Fort William FC – A Season to Forget (Again)

The Highland Football League 2018/19 was a season to forget for Fort William FC, even by their usual standards.

The league is the 5th tier of the Scottish football pyramid system – with the end of season table toppers entering the play offs for a place in the SPFL.

The past 4 seasons have seen them amass point’s totals of 27, 16, 11 and 5 but upon the completion of this season they sit very unproudly on -7.

To clear up the mystery surrounding the minus figure, an ineligible player was fielded on more than a single occasion so the club were deducted a total of 9 points.

The side from Claggan Park, one of the most picturesque grounds in the United Kingdom – have finally put their latest miserable season to bed and therefore have now registered back-to-back seasons without recording a single victory.

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Fort William last won a league match in April 2017, a horrific 72-game run that will stretch into a fourth season after their campaign ended with a 5-1 rout by Wick Academy.

Some of the drubbings that have been suffered are as bad as 16-0, 12-2 & 10-0.

Fort have propped up the table in 15 of the past 21 seasons. The club are reported to have discussed a drop back into junior football, but the players and staff were determined to maintain their Highland League status and continue representing the town.

Some dedication it has to be said.

Their final record showed:-

  • Played – 34
  • Won – 0
  • Drawn – 2
  • Lost – 32
  • Goals Scored – 21
  • Goals Conceded – 245

So when you have that feeling of frustration from your team on a Saturday evening spare a thought for those fans that follow Fort William.

Fort William image sourced from www.theweek.co.uk

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Chris Hughton

Brighton and Hove Albion what have you done?

Within hours of the final whistle of the 2018/19 Premier League season the board acted swiftly and told Hughton, Assistant Manager Paul Trollope and First-Team Coach Paul Nevin to clear their desks.

Brighton having played their part on the last match day, were seen off by a rampant Man City with the title in sight. Glen Murray’s header did provide a shock lead and gave Liverpool the faintest of hopes, even if it was just for a few seconds.

Yes – they were on a poor run of form, that saw them victorious in just 3 of their final 23 league games but they were safe from relegation and did make the semi finals of the FA Cup.

But come on, sacked?

  • 2014-15: Kept Brighton in the Championship
  • 2015-16: Guided them to the play-offs
  • 2016-17: Promoted to the Premier League for the first time
  • 2017-18: Secured safety with a more than credible 15th place finish
  • 2018-19: Reached first FA Cup semi-final since 1983
  • An overall win record of 41% from his 215 games in charge

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Chairman Tony Bloom has openly stated that their status was put “at significant risk.”

Dress it up how you want, tell everyone how difficult a decision it was – but his previously mentioned statement sums it all up.

This is the same club that didn’t have a proper home for nearly 12 years, a club that were nearly out of business and football league in the late 90’s and all of a sudden a few million TV-generated quid and principles go out the window.

Widely recognised as one of the good guys in the game we don’t believe that the former Republic of Ireland full back saw this coming, despite him being no stranger to a training ground dismissal after similar ends to his stints at Newcastle and Norwich.

According to the bookmakers and some sections of the media a three man shortlist has already been drawn up. It comprises of Swansea’s Graham Potter, Derby’s Frank Lampard and England Women head coach Phil Neville.

Each and every one of those has to be considered as a gamble for a team that will surely be in need of an experienced head in what is shaping up to be a tougher looking division next season.

Whoever is chosen to lead the Seagulls into next season, they have a tough act to follow.

Chris Hughton image sourced from; www.theindependent.co.uk

James Coppinger – 15yrs a Donny Rover

“I left school at 16 and I never wanted to be a professional footballer. It wasn’t something I had on my mind – it was a hobby.”

Currently in his 15th season at the club, James Coppinger continues to write himself into the books of Football League history. Not bad for someone who had no intention of following this career path.

He’s ranked up an unprecedented amount of appearances in South Yorkshire and continues to be named on the team sheet week in, week out.

As a youngster the midfielder was signed by Kenny Dalglish for Newcastle United in ‘98 along with Paul Robinson from local side Darlington in a joint £500k deal.

