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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Vital Wycombe's League Two preview 2014/15


It is said that Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The crazy-haired physicist obviously never watched the Chairboys, where insanity comes as a given, and like the blind leading the blind, Benny looks ahead to another season in League Two.


LUTON TOWN

Style: Manager John Still has a huge squad at his disposal with a balance of experience and youth sprinkled with the best talent from non-league football

Stadium: Kenilworth Road harks back to the good old days when your knees weren`t cut to ribbons by seats bolted onto a terrace if you happen to be taller than 5ft!

Reputation: The Hatters have been through hard times but there has been little sympathy given the inflated egos of many of their fans.

Rivals: Always Watford.

Star player: Midfielder Luke Guttridge oozes class on the ball

Final position: 1st


PORTSMOUTH

Style: Andy Awford pulled off a mini-miracle last season to keep Pompey in the Football League and he has built a squad that looks to have strength in all areas

Stadium: Fratton Park might be starting to show its age but it remains a wonderfully atmospheric football ground.

Reputation: They have fallen hard and fast due to a financial meltdown. Now a fan-owned club with great support they have a great chance of climbing back up the leagues.

Rivals: Always Southampton.

Star player: Winger Ricky Holmes was their player of the season last time around. Midfielder Danny Hollands will play a big part this season.

Final position: 2nd


BURTON ALBION

Style: Manager Gary Rowett continues to enhance his reputation and the Brewers mean defence has been supplemented with some real striking power this summer.

Stadium: The Pirelli Stadium is a rare new-build which has retained some character and gives supporters the choice to sit or stand.

Reputation: Memories of the 1984/85 cup clashes have long gone now. The Brewers are one of the good guys and they make good beer!

Rivals: Once upon a time it was Tamworth. Mansfield Town are their nearest opponents this season.

Star player: We all know what striker Stuart Beavon is capable of.

Final position: 3rd


YORK CITY

Style: Manager Nigel Worthington turned their season on its head last Christmas, and after losing in the play-off semi-finals, he has spent the summer strengthening his squad.

Stadium: Bootham Crescent is another wonder of a bygone age. Its City centre location and choice of sitting or standing make it a joy to visit.

Reputation: Memories of their 80`s cup giant-killing heyday remain. Defeat in `86 was avenged in cruel fashion in `99 when the Wanderers knocked them into the relegation zone with just seven minutes of the season remaining.

Rivals: Traditionally it`s been Hull City. Hartlepool United are their nearest opponents this season.

Star player: Midfielder Russell Penn was their outstanding performer last season.

Final position: 4th


BURY

Style: They look like a powerful outfit now manager David Flitcroft has gotten into them. If they can add some firepower they will justify their favourites tag this season.

Stadium: Gigg Lane is one of those grounds that has had the heart ripped out of it in recent years and replaced by rows of plastic seats

Reputation:Former F.A. Cup winners destined never to reach such great heights ever again!

Rivals: Rochdale. This season it will be Accrington Stanley. Well, sort of.

Star player: Wing-back Chris Hussey has a wand of a left-foot and is likely to create a host of chances for the Shakers this season.

Final position: 5th


SHREWSBURY TOWN

Style: The second half of last season was something of a shambles but a summer of revolution under new boss Mickey Mellon promises much for the Salopians.

Stadium: Comparing the New Meadow to Gay Meadow is like comparing a Picasso painting to something knocked up by Rolf Harris!

Reputation: They`ve been spitting out the bitter taste of injustice since 2011. Expect fate to return the favour this season.

Rivals: Hereford United. They`re also none too keen on Wrexham.

Star player: Liam Lawrence stands out as the most eye-catching of their close season signings but he has reportedly been indulging in too-many BBQ`s this summer so I`ll go for former Oldham Athletic central midfielder James Wesolowski.

Final position: 6th


NEWPORT COUNTY

Style: Manager Justin Edinburgh has built a powerful side with plenty of pace and he has added to it this summer.

Stadium: Rodney Parade might be a rugby ground but it`s still a vast improvement on Spytty Park and its` athletics track.

Reputation: Reformed and revitalised, the Exiles are back after 25 years in the doldrums.

Rivals: Cardiff City

Star player: Chris Zebroski was outstanding last season but Yan Klukowski`s signature might just be the signing of the summer.

Final position: 7th


PLYMOUTH ARGYLE

Style: Manager John Sheridan oversaw a considerable improvement last season and if they can find some consistency they`ll be in with a play-off shout

Stadium: Home Park has been redeveloped to leave just the old Mayflower stand. That`s about to be knocked down too and even green seats aren`t enough to replace the character that`s been lost.

