Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dr Lakes' Season Review: Championship

As another season draws to a close, Soccer AM/MW's very own General Practitioner, Doctor Lakes, gives his diagnosis on all this season's Football League teams.

They've been given a comprehensive physical over the past nine months, have they emerged with a clean bill of health, are they on the mend, or do things look pretty bleak for the future?

Starting with the Championship.

Barnsley (18th)

The Tykes were flying high for the best part of the season but they slowly faded away towards the end.

The fans can't complain too much because they finished higher than a lot of people expected.

They will be disappointed that they just faded into obscurity though.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy: I was expecting this Yorkshire lad to be calling me up three times a day complaining of a headache and stomach cramps.

"Instead he kept himself to himself and I didn't hear from him until he called a few weeks back - and that was just to tell me that he just caught my wife banging the postman."

Blackpool (6th)

It has been an incredible season for Blackpool. In fact, incredible doesn't do justice to the job Ian Holloway has done.

Having been tipped to struggle, few can believe that they made it to the play-off final. Even fewer can believe that they'll be playing in the Premier League next season.

No-one can argue that this has been the remarkable achievement of this season.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: I've sent a letter to the police, informing them that the entire Blackpool squad have been taking illegal drugs. Of course, this is utter tosh, but I am disgusted to see them doing so well.

"I can't deny that they have been a picture of health recently, but I will do everything I can to make them ill again."

Bristol City (10th)

Solid season for the Robins, not a lot to say. Evander Sno looked pretty good, and yet he looked pretty rubbish at times as well. Got Steve Coppell in charge now, so he should help them push on.

They continue to establish themselves as a good, passing team - and even get the referees to look away when someone scores against them.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy: Not a lot to say really. They look sturdy and reliable. I've seen them have better days, but at least they don't look they're going to throw up on my loafers.

"They're Italian loafers, so need a lot of love and care."

Cardiff City (4th)

Knackered financially because of overspending on Premier League cast-offs.

Cardiff shouldn't be where they are today. Why? Because they are frivolous and refused to learn from the lessons that have been lain out before them by Leeds et al.

As it is, they lost out in the play-off final and are in all sorts of trouble as a result of not getting promoted to the promised land. They've had an excellent season, but what about the long term?

If they'd have gone up, they wouldn't have cared. However, the future could start to look very grim for the Bluebirds.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: These Welshies spent a hell of a lot of money on innovative drugs and it's paid off for them. The medicine work a treat.

"It didn't completely heal them though and, the problem is, I don't think they read the warning signs on the side: Possible Side Effects - Death."

Coventry City (19th)

Oh dear. Hopes were high at the Ricoh's Roughnecks Arena - it's a Starship Troopers reference, in case you're interested. A few people fancied a stab at the play-offs, and it looked like it could be achieved.

However, the Championship is a cruel and unforgiving mistress and the Sky Blues soon found themselves plummeting down the table. They never looked in danger, but they'll want a better season next term.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: Not a lot to say really. It got very messy, very quickly. We tried starving them, blocking the trap door, removing their stomach - nothing worked.

"No matter what we tried, it wouldn't stop flowing out. Eventually, we realised you just need to let nature takes its course."

Crystal Palace (21st)

The play-offs were on the horizon for the Eagles. Cue a financial disaster and a ten point deduction and Palace were forced to battle for survival on the final day of the season.

Neil Warnock jumped ship and left the club in even bigger trouble. They may have avoided relegation in the last game but popular belief is that it will just delay the inevitable sound of bankruptcy.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Leprosy: I've never seen leprosy occur so quickly. They were doing fine, then his nose fell off in my hand.

"Once I'd stopped screaming and cleaning myself, I realised that I could stave off death for at least another year, but I'm not sure it's in the best interest of the patient."

Derby County (14th)

People who understand how football works would have realised that it was going to be a difficult season for the Rams. They got off to a slow start as Nigel Clough tried to make his mark on a team going backwards.

After a poor first half to the season, Derby started to the click and, following a derby victory over Forest, they started to climb the table. Not a great year, but not an unexpected one either.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: What was initially diagnosed as Swine Flu can now just be labelled a bad case of the runs. It looked dangerous but they pulled through.

"I thought I was going to have to call the International Medical Facility (IMF) for help. What? The IMF doesn't stand for that? Then where have I been sending patients with severe medical concerns for the past five years?!"