He struggled to make an impact at St James’ and after a couple of loan spells at Hartlepool and a solitary substitute appearance his time up north was over.

He switched from St James’ Park to St James Park!

2002 saw his Toon contract end by mutual consent and he travelled the length of the country to sign for Exeter City.

In what was his 1st full season in the professional game would end in heartbreak. Relegation from the 3rd division made Coppinger question his future involvement in the game.

He said: “I had a lot of negative things going on in my life. I had a fear of failing – and also a fear of success. The way I was going and the way I was thinking, before I met Terry [Gormley, a motivational speaker], it was only a matter of time before I came out of football.”

However, it was in 2004 the boy from the North East would find a home and fall back in love with the game.

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Bought for a reported £30,000 by then Doncaster boss Dave Penny, the midfielder has become a Rovers legend.

Unsurprisingly he has had some top moments along the way at Donny. A hat trick in a Play Off Semi-Final against Southend (link below) securing a date with fellow Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, he started at Wembley in a victory that broke Doncaster’s 50yr absence from the 2nd tier of English football.

And who can forget the last gasp winner at Brentford to clinch the League One title back in 2013, for those unfamiliar we suggest you check it out online. Genuinely one of the EFL’s greatest moments.

By the time the 2018/19 season is over the amassed total of appearances for Rovers will have passed 550, phenomenal! Backed up by a Ryan Giggs-esc record of scoring in every played in season.

He was recently replaced by a youngster from the bench with a 22yr age gap as 16yr old Lirak Hasani took to the field in his place, talk about current gaffer Grant McCann reminding his midfield maestro about his age.

Doncaster Rovers are pushing for League One play offs in the pursuit of promotion back to the Championship and having the experience of a player like Coppinger in their ranks could prove invaluable.

The game needs more like the 38yr old.

James Coppinger image sourced from; www.efl.com
James Coppinger hat trick image sourced from; www.youtube.com

The Tartan Army – Finally Fed Up

Defeat to the world’s worst International side was unthinkable, fortunately for the Scots they just did enough to ensure they at least got points on the board after the Kazakhstan horror show a few days earlier.

Being played off the park in the group opener was compounded by rivals Russia turning up in Astana, notching 4 and hopping on the short flight home safely in the knowledge that they already have one foot in Euro 2020.

F**k the SFA, sack the board and loud boo’s of discontent were clearly captured by TV cameras and microphones. Something which you do not associate with the well-travelled, well behaved, for the love of a nation Tartan Army.

Put simply, Alex McLeish should his week be penning his resignation letter after an embarrassing 2nd spell in charge of the country for which he gained 77 caps.

Alex McCleish Image

The former central defender is back after choosing to turn his back on Hampden back in 2007 when qualification was a real possibility to sprint down south and into a relegation battle at Birmingham City. An unforgivable offence.

He was unable to save them from relegation that season. He did however lead them back to the top flight at the 1st attempt before suffering relegation again – despite a league cup triumph.

Disastrous spells followed at blues’ city rivals Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest before another couple of short stays in Belgium and Egypt – only for the Hampden hotline to ring after their flirtatious attempts with others were publicly declined.

So, it was decided that in the wake of Gordon Strachan’s eventful reign that Big Eck would be given another opportunity by the seemingly clueless individuals that are slowly running the Scottish game.

How is that working out you ask?

  • Wins – vs Hungary, Albania x 2, Israel & San Marino
  • Defeats – vs Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Belgium, Israel, Portugal, Kazakhstan

Yes the SFA sanctioned tour of South America pre-World Cup was a shambles and would have tested any manager’s patience but it could have been handled better.

You even feel the get out of jail free card has already been played with the James Forrest heroics at Hampden, that saw Scotland take advantage of the crazy Nations League set up and have the play offs to fall back on. A new man should be given the rest of the campaign and subsequent games to prove that the Scots aren’t as poor as many are making out.

The usual nonsense regarding not having the players or talent will be trotted out as it’s an easy argument to hide behind, well it’s no more than nonsense.

