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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Prediction League Week 39

It was a good Easter weekend for both Nobes and Turls. The former was the highest scorer with six points to stretch his lead at the summit to ten points.

For Turls, who claimed five points, he now lies within striking distance of Lakes as he looks to avoid taking home the wooden spoon.

In the penultimate weekend of the regular season for Preston and Forest, North End are away from home for the final time and Forest have their last home fixture.

Boston's regulation season ends this weekend at home, but they have play off games to come.

Ipswich Town vs. Preston North End

Ipswich Town 1-0 PNE
Ipswich Town 1-1 PNE
Turls: Ipswich Town 0-1 PNE

Nottingham Forest vs. Scunthorpe United

Lakes: Forest 4-2 Scunthorpe United
Forest 2-0 Scunthorpe United
Forest 3-1 Scunthorpe United

Boston United vs. Vauxhall Motors

Lakes: Skyrockets 2-0 Vauxhall Motors
Skyrockets 2-1 Vauxhall Motors
Skyrockets 3-1 Vauxhall Motors

When It Rains...

In the wake of Preston North End's relegation from the npower Championship, Lakes explains why next season might be one of consolidation at best for The Lilywhites.

"Deadly" Darren Ferguson is largely to blame for relegation

Darren Ferguson, Maurice Lindsay and Trevor Hemmings. Ask any Northender what they think of any of those names, and it's likely you'll get very little change out of a pocket full of swearwords.

'Never has so much been owed to so many by so few', is the presiding sentiment haunting the message boards.

Far from heralding an inspirational new era at Deepdale, Lindsay, Hemmings and Ferguson instead take the entire blame for Preston's Championship ambitions turning to dust.

For the uninitiated, Hemmings (Preston's majority shareholder when PNE were a PLC) bought out Preston, installing Maurice Lindsay at the helm as chairman, and getting friend's son Darren Ferguson in as manager.

Northenders deservedly, perhaps, expected a new wave of investment at Deepdale - and perhaps, finally, a properly bankrolled push for the Premier League.

What they got, cynics argue, was a new era of austerity, instead. Loans were the order of the day - a fragile strategy, dependent on the whims of the parties involved, as Preston were to find out to their cost.

After a string of dreadful performances and bizarre tactical displays, Ferguson's tenure was finally brought to an end.

The club was wrecked and seemingly destined for League One. But there was still hope - a new manager could bring change, and a push for safety.

That new manager would find himself without several key players, though, recalled by Ferguson Snr. upon hearing the news his son had been sacked.

What came next was the only positive in North End's season - Phil Brown. Saying and doing all the right things, it looked like survival could still be on the cards.

Yet time ran out for North End. Brown, inheriting a ruined side, could do little in the end - despite vastly improved performances and valiant displays.

When the final blow came, confirming North End's relegation (a defeat at home to Cardiff), Brown was on the verge of breaking down in tears in front of supporters - a true sign that he is passionate and committed.

He took the blame for relegation, yet most people won't look any further than the doorstep of Darren Ferguson, Trevor Hemmings and Maurice Lindsay.

Hemmings, for years a mysterious, benevolent figure, has turned in many fans' eyes into a scrimper, determined to finally wring some money from North End by rebuilding from scratch.

His mouthpiece, chairman Lindsay, has spoken in similar terms - encouraging a fresh start, naively enthusiastic about the prospect of a reduced wage bill and the cakewalk of League One.

A dreadful, dreadful mistake - and one which may prove more costly still for North End.

League One, as any self-respecting football fan would tell you, is not a cakewalk. Statistics show that teams dropping to the third tier have more chance of "doing a Plymouth" than "doing a Norwich".

Lindsay, however, seems oblivious to the difficulties teams face at that level, re-energising debate that Lindsay's first love is rugby.

Preston chairman Maurice Lindsay - a rugby fan?

And then, following relegation, Lindsay recorded "that interview" with BBC Radio Lancashire.

In it, Lindsay seemed to sincerely believe Darren Gibson was playing for Preston - a startling oversight for a chairman.

Other things were said that were much more hurtful to Preston fans - not least Lindsay's regular habit of using "they" in describing the club and supporters. I would urge a visit to the Preston North End Online forum for more detail on that.