Reputation: The Pilgrims are either up or down it seems, although their notoriously fickle fan base appears to be sticking around more these days.

Rivals: Exeter City.

Star player: Goalkeeper Luke McCormick was outstanding between the sticks last season.

Final position: 8th


AFC WIMBLEDON

Style: Manager Neal Ardley has overseen a gradual improvement since their return to the Football League and this season they should be looking up rather than down.

Stadium: Kingsmeadow was built in 1989 for Kingstonian and comes with a terrace that is even shallower than Katie Price.

Reputation: Heroes who fought the good fight after their club was ripped from the heart of it`s community and moved 70 miles away.

Rivals: They don`t really have any since being formed in 2004.

Star player: The arrival of Matt Tubbs and Adebayo Akinfenwa should give them plenty of threat in attack this season. Choose your favourite.

Final position: 9th


STEVENAGE

Style: Graham Westley once created a behemoth at Boro` but things have changed since then and they were relegated from League One last season with barely a whimper.

Stadium: Broadhall Way has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Sadly away fans have no choice but to sit in over-priced seats behind one goal.

Reputation: Westley`s penchant for gamesmanship and physicality has won them few admirers.

Rivals: Once upon a time it was Barnet. This season`s clashes with Luton Town could be feisty.

Star player: Winger Chris Whelpdale will be hoping to fill the boots of winger Luke Freeman, who has left to join Bristol City this summer.

Final position: 10th


SOUTHEND UNITED

Style: Phil Brown did better than expected after turning around Paul Sturrock`s under-achievers to reach the play-offs. They will be looking to repeat the feat.

Stadium: Roots Hall is another atmospheric ground from the old days, close to the pitch and comes complete with a barrel roof.

Reputation: The good guys from Essex, who play decent football most of the time.

Rivals: Colchester United.

Star player: Goalkeeper Daniel Bentley will be playing at a higher level before too long.

Final position: 11th


NORTHAMPTON TOWN

Style: Manager Chris Wilder pulled off the great escape last season and with plenty of money at his disposal, will be expected to challenge at the top this time around.

Stadium: Sixfields is possibly the most hideous recently-built ground in England, complete with brown seats. Yes, brown!

Reputation: Perennial basement dwellers who might have been better sticking to cricket!

Rivals: Peterborough United.

Star player: Midfielder John-Joe O`Toole, if stays on his rocker!

Final position: 12th


CARLISLE UNITED

Style: Wanderers fans will remember the frequent meetings with Graham Kavanagh as a player. Relegation in his first season as a rookie boss was disappointing but expect them to be willing to put their foot in this season.

Stadium: Brunton Park is a curious affair with its modern stand built out of line with the pitch.

Reputation: Border City ne`er-do-wells who treat visitors with the type of suspicion built over centuries of battles with the Scots and the Celts.

Rivals: Preston North End historically. Battles with Morecambe this season are likely to be far more sedate.

Star player: This could be left-footed centre-back Courtney Meppen-Walter`s season

Final position: 13th


CHELTENHAM TOWN

Style: Manager Mark Yates will be hoping last season was aberration after two successive play-off finishes. They will want to re-establish their impressive form at Whaddon Road.

Stadium: Some of the character has been lost with two new seated stands spoiling the view on the edge of the picturesque Cotswolds.

Reputation: It`s all a bit posh for football, what.

Rivals: Gloucester City.

Star player: Left-footed midfielder Matt Richards is a wizard from set-pieces.

Final position: 14th


MANSFIELD TOWN

Style: Manager Paul Cox is unlikely to care about his reputation as a long-ball filth merchants, especially after staying up following their return to the Football League.

Stadium: Field Mill now resembles a Meccano-fanatics wet-dream. It`s a yellow and blue orgy of plastic seats.

Reputation: Yeah so they`re physical and play ugly but we forgive them after saving our Football League status!

Rivals: Chesterfield

Star player: Winger Sam Clucas is surely destined for better things.

Final position: 15th


OXFORD UNITED

Style: Last season saw a spectacular fall from grace following Chris Wilder`s departure. Michael Appleton`s appointment hasn`t exactly been met with joy and rejoicing.

Stadium: The Kassam Stadium remains a three-sided, wind-swept, character-free concrete eye-sore on the arse-end of an otherwise beautiful City.

Reputation: Veritable plucky non-leaguers whose fans still live in an 80s time-warp.

Rivals: Swindon Town.

Star player: Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke was top drawer last season but won`t be between the sticks until November this season following surgery in the summer.

Final position: 16th


TRANMERE ROVERS

Style: Ronnie Moore`s reign ended in the ignominy of broken betting rules as Rovers fell through trap door. Rookie replacement Rob Edwards faces a tough task to turn their fortunes around.

