out for a goal kick, but failed to notice Luke Freeman arriving late and left him an easy finish and almost from the kickoff, Freeman detected that Silvestri had lost some confidence from that howler and tested him from distance. 1-2 and half-time couldn’t arrive quick enough. Silvestri recovered after the interval and although we huffed and puffed for the second 45 minutes, an equalizer never looked like coming. We drop back to 17th.


    It has to be said that there are some dire games in the Championship. Too many teams looking to cancel each other rather than win the game themselves. Norwich v Wigan was a prime example and if it had finished at 0-0, the score would have flattered both sides. As is so often, it is not a moment of brilliance that wins it, but hard work, and a cock-up from a keeper. Gabby Obertan’s freekick should have been claimed by their keeper, but he flapped at the ball and Will Grigg put his head in the target area to deflect the ball goalwards. A scrappy goal, but who cares, we are back in 16th

    Could we capitalize back home ? You bet we could, but for once, it was the visitors, Millwall, who made the best start. They led after 7 minutes before it all went pear-shaped for the Londoners. 2 minutes after taking the lead, John Ruddy pulled down James Vaughan. Red card. There was a delay while Owain Fon Williams took over in goal, but his first action was to pick Max Power’s penalty out of the back of the net. Millwall knew it was going to be a long afternoon for them. Michael Richardson capped a 5 man passing move with a clinical header for number 2 and the 3rd was very similar, except Max Power was on the endto get his second of the game. The 4th came late on after Sam Morsy had replacedMax Power. Boyd’s low cross created all sorts of panic Richardson couldn’t get his shot away, but it landed for Morsy who originally claimed the goal, but it was clearly an own goal from Ramage. Somewhere in the celebrations, Morsy managed to tweek his calf and he’ll be out for 3 weeks. We had to substitute the substitute. 14th is our highest position so far.

    Back down to earth at Reading. It was an all changed side as so many of this squad can’t manage 2 games in a week. That said, we did dominate our relegation rivals and Vaughan gave us the lead on the stroke of half time. W continued to push for a second, but were paid to rue missed chances, and a man of the match performance from keeper Ben Garratt. Daniel Williams and Dean Swift getting Reading’s second half goals. It has been a story of keepers this month. Back to 15th.


    The final game was a very important home encounter with 22nd placed Rotherham. Will Grigg gave us the best possible start when he again beat the keeper to a cross and directed his header goalwards. He is some player when he puts his mind to it. That is already his 10th of the season. Sadly that lead lasted for 4 minutes. Brad Smith scoring off the underside of the bar to keep the visitors in contact. For some reason we just couldn’t get any rhythm going to break down the Rotherham defense, however our back 4 looked very solid so the draw was almost inevitable. It puts us upto 14th and 9 clear of Rotherham.

    We need to find more inconsistency ! We are closer to the play-offs than relegation.


    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  25. #100

    Join Date
    31-10-11
    Posts
    27,984
    Getting too good for my liking now

    Could you maybe pick 2 teams? A strong one for certain games you want to win and a rubbish/youth/ageing one for against teams around you?

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