It's not pleasant reading for Lindsay, but it's hard to disagree with anything written there.

A poll conducted on the site shows 85.93% of the 200 or so people sampled have no confidence in Maurice Lindsay, or are undecided. Meaning only 14.07% believe he's the man for the job.

It's as damning a poll as I've ever seen on the site and even accounting for post-relegation emotion and scapegoating, it doesn't imply an air of positivity among Preston fans right now.

The mood has certainly turned, from cautious optimism to severe doubt that the current regime is the right one to take the club back to the Championship.

It sounded so good when Hemmings came in. It sounded like we were on the road to prosperity. What we got was a cost-lowering relegation with suspicions of a deeper agenda at work behind the scenes.

After years of stability at Championship level, Preston fans have every right to be angry. And the exodus is yet to begin in earnest...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big Match Preview - Leeds vs. Burnley

Leeds United vs. Burnley
Saturday April 30, 12:45, Elland Road

It's do or die in the race for the Championship play offs this weekend as Leeds United and Burnley go head to head knowing that their chances of a top six finish hang in the balance.

With Nottingham Forest, who currently occupy the final play off spot, facing a Scunthorpe side as good as down, they know that anything less than three points could end their challenge come 5pm.

For United, it's a situation they would have found hard to envisage when, at the beginning of the month, they beat Forest 4-1 to move four points ahead of the East Midlands side.

However, since then Simon Grayson's men have lost three and drawn two of their next five games - a run which has seen them slide down to 9th - to lie three points adrift of the last play off berth.

Having come so close to throwing away automatic promotion from League One last term, it appears that Leeds have once again choked as the season has reached its climax.

However, Grayson will know that victory against Burnley will definitely give his side a chance of reaching the play offs going into their last game of the season at table topping QPR.

He will also draw strength from Leeds's imposing home record - with the Yorkshire side having lost just four times at Elland Road where they remain unbeaten since October.

They will hope that 20-goal striker Luciano Becchio will have returned from an ankle injury in time to play in a Leeds side that are the second highest scorers in the division.

Eddie Howe's Burnley have found form - but has it come too late for the top six?

In their way stand a Burnley team who are still able to bounce back immediately to the Premier League following relegation from the top flight after just a season last May.

The Clarets have been involved in and around the play off race all term, but made the decision to axe boss Brian Laws at the turn of the year and appointed the highly rated Eddie Howe from Bournemouth as his replacement.

The new man engineered an immediate turn around in fortunes, overseeing a run of one defeat in nine to guide the Lancashire outfit onto the fringes of the play offs with games in hand.

However, they then embarked on a seven match winless streak which has only recently been reversed in recent weeks with Burnley claiming ten points from their last four fixtures.

That's left them in 8th, just a couple of points behind Forest. Howe will be well aware that his side will have to do it the hard way though, with Saturday's game at Elland Road being followed by promotion-chasing Cardiff on the final day.

Key men for the Clarets include midfielder Chris Eagles and homegrown striker Jay Rodriguez - both with 14 goals to their name. The experienced Chris Iwelumo is also a threat in the air with his height and physicality.

With both sides knowing that only a win will do, this could well be an open and exciting game with plenty of goals. That's often the way with Leeds anyway, who will see this as their last chance saloon.

However, Burnley need the points too - and will look to avenge their 3-2 home loss to Leeds at Turf Moor earlier in the campaign. In the end though, it may well end in the draw which will do neither of them any good.

Nobes' Prediction: Leeds United 2 Burnley 2

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Editorial 15

Hello all!

So where did that season go then? OK, it's not yet over, but I can't believe that we're already approaching that time of the season where the fate of sides is being decided.

Of course, one such side has been Preston. It's fair to say that all of the Soccer AM/MW team were rooting for PNE to pull off the impossible and stage a great escape. Unfortunately, the damage done by Deadly Darren has proved irreperable.

However, we know that relegation isn't the end of the world, and Lakes is now looking forward to a play off push in League One next season.

I say looking forward, we all know it'll end in misery and heartache in the end of season lottery, it is Preston after all.

With the current season coming to a close, it also means the prediction league is also reaching an exciting climax.

I received a text from Lakes the other day suggesting I had wrapped up a second successive crown over the Bank Holiday weekend.

