News   |    August 3rd, 2021

TOP AND BOTTOM OF IT

The EFL starts next weekend and the Premier League the weekend after.

It is a time of hope and expectation for every fan of every club in this country and for some fans it will be ecstasy next May and for others despair. Doubtless along the way there will be the usual array of managerial casualties as panic spreads through the boardrooms of under achieving teams.

Last year I opted for Manchester City to win the Premier League and the Champions League and Fulham, Sheffield Utd and West Bromwich Albion to be relegated. In the EFL Championship I went for Watford to win the League and regain their Premier League status. So, no full house there but a good effort!

This season I see Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea dominating the Premier League title race and I can’t see further than Manchester City especially if they add Harry Kane and Jack Grealish to their ranks. I believe the relegation places will be contested by up to 10 teams this season and once again it will be difficult for the 3 promoted teams (Norwich, Watford and Brentford) to retain their new found status and I take them all to make an immediate return to the Championship.

Once again the EFL Championship will be as competitive as ever and I think Scott Parker will re-energise AFC Bournemouth and I think they will emerge as champions.

In Leagues One and Two, I take Ipswich and Bradford City to win their respective leagues. League One will be very competitive but Ipswich’s recruitment during the close season has been impressive and I take Paul Cook to repeat his achievements with Wigan Athletic which were brought to an early conclusion through no fault of his own. Bradford City appointed Derek Adams as manager after he miraculously took low budget Morecambe to promotion, and I think he will work his magic again at the newly named Utilita Energy Stadium.

Finally next weekend Alan Curbishley will be honoured by Charlton Athletic when the former East Stand officially becomes the Alan Curbishley Stand. Curbs gave Charlton fans some wonderful memories in his 15 years there as a manager – the greatest ever Play Off Final played at Wembley Stadium in 1998, 2 promotions to the Premier League and regular victories over some of the very biggest teams in this country. He deserves a capacity crowd and I hope Charlton fans attend in large numbers to show their appreciation for a true club legend.

Image – CAFC

Peter Varney - Chairman – Integral Sports Management

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