Saturday, 23 July 2011

6. Everton FC.

The fans of Goodison Park next on my radar. Everton FC.

The Toffees ended their season 7th in the Premier League continuing there 'almost there but not quite established' club in respects to concreting a European place each season. They are a club who seem to be bypassing controversial take overs and manager swap shops but are fans happy with this somewhat 'same-old' story?

The transfer market has just seen 2 players leave Goodison - Hope Akpan to Crawley Town (no I haven;t heard of him either) and James Vaughan to Norwich City for £2.5M. They are one team who have not really been linked with many players and a lack of funds may be the root of this problem, although one player who has been linked to the merseyside club is Charles N'Zogbia.

Again the power of twitter helped me to find out the view of some Everton fans:

@stockporttoffee -  'i predict a top 6 finish and a good cup run'

Someone with a lot to say was @stockporttoffee who was confident that Everton can maintain their top 7 status but did say it 'depends on injuries'. He highlighted the importance of the current squad and certain players to their chances for next season - one player he gave special mention to is Fellaini advising 'if he keeps fit this season it could see the blues sneak into the top 6.'

He went on to highlight players he feels Moyes will be looking to to hit top form; Arteta, who 'only did in flashes last season'; Jack Rodwell who had a 'quiet 2010/2011'; and Jermaine Beckford will be 'looking to improve on 1st season total of 10 goals'

@stockporttoffee 'Key players: Baines, Fellaini, Jagielka and Arteta.'

'A lot is made of Everton's lack of spending,but the key is they usually keep there best players with only Lescott and pienaar being notable 1st teamers that have left in recent years.' i think this is shown through the tight squad they have at Goodison with not much movement of players they have a good team cohesion and spirit.

@stockporttoffee finally picked out a few 'players to watch' for next season which i think is most interesting for non-everton fans. 1. 'Leon Osman now 30 but in the form of his life and England is not impossible.' - ok so we all know about Osman but he is on top form 2. Ross Barkley. who at only 17 is an 'exciting prospect' who suffered a double leg break setting him back somewhat, and is thought to be 'one to watch' 3. Gueye French U21 International - talented striker/winger expected to make more appearances this season.'

@EFCKingy - ' should be top 6 minimum'

young prospect Ross Barkley - one to watch

@EFCKingy also highlighted the prospect of the young player Ross Barkley describing him as the 'only bright spot' and interestingly added 'according to Tim Cahill is the best young talent he has ever seen.' and he has been there to see Wayne Rooney come through the ranks!

The hot topic surrounding Everton seems to be 'keep the team fit and we'll have a good season' - another player @EFCKingy mentioned who spends more time on the physio table than the pitch it Louis Saha which he believes means Everton end up with a season a striker light, and not enough to cover this. So, on the talk of transfers believes they realistically need another striker - especially with 'Anichebe who is shocking'.

He did however highlight the problem, with many fan's plan of new players to bring in 'no money to improve the team.' he then continued with 'Fans are furious with Bill KenWright as club has been for sale for 11 years and Kenwright doesnt want to let go' so all is not backing the owner.

@AndyBensonEFC - '5th place spot could be on the table'
Due to the relatively small squad and backing of less experienced young players @AndyBensonEFC adivsed that only 'with a minimal amount of injuries and a lot of effort' his 5th place prediction could come true. I think Everton need some extra medical staff the way all the Everton fans are predicting multiple injuries to multiple players! 

@everton1878fc - ' I am quietly optimistic about our season'
Considering Everton do not have much of a budget regarding transfers and dont seem to ever partake in much activity @everton1878fc had plenty to say on the subject; starting with the prospect that Moyes 'will have to sell to buy' mentioning the Championship favourites Leicester City 'are said to have tabled £4M bid of Yakubu which we would be silly not to accept' - that with the £2.5M from James Vaughan could give them the funds to buy a decent striker/winger which most fans seem to think is needed.

 'It is pivotal though, that we keep certain members of our side.' as all fans know, the importance of 'big players' staying is key to the next season and Everton are no different. 'There have been rumours of Marouane Fellaini, Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines moving away from Goodison.' which obviously is not what the fans want to see but @everton1878fc highlighted that each could fetch £20m plus - big money for Everton.
@everton1878fc concluded with expectations and thoughts on the current squad 'We have a very good (if slightly thin) squad. Over the last few years we have been savaged by injuries, something which surely cannot happen again. A good start is also vital - last year we did not win a game until October and hence we were always playing catch-up' - again the mention of injuries which has definitely plagued the Everton team over recent seasons.

