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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Boyos Are Back In Town

Turls looks at the renaissance in Welsh football taking place not just in the Championship but also in the Conference Premier.

Wrexham are in Conference play off contention under Dean Saunders

In a land dominated by Tom Jones, rugby, leeks, and Katherine Jenkins' knockers, it's difficult for anything else to get a look in.

The Welsh national football team is rubbish, and is currently ranked as the 113th best team in the world football - behind Central African Republic and Qatar, and just ahead of Suriname. In fact, according to FIFA, Wales are the eighth worst team in Europe.

The Welsh Premier League is even worse, and probably on a par with the sixth or seventh tier of English football. I don't think most people could name many clubs who play in the WPL other than PMS and Airtours FC.

Welsh football has been seen as a bit of a shambles for quite some time, but there are a few clubs who are trying to rescue the state of football in Cymru.

The funny thing is that, while two teams are scrapping it out to leave the Football League, two others are doing their best to get into it.

Swansea City and Cardiff City are both having great seasons so far, with both teams looking likely to be in the Championship promotion shake up come the end of the season. But we all know about these two teams.

Everyone knows about what's going on in Wales' two biggest cities and I'll have a little natter about them later. What about the other two clubs?

No, I'm not referring to Merthyr Town and Colwyn Bay, I am of course talking about Wrexham and Newport County.

Both teams are in the hunt for promotion out of the Conference Premier, but each team have taken different journeys to get where they are today. One came up, and the other came down.

Wrexham are looking to get back into the Football League at the third time of asking. Their 87-year stay in the Football League was ended in the 2007/8 season, but the writing had been on the wall for them for a few seasons.

Since being relegated, Wrexham haven't really looked like rejoining the 92 club and many people, including our very own Nobes, thought that, under Dean Saunders, the North Wales club would be very lucky to find themselves in a promotion battle.

Not many thought he had the experience required to guide them out of the Non League pyramid. At the moment, Nobes is wrong.

We may only be half way through the season, but T-Wrex are sitting in the play off positions and look like they may have the strength to last the distance.

It's being achieved on the back of a mean defence. Saunders' men have only conceded 23 goals and have one of the tightest backlines in the division.

They may not score as many goals as some of the other teams in the promotion hunt, but Saunders has turned the Racecourse Ground into a fortress - with the Red Dragons losing just one of their 13 games at home.

Newport County stormed to Conference South title success last term

Over at Newport County, their success was founded by the work of another inexperienced manager.

Unlike Wrexham though, the Exiles will be forced to continue their hunt for promotion without the man who helped them cruise to the Conference South title last season.

Dean Holdsworth left for Aldershot not too long ago, and many feel that he has taken County's hopes of promotion with him. Everything he touches turns to gold at the moment, with the Shots in fine form since he took over.

Who gives a monkey's what's happening at Aldershot though, because County have been left in the lurch. Holdsworth took the Exiles to the Conference South title in style - winning the league with two months of the season to spare and averaging more than two goals per game.

It was ridiculously easy, and they carried their momentum into the Conference Premier - losing only one of their first 11 matches.

However, upon Holdsworth's departure, a few fans are starting to panic and I honestly heard one fan discussing the distinct possibility of relegation. That may be a little extreme, but you can understand the fear factor surrounding the club under new circumstances.

Many cite Holdsworth as the sole reason for the club's new found success, while others have claimed it is nonsense to suggest man is responsible for the a whole team's success.

They probably won't get promoted, and I wouldn't be surprised if they started to drift down towards the middle of the table, but Holdsworth leaves behind a strong team with a determined work ethic.

If they can keep the core of the squad together, which is always a problem when losing a manager, they have the ability to maintain a steady presence in the Conference Premier.

Welsh football is clearly on the up. Cardiff and Swansea are looking to get promoted out of the Football League, while Newport are Wrexham hope to gain entry.

Still, until Jenkins dumps that Blue Peter chap, I refuse to accept Wales into my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment