some cheaty predictions about the EFL — so if i feck it up, it’s even worse — LEAGUE TWO 20/21

Aye, I’ve cheated on the Champo and League One but don’t tell them, we’ve been getting on so well and the sex is magnificent.

I mean…

The football is magnificent.
The football.

There are many differences between sex and football.
Such as…

I don’t need to explain them to you.

This’ll either make me look a lot worse if I get it wrong, but a feckin genius if I’ve analysed play correctly.

Here are my predictions for the EFL League Two.

BARROW

They came up strong but they lost their big man to Bolton. Now’s time to find out if ‘Barrowcelona’ was all Evatt.
In my eyes, the lads clearly have the talent and they haven’t bombarded themselves with new players, though the ones they have brought in bring some swell experience. The core from their National League-winning campaign is alive and well, and they’ll be the key to them surviving pretty comfortably in the EFL.

Prediction: 16th

BOLTON

Well, Evatt didn’t wind up far away, did he?
A cavalcade of new faces swept Bolton in the Summer; a veritable all-star side of League Two talent. But the Lancashire Galacticos seem to be struggling to gel early on and much like The Tin-Man, they’re bemoaning their lack of heart.
In keeping with the story of The Tin-Man, they will find it within them all along, and it will be a long and dangerous journey to get there.
They’re not in Kansas anymore, and it’ll take ’em more than a season to get back.

Prediction: 13th

BRADFORD

Kinda just have anonymity written all over them this season. And I reckon they might take that. A season where no-one gets sacked and they remain consistently fine on the pitch could work wonders for the foundations going forward.

Prediction: 14th

CAMBRIDGE

I would’ve had ’em last. Like, dead last. I’ve been putting ’em down there the past few seasons, and they’ve had lucky escapes these past few seasons. This season though; where the feck is this coming from?
Mark Bonner has worked with this club for years noo and he’d have seen everything going wrong, and it seems now is the time for him to speak up and fix it, ‘cos he’s gaan for it. Suave signings, aggressive and entertaining play, a good attitude; it’s all serving The U’s well. And even though, they’re a tad rough around the edges, the play-offs is better than relegation.

Prediction: 4th

CARLISLE

The OG Cumbrians are keeping it tight despite a few high-profile departures. Chris Beech has cultivated a group that grinds out results and don’t lie down, even when they’re beat. It’s a cracker attitude to have, and when you cannae compete financially with the teams around you, it’s one ya need. It won’t seat ’em in the front row, but they won’t be in the cheap seats either.
But if Mellish keeps scoring, who knows?

Prediction: 8th

CHELTENHAM

Could be a big season for Michael Duff and his lads.
They’re still settling in to the season, but I believe they could swiftly be back to their duck’s-arse defending, and that’ll see ’em start to pull away.
They let a solid campaign crumble in one game last season, so they’ll be sealing it long before that chance ever presents itself.

Prediction: 1st

COLCHESTER

After a powerful campaign saw them make the play-offs last time out, they’ll be hoping for a repeat performance, and with the teams around them, as well as their set-up and recruitment, that’s probably exactly what they’re capable of. That is not meant to be an insult either. Maintaining finishes at this level is a minor miracle, and they should be praised for that.
They might even be getting praised for gaan up…

Prediction: 6th

CRAWLEY

John Yems has got this side playing his way, and his way just happens to be pretty effective at this level. Thus far, they’ve looked strong and unfazed by any of their competition. The fearlessness will carry them far, but even if y’aint scared, going face to face with a dragon ain’t gonna end well.

Prediction: 11th

EXETER

The nearly-men. The wobblers. The jelly of the league; solid when ya take it out the mould, but by the end, it’s sat too long and it’s all melty.
I guarantee Exeter will be the losing play-off finalists once again. They’re having a great season, but they can be exploited; those gaps are noticeable and The Grecians can make it easy for their opponents to capitalise on them. That said, the points they drop won’t see them fall far, and they’ll be kept afloat by the fact that their defence is 80% perfect and their attack is more lethal than a mamba in a matchbox.