@everton1878fc - 'I am genuinely excited by our team. '

'It is hard to pick the starting eleven - something which we have not been able to say for a while. Marouane Fellaini is a world-class player and a partnership with Mikel Arteta in centre midfield is mouth-watering.' i dont think any football fan would say no to that midfield!

After taking in all the thoughts of the Everton fans i think 2 things stood out to me; Everton need to keep injuries to a minimum and they have top young prospects pushing through the squad notably Ross Barkley - a player i am really excited to see more of! Another thing i have noted is how similar thinking the Toffees seem to be compared to other fans - most had similar predicitons and similar thoughts on the club and transfers - stability within the fans not just the club itself! I am going to give a prediction of a 7th place finish for the Everton boys.

Thank you to the Everton fans who gave me their views for this - i barely had to chase people around asking for views they were very obliging 1st time round - much appreciated.

@beckytLCFC 'fans view blog quest'

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

5. Chelsea FC.

Next Stop Stamford Bridge. Chelsea FC.
Chelsea ended last season 2nd in the Premiership - 9 points behind Manchester United as they were unable to defend their Premier League title and notably finished with no trophies; something which owner Roman Abramovich was not happy about. Carlo Ancelotti found this out the hard way - even though he enjoyed a successful season prior to 2010/2011 this was not enough to save his job and was sacked in May 2011; making way for 33 year old Andre Villas-Boas.

Unlike their 'title rivals' Chelsea have been very quiet in the current transfer market; with the only acitivity players on the way out but those players are only those who are yet to really break into the first team - meaning nothing has really changed for the squad. Michael Mancienne has made his move to Hamburg with Jeffrey Bruma following suit - but he only on loan whilst Jack Cork has transferred to Championship new boys Southampton.

I posed the same questions as i have to all the fans regarding Chelsea and their realistic chances for next season and their thoughts on issues such as the new manager and transfers and again have found some intriguing views regarding this big club.

@harrischarles - 'Prediction: Top 2, and a trophy'

As are the views of many football fans in close season @harrischarles believes 'new signings are key' after what he described as 'an ultimately disappointing 10/11 season' he highlighted clubs like United and Liverpool have already made multiple signings and 'Man City sure to follow suit'.

On the talk of transfers with Chelsea @harrischarles had some interesting thoughts - 'We are maybe one or two signings away from a title winning team next season, with Sneijder top of the list for me, though I don’t expect us to sign him.' and he went on to talk of 'The Modric affair' which is clogging up the current sports news advising 'though an already drawn out saga, will end with him at the Bridge in my opinion.'

@PrashankRai - 'I think we can win this time'

@prashankrai is slightly more negative on the topic of transfers, he said to me 'we need signings badly a winger, striker & a play maker' i'd say thats a huge ask with not much time left in the transfer market. However, this negativity on the topic of transfers is somewhat balanced out through the positivity and expectation around new boss Andre Villas-Boas (AVB) from reading @prashankrai's blog he feels the only way is up with this new young manager and is looking forward to his attacking style of play.

@harrischarles definitely shares this feeling about the new boss - 'Excited about the arrival of AVB, really does feel like a fresh start, and hoping he will inject some much needed vibrancy, attention to detail and discipline in to the team, and the club as a whole.' it seems everyone cant wait for the new season under AVB lets just see if Roman Abramovich gives him any longer than 1 season!

The final thoughts @harrischarles shared were that of the general squad and style of play, he is now 'hoping to see us revert back to a more free flowing style of football, rather than trying to force our way through with a lack of cutting edge in the final third.' which i feel he believes will come through the new manager's strategies and tactics. He made comment on their £50M striker who has been the butt of many peoples jokes since signing and struggling to find the net but the Chelsea fans are backing him to come good - 'Confident Fernando will come good, it’s a case of playing to his strengths and adapting the team to him, as he’s struggled to fit in to the team’s style of play since joining.'

@fi_sonic - 'i hope we are more consistent next season' 

The fans of Chelsea do seem to have confidence in the current squad, including @fi_sonic who said 'we are yet to sign any stars' but went on to say 'Lamps, JT, Cole and Drog - the current squad is world class with a lot of experience' but then also highlighted 'our youngsters will have a lot of chance this season.' so he feels if the blues can get the mixture of experience and youth right Chelsea are sure to have a successful season. He concluded with 'The future is looking good for the blues.' - even with a trophiless season blues fans seem to be thinking positive.