I reminded him of the forthcoming play off games, which he had apparently forgotten. If you ask me though, it was a cunning last-ditch mind game from the perennial wooden spoon winner.

I'm determined not to let it affect my form over the remaining weeks though, with potentially both Boston and Forest involved in the play offs to extend the regular campaign.

In other news, I was delighted to discover that, for some reason, we now have 250 people following us over on that Twitter thing.

Unlike Darron Gibson, it doesn't matter how much abuse people throw at us, we're going to remain on there. If only to prove that I am actually still alive.

I have to concede it's been a bit of a quiet month on the blog recently. However, there's still some good treats to read if you've missed them - including my look at how teams have adjusted to new grounds.

Also I posed the question of whether destiny plays any part in football. Don't believe so? Have a read and see if I can change your mind.

We'll be endeavouring to do justice in the coming weeks to the exciting times that are the play offs. You can't beat them, in my opinion, and I'll still be saying that even if the Skyrockets lose in them next month.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that though, eh?

All the best,


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Big Match Review - Leyton Orient 2 Peterborough 1

Leyton Orient 2-1 Peterborough United
Friday April 22, Brisbane Road, (5,476)

A Ryan Jarvis goal deep into injury time secured Leyton Orient a vital win to boost their top six hopes and deal a body blow to Peterborough's hopes of automatic promotion.

It took until midway through the second half for the deadlock to be broken, with Posh defender Gabriel Zakuani - playing against his former club - sliding in to put a Stephen Dawson cross into his own net.

However, United hit back just eight minutes later with Nathaniel Mendez-Lang jumping highest to head a Grant McCann in.

It was the Londoners who claimed maximum spoils though, with Ryan Jarvis nodding home a deep cross from Jason Crowe to keep the O's play off dreams alive.

Orient now sit just three points off a place in the play offs - where they could still end up facing a Posh side for whom finishing in the top two is now out of reach.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prediction League Week 38 continued

Week 38 continues today with all three sides in action in their second Easter Bank Holiday weekend game with Boston and Forest on the road and Preston on home soil.

Nuneaton Town vs. Boston United

Nuneaton Town 1-2 Skyrockets
Nuneaton Town 1-1 Skyrockets
Nuneaton Town 2-1 Skyrockets

Bristol City vs. Nottingham Forest

Lakes: Bristol City 0-1 Forest
Bristol City 1-1 Forest
Bristol City 1-2 Forest

Preston North End vs. Cardiff City

Lakes: PNE 2-1 Cardiff City
PNE 1-2 Cardiff City
PNE 0-2 Cardiff City

Friday, April 22, 2011

Prediction League Week 38

Just when Nobes pulls away, Lakes keeps up the chase - with four points for the latter closing the gap on the top to six points.

It now seems as though the destiny of the Prediction League title will be decided between the defending Champion and the one member of the team yet to win the League.

This weekend sees Forest and Boston on home soil while Preston hit the road for their penultimate away game.

Nottingham Forest vs. Leicester City

Lakes: Forest 2-0 Leicester City
Forest 2-1 Leicester City
Forest 1-0 Leicester City

Millwall vs. Preston North End

Lakes: Millwall 1-2 PNE
Millwall 1-1 PNE
Millwall 1-0 PNE

Boston United vs. Blyth Spartans

Skyrockets 2-2 Blyth Spartans
Skyrockets 2-1 Blyth Spartans
Skyrockets 2-0 Blyth Spartans

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Big Match Preview - Leyton Orient vs. Peterborough

Leyton Orient vs. Peterborough United
Friday April 22, 15:00, Brisbane Road

Two sides looking to make sure they enjoy a Good Friday clash in East London tomorrow afternoon as promotion hopefuls Peterborough visit a Leyton Orient side still with an eye on the play offs.

With games running out, and both sides playing catch-up in their respective races, they know that three points tomorrow are paramount if they are to keep their dreams alive.

For the home side, currently sitting in 8th place, they still harbour hopes of overturning a five point deficit to sneak into the final play off berth currently occupied by Bournemouth.

Orient were struggling towards the wrong end of the table in the Autumn, but inspired by a great run in the FA Cup went on a run of one defeat in 19 league matches.

It propelled Russell Slade's men to the very fringes of the play offs, but since the O's have won just one of their last eight to lose ground on their rivals at the very worst moment.