The squad call up’s and equally those that are overlooked has a frantic feel – like they are close to a looming deadline and need to submit a squad ASAP.

We can’t recall ever seeing Mcleish appear at a game looking at potential talent, he could probably do with having James McFadden (a hero in his own right) get his backside away from the TV cameras and actually get on with doing the job as a National Team Coach.

Smaller nations with less resource are performing better, Northern Ireland being a prime example.

The staunch defenders will ask if not Mcleish – then who? Fair question but this overwhelming need for the safe option needs to change.

Without going into too much detail how about the likes of Claude Puel, Gary Monk, Slavisa Jokanovic or Aitor Karanka – why can’t they look to be different? A part time role? A foreign manager with no Old Firm ties? Only ideas but better than this safe mode option applied way of thinking.

Certain no’s from us for the McKay’s, Moyes’ or McCoist’s that will undoubtedly make the right noises.

“It’s never over”, “we started well” and “the players got nervous” have all been blurted out by a man clearly out of his depth this week and it’s best for everyone if he and the supporters are put out of their misery sooner rather than later.

Look up the word’s glorious failure in the dictionary and you’ll more than likely see a picture of the SFA crest frustratingly placed alongside.

The general feeling of always the bridesmaid never the bride follows the national side around and has done for 20+ years now.

Sunday’s victory over San Marino was a near perfect scenario for those who are quite rightly demanding change. A 2-0 score line captured the points, but the labouring performance did little to dispel the feeling that this regime has already failed the thousands who blindly follow their country all over the world in the hope of something to cheer.

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It’s not often you’ll hear boos or songs of discontent from the Tartan Army but in the stands of the Serravalle on Sunday they were deafening.

They deserve better for their efforts and they are not receiving half of the effort back from the squad of that they are putting in.

Rod Petrie, Allan McRae, Neil Doncaster and all the others in the jobs for boys club – its over to you to act upon the vocal request of those who pay your wages and buy yourselves some time because make no mistake they’re after your heads too.

Alex McCleish image sourced from; www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football
Scotland fans image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/football

City or Liverpool – 9 Games to go!

We’ve just witnessed what could be a pivotal week in the race for the Premier League title 2018/19.

Pep’s Man City machine has turned around the recent points deficit and now sit top of the table knowing that a win in each of their last 9 games has their title retained.

Back-to-back 1-0 victories over West Ham and Bournemouth coupled with Liverpool’s dropped points at Old Trafford and Goodison, have given the men from the Etihad a single point advantage heading into the latter stages of the season.

Klopp’s men need to regroup and quickly. Four draws their previous six league games, five in seven if you include the Champions League is not the form required in February / March in order to become legends.

It’s worth remembering that just a few weeks ago Klopp’s side could have been 10 points ahead had they managed to despatch City at the turn of the year. Plus Riyad Mahrez’s missed stoppage time penalty kick at Anfield inflicted an earlier defeat on the Kop faithful.

All change now!

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Due to the participation in the FA Cup, City’s run will be slightly disjointed from that of their title rivals, only two domestic league games in March could take the numerical advantage back to Merseyside should they deliver and turn recent draws into much needed wins.

Below are the remaining fixtures for each side in the quest to be crowned champions of England;

Man City

09/03/19 – Watford (H)

30/03/19– Fulham (A)

06/04/19 – Cardiff (H)

14/04/19 – Crystal Palace (A)

20/04/19 – Tottenham (H)

24/04/19 – Man Utd (A)

28/04/19 – Burnley (A)

04/05/19 – Leicester (H)

12/05/19 – Brighton (A)

Liverpool

10/03/09 – Burnley (H)

17/03/19 – Fulham (A)

31/03/19 – Tottenham (H)

05/04/19 – Southampton (A)

14/04/19 – Chelsea (H)

21/04/19 – Cardiff (A)

26/04/19 – Huddersfield (H)

04/05/19 – Newcastle (A)

12/05/19 – Wolves (H)

On paper the Manchester-based side have the easier run, but we all know that games and more importantly titles are not won on paper.

Spurs who have had what appears to be there annual wobble have to visit both title-hunting clubs and with pressure off they could get into their free flowing rhythm and cause an upset on the day.

Man Utd having recently taken points off Liverpool may find themselves in a catch 22 in mid-April. Win and they have the bragging rights of the City, lose and they may just have handed their biggest rivals their 1st title since 1990.

Could there even be a stranger twist brought about by recent event? Brendan Rodgers will take his hit -and-miss Leicester side to City in the penultimate game. Having seen the title slip away (pun intended) before being sacked – he could now play a pivotal role in derailing Pep’s men with little time remaining to recover.

One thing we believe for certain is that this title race is nowhere near over. Liverpool we believe will actually prefer to be the chaser rather than the chased.

An interesting few weeks ahead and games which will define legacies. It’s that important.

Liverpool and City image sourced from; www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football

Declan Rice – England Over Ireland

Ireland under 16, Ireland under 17, Ireland under 19, Ireland under 21 and Ireland senior team have all selected and nurtured midfielder Declan Rice over the years.

The West Ham midfielder has now decided that his international future lies away from the Arriva and with those at Wembley.

The promising West Ham man has chosen birth place over grandparent eligibility, he has chosen England over Ireland.

Declan-Rice

Born in London, Rice became eligible for ROI as his grandparents were from Cork.

After receiving 3 full caps (all in friendly matches) under Martin O’Neill the youngster asked to be omitted from a squad to play Wales back in August 2018.

All-in-all Rice has pulled on the shirt of the boys in green on 23 occasions.

In the last few days he has released a statement that has confirmed the decision that could define his footballing future.

“I have equal respect for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection.”

“Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future.”

It is a big risk but one that could be full of reward should he nail down a place in the three lions’ squad. You’d have to suggest that England’s recent success at various age levels will have played a huge part in Declan’s decision. Perhaps a group stage elimination at the recent World Cup would have nullified any thoughts of a switch?

Whilst there has been the odd Irishman make noises of discontent – it is worth noting that Ireland, like many other nations have benefited from similar situations.

Look back to the late 90’s and you’ll see the Englishmen of Cascarino, Townsend and Aldridge.

The mid 2000’s would find the likes of McAteer, Holland, Kinsella and Clinton Morrison switch allegiance.

Perhaps the Scots could consider themselves equally hard done by with the losses of James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady to their near neighbours in recent years?

Kevin Kilbane who is 3rd on the list for all-time record caps was born in Preston and their most recent squad features a massive 9 non-Irishmen.

It’s a sore one for those across the Irish sea to take, as they have missed out on a player with a lot of potential but like it or not Rice has not broken any rules.

This doesn’t make it right, but Ireland will have to move on quickly and focus on the upcoming Euro qualifiers after suffering relegation in inaugural Nations League competition.

Declan Rice image sourced from; www.thetimes.co.uk

England U20s – What are they up to now?

18 months on from their famous World Cup victory in South Korea the England under 20 squad members are older, wiser and should be in a better position to influence their careers as well as the aid the ambitions of the clubs to which they are contracted.

A 1-0 victory over Venezuela in the final not only gave them memories for the rest of their lives, but probably spurred their more senior counterparts to an unexpected run to the Semi Finals in Russia.

England are gaining admirers across Europe in relation to their current crop of home grown talent.

Sancho is doing it at Dortmund and Hudson-Odoi is being tracked by Bayern and its certain that many more will be subject to bids from abroad should these lads no be able to make their mark at home.

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The question is – what are the members of the winning squad up to are these days? We’ve put together an update below…

GK’s

Freddie Woodman

The Newcastle keeper is back up north. After a successful spell with Kilmarnock he is back in the Ladbrokes Premiership with Aberdeen. A promising player in a position that England won’t have trouble with for the next few years. Recipient of the Golden Glove in Korea.

Dean Henderson

Manchester United’s next hot prospect, just a question of will he ever grace the Old Trafford pitch as a red? Currently with Sheffield United and a proper crown favourite.

A loan spell with Shrewsbury saw him help them into the League One Play Off final last season and his early penalty save gave them hope before Rotherham proved too strong.

Reported to be being tracked by some of Europe’s superpowers given his fine performances.

Luke Southwood

The Reading U23 keeper who is yet to make an appearance for the Royals, is currently in the Conference Premier with Eastleigh, a short term loan arrangement.

Defenders

Jonjoe Kenny

The promising right back is one of a number of Everton players in this squad. He has broken into the first team squad and is a definite long term successor to Seamus Coleman. A plus point in the current slump for the side.

Callum Connolly

Currently with struggling Bolton in the Championship but experiences like his current one can be good for a young player. He will be back at Goodison in the summer but most likely to be put out on loan again soon after.

Fikayo Tomori

The Canadian born defender is one of what seems like 100’s out on loan from Chelsea, He is working under the guidance of Blue’s legend Frank Lampard as Derby push for promotion from the Championship. Like many others he will more than likely have to move away from Stamford Bridge to get game time.

Jake Clarke-Slater

Like Tomori a Chelsea “loanee”. Was with Sunderland at the back end of their fatefulNetflix documented campaign although he kept himself out of the limelight. He was then shipped to partner club Vitesse in the Eredivisie for this campaign and made over 20 appearances so far.

Ezri Konsa

Came to prominence at Charlton making over 70 appearances at the heart of the defence. He moved from the Valley to Brentford for a reported £2.5m last summer and has been a virtual ever present for the Bees. A move to a bigger club looks a certainty in the coming years.

Kyle Walker-Peters

The Spurs full back is a squad player at present with just a few mins under his belt. He has not been sent on loan which shows that he is required around Wembley. At a club that doesn’t look like making many signings in the coming windows so he has a chance to make his mark.

Dael Fry

The big 6’4 local lad at Middlesbrough has been used by Tony Pulis this season and will continue to be a bit part player in the coming months. A winner with England at Under 17, 20 and 21 level, impressive.

Midfielders

Lewis Cook

The skipper who hoisted the trophy aloft. He was transferred from Leeds to Bournemouth back in 2016 and is looking like a shrewd investment. His season was cut short pre-Christmas with a nasty cruciate injury, he has a long journey back.

Joshua Onomah

The Spurs man has represented England at a staggering 6 age levels. He has played over 30 games for the North London club and appears to have a future at the new White Hart Lane.Currently at Sheff Wed and under Steve Bruce he could flourish in the coming months.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

In the Arsenal squad as Emery looks to blood the youth players in various competitions. He recently received social media criticism for his performance at Huddersfield although he was played out of position. Also scored away at Anfield, although sadly it was in a heavy defeat.

Kieran Dowell

Blue through and through, a ball boy at Goodison and idolised Mikel Arteta whilst he was in the academy. Brought in by promotion-chasing Sheffield United to aid their run in towards the Premier League.

A success out at Nottingham Forest last season and looks to be a promising midfielder, needs to be utilised by Everton upon his return.

Sheyi Ojo

The winger seems to have been around for a long time with his multiple loans into the lower leagues.

Helped the currently hopeless Fulham to promotion last season. Although he could end up disappearing into the wilderness.

Ovie Ejaria

Loaned to Rangers to work under former academy coach Gerrard, but deal was cut short suddenly in December with claim he couldn’t settle. Others believe different and an attitude problem may be the true cause.

Like parent club teammate Ojo could slip away, chances at Anfield will be slim to none you’d imagine.

Forwards

Adam Armstrong

After several loans away from Newcastle, Armstrong finally has a permanent home at Blackburn Rovers. He helped them to promotion back to the Championship last season and has continued to cause defences headaches at the higher level. A good footballer.

Dominic Solanke

The Golden Ball winner of the tournament.

After 0 PL appearances for Liverpool this season Solanke signed for Bournemouth early in the January window for a heavy £19m fee, good club to be at but he could be in danger of becoming a wasted talent should he not settle somewhere soon.