@TheTomOfficial - 'its a perfect squad in my eyes' 

By far the most positive fan i have spoke to is @thetomofficial who didnt really bat an eyelid at being VERY confident about next season telling me 'we will win the league, league cup and champions league' i think although all Chelsea fans would hope he is correct they'll struggle to feel the same. He did share the same feelings as other Chelsea fans i spoke to on the subject of AVB saying 'he will be amazing at the club'

Chelsea are a very ambitious club who are always looking to achieve but i am finding them as hard as any other club as what prediction to give them on the advice of fan's thoughts. I feel their squad is going to be abit mismatched as they have some class older players and some good young players developing but together they may struggle slightly to communicate to success. I feel they will finish 2nd or 3rd but will win a trophy thanks to the new boss!

Chelsea fans seemed hard to find to complete this post for the blog but i ave managed to worm some out and would again like to thank them for their interesting views on Chelsea and next season!

@beckytLCFC 'fans view blog quest!'

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

4. Bolton Wanderers FC.

Next Stop The Reebok Stadium. Bolton Wanderers FC.

The Northern Club saw a 14th place finish last season under Owen Coyle; but after making it to the semi-final stage of the FA Cup it poses the question did that impressive cup run hinder the final league position of the Wanderers. (Bolton had a massive 57% possession in that 5-0 drubbing by Stoke - maybe possession isnt always as important as made out).

During this transfer market Bolton have parted company with Danny Ward to Huddersfield and Ali Al Habsi to Wigan after a successful loan there last season. The only player that has been brought in is the promising 'star' Darren Pratley from Swansea. The Wanderers arent known for having huge funds so there may not be much more action in this window for the club; i dont know how that will go down with the Bolton fans.

I continued pestering fans to get their thoughts on the season ahead, Bolton fans have obliged and i again have some interesting views on their club and their chances for 2011/2012.

@bwfc_nozza - 'hopefully top ten'

@bwfc_nozza believes the transfer window is key to reaching her hopeful prediction of top ten and advised 'we desperately need a striker or two' - especially as Bolton have also parted company with Elmander who was an ever present in the starting 11 last season they are desperate to find someone else to bring them goals for 2011/2012.

@simonpolive - 'I think bottom 6'

I feel the Bolton fans are united in the fact they are in need of a goal scorer, @SimonPOlive was far more negative however, regarding his team's chances next season. 'I am not renewing season ticket. We'll struggle due to lack of quality and a goal scorer.' I feel things must have really gone bad down at the Reebok for a season ticket holder to feel like they do not want to renew - i cant imagine not wanting to renew my season ticket! He went on to say 'I think bottom 6. Forget all this Coyle has us playing good stuff. its not good most of the time.' so this is a fan who is not only worried about the squad but does not back the manager; a very negative fan indeed.

@davidfiggins - 'i think we'll finish around 12th'

The opposing thoughts of fans astounds me, as the views i got from @davidfiggins highlights the backing of Owen Coyle he has and said 'I hope the style of play is the same because its been a thrill watching Bolton since Coyle took over.' so, for a neutral i feel we must watch and make up our own minds whether Coyle's football is thrilling and attractive or not as i for one am none the wiser!

During summer, many fans follow the same motto of not making much judgement until further transfer activity has gone through, which i have found most fans stick to and Bolton fans are no different. @davidfiggins is reserving his thoughts ' until we sign anyone else (if we do). ' but is happy with the one player they have brought in. 'Pratley has been a decent addition - we needed a decent central midfielder as cover for Davies, Muamba & Holden ' however is not so confident in the squad as a whole stating - 'it's way too small to cope with bans and injuries, so needs heavy recruitment.'

