Football Blog: Tangerine Flavoured

Friday, March 12, 2021

Mystic Mitch: Who is going up from League 1?



Top 6 now...

It’s been a strange season for the Mighty - We’ve sunk to the very bottom of the division but slowly regained our buoyancy, edging closer to the surface each week. Our rise has been very slow, very steady. We’ve not really trounced anyone but Wigan (and to be fair, they’re quite trouncable) and Charlton (who had an awful day.) Battling draws and tight victories have meant rarely has anyone else had cause to stop and go ‘fucking, hell, Blackpool are on fire!’ We’re going ‘under the radar’ - like a stealth fighter or a nuclear submarine…
If you support someone else, the main thing you need to understand about us is that we’ve got an absolutely class defence, a decent keeper, lots of hard work and presence in midfield and Saint Jerry (of the topless night out) running like a nutcase and scoring almost every time he gets a chance. What we lack is a real magic player, a box of tricks, someone to pull the strings, to split a defence with a pass no one else sees or to dance round two or three like they aren’t there. In other words, we take our chances but we don’t make many.
Can we do it? Fuck knows…
[reader - ‘what’s the point in a fence sitting article - are you trying to bore me to sleep?]
Sorry. Can we do it? OF COURSE WE CAN! WHO IS GOING TO STOP US?!
I think we’ll finish sixth. Actually, I don’t think this with any conviction at all and oscillate wildly between 1st, 4th and 12th, sometimes by the minute, but that’s how this shit works - you’ve got to make a prediction then people can say ‘ha, you were wrong…’
As we’re doing predictions this is how I reckon the division will pan out. I really fancy Sunderland for 1st. They’ve hardly lost a game this year and suddenly their many draws are wins. Wyke can’t stop scoring, McGeady is the one player in the league who terrifies me and now they’ve got a manager who seems to have worked out that when you’ve got quality, you play it, you keep it simple and if everyone is happy, you’ll win most of your games because you’re better than most teams. I think that’s enough to win the league this year.
Hull will be 2nd. I’ll be honest, I’ve not been especially impressed when I’ve seen them (I might have just missed them at their best, cos they’ve scored loads), but there’s a weight of quality in their squad. It’s not just they’ve had players like Honeyman and Wilks doing the job, it’s that a player like Tom Eaves hasn’t really done it, but it hasn’t mattered. Like Sunderland, I think they’re simply better than most of the opposition and have a depth that means they can survive an injury or a lack of form from one or two players. A lot of the league doesn’t have that.
Peterborough will be an agonising 3rd. They baffle me, in that whilst we’ve been a cautious side in the main for the last few seasons, we seem to be able to go toe to toe with them and come out on top, which makes no sense. I’ve no scientific basis for saying they won’t get automatic promotion other than they just seem more prone to implosions, more temperamental, more flighty than Hull do. I can’t see them grinding it out, they’ll either romp it or blow it. They can beat anyone, but also lose to anyone. I quite like them for that. It also feels a bit like the chairman wants it too much and pressure can do funny things.
Ipswich haven't been very good (except against us, when they’ve been mint) for a lot of the year but they’ve ditched Lambert and got Paul Cook who has been that out of work manager about which, most League 1 fans have said, at some point ‘y’know, if [managers name] doesn’t pick things up soon, we’d do well to give that Paul Cook a call’ - He’s been there, done it and if their performances against us are measure of their underlying potential, then he’s got a squad that can put teams to the sword and I’d trust him as much as anyone to get them playing. I'm tipping them for 4th.
Lincoln have really impressed me not just as they’ve been a surprise but because they’re a canny mix of endeavour, organisation and a bit of class on top of it and whilst I think their shallower squad depth will mean they can’t last the pace at the very top, they’ve coped without Bridcutt for spells who looked totally key when I’ve seen them and so I think they can hold in the play off spots and come 5th. I also don’t really rate some of their challengers chances. Charlton and Portsmouth look rank bad at the moment and don’t give off good vibes at all, Doncaster have lost key players and a manager (though to be fair, have got some good results since and I don’t completely rule them out,) Accrington are probably finding the season just a bit long to maintain a challenge which realistically leaves us and Oxford. (No, Fleetwood, you can’t ‘just sneak it’ - however much you try to pull of a tangerine tribute act by collecting our old cast off from a skip, wiping him down and trying to pass it off as an original idea that Larry will put a late playoff run together)
I think we’ll (the mighty Tangerine Wizards) make 6th on the basis that we’ve got an outstanding defence and one deadly striker. It’s an odd experience for us, as most of our successful football (in our entire history) has been built on an element of cavalier play, but this season, we’re quite unlike ourselves. It’s maybe less obvious than an outstanding forward line but our defence has been in brilliant form over quite a long spell. It might not feel it from our style sometimes, but we’re picking up points at a very healthy rate as we’re simply not conceding unless we’re playing Ipswich (and we’ve also finished playing Ipswich.) Other reasons for my prediction include - I can’t write the article without tipping us, (readers should note, I’ve never not predicted a Pool win ever. No matter how absurd.) Tangerine is way better than yellow and I think Oxford lost too many players last year and might be a bit short in the end, whereas we’ve got some real quality to come back into our side. I’m tipping the upcoming game between us to be a real test of which of us is for real!
I’m fully prepared for the exact opposite of what I’ve predicted to happen and Accrington to come storming back into it and go up as champions. I’m prepared for the Inland Revenue to realise that the Sunderland owner is just far too young to have so much money and to take it off him to keep for when he’s older and them to once again implode into another calamity, for Portsmouth and Charlton to defy my diagnosis of their terminal decline and win every remaining game and us to somehow contrive to lose every match and get relegated. I could imagine Darren MacAnthony losing his rag, running onto the pitch as a last minute sub and toe poking a promotion clincher in the last second... Such is the joy of football.

Don't bet your house on my wild guesses... Fuck predictions! Bring on Saturday!


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