However, Slade - who has twice taken sides into the play offs during his managerial career - will know that, with his team's last two fixtures against struggling sides, that a win against Peterborough will keep his team in with a chance.

The O's have generally been solid at Brisbane Road this term, suffering just four defeats from 21 matches, although they have lost two of their last four to Southampton and a crushing 5-1 loss to Yeovil.

Key performers for Orient this season are veteran striker Scott McGleish with 17 goals in all competitions, and fellow forward Alex Revell has 14 to his name too.

Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade has not given up hopes of the top six

Opponents Peterborough are almost guaranteed a place in at least the play offs, but the Cambridgeshire outfit still retain hopes of sneaking up automatically.

It would echo their achievement of two years ago, when Darren Ferguson guided Posh to successive promotions into the Championship - where they endured a nightmare campaign.

Now Ferguson - after a calamitous 12 months at Preston North End - is back in charge and is once more competing for promotion with the London Road outfit.

He assumed control after United appeared to be losing direction under Gary Johnson with the team, while potent going forwards, leaking goals at an alarming rate. Just three defeats in 18 have been suffered since Ferguson's return though.

Posh even went on a sequence of four consecutive clean sheets. However, their defensive frailties - 69 goals have been leaked - are never far away though, and were typified by them throwing a 3-1 lead against Bournemouth recently.

With League One's top scorer in 25-goal man Craig Mackail Smith in their ranks though, Ferguson's free scoring team have an attacking arsenal that can often be enough to overpower their divisional opponents.

This is a big game for both teams. Arguably more so for Posh though, who know they can't afford to drop any more points if they are to make the top two and gain automatic promotion.

I'm going to back Peterborough to continue the chase and end Orient's faint top six chances. Their attacking power should be too much for an Orient side whose best form this season is behind them.

Nobes' Prediction: Leyton Orient 1 Peterborough United 3

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gandhi, Brandy, and a Waldorf Salad

Nobes on why Brighton & Hove Albion's title success is not only good news for the Seagulls but for the lower leagues in general.

Under Gus Poyet, Brighton have achieved success with a stylish brand of football

The match was a 1-1 draw in October against South Coast rivals Bournemouth, and some Brighton fans had expressed their unhappiness from the stands about their team's patient style of play.

After the game, Seagulls boss Gus Poyet said he wouldn't be listening to supporters calling for balls to be launched forward more quickly, and warned any player doing so that they'd be out of his starting line-up.

Some criticised his stubbornness but, in the end, the Uruguayan has been vindicated in his approach, with Brighton's weekend win at Walsall clinching them the League One title as convincing winners of the third tier with games to spare.

For Albion, a club moving forward both on and off the field of play, it's an achievement which will be celebrated and cherished, especially in the manner it has been achieved.

Brighton's taking of top spot should also be a cause for celebration for all purists and advocates of playing the beautiful game the right way though.

For too long the myth that you must fight and scrap your way out of the lower divisions has been perpetuated by the media. The publicity Poyet's men have attracted this season has now put paid to that.

However, they are by no means the first side to do so, following in a line of managers who encourage their side to play the ball on the deck, rather than hitting it long and playing percentages.

True, not all of them have played in such a patient style as Albion, but they also haven't relied on brute force and physicality to get them out of the lower leagues and into the Championship.

Surely Brighton's success now must herald the start of a new approach. It's time to
boot the idea of having to play direct, rather than the ball itself, into touch.

When our own Turls criticised Sheffield Wednesday for the appointment of Gary Megson, he was bombarded by Owls fans with some telling him that playing Megson's long ball style was the only way they were going to get out of League One.

Nonsense. True, Paul Sturrock may have led Wednesday to promotion in 2005 playing that way, but since then a new breed of team have found success at that level.

Indeed, the likes of Southend, Scunthorpe, Swansea and Norwich were all good footballing sides who won League One. Particularly the Swans who, under the guidance of Spaniard Roberto Martinez, played a sublime passing game to sweep to glory in 2008.

Likewise when Sean O'Driscoll took Doncaster into the Championship playing a slow paced, passing game which has subsequently seen the South Yorkshire side compared to Arsenal.

The likes of Bristol City, Blackpool, Barnsley, Peterborough, and Leeds were all preached to pass the ball by their respective bosses and achieved success in the the third tier.