@JohnEcc78 - 'hoping for at least a top ten finish'
The final thoughts I received were that of @JohnEcc78 who gave me a very detailed account of his aspirations and expectations ahead of next season. He agreed that the current squad is very small highlighting 'with the likes of Tamir Cohen, Joey O’Brien & Johan Elmander leaving the club at the end of last season, the task of rebuilding is even more important for Bolton.'
He is a fan that is happy with boss Owen Coyle advising he 'has done a great job over the last year or so' but did go on to say 'this season is going to be his biggest challenge.' - i feel Bolton fans are somewhat worried about the season ahead as many phrases such as 'biggest challenge', 'desperately need' are constantly circulating when the Wanderers are mentioned.
I was interested in the following statement about the affairs of the club from @JohnEcc78 it said to me Bolton fans arent overly confident in the board and their willingness to invest to improve the club and squad; 'There has been lots of speculation flying around about Gary Cahill leaving, which im sure has not helped Coyle in his quest to bring in a few fresh faces.  The chairman has stated publically that there is money available for Coyle to spend although the majority of Bolton fans have heard this all before.  We’re guessing that the money is there, but only if Cahill is sold.' From this it looks Bolton fans will be in sticky situation; you dont want to lose one of your top players but you want some cash for the club to bring in new players; I dont know if i could choose what i'd prefer?

@JohnEcc78 - 'A goal scorer is top priority perhaps even two.'

@JohnEcc78 finally advised on where he feels Bolton will finish next season highlighting if optimistic which he and many Bolton fans often are (apparently) he'd 'love to say we would be challenging for a European spot, but being realistic the league is getting stronger and stronger so this might prove difficult.' and said more realistically 'a top ten finish and a decent cup run will do me quite nicely!' (but we all know what happened when they got a good cup run last season!)
So, I have to conclude yet another contradictory account of their club's chances for next season by some fans. I for no real reason that i know of have a bit of a soft spot for Bolton Wanderers as a club,  so i feel like i should almost by pass the 'bottom 6' prediction as i really feel Bolton will have a successful season, however, from what has been advised, they need to get more strength in depth or injuries and/or suspensions could really scupper their chances next season. I am going to give Bolton a 10th place finish; i feel i may have to re think some of these predictions when i complete the Premiership blogs but for now, im sticking with it.

Again, a huge thanks to all the fans that have given me their views on Bolton and their chances next season, greatly appreciated as this blog wouldnt quite work without them!

@beckytLCFC 'fans view blog quest'

Saturday, 16 July 2011

3. Blackburn Rovers FC

The next step in my quest. Blackburn Rovers FC.

Last season saw change at Blackburn as they were taken over by Indian owners - Venky's who are said to have money to spend and decisions to make- which they were swift to do - with the release of Sam Allardyce which led to the inexperienced Steve Kean taking charge. Finishing 15th at the end of a long season was somewhat triumph considering they were the tip of many to face the drop on 'Survival Sunday' but was it how the fans had invisaged the season to pan out?

Considering the money their owners are said to have the only transfer activity which has been on the way out with Frankie Fielding leaving to Derby and most notably Phil Jones leaving for Manchester United for a considerable fee. There is rumours linking big players with Rovers including the like of Jermaine Defoe and only time will tell to whether they can pull of such signings.

I again asked the questions to Rovers fans on twitter of what they think of the state of their club currently, thoughts on transfers and the manager and the big one, where they believe they'll finish come the end of the 2011/2012 campaign.

As i continue with my blogs fans seem to give me more detailed accounts of their thoughts ahead of the new campaign; either as we go through the teams fans become more passionate or they just enjoy giving me more to go on, regardless, its helping a lot!

@roversally- ' very apprehensive '

After just sneaking past the trap door at the end of the season to keep their place in the Premier League many Rovers fans have become apprehensive about the season ahead as @roversally told me. She did however, go on to mention that 'the Venkys are behind us' so has belief they can turn the club back onto the right path but stressed 'attractive football is required' - maybe a good job they got rid of Big Sam after all!

@michael_dennis_ - 'i predict a tough start'

@michael_dennis_ is less confident in the 'backing' of the Venkys and said they could eventually reach 11th by the end of the season but 'need more signings now though - Venkys havent shown their money yet.' Seems to me there is already a split about the new investors amongst the Rovers fans.

@Raeljames - 'Prediction 14th.'
The Venkys are definitely hot topic around Ewood Park @raeljames said 'Our new owners arrived with a lot of talk about investing in players and pushing for the top six' this excited the Blackburn fans as it would any football fans but this excitement was soon drained quite quickly for many fans including @raeljames.