Prediction: 5th

FOREST GREEN

The Vegans have meant business ever since they’ve arrived, and they ain’t dropping off anytime soon. Apart from mid-season, they love to drop off then. They often play a high intensity game and it can burn ’em out towards the end of the season, so the plummet is expected; their issue is that they haven’t appeared to have a Plan B in recent seasons. With Mark Cooper losing the fans, he’ll need to have one in place, but I reckon his rigid ideals might win out; bad news for Forest Green fans.
Good news for Forest Green fans is that their new stadium might be named ‘Kevin’.

Prediction: 9th

GRIMSBY

Ian Holloway will deliver good, honest, hard-working, and occasionally surprising football to Blundell Park. It won’t always be attractive, but sometimes it will. It won’t always work, but sometimes it will. And that inconsistency will (incredibly) bring a bit of stability to an already pretty stable club. Holloway might end up being a long term hire and that’d be neat, but if he doesn’t, he’ll lay some solid groundwork, even if that doesn’t reflect in their finish this season.

Prediction: 17th

HARROGATE

They’ll continue to surprise a few, but they’ll have to pull off miracles to git up as high as they were after the first few games. Now that they’ve settled in and they know the challenges doesn’t mean they’re not a challenge and Town’ll know that. They’ve got a smart team and smart staff and their drop-off won’t go far below mid-table.

Prediction: 15th

LEYTON ORIENT

Players who’ve been promising to perform at this level are finally doing so and Ross Embleton will be breathing a sigh of relief. They’ll have inconsistent spells and their finish might even end up similar to last season’s, but the manner in which they do it will inspire so much more hope than before, and it’s from that, that they’ll press on.

Prediction: 18th

MANSFIELD

The first of the early managerial casualties goes to a club currently winless, yet out of the relegation zone with only four losses from eleven; that’s as many as currently 6th placed Cheltenham. They can clearly grind out a draw and don’t struggle to score as much as the other strugglers, and a manager like Nigel Clough will be able to harness that, certainly not into a play-off push, but definitely into survival more comfortable than seemed possible at the start of the season.

Prediction: 20th

MORECAMBE

There seems to be a bit of a reprieve for Morecambe this season. So often nominated as the whipping boys before the season starts (as I’m sure they were again), they’ve shown more of an edge under Derek Adams so far, and that has carried them through what, last season, would have been surely-damning encounters. There’s a swagger that wasn’t present before, and now they’re showing a lot more va-va-voom, a spot in the play-off race isn’t out of the question. They’ll probably end up squeezed out though.

Prediction: 12th

NEWPORT

No-one’s keeping it proper tight, but Newport are doing a cracking job of being the tightest. Flynn and his lads had a blip last season and it wasn’t a sign of what they were capable of, so credit to the club for not calling for the sack after one lackluster season. The fans’ll be happy to see them making up for it here, rocking up with plenty of vim, a side of vigour, and an overflowing glass of hardiness. A lovely meal with promotion as the dessert. Yim-Yum.

Prediction: 3rd

OLDHAM

If Oldham keep doing what they’re doing, then they are always gonna struggle. It’s like their recruitment system is a dartboard with pictures of every footballer in the world on it but they can’t afford 95% of them.
At least, this season, Kewell seems to have brought a fresh slice of intensity and Boundary Park is probably gonna be the place to go for goals as The Latics do their best to score several against you, but always less.

Prediction: 21st

PORT VALE

Ay, they got a good squad, they got a trim squad, they got an able squad. Scaramouch, Scaramouch, will you do the Fandango.
Legs might be an issue down the line, but I’ve got a pair and they feel fine, so professionals should have no issue. Firepower might be lacking at times as well… But they’ll have their eyes on it, so even if it fails them, they’ll tighten up everywhere else, and with Luke Joyce leading the way they could easy land themselves in the race for Wembley.

