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Thursday, August 05, 2010

League Two 2010/11: Preview

As part of our countdown to the new season, we've asked Soccer AM/MW's financial expert, Enron Turlman, to give us his views on all the Football League's teams prospects this season.

After spending his entire career wheeling and dealing on Wall Street, he's the Big Apple's Big Cheese when it comes to all matters money.

In his final report, here's his thoughts on 2010/11's League Two.

Accrington Stanley (ACR)

Last season: 15th in League Two

Manager: John Coleman

Signings: Charlie Barnett, Michael Hall, Sean Hessey, Craig Lindfield, Andy Parkinson.

Enron's view: "What makes a man who he is today? Is it his family? His personal wealth? Or is it knowing he pushed himself as far as he could?

"I don't know the answer, but I do know these guys were close to going under last year. The bizarre thing is, they aren't flamboyantly splurging money on overrated traders or dreadful deals.

"They'll have a long year ahead of them, and they'll do well to stay in the black. Could do with getting more people on board, then they might stand a better chance."

Aldershot Town (ALD)

Last season: 6th in League Two

Manager: Kevin Dillon

Signings: Clayton Fortune, Luke Guttridge, Darren Jones, Glenn Little, Jermaine McGlashan, Aaron Morris, Manny Panther, Jack Randall, Wade Small, Damian Spencer, Jamie Vincent.

Enron's view: "Last year these guys were shooting from the hip and it paid off. Everything they touched turned to gold - although that did cause a few problems when they visited Spearmint Rhino.

"They've got moxie, and I like that about them. They call a spade a shovel and they'll use it to dig your grave. I don't think they'll do as well as last year, but I still fancy them to pull out a shock or two.

"They gave me the nod over the SkyNet deal, and we all know how that turned out."

Barnet (BNT)

Last season: 21st in League Two

Manager: Mark Stimson

Signings: Sam Cox, Darren Dennehy, Ricky Holmes, Ross Jarvis, Steve Kabba, Danny Kelly, Daniel Leach, Jodan Parkes, Glenn Poole, Glen Southam, Charlie Stimson, Anwar Uddin.

Enron's view: "This small firm nearly had their pants pulled down last year. Fortunately, they were wearing a belt, which meant they weren't subjected to the same level of abuse dished out to GMT and DGN.

"These lads are keen, and it could see them waking up naked and sore. We've all been there.

"They need to stay calm and push forwards, but I see a long year ahead and, with a new CEO, they could find themselves dipping into the red at the end of the year.

Bradford City (BDF)

Last season: 14th in League Two

Manager: Peter Taylor

Signings: Shane Duff, Lewis Hunt, Louis Moult, Luke Oliver, Lloyd Saxton, Jake Speight, Robbie Threlfall.

Enron's view: "Don't know what to say about these lads. They hark back to former glories when they were chumming it up with Billy Clinton. Now they're sitting trying to figure out what VCR stands for.

"They've stood still, and the business world is a fast moving environment. Sharks die when they stop moving, and these guys need to start moving again - else they're gone.

"They've got the talent in their pool and, with a top CEO, they should be sitting at the top table of this list. It's now or never for these guys."

Burton Albion (BUR)

Last season: 13th in League Two

Manager: Paul Peschisolido

Signings: Adam Bolder, Jake Dyer, James Ellison, Adam Legzdins, Darren Moore, Garyn Preen, Nathan Stanton, Lewis Young.

Enron's view: "Three things made a trader successful: money, women, and booze.

"The first one is easy to acquire for this company. They're one of the rising stars of the economy and are proof that, sometimes, slow progress is what's needed.

"The second one comes after you've got the first one. If you've got a roll of fifty notes in your pocket - and what respectable broker hasn't - then the women will be all over you like a moth to a flame.

"The third? Whisky is the normal choice to make you look good, but a stout oozes strength. I'd back these guys to repeat last year's exploits - minus the STI."

Bury (BRY)

Last season: 9th in League Two

Manager: Alan Knill

Signings: Kyle Bennett, Andy Haworth, Phil Picken, Steven Schumacher, Joe Skarz, Peter Sweeney.