Roberto Martinez's Swansea were attractive League One winners in 2008

All of this season's top six under Brighton are footballing teams too, with Nigel Adkins at Southampton having played his way out of League One with Scunthorpe in the past.

Darren Ferguson, too, advocated such a style winning back-to-back promotions with Peterborough between 2007 and 2009 and is now back at London Road looking to make it a hat-trick of elevations.

Karl Robinson has enjoyed a dream debut in charge of Milton Keynes Dons, and the rookie boss was in no doubt that a passing style would, despite with a reduced deficit, see him improve on Paul Ince's record last term.

One of the surprise packages, Rochdale, are a club transformed under Keith Hill too. When the Boltonian took over at Spotland in 2006 the club were struggling towards the foot of League Two.

Now they're enjoying some of the finest years in their history - and it's made all the sweeter by their approach to the game. Hill's ability to produce attractive and winning football to a budget marks him out as one of England's most promising young managers.

Exeter City too, a club with some of the most meagre resources in their division, are comfortably holding down a spot in mid table and sticking true to the principled slick passing play laid down by boss Paul Tisdale.

It makes a mockery of Wednesday supporters, or fans of any lower league club, who claim that only by playing direct can they achieve success. Even more so given the huge resources on offer at places like Hillsborough.

The story is echoed in the lower leagues where the front runners for promotion are all footballing sides. John Sheridan's Chesterfield, like Brighton, have been head and shoulders above the competition.

Along the way they've entertained fans at the new b2net Stadium with their attractive, attacking approach. Alan Knill had instilled similar virtues in his Bury team before leaving to take control at Championship Scunthorpe.

Graham Turner at Shrewsbury took Hereford up playing football in 2008,
and is looking to do the same with Salop this term. Gary Waddock even achieved promotion from the Conference with Aldershot Town by passing their way to success.

The likes of Waddock, Hill, Tisdale, and Poyet are the new breed of lower league manager in a landscape which has changed almost beyond recognition.

When sides in the past scaled the ladder and dared to take on the big boys it was usually achieved by sides like Watford, Wimbledon, and Cambridge United - bullying their way to the top.

True, they could point to poorer pitches - although anyone who has been to Accrington's Crown Ground this season may disagree - but the fact is that lower league teams need no longer take Route One for success.

With any luck, Brighton's title triumph provides the final nail in the coffin for this myth. We should thank Poyet for his stubbornness.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nobes' Trivia: 7

For the final time this season, Nobes is back with three trivia questions to test just how well you know the beautiful game. How will you do?

Question One - In Common

At the time of writing, seven Championship clubs have these, seven have them in League One, and there's seven in League Two. What?

Question Two - Odd One Out

Which of these clubs is the odd one out?

Bury, Hereford, Norwich, Peterborough, Sheffield United, Tranmere, Watford.

Question Three - Where's Nobes?

Which Football League ground is Nobes at?

This ground was constructed copying a design from a stadium in Italy.

Outside the stadium is a statue which features running water.

It is notable for having three stands with faces of some of the club's most successful players picked out in the seating.

Nobes will have the solutions for you on May 20.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Big Match Review - Shrewsbury 2 Stockport 0

Shrewsbury Town 2-0 Stockport County
Saturday April 16, New Meadow, (Att: 5,711)

Two first half goals ensured a comfortable victory for promotion-chasing Shrewsbury and pushed struggling Stockport closer to relegation to the Conference.

Town took the lead after 17 minutes when a long ball out of defence by Ian Sharps caught out the Stockport back line. That allowed Tom Bradshaw the time and space to run through, round Matt Glennon, and knock the ball home.

Three minutes later, and Sharps was the provider again when another raking pass out of defence unleashed Bradshaw, who was brought down by Glennon for a penalty.

Nicky Wroe stepped up to send the Hatters custodian the wrong way and double Salop's advantage.

County struggled in vain to get back into proceedings and another loss leaves them eight points off safety with just four games remaining. Graham Turner's side are now just a point off the automatic promotion positions though.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Prediction League Week 37

Nobes strengthend his cause for retaining his title in midweek, opening up a nine point advantage over Lakes with time running out on the Prediction League.