He was not impressed with the way they have conducted themselves within the club - 'They then sacked a proved Premier League manager, who might not play pretty football but at least gets results.' - Sam Allardyce was liked by many fans even if his style of play was not so popular his release was still not overly welcomed especially when a big name was not set ready to take over, instead Steve Kean was their choice. 'They replaced him(Allardyce) with a manager who while he seems like a decent guy, has no experience, and managed to take us to the brink of relegation.'

@raeljames - 'Its only 3 years since we finished 7th'(mental!)
Transfer talk comes hand in hand with the Venkys with their promises of bringing in 'players like Ronaldinho and Ruud Van Nistelrooy' yet they have actually not signed anyone and simply sold one of the most promising young players in the country. @raeljames is not impressed with the transfer goings on however did highlight £20M for Phil Jones was good business and believes 'reinvest that money and more in 4 or 5 new players to add much needed quality to a squad thats a bit short now or we'll face a relegation battle again' He also made an interesting point when saying 'Most of our transfer business gets conducted through the media, all speculation no end product.'

@St_Jimmy_77 - 'Rovers will finish around mid table'

@st_jimmy_77 also picked up on the inability of Blackburn to get pen to paper in speculated deals he mentioned instances where they have been linked with players such as Piatti and Witsel and the lack of 'pulling power' to complete these deals. He gave possible explanations for these failings saying it could be because 'we seem to be too slow at getting bids together or our inexperienced manager' but either way it is not keeping the fans happy.

On the subject of what people think their club needs in the transfer market to be ready for a successful season i think the Rovers fans were united in the fact they need some extra strike power up front - all of @st_jimmy_77 @raeljames and @xargle15 highlighted this as a serious issue - surely something Kean must therefore be aware of. @xargle15 went on to say 'If we can buy a striker and not lose any major players, we will start well.' whilst @st_jimmy_77 believes 'with a few good signings we could push higher but i'd be happy with midtable'

@xargle15 'hopeful me says top 10'

Even though the fans seemed to agree on the transfer topic of the need of at least one striker due to their obvious lack of goals they do seem to oppose each others view when it comes to manager Steve Kean. @St_Jimmy_77 did mention how he was sceptical when Kean was appointed even though he is a 'respected coach' but said he was almost turned around through performances at certain games last season 'He is very positive and you can see that in the teams tactics. I hope he continues because he is getting the best out of Junior Hoilett who looks top class. He deserves a chance!'

Where as @xargle15 does not have so much faith in Kean, she said 'I certainly don't think he'll attract big players!' which worries her a lot as without a squad with strength in depth which she feels Blackburn do not have they will have another relegation battle on their hands - and this is from someone who said 'I always approach a new season with some (usually misguided) optimism.' - i wouldnt like to see her pessimistic side!

Blackburn are one club I really felt i lacked knowledge on, this has really opened my eyes to the goings on at the club and the expectation surrounding them. I was one of those many people backing them for the drop last season but in fairness do seem to big a club for the drop and do have some quality players. I am feeling positive about their chances next season - but a few new players will need to be signed for this feeling to work out - i am giving a prediction on 11th which i am sure will go down well with many Rovers fans (I may go back on this closer to the season so dont hold me to it) but i do feel a more realistic shout is 13th.

Again, i'd like to thank the Blackburn fans that gave me their views for this - some gave big detailed views which although hard to get everything in it does make my life easier as i have more to blog about!

@beckytLCFC 'fans view blog quest'

Friday, 15 July 2011

2. Aston Villa FC

Aston Villa FC.

2010-2011 season saw a 9th place finish for Villa which in the end was probably seen as a success considering serious dips in form over the season. Gerard Houllier had just about settled in ready to begin preparations for next season when he fell ill and the controversy surrounding Aston Villa really began.

Villa seemed to be the 'unwanted' as managers turned them down left, right & centre then suddenly they went for the one guy no one expected - Alex McLeish; this caused backlash from most of the fans and put the club in a somewhat awkward situation. As McLeish starts to rebuild any type of relationship with the fans i have asked them about what their realistic view are of the upcoming season; considering they were recently a team in Europe things seem to have changed for the worst, are the fans happy with the goings on at their beloved club?

This is one club who has been quite busy in the transfer market but more on the players out rather than players in - Villa are definitely a club with a reputation of 'selling their best players' (James Milner, Gareth Barry as some examples). So far they have parted company with Brad Friedel, Ashley Young and it seems Stuart Downing is all but complete which leaves Villa without some of their top performers from last season.

