Not that anyone ever doubted my clairvoyance, but in case you wanted a reaffirmation of your faith in me it’s time to examine the predictions I made at the beginning of the campaign. Turns out I was right on the money as usual.
The link for the disbelievers: Predictions from August
- Aston Villa Won’t Suck — Well, this one came sort of true. I said Villa would finish around 10th, and they did, (13th), but they were pretty dismal for most of the year.
However, I’d argue their final-day heroics to deliver the Championship title to Newcastle absolve them of their prior malaise.
- Burton Albion will Challenge for a Playoff Spot — Uhm, how to justify this one? Burton did not challenge for promotion, though they did manage to just avoid relegation (kudos to them by the way.) It’s worth noting though, I did say that a newly promoted team would make a run at the top six. And if you count Huddersfield Town, who were promoted for the 2012/13 season to the Championship as “newly promoted,” then I was spot on. Boom, check that off the list.
- A Former Prem. Team Will be Relegated — Again, I was right in the general assumption, but wrong in the specifics. I’d tipped QPR and Fulham to have dour seasons (half true), but in the end it was Blackburn who underperformed the most. Indeed, Blackburn now hold the glum distinction as the only Premier League winners to sink all the way to the third tier. Maybe next year, QPR.
- Derby County Will Miss out on Promotion . . . Again — I should’ve put money on this stuff. This term the Rams finished ninth, easily reaching the top half, but missing out on the playoffs by a significant thirteen points. It seems that Derby’s window of opportunity to reach the Premier League might’ve closed already. Sad, in a way.
- Steve McClaren Will Somehow Find Employment — Hahahaha. And he did. At Derby County, of all places. And he couldn’t even see out the season before he received yet another set of marching orders from the Midlands club. This surely will mean the end for the miserable Wolly. Off to MLS with ye.
- Ross McCormack Won’t Score a Boatload of goals for Fulham — technically one-hundred percent true since the Scot transferred from Fulham to Aston Villa shortly after I wrote the article. But he endured a miserable, injury-riddled campaign all the same. He notched a mere three goals in twenty games with the Villans before they exiled him on loan to the footballing wasteland that is Nottingham. With Forest he scored once in seven games. Pathetic.
- Steven Fletcher Will Score a Boatload of goals for Sheffield Wednesday — I suppose ten goals would be enough to fill a rather small boat . . . maybe a dingy-full of goals. I need to make a distinction from now on between the bang-average striker Steven Fletcher who appears most games, and the maniacal goal-scoring machine Steven Fletcher who only turns up in matches against Newcastle. One-tenth of this jabroni’s goals this year came against the Mags. God, I hate that guy.
- The Top-Scorer Will Play for a Bottom-Half Team — Unlucky, but I contend a good guess all the same. Chris Wood of Leeds topped the charts this season with 27 goals, while Tammy Abraham bagged an impressive 23 with seventeenth-place Bristol City.
- Leeds have finally got the right manager, and he’ll prove it this season — I reckoned Leeds would weasel their way into sixth place, and they narrowly averted such success. One win from their final eight robbed Leeds of a shot at the playoffs, and perhaps the burden of fault should land on Gary Monk’s shoulders. Some people certainly feel that way. Still, it was Leeds’ best season in the second division for a long while, and the fade down the stretch may have more to do with inexperience than ineptitude from the boss. With Leeds’ resources and Monk’s steady leadership, they could still be on the right path although they fell short this year.
- Jordan Rhodes will be back by February — Loaned back to Sheffield Wednesday by Middlesbrough in January. When I’m hot, I’m hot. To be fair, I’ve got an eye for spotting Championship-level players on Premier League rosters, having witnessed them firsthand for so many years. And no, Rhodes didn’t tear it up on his return to his proper grazing grounds, the Championship.
- Newcastle will win the damn thing — Never really in doubt, was it?-Dane
(Images via rediff.com, bookies.com, newsamed.com, macpeanut.wordpress.com, birminghammail.co.uk)