Stadium: Prenton Park is another ground where the character has been consumed whole by those evil plastic seats.

Reputation: The days of Friday night football and John Aldridge have long-gone. They remain in the shadow of their Merseyside giants.

Rivals: Once upon a time it was Chester. They don`t like Bolton Wanderers either.

Star player: Striker Eliot Richards will be hoping to realise his promise this season.

Final position: 17th


MORECAMBE

Style: Jim Bentley has performed minor miracles since taking over at the Globe Arena and apart of the odd flirtation, has steered the Shrimps clear of a relegation battle.

Stadium: The Globe Arena might be a silly name but it is ideal for the club and is the first to come complete with terracing. It would be nice if they opened it for us mind.

Reputation: Another small club from the North that has achieved the dream of league football. It is a heart-warming story. Also, fabulous pies (recommended by Phil Catchpole!)

Rivals: Historically Lancaster City. Last season it was Fleetwood Town. This season they`ll enjoy facing Carlisle United.

Star player: Winger Jamie Devitt is certainly one to watch.

Final position: 18th


ACCRINGTON STANLEY

Style: Rookie boss James Beattie pulled off a remarkable achievement, keeping the Reds up despite failing to win any of their first dozen matches. They are indefatigable and have been defying the odds since 2006.

Stadium: With its undulating pitch and hot-potch of stands, the Crown Ground is certainly quaint and unassuming.

Reputation: Who are they? Exactly!

Rivals: This season they will want to beat Bury.

Star player: Central defender Tom Aldred was outstanding last season and they have done well to keep hold of him.

Final position: 19th


EXETER CITY

Style: Manager Paul Tisdale is the second longest serving manager in English football (behind Arsene Wenger). It`s never been hotter in the Grecians hot-seat.

Stadium: St. James Park still retains its character despite two new stands. One of which is the Big Bank: the finest standing terrace in the Football League.

Reputation: A club that has earned success the hard way. A summer transfer embargo and tight finances will ensure it remains that way.

Rivals: Plymouth Argyle.

Star player: Midfielder Matt Grimes is being chased by Premier League clubs.

Final position: 20th


WYCOMBE WANDERERS

Style: Gareth Ainsworth was renowned as an exciting attacking winger as a player. His teams have been anything but and it`s been a slog watching them.

Stadium: Adams Park is perfectly suited to the Wanderers needs, and its beautiful setting acts as a reminder of special memories from the past 24 years.

Reputation: Once ambitious Football League upstarts. Now established as a lower league club with plenty of fighting spirit left.

Rivals: Colchester United.

Star player: Goalkeeper Matt Ingram. He just keeps getting better and better.

Final position: 21st


DAGENHAM AND REDBRIDGE

Style: The Daggers regularly overachieved under John Still. His successor Wayne Burnett carried that baton on impressively last season but he`s lost a trio of crucial players this summer.

Stadium: Victoria Road is a modest ground with two new stands that give it less of a non-league vibe.

Reputation: The pub team from Essex that`ll show you how it`s done.

Rivals: They will want to beat John Still`s Luton Town this season.

Star player: Striker Rhys Murphy will be crucial but face a battle to hold onto him.

Final position: 22nd


CAMBRIDGE UNITED

Style: Manager Richard Money guided the U`s back to the Football League after nine years away but they will face a battle to stay there.

Stadium: The Abbey Stadium has the curious addition of a new seated stand placed some distance behind one goal. It`s almost like it`s trying to escape.

Reputation: The U`s were once feared under John Beck`s early 90`s grindball. Money`s current side are likely a slightly washed out version.

Rivals: Peterborough United. Histon were irritating upstarts during their non-league sojourn.

Star player: Striker Kwesi Appiah made quite an impact in his first loan spell from Crystal Palace and will be looking to repeat those performances.

Final position: 23rd


HARTLEPOOL UNITED

Style: It was a rollercoaster campaign for rookie boss Colin Cooper`s first season in charge. They only just avoided the drop and looking woefully short of striking options, Pools are likely to face another relegation battle this time around.

Stadium: The most notable aspect of the modest Victoria Park is the biting wind that comes off the North Sea. Brrr!

Reputation: Erstwhile monkey hangers. Jeff Stelling. The North East`s poor cousins.

Rivals: Darlington. York City are their closest opponents this season.

Star player: Striker Luke James. This could be his last season with Pools.

Final position: 24th




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The Journalist

Writer: Benny Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday August 4 2014

Time: 10:37AM

 

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Team P W D L GD Pts
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2. Wycombe 15 8 5 2 +10 29
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