The Villa fans definitely want their say on the state of their club as i had a large and detailed response from many fans; if i thought Arsenal fans had a mixture of view when it came to where they will finish next season Villa have taken that to a whole new level!

@bucklde - 'expectation is top 10'

The most optimistic VIlla fan i spoke to was @bucklde who was the only person to not show any negativity towards next season, he believed top 10 is a concrete aspiration for 2011/2012 'as its transitional time at Villa, new manager and want away England stars have left gaps' he see's the sales of top players could actually be a blessing as the young players can step up to the mark and will actually be 100% committed, he did go on to say 'transfer market is key' so there may not be total faith in the youth of the club but obviously doesnt want to show unloyalty.

@harrywrose - 'won't get higher than 7th at a push'

@harrywrose stated Villa would not get higher than 7th, but seemed to say it in a negative manner however i believe many Villa fans would snatch at the chance to be anywhere near 7th come May 2012. 'hoping for top half, would be disappointed with bottom half' suggests eventhough there is a huge change coming - 'it is a rebuilding season AGAIN' - around Villa park with manager and players alike fans still have optimism of some success next season.

Another point @harrywrose made was on the touchy subject of the new manager, Alex McLeish. Luckily for the new manager he is not one of the bitter ones and although 'disappointed after names that were mentioned' he went on to say 'but gotta get behind him' so looks as though fans are now just about backing Ex-Blues Manager McLeish.

@funzofinzo - 'im thinking mid-table'

McLeish is thought to have a 'route one' style of football, this worries @funzofinzo who told me 'not very exciting footy, with pressure on the manager from the start' not overly confident with McLeish and his style of football for the season ahead.

Another mention of the controversial manager is that of @aka__Ruben who reiterated the fact that 'Manager, hated by a lot.' so it looks like it wont be all plain sailing for McLeish. I am surprised however, at the lack of mention of him when i posed the questions, i feel Villa fans have moved on from the initial shock appointment and are now more focused on their club and their hope of some success in 2011/2012.

@aka__Ruben - 'Hopefully stay up'

@aka__Ruben went on to say 'Club, not bad.. Squad.. In a hell of a mess.. Lost/ losing 2 best players' showing there is a real split between the fans on their current squad and whether the loss of 2 big players who wanted to leave is good for the club.

@sameraman 'we're going to get relegated'

By far the most negative fan that have given their view is @sameraman! who is not confident at all going in to the new season who drastically said his team are going to be relegated then after abit of explanation said '16th place at best' so is not expecting a lot!

He was also negative on the transfer market situation too. 'McLeish wont get £40M' (from the downing & young sales) 'we've lost our 2 best wingers, best goal keeper and a decent central midfielder...replace 1 of those wingers at most, maybe a few mediocre signings' - this is the views of a very deflated fan with no expectations of success for his team for next season, i wonder how many more Villa fans share these views?

@AVFCandy20 - 'cant see us finishing much higher than 10th'

@StroudVilla & @AVFCandy20 have similar views on Villa for next season, looking to the youth for the success. @AVFCandy20 said ''big season for albrighton' and believes Villa are going to have to 'rely on Darren Bent's goals' which worries him (i think it would worry most!)

The final fan's view on Villa is the money side, @StroudVilla - ' i fear we have a financial situation going on. hope i'm wrong'. There does seem a certain concerning ambience around Villa Park as they continue to sell top players for big money without really investing that money back on exciting players - what the fans want.

So, having to conclude Villa fan's views on their club and their chances next season is going to be tough. We've got variance from being relegated to pushing for Europe in 7th place. Honestly, taking all the thoughts into account I'm going to go for 12th place - easy way out of roughly a mid-table finish. I do however think McLeish can be a success at Villa Park if the Villa fans will allow him the chance.

Thank you very much to all the Villa fans who gave their views for this entry, you can tell there is a lot going on and a lot for them to talk about at the moment as most couldnt stop with their thoughts, but the more the merrier i say, hope you think its a fair reflection.

@beckytLCFC 'fans view blog quest'

Thursday, 14 July 2011

1. Arsenal FC

Let the blogging begin.1st stop, Arsenal FC.

After a 4th place finish and yet again no silverware Arsenal fans would be forgiven for becoming impatient but they will be hoping next season will bring some glory they have really been missing.