Enron's view: "This firm has been tough to read. One minute they're snorting coke off a slab of Kobe Beef. They'll have the world in their hands as they bask in the brilliance of another massive deal.

"A hooker's handshake later, and they're running around the bullpen begging for the money to stop flowing out of every orifice.

"They'll be punching the big numbers again this year, but they need to show a little more consistency with their deals in order to guarantee a tasty balance sheet. Now where's my steak..."

Cheltenham Town (CHM)

Last season: 22nd in League Two

Manager: Mark Yates

Signings: Danny Andrew, Frankie Artus, Steve Elliott,
Jeff Goulding, Daniel Lloyd-Weston, Keith Lowe, JJ Melligan, Martin Riley, Brian Smikle, Wes Thomas.

Enron's view: "Yet another company that was close to becoming a distant memory. They battled hard and came away with the deals that were needed to keep them alive.

"They'll be hoping that last year was a bad year and that their future is lined with gold and dollar signs.

"I doubt it is, but when you've got a floor full of underachieving and overpaid traders you need to keep your head pointing to the sky because you don't want to see the s*** on the floor."

Chesterfield (CFD)

Last season: 8th in League Two

Manager: John Sheridan

Signings: Craig Davies, Simon Ford, Jack Hunt, Danny Whittaker.

Enron's view: "Well, these boys look like they're here to party. A rolled up wadge of one dollar bills were handed out as they unveiled their spanking new offices.

"It looked good. Then came the strippers. Can't remember much after that. The new HQ indicates that these boys aren't going to be almost-rans and they mean business.

"They've got the traders to move up the ratings, but they can't let their new premises think they deserve to be crunching big numbers."

Crewe Alexandra (CRW)

Last season: 18th in League Two

Manager: Dario Gradi

Signings: Dave Artell, Lee Bell, Adam Dugdale, Steve Phillips, Antoni Sarcevic.

Enron's view: "Last year was a big disappointment. Many thought the profit and loss account would be heavily in the black, but some sluggish trading and sloppy communication meant this firm still finds itself at the FTSE's feet.

"They'll do better this year, but that's only because the brokers know what to expect this time around.

"They need to make a lot of deals and hope each one posts a good yield, because they don't have the power to rely on the occasional big deal that can make or break a financial year."

Gillingham (GLL)

Last season: 21st in League One

Manager: Andy Hessenthaler

Signings: Adebayo Akinfenwa, Lance Cronin, Stefan Payne, Tony Sinclair, Danny Spiller, Andy White.

Enron's view: "The new CEO spoke to the press recently and said he's wanting a year to remember. Last year was definitely a year to remember, but for all the wrong reasons.

"Their end-of-year account had more red on it than a Second World War surgeon's operating table.

"This time around I fancy GLL to ensure the only red the CEO will see is the crate of claret for successful guiding the company back up the rankings.

"They've got an excellent chance, but they'll need to be more efficient to guarantee a successful year."

Hereford United (HFD)

Last season: 16th in League Two

Manager: Simon Davey

Signings: Sean Canham, Joe Colbeck, Stuart Fleetwood, Janos Kovacs, Sam Malsom, Lee Morris, Dan Stratford, Michael Townsend, Mike Williams.

Enron's view: "With a new CEO and a new board, it's definitely a transitional period for this firm. They won't be making big deals, but they'll be turning over a decent profit to keep them tucked up 'til May.

"They won't be tangoing with the Devil, but they won't be getting sodomised by him either, so the shareholders won't complain too much.

"There needs to be a change of pace and instead of being chummy-chummy, this CEO needs to adopt a bully-boy approach."

Lincoln City (LCN)

Last season: 20th in League Two

Manager: Chris Sutton

Signings: Joe Anyon, Drewe Broughton, Mustapha Carayol, Jamie Clapham, Delroy Facey, Albert Jarrett, Gavin McCallum, Josh O'Keefe.

