A quickish guide to the upcoming League One season

The Gurgler Roar Pro

By The Gurgler, The Gurgler is a Roar Pro

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    League One has become a temporary graveyard of fallen big UK football teams over the past decade – Leeds United, Norwich City, Southampton and Leicester City have all spent time in the purgatory that is the old Third Division.

    It is a marriage of teams down on their luck, up and coming former non-league sides reaching their pinnacle, and a host of perennial lower division teams battling it out each and every week.

    Something Old…
    The current side in that class of fallen big teams is Sheffield United, who prior to their most recent slide into the third tier had spent 102 of their 109 seasons in the first two divisions. Since relegation from the Championship in 2010-11, the Blades have been the target of all League One clubs, and as a result of teams looking to claim their scalp, have yet to be promoted. This is highlighted by their many Cup runs in recent seasons, as they become the hunters and not the hunted and seem to enjoy the freed.

    But despite being the stand-out team to win, it’s not all about them.

    Something New…
    Dropping in from the Championship are Millwall, Wigan, and Blackpool.

    Millwall tend to move between League One and the Championship so will be prepared for the challenge. Wigan meanwhile went from EPL mainstays and FA Cup winners to underperforming Championship side quickly, and will hope their rapid rise to the EPL through the divisions is not mirrored in the opposite direction.

    Blackpool look likely that this season will just be a stopover to the fourth tier, as the drama at the club off the field seems to be affecting their on-field performance. Talking of on-field, hopefully not too many games will be called due to fans protests, not that you can blame Tangerines fans given how the club is being run. A Google search on Karl Oyston will give a few insights into the trouble.

    Out of the promoted teams coming up from League Two, Burton Albion are the genuine new boys in the division having never graced this high a level before. Under former EPL great Jimmy Floyd Hasselbank, they won the title in the division below and if they keep a hold of their man in charge will no doubt go close to back to back promotions.

    Two of the other arrivals Shrewsbury and Bury are teams that go back and forth between the third and fourth tiers, Southend have even more pedigree as they have been in the Championship in the last 10 years and have ex-Premier League Hull manager Phil Brown in charge.

    Something Borrowed…
    Like all clubs in the lower reaches of the Football League, clubs can use the loan market wisely to bring in players they otherwise couldn’t afford. With a financial fair play system that is actually enforced, keeping costs down is imperative in League One. For League One, only 60% of a club’s turnover may be spent on players’ wages.

    And at the other end of the scale, a well groomed youngster with promise can attract some big clubs to take a punt on the potential. Recent examples are Dele Ali from MK Dons to Spurs, Nick Powell from Crewe to Manchester United and Harry Maguire from Sheffield United to Hull.

    Something Blue…
    Now for some mildly interesting facts.

    – 13 of the 24 teams have blue as their main colour(s).
    – 7 of the remaining teams have red as their main colour(s).
    – The longest serving club in the division is Oldham Athletic, since 1996-97.
    – The longest serving manager is Dean Smith at Walsall (4.5 years).
    – The average length of service for the current managers in League One is 1 year, 4 months.
    – 10 Teams relegated from Championship over the last 10 seasons have bounced back within 3 years.
    – 4 Teams promoted from League Two over the last 10 seasons have gone onto the Championship within 3 years.
    – Five teams promoted from League One have gone onto the EPL within three years.
    – Three teams have suffered back to back relegations to League Two in the last 10 seasons.
    – Average Crowd of League One Teams 2014/15 – 7,105
    – Three highest clubs averages:
    Sheffield United – 19,850
    Bradford City – 13,353
    Barnsley – 9,768

    Who will win, get promoted and be relegated?
    Surely this is the year that Sheffield United go up. With very few big names around to take their place, and a new manager with a track record of promotion from this division and beyond (Nigel Adkins with Southampton) and some quality new signings like striker Billy Sharp, excuses will be thin for anything other than first place. The $5.50 on offer is good value considering…

    With none of the relegated teams looking like they’ll take League One by storm, there’s plenty of value for promotion chasers. Teams thereabouts in recent seasons and look good again are Swindon Town ($5.00), Peterborough ($3.75) and Bradford City ($4.50). All look a reasonable choice, and why not throw in Burton Albion ($8.50) to go back to back.

    At the other end of the league, Blackpool’s mess off the field looks set to drag them down through the leagues like Portsmouth a few years back and look specials for relegation ($2.63). Lower half teams from last year like Crewe ($2.00) and Walsall ($3.60) are a chance, and one of the four promoted usually go down, so we’ll take Shrewsbury for value ($7.50).

    But that’s just a few thoughts, would love to hear from the fans of League One teams on the season ahead, as it is always great to discuss UK Football other than the EPL all the time.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • August 2nd 2015 @ 7:29am
      Gurudoright said | August 2nd 2015 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      When is the Championship article coming out? I would like to know your thoughts on my team ‘Charlton Athletic’ for the coming season

    • August 2nd 2015 @ 10:49am
      Waz said | August 2nd 2015 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Doncaster Rovers will walk away with this one – not based on any footballing insight whatsoever just the fact I lived there for a few years once 🙂

    • August 2nd 2015 @ 11:22am
      Bob Vincent said | August 2nd 2015 @ 11:22am | ! Report

      A very well written piece. Good luck to Burton Albion 🙂

    • August 2nd 2015 @ 11:42am
      nearpost said | August 2nd 2015 @ 11:42am | ! Report

      Burton born and bred me.

      Burton Albion to take it out.

      Come on you Brewers.

      • August 2nd 2015 @ 8:57pm
        Peter Cotton said | August 2nd 2015 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

        Burton born, London/Sydney bred. Hope you are on the money nearpost – the Brewers to win back to back promotions.

    • Roar Guru

      August 3rd 2015 @ 3:59pm
      Simon Smale said | August 3rd 2015 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

      Nice to read some promotion on the lower leagues – where the real football is played…

      I’ve always found that teams coming up from League 2 do well in League 1, the divisions are fairly similar in standard to each other and getting into that winning habit is hard to break.

      Hugely biased but I think Southend will go well. Did well to get up through the playoffs after missing out on automatic promotion on the last day… Also signing Noel Hunt is a huge boost for a lower league side and will provide the goals that were were missing last year. If we can hold on to superstar keeper Daniel Bentley (or ideally sell him to a Premiership team and get him loaned back) then we will be a real challenge.

    • February 13th 2016 @ 2:51pm
      Peter Cotton said | February 13th 2016 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

      Wow, wish I had put some dollars on The Brewers at $8.50!

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