2010-2011 season saw a lot of promise for the Gunners - at one point fans were even contemplating a quadruple; these dreams were soon dashed when they were knocked out of 3 cups in the space of a week, notably losing the Carling Cup final to Birmingham who were later relegated to the Championship.

I think we can all agree after that, 2010-2011 was another season to forget for the Gunners, another to add to the list as they still chase any silverware which they've been unable to achieve since their FA Cup victory of 2005.

Arsene Wenger is still a hero, (just about) down at the emirates and so far has done a few deals this transfer window; letting Gael Clichy go to Manchester City, whilst bringing in Gervinho from Lille. With the obvious rumours of players in and out (mainly out in this circumstance) with the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and Bendtner leaving the most notable rumours currently circulating.

In my opinion things are looking quite bleak for the Arsenal, for one of the 'big 4' in England i'd be expecting more success but, i posed the question to their own fans; what are your thoughts and aspirations ahead of 2011-2012 season?

@jonnyth14 - '4th if we're lucky'

I've got a real mix of thoughts ahead of the new season from information gathered from twitter gooners regarding their club, especially on the subject of where they'll finish. 2nd place from the optimists but 8th place from the pessimists; they have re-iterated my thoughts that arsenal are a club who are difficult to predict!

@MarkJDeakin - 'Arsenal will finish 8th....'

Some people just gave predictions leaving me to fill in the blanks of why they think that whilst some liked to fully explain their thoughts. @MarkJDeakin for example, believes Arsenal will finish 8th - i am sure many Arsenal fans will not be impressed with that prediction - reasoning due to the midfield becoming weaker as he is resigned to the fact they will be losing Fabregas & believes the new signings, although decent, are not good enough to compensate for the losses.

On the contrary, @TroyTheBoy20 had a lot to say and believes his club could even reach 2nd place. He explained how the club are 'not in free fall as all thats gone is Clichy and the rest is speculation' he then continued on the talk of transfers by explaining there is still 2 months of transfers to go so 'who knows who could come in' so is optimistic Wenger will choose to make some signings this summer. He also believes that Arsenal have the 'right foundations for silverware' and bringing in the right players they could reach 2nd. Good optimism about their club?

@Ashley_McKay - 'i think we'll finish top 4 without a doubt'

A detailed view i got was that of @Ashley_McKay, who expressed what he thinks ahead of next season for his Arsenal team. Ashley explained how he is part of what i feel may now be a small group that believe in the '"In Arsene we trust" philosophy'.

On the talk of transfers he expects 4 departures with 3 players minimum coming in;
'I would love to see Adam Johnson, Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill coming in' however he is a realist and recognised how this could be asking far too much considering the current price of English players - I personally believe it would be going against everything Arsenal stand for; 1 English player is pushing it for them.

One of those few English players currently in the Arsenal squad is Keiran Gibbs who with the departure of Gael Clichy looks like he is going to be given a chance by Wenger however not everyone is sure on this;
@Ashley_McKay stated 'i dont think Gibbs is ready for the first team and he is so unreliable when it comes to fitness' so Clichy could be a bigger loss than fans first contemplated.

@am_walters - 'expecting us to finish 4/5th...'

The final thoughts i got were those of @am_walters and was the only one to even mention Europe and expectations there; he expects to go through the group stage but again, another person who thinks the midfield will lack bite which 'will inevitably lead to a shock home defeat' so not much positivity surrounding europe.
Like @MarkJDeakin, @am_walters has conceded that Arsenal will be losing Cesc Fabregas but also believes Nasri will follow him out the door, which further infuriates him as he believes that other clubs around them are 'spending big on established players' whilst Arsenal's focus is on their 'financial stability' - fans want success not saving to be stable!

I feel a good way to end is the final thought @am_walters spoke about which in my opinion opitimises Arsenal FC; 'Wilshere & Ramsey will outshine most but it wont stop us losing away to stoke' with all the skilled players and young talent Arsenal just dont seem to have the whole team ability to win match like Stoke away!

So, by the looks of it most arsenal fans are not thinking they are realistic title contenders, but are hoping for improvement even if they arent too confident they will achieve it. Most are 'hoping' rather than 'believing'. From fans opinions ill give them a top 5 finish but it'll be a struggle & if they bring in couple of players they need 2nd at best with another silverware-less season im afraid..

I'd like to thank all the fans mentioned in this as i wouldnt have known enough about Arsenal to be able to do it with out them.

@beckytLCFC - 'fan's view blog quest' :)