Enron's view: "Disastrous. That's the only word I can use to describe last year. I pulled off more details while I was rummed up in Bermuda. This group of layabouts were the laughing stock of our 'business' trip.

"They couldn't have secured a deal if it thrust its hands down their pants. They'll do better this year. They have to.

"And if not, I reckon there could be a massive paradigm shift in the company. It's needed, because this firm should be playing ball with a much bigger breed of dog than these mutts."

Macclesfield Town (MCC)

Last season: 19th in League Two

Manager: Gary Simpson

Jason Beardsley, Richard Butcher, Lewis Chalmers, Matt Hamshaw, Sam Wedgbury.

Enron's view: "Cricket is a sport for the rich, and the rich are rich because they make good deals. Because of this, I see the MCC doing very well this year. What? This isn't the cricket MCC? Are you sure? Fair enough.

"Scrap what I just said - these guys are boned. They have been struggling for several years now, and I don't see this one any differently.

"Their brokers look like a bunch of mouth-breathers and the only deal they know about is when Noel Edmonds hosts that ridiculous game show."

Morecambe (MOR)

Last season: 4th in League Two

Manager: Sammy McIlroy

Signings: Andy Fleming, Stuart Hendrie, Phil Jevons, Chris McCready, Adam Rundle, Paul Scott.

Enron's view: "The other day I talked about how BHA were working on the road and how a company office is a symbol of what they're made of. Well, MOR have suddenly added a few inches to their 'junior partner.'

"They splashed out on a brand new HQ and it looks swish. I know an office doesn't make the man, but it certainly helps to pull off a few deals.

"These boys should be making a fair few deals this year. Expect them to be with this year's movers and shakers."

Northampton Town (NTN)

Last season: 11th in League Two

Manager: Ian Sampson

Signings: Marcus Hall, John Johnson, Tadhg Purcell, Nathaniel Wedderburn.

Enron's view: "My wife told me that the first thing a woman looks at when eyeing up a man is his shoes. If that's true, then these boys must be beating the women away with a stick.

"In business terms, it means nothing, but they do have a tight-knit group of brokers who work hard for each other. They've got some grafters working alongside some creative thinkers, and it makes a good combination.

"I reckon they'll make decent push this year, and I'd expect them to be in the black comfortably."

Oxford United (OXF)

Last season: 3rd in Conference Premier

Manager: Chris Wilder

Signings: Richie Baker, Mitchell Cole, Matt Green, Asa Hall, Simon Heslop, Steven Kinniburgh, Alfie Potter, Ben Purkiss, Harry Worley, Jake Wright.

Enron's view: "I had a row with one of my colleagues recently. I told him that I see a year of mediocrity and low risk deals for OXF.

"A feeling in my gut thought that the step up would be difficult, but I believed they'd have the strength to post some solid numbers.

"We continue to disagree, but many will feel that this company has the financial backing to go the distance. I hope I'm right, because I have a deep-lying hatred for students."

Port Vale (PVA)

Last season: 10th in League Two

Manager: Micky Adams

Signings: Sean Rigg, Gary Roberts.

Enron's view: "Learn who you are up against and the world will become a much quieter place. Don't know what that means, but the guy who told me that uttered those words after securing one of the biggest deals this side of New York.

"PVA's brokers narrowly missed a bumper pay-out last year after falling short of their bonus target. This year looks like a case of history repeating itself.

"They know their enemy but there's nothing they can do to stop getting a punch in the face at the last minute. They look good on paper, but these boys are nothing but sheep in wolf's clothing."

Rotherham United (RHM)

Last season: 5th in League Two

Manager: Ronnie Moore

Luke Ashworth, Mark Bradley, Ryan Cresswell, Exodus Geohaghon, Marcus Marshall, Johnny Mullins, Tom Newey.

Enron's view: "Not much to say about these characters. They'll be disappointed with last year - just missing out on the chance to earn a massive pay rise.

"Should be motivation enough. It's easy to underestimate how much a few thousand a month makes when you're wasting all your money on coked-up hookers.