This weekend Forest are on the road as Boston and Preston both have matches on home soil.

Norwich City vs. Nottingham Forest

Norwich City 2-1 Forest
Norwich City 0-1 Forest
Norwich City 1-0 Forest

Preston North End vs. Sheffield United

Lakes: PNE 1-0 Sheffield United
PNE 2-1 Sheffield United
PNE 3-0 Sheffield United

Boston United vs. Hyde

Lakes: Skyrockets 3-1 Hyde
Skyrockets 2-0 Hyde
Skyrockets 4-0 Hyde

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Big Match Preview - Shrewsbury vs. Stockport

Shrewsbury Town vs. Stockport County
Saturday April 16, 15:00, New Meadow

There's a contest between two teams who may well be both playing their football in different divisions next term on Saturday as Shrewsbury Town play host to Stockport County.

While the Shropshire side are one of a number of sides competing for automatic promotion, their visitors sit rock bottom of the Football League and are running out of games to save themselves.

After coming so close to going of business altogether last year, the Hatters were always expected to be in for a tough campaign, and so it has proved.

Boss Paul Simpson was removed with County just above the relegation zone. However, just 12 points have been collected from the 18 games since his departure.

It's left Stockport propping up the rest and sitting five points from safety with just five games of the season remaining. There's little margin for error left at Edgeley Park.

The Greater Manchester outfit are now under the guidance of former Tranmere manager Ray Mathias, who took over from previous caretaker Peter Ward. He's earned seven points from his three home matches.

More tellingly though, away games under him at Aldershot and Wycombe have proved fruitless and no side has lost more on the road this season than the Hatters with 14 defeats from their 20 away matches.

Key performers for Stockport this season have been midfielders Greg Tansey and Paul Turnbull, with fourteen goals between them. Anthony Elding, in his second stint with the club, is also a threat going forwards.

Graham Turner's Shrewsbury are in the thick of the promotion contest

Their hosts at the weekend came into the game in much better shape, with Town currently lying outside the automatic places in 4th, just three points off third place.

It's been a successful return for boss Graham Turner to Salop, whom he took to promotion to the second tier of English football over 30 years ago. A third promotion at the club is now a distinct possibility.

The experienced boss had been targeting the league title a couple of months ago, speaking bullishly about his team's chances as well as casting doubt over leaders Chesterfield's bottle.

He's been proved badly misguided on both of those fronts, and a poor run of one in six threatened to scupper Shrewsbury's top three chances altogether.

However, they have since recovered and prior to last weekend's 3-0 loss at Aldershot, Turner's side had won three on the spin to improve their automatic promotion hopes.

With just three home defeats and only 18 goals conceded at the New Meadow, they will be tough opponents for Stockport. Midfielder Mark Wright, with 12 goals, is also typical of the many goal threats Salop have going forwards.

This is a match pitting a side flying high and gunning for promotion against a team fighting for their lives as they seek to avoid dropping into the Conference.

It'd be too predictable of me to go for the obvious result of a Shrewsbury win then, surely? However, while strange results can occur at this stage of the campaign, I can't see one here.

Nobes' Prediction: Shrewsbury Town 2 Stockport County 0

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From The Ground Up

With Chesterfield set to crown their debut season in the b2net Stadium as League Two champions, Nobes looks at how other clubs did after they move grounds.

John Sheridan' Chesterfield are on course to win the League Two title this season

So serene has Chesterfield's unflagging quest for the League Two title been that it's easy to forget the Derbyshire side and focus instead on the more competitive areas of the basement division.

It's a sign of just how imperious John Sheridan's men have been in a campaign that will surely see them crowned as worthy League Two winners and end their four year spell in the basement division.

Even more impressively, it has been done despite leaving their home of years in Saltergate and having to adjust to the new surroundings of the b2net Stadium.

However, as I reported earlier in the campaign, the move seems to have been the catalyst behind Chesterfield's renaissance for a dream debut season.

Not every club has welcomed a new ground in such a positive manner though. Here's my look on how it worked out for some of the others.

Oxford United 2001/2

The Oxen were relegated to League Two in their last season at the Manor Ground and hopes were high that they'd bounce back at the first attempt.

However, life in their new three-sided Kassam Stadium was difficult - losing their first two games in a campaign where they struggled towards the bottom and changed managers.