Prediction: 7th

SALFORD

Ooo, it might be their time. They continue to bolster and they’ve got a manager who’s won da feckin league before. All signs point to League One. And that’s all I got to say. They ain’t gonna walk it, but they’ll pull it off.

Prediction: 2nd

SCUNTHORPE

The latter half of the alphabet really is the business end this season. Scunny are actually the first of four clubs who’re having real trouble with scoring this season, and they ain’t having much more luck with conceding.
Nowt’s clicking at Glanford Park and they never really seem like winning, even when they have, they haven’t controlled, they haven’t done everything.
Something’s gotta change for The Iron or they’ll find themselves in the National League. The problem is… Are there too many changes to make?

Prediction: 23rd

SOUTHEND

Speaking of struggling to score, what the feck has happened here? A disastrous League One campaign only saw them off the bottom due to points deductions and club expulsions, and this season looks to be gaan the same way. No wins, two points, five goals scored and twenty-five conceded in eleven games is shocking and not befitting the players and staff at the club, some of whom, are undeniably quality.
Whatever’s happening don’t seem set to change as The Shrimpers are on a collision course with the National League South and a major player departure.
Mark Molesley must be wondering what he got himself into.

Prediction: 24th

STEVENAGE

Survival could well be attained simply by being less shit this season. Better than last time when they were actually relegated. It’s like they were declared dead for a few weeks but then the doctors noticed their mistake and declared some other poor fecker dead instead.
They signed some decent players and looked pretty jazzy in their first few games, but they’ve slowly settled into old routine, and among strong competition, they might shake off death this time, but a long illness ain’t much better.

Prediction: 22nd

TRANMERE

These lot are the final team struggling to score who’ve taken swift steps to do somet about it. Another early manager departure has clearly come due to the unimpressive form and in this instance, credit to them for recognising that they weren’t playing the Tranmere way and do something about it.
That does mean that they’ll have a slow season of rebuilding, re-crafting, and re-tooling, and will have to wait until next season for any kind of upwards momentum.
They’ll survive fairly comfortably, but with little fanfare.

Prediction: 19th

WALSALL

Tough to break down with a cracker manager who could be the best in the league for figuring out the opposition. In the team, they’ve got lads who can do the jobs, but they’re missing a bit of flash, a bit of bang, and that could really be telling against any side. They’ll spring upsets and then lose to the basement side, but the next month they’ll be handedly dispatching relegation fodder and falling to efficient defeat against the league leaders.

Prediction: 10th

— —

1. Cheltenham Town
2. Salford City
3. Newport County
4. Cambridge United
5. Exeter City
6. Colchester United
7. Port Vale
8. Carlisle United
9. Forest Green Rovers
10. Walsall
11. Crawley Town
12. Morecambe
13. Bolton Wanderers
14. Bradford City
15. Harrogate Town
16. Barrow
17. Grimsby Town
18. Leyton Orient
19. Tranmere Rovers
20. Mansfield Town
21. Oldham Athletic
22. Stevenage
23. Scunthorpe United
24. Southend United

Aye, I’m chuffed with that.

They’ve gan up a few times before, and I reckon it’s odds-on to happen again.

I’ve mentioned power coming down the divisions as well as absolute feckin misery, and League Two has proved a scary place in recent times.
Dropping out of the EFL to the National League is huge, if just for the treacherousness of the fifth tier; it’s not somewhere that’s easy to come back from.
And when you’re sent beyond there, not down, but out, like Macclesfield Town have been, you realise the real loss in football.

Losing a game is one thing. All our clubs have lost a game and those various losses have all been varying degrees of devastating.
But to lose a club, what is to a lot of people, a way of life, is something else entirely.
It can’t keep happening.
Everybody needs to be on the same page about that, and everyone needs to get the picture.

This league will see Macclesfield again, but for now, who’s gonna take the next step?

Keep it streets ahead,

C.L.R.

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