Monday, July 16, 2012
New Forest, Cardiff old boy
Welcome to The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.
A bold new era has begun at Nottingham Forest under the Al-Hasawi family, who wasted little time in sacking manager Steve Cotterill following their successful takeover last week. Forest's Kuwaiti owners bought the club from the estate of Nigel Doughty and have set out plans to return the two-times European champions to glories of old.
"We have ambition, we have hope and some day we will hopefully play with Manchester City and United," said Aziz Al-Hawasi, who is targeting a return to the Premier League within three-to-five years.
The first step on that journey will be appointing a new manager. Mick McCarthy, Glenn Hoddle, Roy Keane and Darren Ferguson are the names that are doing the rounds in the gossip columns, and we should expect to hear more in a matter of days. "We are talking to several iconic names that have a very clear understanding of this league," said Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi.
According to The Sun, McCarthy is the most likely right now. They say the former Wolves boss will be flying in for talks this week and could be handed a £50 million-plus transfer fund to achieve the goal of promotion to the Premier League. Stay tuned to ESPNsoccernet for updates as things develop.
Another blow for Pompey
Portsmouth will start the new League One season with a 10-point deduction, after the Football League set out the requirements for their inclusion. The flat-broke south coast club will also have to work within strict budget guidelines and ensure they reach agreement with all the football-related creditors they still owe money to.
The points penalty mirrors that handed to Pompey last season, when their slide into administration culminated in relegation from the Championship and arguably the most miserable campaign in the club's history. But just when the club's long-suffering fans were contemplating a fresh start, another punishment has been handed down to make their task of a bounce-back promotion all the more difficult.
"I think most people would agree that the ten-point deduction imposed last season was sufficient, particularly as it played a huge part in the club's relegation to League One," said Pompey's administrator Trevor Birch.
Bellamy back to Cardiff?
Craig Bellamy is being linked with a possible return to hometown club Cardiff for the new campaign. The Liverpool forward is currently on duty with the Team GB squad preparing for the Olympics, and will likely not comment on his future until the Games are over. But should Brendan Rodgers decide to let the 32-year-old go, Cardiff would clearly have an appeal to Bellamy following his successful loan spell at the club during the 2010-11 season. QPR are also said to be interested.
Blades bring in striker from the other United
League One Sheffield United have captured Manchester United striker John Cofie on a 12-month loan deal for the new campaign. The 19-year-old spent time with Royal Antwerp in Belgium last season, where he made his senior debut and scored his first senior goals.
Said Blades manager Danny Wilson of his new signing: "John is another exciting prospect out of the Manchester United Academy. He has the pace and the ability to cause defences all sorts of problems and most importantly he scores goals. We are delighted to have completed this deal as we think it will be very beneficial to all parties."
Chelsea youngster joins Yeovil
On a similar theme, 19-year-old Chelsea youngster Rohan Ince has joined Yeovil on a six-month deal. The 6ft 4" defensive midfielder has been with Chelsea since he was seven years old and is the third cousin of former Manchester United man Paul Ince.
Albion off to the flier
Brighton kicked off their preseason with a thumping 5-0 win against Maidstone, with Ashley Barnes scoring a nine-minute hat-trick for the Championship club. New signing Wayne Bridge joined his teammates for the warm-up, but didn't make an appearance on the field.
Coventry were even more convincing. The League One outfit beat Hinckley 8-0, thanks to goals from Gary McSheffrey, Louis Garner, Roy O'Donovan, Jordan Willis, Aaron Phillips, Shaun Jeffers and a brace from Will Roberts. Rather embarrassing for those who didn't score in that one.
Elsewhere, Southend went down 3-0 to Premier League new boys West Ham, while League Two AFC Wimbledon were battered 7-0 by Reading in their first game of the preseason.
Di Canio corner
It's been an unusually subdued week for the mouth of Paolo Di Canio, which has clearly been occupied running Swindon players through a brutal preseason training camp in Italy. One interesting rumour has linked Di Canio with a move for former Liverpool man Harry Kewell, although Swindon chairman Jeremy Wray says it's completely made up - much like 95% of transfer gossip then.
Rugby and football to join forces?
New Oxford United chairman and majority shareholder Ian Lenagan is working on a joint bid with London Welsh rugby club to buy the Kassam Stadium, which is currently still owned by former United chairman Firoz Kassam.
"I have serious ambitions for Oxford United and I'm looking to step up our game across all areas," said Lenagan, who is also chairman of Wigan Warriors rugby league club. "As owner and now Chairman I will take direct responsibility for that."