Doncaster Rovers (12th)

Another solid season in the Championship can be chalked up by the South Yorkshire club. They've got a good boss, a good stadium, and a good team.

It'll only be a matter of time before the Vikings start working their way further up the table.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: I haven't seen Donny in ages. How's he doing? I thought he'd moved to California? He's not been in my office since 2008, so he must be doing well.

"I've just checked his file and there are no underlying health issues to worry about. I probably should pay more attention to my patients."

Ipswich Town (15th)

Roy Keane brought in a lot of former Manchester United and Celtic players last season. He also raided Ireland. In truth, he signed a lot of dross and it didn't pay off.

Having said that, the Tractor Boys were very difficult to beat and didn't lose that many games. Shame they drew nearly half their games.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: Farm Life doesn't agree with Mr Keane. He's complained of a bloated stomach all season and it hasn't gone away. His bathroom looked like a mud farm. It was disgusting.

"I prescribed him a healthy amount of medication but it didn't seem to do anything. If it continues, I may have to try something more serious."

Leicester City (5th)

After winning League One last season, even the most optimistic of Foxes fans must have thought the play-offs were out of reach.

Leicester would have settled for safety at the start of the season but, after an impressive return to the Championship for Nigel Pearson's boys, more will definitely be expected of them next season.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: Incredible improvement. I remember them coming in to see me a couple of seasons ago and they were looking worse for wear.

"I was genuinely concerned I would never see them again. Strong heart rate, impressive muscle strength. There is life in the old Fox yet."

Middlesbrough (11th)

Bloody Nora! What the hell happened here? One minute Boro are looking solid and only a few points off the top. The next, they're sacking Gareth Southgate and bringing in an angry Scotsman.

It's been a season to forget for the Riverside club. Many expected them to go straight back up. After sacking Southgate though, it all feel to piece and it took them too long to recover.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Leprosy. This was a shock to me. I thought I would be giving the all clear but I find myself sending the poor sod off to leper island!

"I turned my back for one second and, when I'm looking at him again, limbs are falling off faster than I can deal with."

Newcastle United (1st)

The Magpies did exactly what they set out to do - bounce back at the first attempt. They made it look easy in the end and Chris Hughton certainly made a good first impression with the Geordie faithful.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "In remission: After the bad news last year, I'm amazed at the progress they've made. They look fighting fit and have lost a lot of weight."

Nottingham Forest (3rd)

The Tricky Trees had an excellent season and were ultimately beaten to the automatic places by two teams who had more money, more depth, and more experience.

They will be very disappointed with how they got dumped out of the play-offs but, if they can keep Billy Davies and the core of the squad, they should do well again next season.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: Nice to see the old boy on the mend. Spent the last few years bed-ridden and I was very concerned for his overall condition.

"However, a new health care worker has seen Mr Forest make a remarkable recovery. Barely recognisable from the man I saw last season."

Peterborough United (24th)

Back-to-back promotions followed by a relegation. It's exciting being a Posh fan.

Eventually they got found out for spending a lot of money on sub-standard players and, when Darren Ferguson spat his dummy out, it took the club time to find the right man to fill his shoes.

Although relegation would have been expected, to finish bottom will be a very tough pill to swallow.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Swine Flu: Never got out of bed. They just lay there all year looking like someone had come into their house on Christmas day and urinated on their kids.

"They never looked like rousing out of his state of lethargy. Fortunately, they've got a good house doctor who can afford to look after them all the time. Will he stay if things don't look like improving, or will he just pull the plug? Not my problem - I'm just a GP."

Plymouth Argyle (23rd)

For a club that has spent the past few seasons punching above their weight, relegation will come as no great shock. What will be worrying is that it could be a while before they find themselves back in the Championship.

A poor seasons always looked likely, and relegation was always a possibility. They good news is Exeter didn't get relegated, so they won't have to travel as far for one of their games next year.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: I've been prepared for this for quite some time now. I was always expecting trouble, I was just a little surprised it took this long to arrive.

"Fortunately, they're not in too much danger and should maintain a reasonable level of health. Can they return to their former glory? If they stock up on vitamins and minerals, they could do."

Preston North End (17th)

Bit of a mixed bag for PNE. In reality, this is the type of season that Lilywhites fans should come to expect. A solid mid-table finish without too much to get excited or nervous about.

Sacking Alan Irvine was a bit of a shock and appointing the detestable Darren Ferguson was even more of one.

The winding-up order at the end of the season would have upset a few fans, but that's part and parcel of the game.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy/Diarrhoea: They were looking very healthy for a large portion of the year. They had a few scary moments, but nothing serious.

"However, it was when they were leaving my office that panic started to set in. As soon as the door was closed I heard something resembling a broken faucet - and then the smell hit me.

"It could be a worrying summer, but I reckon they'll pull through."

Queens Park Rangers (13th)

Another year gone, another five managers gone through. The Hoops are believed to be rolling in money but don't appear to spend any of it.

That's because all of it goes towards the firing and hiring of managers.

Another disappointing season and, to make it worse, season ticket holders can look forward to watching Neil Warnock dance about in the technical area next season.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Swine Flu: I told them that a nice relaxing weekend would sort them out but would they listen? Would they b*******!

"They only went out and splashed an obscene amount of money on someone who hasn't got a real medical degree. He got it from UCLan for crying out loud. I despair of some people."

Reading (9th)

Terrible start to the season. Awful. Truly ghastly. They did dump Liverpool out of the FA Cup, but I reckon Soccer AM/MW could have done that.

They did give their fans hope towards the end of the season as they started to put a very tasty run together which almost gave them an outside shot at the play-offs.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Diarrhoea: They looked like death when I saw them at the beginning of the year and it was streaming out of them like a leaky tap. Must have had some dodgy paella.

"I recommened a butt plug and a new chef. Fortunately they listneed to half of my advice and now they have Heston Blumenthal cooking them mock turtle soup and duck a l'orange. Tasty."

Scunthorpe United (20th)

An excellent season for the Iron was confirmed when they realised their season target with games to spare.

Everyone thought they'd take the plunge but they shocked everyone by putting in solid performances towards the end of the season. It'll be tough next term, but now they know they can do it.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Fully Fit: Wowzers. When I was running cardio tests on this patient I kept increading the speed of the treadmill - expecting him to stop.

"However, he just kept running and running and running. Extraordinary levels of fitness, but I'm not sure he'll be the same next year."

Sheffield United (8th)

The Blades have to be disappointed with their season. They had high hopes that they could get promoted agaun, but it never really got going for them.

They were always there or thereabouts, but could never find the extra push to lift them into the danger zone. Should be slightly disappointed, but that's probably a bit harsh on them.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy/Diarrhoea: It's been an up-and-down past few months and they'll be glad that the season is over now. They can get some rest and come back stronger.

"I'm a bit concerned at how they looked groggy coming to the end of the term, but I've given them a massive dose of antibiotics to help."

Sheffield Wednesday (22nd)

Losing out on the final day is painful. What will be more painful for Wednesday is that they're returning to a place which they thought they'd left behind.

League One will be waiting and the long-term ramifications are yet to be discussed.

It was a horrible season - one to forget. What's more depressing is that they won't even win the league next year - that honour will go to Southampton.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Swine Flu: In trouble, but it's not fatal. They've been confined to their house and told to get lots of rest.

It's been a tough nine months for Mr Wednesday and hopefully he can use the summer to recuperate and come back stronger. I'm worried that Tamiflu won't do the trick though."

Swansea City (7th)

New boss, new striker, new playmaker. It would be easy to have thought the Swansea would have a rebuilding season this term. However, they were one result away from making the play-offs.

The cardigan-wearing Paulo Sousa got his team churning out results - even if it wasn't overly exciting for the neutral.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: After extensive surgery over the summer, I was expecting Mrs Swan to lie low this year.

"I'd planned for her to gradually settle into her new body but she blossomed into a beautiful, erm, swan. She is definitely on the up."

Watford (16th)

Not a great season for Watford. They were invovled in a relegation battle for a while but Malky Mackay eventually helped steer them to safety.

Can't help but feel as if expectations have been blown out of proportion after their time in the top flight, but they should still be hoping for a little more than this.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "Healthy: I've deemed them to be healthy, but I think I'll be keeping my eye on them for the next year or so.

"They showed some strength to fight off infection but I'm a little concerned that their immune system has weaknened significantly over the past couple of years. Could find themselves in a constant state of having the sniffles.

West Bromwich Albion (2nd)

I would write something new, but what was written for Newcastle applies to West Brom. Just swap Mags for Bags and you're onto to a winner.

Dr Lakes' Diagnosis: "All Clear: Had a good year health wise - but I'm worried about their long-term fitness. They'll probably be back next term."

Dr Lakes will be back with his diagnoses on Leagues One and Two in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment