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Friday, July 30, 2010

Championship 2010/11: Preview

The season is just a matter of days away, and we're looking ahead to the new campaign in our own inimitable style here on Soccer AM/MW.

With people saying football is no longer a game but a business who better, we thought, to look ahead to the 2010/11 season than one of Wall Street's finest?

It's our pleasure, therefore, to introduce Enron Turlman. A man who knows his financial onions, a man who actually watches Working Lunch, a man Gordon Brown once even asked for economic advice.

We didn't hold that against him though, so here are Enron's thoughts:

Barnsley (BAR)

Last season: 18th in Championship

Manager: Mark Robins

Liam Dickinson, Goran Lovre, Jay McEveley, James O'Brien, Jason Shackell.

Enron's view: "I'm fed up of these guys clogging up the phones on Wall Street. They're tenacious little buggers, I'll give you that. The whole company is clinging onto past glories though.

"In this business, you need to be a shark. If you stop moving, you die. Admittedly, this company won't die.

"They'll probably just slum around making a decent profit but it won't be anything special. Too many 'team players' and not enough sharks."

Bristol City (BRC)

Last season: 10th in Championship

Manager: Steve Coppell

Signings: Albert Adomah, Khalifa Cisse, Nicky Hunt, David James, Damion Stewart.

Enron's view: "Bold move from these inbred hillbillies. Hired a new CEO and they look better for it. The money is never resting with these guys as they look to get amongst the big boys.

"It's in, then out. Sharp work. They've got spunk, that's for sure. How will they do? Well, it's a battle of dicks and risk. They've shown some risk, now let's see their dick.

"They'll have a good year, but it's a dangerous business."

Burnley (BUR)

Last season: 18th in Premier League

Manager: Brian Laws

Lee Grant, Chris Iwelumo, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace.

Enron's view: "There are two types of people in the world: sheeps and sharks. To make it in the business world, you need to be a shark. Shark's have no necks, so they can't look back.

"These boys had a bad time last term after their CEO jumped ship at the turn of the year. The new guy is a bit of a sheep, but he's got some grinders in his ranks and they'll pull him out.

"These players have got a taste for the caviar and champagne, they don't want to go back to sipping coke and crisps. They'll bring in some money and might be one of the top earners."

Cardiff City (CDF)

Last season: 4th in Championship

Dave Jones

Tom Heaton

Enron's view: "These boys are blowing. Hard. Thought they could mix it with me last season. Boy were they wrong. If finances were a hooker then these guys are sat at home playing with themselves while they watch a bit of soft porn on Five.

"Sure, they've got a few dealers in their ranks, but expect some of the big names to come swooping when the CDF bonuses start to dry up.

"Staying in business is the target for these high-rollers. If they do that, they might make a push to play at the big table."

Coventry City (COV)

Last season: 19th in Championship

Aidy Boothroyd

Lee Carsley, Lukas Jutkiewicz, Richard Keogh, Gary McSheffrey, Roy O'Donovan, Stephen O'Halloran, Clive Platt.

Enron's view: "Yet another new head honcho. These boys are shaking it up to get their stuff together.

"Their shareholders were left with a pocketful of shattered dreams and an empty bank account earlier in the year, but they've rallied around and busted some balls.

"These boys are here to party and I reckon with the brokers in their company, this former powerhouse could rock a few boats."

Crystal Palace (CYP)

Last season: 21st in Championship

Manager: George Burley

Signings: Adam Barrett, Andy Dorman, David Wright.

Enron's view: "These guys are still in business? Well blow me. After haemorrhaging money, I thought that one of the main players would come in with a hostile takeover.

"Apparently, that's not how you do it over here, so I was a little less surprised when I saw the money makers move on to bigger companies.

"It's a year of consolidation for these former high flyers. It's a tough ask, but I reckon they've got the grapefruits to make the deals stick."

Derby County (DBY)

Last season: 14th in Championship

Manager: Nigel Clough

Signings: James Bailey, John Brayford, Tomasz Cywka, David Martin, Gareth Roberts.

Enron's view: "I remember working alongside this guy's dad. He was the business. No messing with him around.

"They've been on the slide recently, and that's because they were investing in over-the-hill brokers who don't give a monkey's any more. They need people with fire in their belly.

"People who know that if they don't make a deal stick then their family won't be eating for a month.

"This guy ain't as ballsy as his dad - but who is? Expect him to continue shafting out the relics and bringing in the fresh blood needed to help him establish the firm as a solid company."

Doncaster Rovers (DCR)

Last season: 12th in Championship

Manager: Sean O'Driscoll

Signings: George Friend, Simon Gillett, Billy Sharp.

Enron's view: "This place is unbelievable. How are these guys still playing big balls poker? I've seen their accounts and I'm impressed by the figures.

"They have very little expenditure and, when you look at the quality of their brokers, I can't understand how they're still punching with the big sharks.

"Then I had lunch with their CEO. That man oozes Wall Street. He's making deals left, right, and centre. He's making deals and he doesn't even know it. The man keeps that company ticking. I might get my headhunters on him."

Hull City (HLL)

Last season:
19th in Premier League

Nigel Pearson

Signings: James Harper, Nolberto Solano

Enron's view: "New man at the helm, and his first piece of business is to stop the company from going down like a cheap hooker.

"Money is a massive issue. They spunked it all on a broker with a questionable sick record. When he's in the office, the firm is a major player. Problem is, he's rarely there. Cold this, headache that.

"If he were my broker, I'd have pulled him into my office and given him a reason to have a headache. Still, they've got some solid guys and should make a decent push at regaining their FTSE 100 status."

Ipswich Town (IPT)

Last season: 15th in Championship

Manager: Roy Keane

Signings: Conor Hourihane, Mark Kennedy.

Enron's view: "Bumpkins. The lot of them. And the guy in charge? Show pony. Thinks he's got mettle, but his game is coming to an end. He is new world and it doesn't suit him.

"They're a former big player, but too many rash decisions have cost them. They've got some bright trainees on their staff and they've taken on some graduates.

"They look good, but can the CEO put it all together to make it work? If he doesn't, he'll be working at Burger King before the year is out."

Leeds United (LDS)

Last season: 2nd in League One

Manager: Simon Grayson

Signings: Fede Bessone, Neil Collins, Paul Connolly, Billy Paynter, Lloyd Sam, Kasper Schmeichel.

Enron's view: "Now this is a company I can get on board with. Renowned for taking big risks, they played the game and, for a while, it made them feel like Gods.

"But, what the Lord giveth, he taketh away. These fellas are a shining light of how the broker business should work. Spunk it all on some risky buys and, if it don't pay off, you find yourself cleaning cars for a living.

"On their way back to the top, but I think it'll be another year before they get to eat sushi from a hooker's naval."

Leicester City (LEI)

Last season: 5th in Championship

Manager: Paulo Sousa

Signings: Tom Kennedy

Enron's view: "Continental CEO? What's the world coming to? This industry is for city slickers in pinstripe suits who'd sell their aunt for a piece of silver and a hug. In fact, sod the hug, just give me the silver.

"This cardigan-wearing Porto-geezer knows his onions though. It takes a while for him to get his loafers under the desk - but that's because he's too busy having a siesta.

"No room for naps in this biz. I haven't slept in 13 years. He'll get them going in his own way - and should have them pushing for a step up to the majors."

Middlesbrough (MBR)

Last season:
11th in Championship

Gordon Strachan

Nicky Bailey, Kris Boyd, Tarmo Kink, Kevin Thomson.

Enron's view: "This company has been on the slide for the past couple of years, but it looks like they're on the up. They had their day in the sun, but they didn't capitalise. Now they hope to pull their opponents' pants down.

"Some solid brokers have been hired and they look much stronger in the bull pen. These guys are definitely making a bid to return to the FTSE 100. In fact, they will probably be this year's highest earners."

Millwall (MLL)

Last season: 3rd in League One

Manager: Kenny Jackett

Signings: Shaun Batt, James Henry, Steve Mildenhall, Tamika Mkandawire, Liam Trotter.

Enron's view: "These wheelers and dealers have been making a mug of me for a few years now. I remember when they tried to take over Europe and how they control through fear.

"It's working for them though, the dirty beggars. They're climbing the rankings and working hard. Nothing outstanding, but they're posting some consistent figures and they'll be looking to have another solid season.

"Could have the balls to make a push, but I reckon they'll settle for stabilising their profits."

Norwich City (NOR)

Last season:
1st in League One

Paul Lambert

Signings: David Fox, Simeon Jackson, John Ruddy, Steven Smith, Andrew Surman, Elliot Ward.

Enron's view: "A philosopher once mentioned the strength of bouncebackability and these boys have shown spadefuls of that.

"They took their eyes off the prize a couple of years back. They looked in the mirror after that and saw an overweight, balding man who didn't look like he cared anymore.

"They were sickened by it. Now they're a lean, mean, deal-making machine. They look sharp and shark-like. Watch out for this one. They'll sell you their mother for an escort's phone number."

Nottingham Forest (FOR)

Last season: 3rd in Championship

Manager: Billy Davies

Signings: N/A

Enron's view: "These sharks got their wangers out last year and had a p****** contest with NWC and WBA. They fell short - their CEO blamed the wind - and they failed to break into the FTSE 100.

"They know what they need to do and with the CEO agreeing to stay on, for now, they fancy their chances. They've got some good dealers and a fair wedge of cash to risk, so I reckon they should make a push again."

Portsmouth (POM)

Last season: 20th in Premier League

Manager: Steve Cotterill

Signings: N/A

Enron's view: "I was offered this job. When I went for the interview, I asked to look at their financial records and they started to look a little sheepish.

"Needless to say I declined the offer, but they have a new CEO in who is a solid face in these parts. Problem is, he's got to get the company making money again.

"Some of their top brokers are leaving, which means they won't be getting back into the big leagues anytime soon. It's a year of trying to stay afloat for these sailors."

Preston North End (PNE)

Last season: 17th in Championship

Manager: Darren Ferguson

Signings: Wayne Brown, David Gray, Paul Hayes, Craig Morgan,

Enron's view: "Well, spank my ass and call me chuckles - what have we got here? These boys are a right handful. For years they were playing at the top table, but not anymore.

"These guys have been punching above their weight for a while now. Problem is, a lot of crazy stuff is happening recently and I haven't got a clue whether they've got a fistful of dollars or a vault full of gold.

"Either way, these boys are going to entertain us year round. Their CEO is a bit of a dick though."

Queens Park Rangers (QPR)

Last season: 13th in Championship

Manager: Neil Warnock

Signings: Shaun Derry, Clint Hill, Paddy Kenny, Jamie Mackie, Bradley Orr.

Enron's view: "My kind of guys run this business. The type of people who wipe their arse with fifty. Who light a cigar off a hooker's chuff. Top notch.

"They've not been spending their billions though. No Grade A brokers in their ranks. Instead, they're left with a bunch of halfwits who think keeping hold of Goldman-Sachs stock was a good idea.

"It's time for a change, and I reckon these pin-striped banknotes are going to make good on their promises."

Reading (RDG)

Last season: 9th in Championship

Manager: Brian McDermott

Signings: Andy Griffin, Marcus Wiliams.

Enron's view: "I like these guys. They ooze class. They've got a chef as CEO and they've got a superb catering deal with Waitrose. Very swish.

"They had a dreadful first and second quarter, but they started to turn it around for the back end of the last financial year.

"They are definitely a company on the up, but it'll be interesting to see if they've got the strength to up their profits even more."

Scunthorpe United (SCU)

Last season: 20th in Championship

Manager: Nigel Adkins

Signings: Michael Collins, Chris Dagnall, Bobby Grant.

Enron's view: "These guys are sharks in a fishbowl. Or are they fish in a shark bowl? Either way, they're playing stickball with the big kids and they're not backing down.

"They're swinging from the hip and hitting cleanly. Problem is, fatigue is bound to set in. It'll be another battle for these plucky b******* but they'll give it a go. Might drop a level though."

Sheffield United (SHU)

Last season: 8th in Championship

Manager: Kevin Blackwell

Signings: Daniel Bodganovic, Johannes Ertl, Rob Kozluk, Steve Simonsen.

Enron's view:
"The FTSE 100 was out of reach again last year, and I reckon they might miss out this time as well. They've got spunk, that's for sure, and I reckon they'll get the most out of the brokers they've got.

"I just don't see any pizzazz coming from this firm though. They're solid, but there is some jazz missing. No flair. A lack of spangle. You get what I'm saying, don't you?

"They'll crunch some numbers, but I can't see them tampering with funds to secure a big deal."

Swansea City (SWA)

Last season: 7th in Championship

Manager: Brendan Rodgers

Signings: Scott Donnelly, Neil Taylor.

Enron's view: "A new CEO in charge here after the last one was caught doing something completely disgusting. Something no man should ever do.

"Sleeping with your boss's daughter? That's encouraged in Enron's world. No, what this guy did was... wear a cardigan! This is the world of money, slick. There is no room for cardigan-wearing.

"It's strictly pin-stripes and lap-dance dinners. In terms of performance, they'll probably slide down the charts a bit, but they should have a stable season of trying to reaffirm their stance on no cardigans."

Watford (WFD)

Last season: 16th in Championship

Manager: Malky Mackay

Signings: Tom Aldred, Rene Gilmartin.

Enron's view: "When a bee stings, it dies. Well, these bees were packed full of stingers a few years back and since then it's been a slow death.

"They've seen some top dealers go and have replaced them with mindless automations who don't know to spell 'sell' let alone do it. This bee is dying and, with no stinger in place, it could be a difficult year for this firm.

"Hang on... This company's logo is a Hornet? So that makes my entire comment pointless. Thanks for the heads up, you jerk."

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