Ademola Lookman

Lookman had recently signed for Everton prior to the World Cup, making a handful of appearances before the summer. Post tournament the toffees replaced Koeman with Allardyce who sanctioned a loan to RB Leipzig for Lookman. Back on Merseyside and he’s finding opportunities limited with under-fire Silva despite loud calls from the stands for his inclusion.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin

Figures a lot more at Goodison than Lookman, 20+ appearances this season albeit mainly from the bench. He has an eye for a goal and could turn into a decent top division forward if given the opportunity.

Harrison Chapman

England-World-Cup-Win

Like Armstrong he was sent of various loans from the North East, this time from Middlesbrough. Same home as his international teammate though having signed on at Ewood for the next 2.5yrs.

It’s a crucial time for the developing talent in England and having had success on the International stage, it is key that the feel good factor is capitalised on.

Some of these players have found chances limited in favour of foreign imports or more experienced heads.

Quite simply these young footballers need more faith placed in them, some of these clubs have ready-made talent at their disposal yet are still choosing to spend millions and looking elsewhere.

England cannot miss this opportunity.

England U20 squad image sourced from; www.premierleague.com
England U20 World Cup win image sourced from; www.en.aus.com

Ipswich Town – FA Cup Woes…

They were proud winners of the World’s oldest cup competition back in 1978, a Roger Osborne goal was enough to see off Arsenal in front of a reported 100,000 at Wembley all those years ago.

However, as 2018/19 season’s 4th round gets underway this week there will be a usual sight for fans of Ipswich Town, as per the last 9 seasons they won’t be participating.

A defeat in early January to League One Accrington Stanley didn’t prove to be a shock based on current league positions but it does continue a terrible tradition that they seem to have got themselves into.

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Their last FA Cup victory was way back in 2010. A 2-1 victory over 9 man Blackpool in front of just over 7000 people at Bloomfield road.

A late Owen Garvan strike saw the Tractor Boys progress to what is now the unchartered territory of round 4 before Southampton ended the dream for another season.

Below is their recent 3rd round record:-

  • 2010/11 – Chelsea 7-0 Ipswich
  • 2011/12 – Hull City 3-1 Ipswich
  • 2012/13 – Aston Villa 2-1 Ipswich
  • 2013/14 – Preston 3 – 2 Ipswich (Replay after 1-1 draw at Portman Road)
  • 2014/15 – Ipswich 0 -1 Southampton (Replay after 1-1 draw at St Mary’s)
  • 2015/16 – Portsmouth 1 – 1 Ipswich (Replay after 2-2 draw at Portman Road)
  • 2016/17 – Lincoln City 1 – 0 Ipswich (Replay after 2-2 draw at Portman Road)
  • 2017/18 – Ipswich 0 – 1 Sheffield United
  • 2018/19 – Accrington 1- 0 Ipswich

A couple of gallant efforts in forcing replays over the years but they somehow have always managed to come up short.

Roy Keane, Paul Jewell and Mick McCarthy have all come up short and current gaffer Paul Lambert didn’t fare any better.

The FA Cup just isn’t a competition that the men from East Anglia look forward to.

Lambert’s men currently sit bottom of the Championship with a substantial points difference to make up, to even give themselves a chance to stay up this season. The 3rd tier is very much on the horizon and a 2nd successive relegation for Lambert after going down with Stoke last season.

A change in owner and a cash injection are key for this club.

Image sourced from; www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football

Huddersfield Town – Wagner Walks

He gave them something to savour for the rest of their footballing history and now it has come to an agreed end.

David Wagner and the Huddersfield Town board have “mutually agreed” to end their near 3.5yr relationship.

In a surprise announcement on Monday evening, with the build up to Man City vs Wolves very much underway, a statement was released from the John Smiths Stadium.

Perhaps surprisingly – it was stated that a parting of ways was already on the table after the final league game in May.

Town Chairman Dean Hoyle said “After a long discussion we all felt that David staying at the club until the end of the season was best, but we’ve kept discussions open and we all now feel that the time is right to part ways.”

After their Wembley shootout out victory and subsequent PL kick off, Wagner was named Championship Manager of the Year after leading the West Yorkshire side into the top-flight and claimed the Premier League Manager of the Month award in in August 2017 after leading them to a solid 7 point start.

After the promising opening to that particular campaign – it all started to unravel and the stark reality of the task at hand, it appears it became too much for the German.

Somehow though, they managed to drag themselves to a 16th place finish.

The Terriers have just 9 league victories to their name since the end of August…2017.

Back in November they looked to have turned a corner with victories over Fulham and Wolves before a disastrous December and nasty New Year saw them lose 8 on the spin before Wagner’s last game in charge at Cardiff, a 0-0 draw.

Goals have been a serious problem, both for and against.

Whoever comes in has a serious task to even get the Yorkshire club back in contention to remain in the top division, it may make sense for the board to look further into the future and appoint someone capable of gaining promotion once again for after what is sure to be relegation.

One thing that remains after the news. David Wagner will be forever welcome in the town of Huddersfield and will be remembered for years to come after his achievements.

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David Wagner image was sourced from; www.express.co.uk/sport/football

Borussia Dortmund

With the black and yellows 6 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga – with just 1 loss to their name this season, the news this week of the sale of USA international Christian Pulisic to Chelsea may have rocked may a football club. Not Borussia Dortmund.

With the promise of nearly £60m on its way from Stamford Bridge, an agreement was reached to allow their number 22 to hang around on loan until the end of a season which is looking to be a successful one.

After the departure of Pulisic in the summer their squad will still boast the likes of Gotze, Reus, Witsel, Alcacer and of course the exciting talent that is Jadon Sancho.

The particular emergence of the young Englishman has been quicker than expected, his quick feet and ability to take men on has seen him very much in the manager Lucien Favre’s plans, without pre-empting fate its seen that Sancho will prove to be another player that they can cash in on for tremendous profit.

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Borussia Dortmund have seen some of the world’s best footballers come through their doors in the last few years but incredibly the Bundesliga side seem to get stronger.

They rarely stand in the way of their “want away” stars as they can drive a hard bargain and re-invest profit into their future.

Just look at these 5 key outgoings from previous seasons:-

Player Bought For Sold For Profit
Ousmane Dembele €15m €145m €130m
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang €14m €63m €49m
Henrikh Mkhitaryan €13m €42m €29m
Mats Hummels €4m €35m €31m
Ilkay Gundogan €4m €27m €23m
€262m

Frustratingly Lewandowski and Goetze (now returned) walked away on free transfers, a lesson learned it would seem given Pulisic was due to walk away on a free next summer before the transfer to the Premier League was sealed.

Other recent notable sales include Sokratis (Arsenal), Ginter (Monchengladbach) & Bender (Leverkusen).

Along with their Bundesliga cushion they have topped a Champions League group that contained Atletico Madrid and have a last 16 tie with Spurs to look forward to. A tie they’ll see as winnable and progression to the latter stages.

2018 / 19 is looking remarkably promising and this will further impress any targets they choose to pursue with the Chelsea cash for Pulisic, maybe a late bid to snatch you Hudson-Odoi from Bayern and add to their English contingent?

The last 8 seasons have seen Borussia claim 2 league titles, 2 German cups and also seen them victorious in 2 DFL Supercups. Combine this with multiple runners up accolades and they don’t appear to be stopped despite their decisions to allow their prized assets to leave.

Their south bank or “yellow wall” as it’s been nicknamed, is one of the most mesmerising sights in the game when over 24k are making themselves heard.

They simply show true German grit and look to move on as a club whilst gracefully accepting the riches from others around Europe.

Borussia Dortmund are a fine example of a football club.

borussia-dortmund-stadium.jpg

Jadon Sancho image sourced from; www.goal.com
Borussia Dortmund Stadium image sourced from; www.youtube.com