United ended the season in 21st - winning as many matches at home as they lost.

Leicester City - 2002/3

Having waved goodbye to Filbert Street by crashing out of the top flight, the financially troubled Foxes moved into the Walkers Stadium hoping for a change in fortunes.

And they got it. With a little help from a very generous CVA arrangement, City bounced back to the Premier League at the first time of asking as runners-up to Portsmouth.

Leicester won 16 games and lost just twice on their own patch as it served as the foundation for an impressive promotion under Micky Adams.

Leicester won promotion in their first season at the Walkers Stadium

Hull City - 2003

Hull made the unusual step of switching from their Boothferry Park home to the KC Stadium midway through an underwhelming 2002/3 season.

However, having got to grips with their new surroundings in the second half of their mid-table campaign, the Tigers made amends in 2003/4.

They finished as runners-up to Doncaster to gain promotion to League One with a record of 16 wins and three defeats at their new home.

Coventry City - 2005/6

The Sky Blues signed off from their Highfield Road ground with a 6-2 win and began life in the Ricoh Arena with a 3-0 victory.

However, while their final year at their old ground saw them flirt with the drop, their inaugural campaign at the Ricoh saw them post their best finish to date during ten years in the Championship.

Micky Adams's side won 12 and lost just four of their home matches that season and ended up in 8th.

Swansea City - 2005/6

Ending their final campaign at the Vetch Field by winning promotion to League One, the Swans set about welcoming in their new Liberty Stadium in the same fashion.

Kenny Jackett's men were amongst the front runners all season, albeit a late dip in form saw them having to settle for a place in the play offs.

No third tier side scored more goals at home that year than the Welsh club, who won 11 and lost just three on their own patch. They went on to be defeated on penalties by Barnsley in the play off final.

It was nearly a second successive promotion for the Swans at their new home

Doncaster Rovers - 2007

Like Hull, Rovers decided to opt for the mid-season switch as they changed grounds from the antiquated Belle Vue to the more modern and plush Keepmoat Stadium.

They ended the 2006/7 season in mid table before winning promotion to the second tier for the first time in half a century 12 months later.

Donny won 14 and lost five in their first full campaign at the Keepmoat, eventually succeeding through the play offs with a Wembley win against Leeds.

Milton Keynes Dons - 2007/8

The forerunners of Chesterfield. The Dons finally vacated the National Hockey Stadium and moved into their own home in 2007.

The new stadium:mk was given a rude awakening when Bury rolled into town and beat the Dons in its first match. Indeed, four other sides won there that year.

However, Paul Ince's men did win 11 on their own patch, and their formidable away record helped propel them to a double of the League Two title and Football League Trophy.

Shrewsbury Town 2007/8

Salop had gone out with a bang at their Gay Meadow home, reaching the play off final at Wembley - where they had lost to Bristol Rovers.

They were confident of building upon that when making the move to the New Meadow, and even opened up their new ground with four successive victories.

However, that bright start soon evaporated and they finished the campaign in a hugely disappointing 18th with nine wins and eight defeats in their new home.

Shrewsbury didn't do as well as expected when moving to the New Meadow

Colchester United - 2008/9

Having punched above their weight in the Championship for two seasons at Layer Road, the Essex outfit began life in their new stadium in League One.

However, a poor start to the season saw it take them seven matches to record a victory at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

That sluggish opening saw them end the campaign in mid table, with just seven wins and 12 defeats in their new surroundings.

Cardiff City - 2009/10

A disastrous end to the previous season had seen the Bluebirds depart from Ninian Park with a 3-0 loss and agonisingly missing out on the end of season play offs.

They bounced back in fine style though, winning their first two games at their new stadium 4-0 and 3-0.

It was to remain a fortress for them, with 12 wins and five losses in a season which took them to Wembley and a Championship play off final defeat against Blackpool.

Morecambe - 2010/11

Like Chesterfield, the Shrimps also began this season in new surroundings. However, they have found life a lot harder than their League Two rivals.

Finishing 4th in their last season at Christie Park and qualifying for the play offs, they had hoped to continue from where they left off at their new Globe Arena.

To date though they've won six and lost eight at the new stadium and are languishing in 15th. A far cry from last season's home form of 14 wins and three defeats.