"They'll make the leap this time. If having to visit your local health clinic because of a cheap whore's lack of cleanliness doesn't motivate you, then what will?"

Shrewsbury Town (SWY)

Last season: 12th in League Two

Manager: Graham Turner

Signings: Lionel Ainsworth, Matt Harrold, Sean McAllister, David Raven, Ian Sharps, Ben Smith.

Enron's view: "The new CEO is the this firm's old CEO. He's returned after a couple of decades away from the Shropshire-based company.

"He's a business leader in those parts, and he'll fancy his chances of going toe-to-toe with the big guns. Some strong dealers will provide a solid platform.

"This guy is from the old school. He'll have a liquid lunch and a blowy for tea. He'll turn this ship around, and he'll do it in style."

Southend United (STD)

Last season: 23rd in League One

Manager: Paul Sturrock

Mohsni Bilel, Sean Clohessy, Barry Corr, Graham Coughlan, Craig Easton, Rhys Evans, Peter Gilbert, Ryan Hall, Glenn Morris, Mark Phillips, Luke Prosser, Louie Soares, Blair Sturrock, Sofiene Zaaboub.

Enron's view: "I don't really know what to say about these guys. On the one hand, they've got a new CEO and he looks a brilliant appointment.

"However, they've had their phone lines cut and they're having to shed traders by the sheadload. That makes it very difficult to make the sort of deals needed to get them back to the level they've been used to operating at.

"They risked a lot over the last few years, and it came back to bite them on their dick. Risks and dicks people - that's what it's all about."

Stevenage (STV)

Last season: 1st in Conference Premier

Manager: Graham Westley

Darius Charles, Luke Foster, John Mousinho, Robbie Sinclair, Peter Winn.

Enron's view: "Welcome to the big time. Leave your wellies at the door and have a glass of fine scotch.

"It's been a long time coming for these chaps, and I had the honour of handing over the ceremonial roll of ones when they walked through Club 92's doors.

"They've got a little bit of work to do in order to make sure they stay up, but I reckon they've got it in them. They have some solid and reliable brokers who should help steer them on the right course.

"I would advise them to stop break-dancing on the dance floor though, it'll ruin their new suit."

Stockport County (STP)

Last season: 24th in League One

Manager: Paul Simpson

Signings: Mansour Assoumani, Barry Conlon, Mark Lynch.

Enron's view: "This company is on its knees and, if they want to stay in business, the new CEO could do a lot worse than get on his knees as well.

"Instead of begging, I'd recommend offering the public another service. With very little money to spend, deals are going to be few and far between.

"The quality of their traders is diminishing and they look like momentum could take them further down the ladder. They need to stop the flow and stabilise. Look towards a lot of small yield deals and make as many as possible."

Torquay United (TQY)

Last season: 17th in League Two

Manager: Paul Buckle

Signings: Guy Branston, Billy Kee, Damon Lathrope, Lloyd Macklin, Danny Potter, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.

Enron's view: "A lot of firms rub me up the wrong way and, for no reason, this is one of them. They don't act like a big time Charlie and that grates on me.

"While most brokers are spunking their money on, amongst other things, hookers and suits, these guys go about their business in a quiet and dignified manner.

"There is no place for it in big business. Money is drawn towards w******. These guys seem to be more interested in their family.

"Sod that, you need a peroxide blonde under your desk to be a winner in this industry. Still, they'll probably do relatively well, despite all this."

Wycombe Wanderers (WYC)

Last season: 22nd in League One

Manager: Gary Waddock

Signings: Alan Bennett, Nikki Bull, Danny Foster, Marvin McCoy, Kieran Murtagh, Scott Rendell, Andy Sandell, Ben Strevens.

Enron's view: "One of my former colleagues is working at WYC these days. He's a dick. Thought he knew the market like a crack addict knows the gutter, but the truth is he was, and still is, a sham of a broker.

God bless him. The fact is that I don't like this firm. I don't want them to succeed, but they'll be aiming to shove their balance sheet down my throat at the end of the year.

"If they fail? Well, they'll have to answer some very difficult questions."

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