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EastStandBlue

Life President
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
15,470
Ok, here's the second part to my review of the League One season. Apologies for the delay, have been busy this past week.

Brighton

Quite how Brighton finished as high as 13th should pay great testament to the work of Gus Poyet since his arrival. Having narrowly avoided the drop last time out, the Sussex outfit were facing another dogfight this time out until Poyet arrived and changed things around.

They became something of a force in 2010, losing only three games in the closing stretch from mid-February to May and picking up vital wins against relegation candidates. Forster’s acrimonious departure threatened to rock the boat, but the likes of Crofts, Bennett and Barnes did more than enough to stem the tide.

With Falmer almost finished and a great degree of finance behind the club, it’d be a brave man who bets against them should Poyet stick around.

Moment of the Season: A 1-0 win over Torquay earned them a trip to Villa Park in the third round of the FA Cup, where they were unlucky to lose out 3-2.

Carlisle

Carlisle are another side who narrowly avoided promotion last season, but were able to stave off the threat this time out. They very rarely lost to a side in the bottom stretches of the League which stood them in great stead, although a considerable amount of work is needed if they are to push back into the realms of Play-Off material.

Keeping the likes of Gary Madine is essential to the Cumbrian’s success, however with a good calibre of club relegated and promoted into League One this year, next season could prove difficult.

Moment of the Season: A rather dull League season was perked up by a trip to Goodison Park, but there are very few sights more satisfying than your team being lead onto the Wembley pitch.

Yeovil

Another successful season for the Glovers and another feather in the cap of Terry Skiverton, who appears to have taken to management like North Essex based football supporters take to their siblings.

Another club who survived purely by taking points from the relegated, adding weight to the adage that you can’t do much wrong by beating teams below you in the League. A solid, yet unspectacular squad who achieved an awful lot through sheer hard work and determination despite their club captain earning considerably less than a certain bald centre back.

The home record at Huish Park was definitely a key factor, along with the goals from Dean Bowditch and Andy Williams, who has since turned his loan move into a permanent transfer.

Moment of the Season: A 3-0 home win over Oldham that guaranteed their League One status for another year.

Oldham

A disappointing, yet wholly predictable season for the Latics as they, yet again, remain in League One. Dave Penney has since been dispatched, although you do wonder just what the Lancashire club expect on such dismal crowds.

They’re very much a side split in half. On one hand, you have the impressive width given by Smalley and Stephens, but coupled with the goal shy Pawel Abbot. They could struggle next season, so appointing the right successor is absolutely pivotal.

Moment of the Season:
A hugely uneventful season, however a 1-0 away win over local rivals Stockport will have provided them ample bragging rights.

Leyton Borient

With the Ooze staring at relegation, Professional lunatic Barry Hearn played his trump card in dismissing Williams and bringing in Russell Slade and, giving Hearn his due, it’s a decision that ultimately paid dividends with the club finishing one point outside of the relegation zone.

A late run of good results, including wins over Norwich, Wycombe and Stockport, saw them safe in League One for yet another season, with the club owing a great deal of thanks to the goals of Scott McGleish and Sean Thornton.

It’s difficult to see where the club move from here having played it’s trump card to avoid relegation this season and, with Hearn’s interest waning and the club up for sale, troubled times await the club. Haha.

Moment of the Season:
The moment the club banded together and bought Johnny Stokes a pair of better fitting shorts. A sight that warms the heart.

Exeter:

A tremendous season for the undoubted minnows of the League with survival secured on the final day, their win over Huddersfield and Hartlepool’s draw keeping them in League One. The promotions before and survival this season mean Tisdale’s stock as a manager continues to grow... Although I’m still not sure about the neckerchief and cap combo.

They’re a fine example of how to achieve success on a shoestring. They work hard, they’ve made St. James Park a fortress and have picked off results when they’ve had to. A solid defence with League One Name of the Season, Troy Archibald-Henville, Scott Golbourne and George Friend is enforced with a resilient midfield and attack.

Next season could be more than tricky, and I no doubt speak for the whole footballing community when I wish Adam Stansfield a speedy recovery from bowel cancer.

Moment of the Season: It has to be Ryan Harley’s late volley on the final day of the season which spared them the drop and condemned Gillingham to the drop.

Tranmere

Another season, another survival by the skin of their teeth. The physio’s in charge now and a last day drubbing of Stockport proved just about enough to keep them up despite entering the fixture in the drop zone.

A complete clear out has been sanctioned and only a handful remain, but most notably Ian Thomas-Moore stays on as captain as he proved so vital to their survival in the closing stages of the season with his goals.

In truth, their season never really got going. John Barnes was sacked with just 3 wins out of 14 games and they never recovered from the awful start, continuously flirting with safety before clinching it.

Moment of the Season: Probably the day bumbling Barnes was given his P45. Some odd decisions and awful results caused the axe to fall.

Hartlepool

Jeff Stelling’s boys are another side that seem to annually flirt with relegation only to galvanise and save themselves at the last. Roy O’Donovan proved to be absolutely pivotal to their survival, scoring a bag full of goals in the last three months (including those against Southend, that we’ll choose to ignore for purposes of sanity).

Still, to avoid the drop purely on goal difference should cause alarm bells to ring and the club have responded by releasing seven just a fortnight after their survival.

Moment of the Season:
Leading Premiership Burnley in the Carling Cup until the 84th minute, eventually going out in extra time is only just eclipsed by survival clinched by a nervy draw with Brentford.

Gillingham

There’s not much you can say about a team that were all but safe, playing an already relegated team in Wycombe, only to get trounced 3-1 and be relegated thanks to an Exeter winner in the 84th minute.

The only team in the Football League without an away win will look back on a “What if?” campaign where they continually threw away leads (sound familiar?) and were very rarely beaten at home. Southampton and Leeds, amongst others all fell at the Priestfield. That away record though... well, Southend’s was better.

Furthermore, Gillingham found the services of Mark Stimson surplus to requirements and chose fan favourite Andy Hessenthaler to replace him, which is a gamble in itself, but one that’s more than capable of paying off.

Moment of the Season: Their 2-1 home win over a rampant Southampton looked to have saved themselves from the drop, but it wasn’t to be.

Wycombe

The newly promoted club were sent straight back to League Two with their tails between their legs, having taken to League One like Premier League clubs took to leveraged buy-outs.

And it’s not exactly difficult to identify their short fallings. Pinning their attack on the goal scoring prowess of Matt Harrold probably wasn’t the wisest of moves given his record with us at this level, and hoping that Michael Duberry would defy the laws of physics and have another year in him proved to be foolish as well.

The biggest problem, though, was losing their midfield maestro Tommy Doherty, who went and joined the English revolution at Ferencvárosi TC in Hungary and, with him, left any creative play from the centre of the park and results began to stack against them.

Moment of the Season:
Err... Erm... Pass.

Southend


Where do I start? The season started promisingly, picking up some positive results whilst remaining safely in the top half. Then, it all went pear shaped as the chronic cash flow problems mounted, Lee Barnard decided Southampton would probably be best for his career and bank balance and a ****tail of transfer embargos and financial woes meant that very little could be done to solve the situation.

What occurs in the close season is pivotal. The club need to ditch the overpaid players, no matter who they are, and start again in the basement league... bringing in players on basement league wages with something to prove. If they can do this, then they’ll be the better for it.

Putting the problems to one side, it has to be said, if the team stayed alert until the 95th minute in each match, they wouldn’t be where they find themselves...

Moment of the Season: Nothing much in a miserable, rotten season... But Lee Barnard silencing the East London scum with a hatrick is hard to beat.

Stockport

They say that, no matter how hard you’re finding life, there’s someone considerably worse off than you. Southend fans can take solace in the fact they don’t have to look far and wide for a club worse off than them.

The writing was on the wall for Stockport even before the season began. Failing to leave administration saw the club shackled financially and unable to improve an already dwindling squad. Carl Baker stayed around as long as he could, as did Oli Johnson, but those two prize assets were soon stripped in order to pay bills and the club suffered.

What happened on the pitch paled into insignificance, however, when a buyer could still not be found by April and the news that they might not have a club to support next season was ominous although, thankfully, those fears have now been allayed.

Moment of the Season: Having a club to support next season, more than likely. Although Carl Baker knocking Nicky Bailey for six must’ve been pleasing.
 
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