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Posted by on Aug 1, 2016 in Articles |

Championship Fan Previews Pt 2: Bristol City. Burton. Cardiff. Derby County. Fulham. Huddersfield

Championship Fan Previews Pt 2: Bristol City. Burton. Cardiff. Derby County. Fulham. Huddersfield

As the new season approaches, the excitement levels are upped. Expectation rises as teams sign new players, bring in new managers and smash every team off the park in pre-season.

As folk start logging onto the National Rail site to book their train tickets to destinations near and far – from Huddersfield .. to Newcastle .. to  Bristol – we asked bloggers and fans from Bristol City (@TheExiledRobin)Burton, Cardiff (@Daniel_Lewis92)Derby County (@DerbyCountyBlog), Fulham (@DanCrawford85) and Huddersfield (@TeamIAmPhil) for their views on how their teams will perform in The Championship this season.

You can read season previews from bloggers for Aston Villa to Brighton Pt 1), Ipswich to Preston (Pt 3) and QPR to Wolves (Pt 4) . We also spoke to guests on the Beesotted PrideOfWest.London podcast to get their views on the forthcoming season (click here). 

Bristol City
Paul Binning – The Exiled Robin (@TheExiledRobin)

How would you describe last season for your club?
Disappointing in the main. Having won the League One and JPT double the previous season, accumulating 99 points and looking pretty imperious most of the time, hopes were high of good consolidation at the very least.

Unfortunately we had a disastrous summer transfer window where only one permanent signing was made (six squad members left leaving us desperately short of any sort of cover) and the whole club, led by Steve Cotterill, seemed to struggle to adapt to life at the higher level.

Ultimately Cotterill paid the price for a ridiculously stubborn approach to games where he refused to switch from his wingback formation despite everyone knowing we were getting caught out in behind them on the flanks too often, didn’t bring in fresh faces even when those playing were out of form, and rarely used substitutes, meaning many of our first team were visibly knackered.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
Lee Johnson came in to replace Cotterill to a fan base with a very mixed opinion, but everyone backed him from the off and he had a hugely successful end to the season. The likes of Peter Odemwingie, Adam Matthews and Lee Tomlin signing on loan added critical quality and Championship know-how, and saw us safe at a canter in the end.

We’d have been in the top six had the season started in mid-January so hopefully that form can be maintained this time around. I think, given that our last five Championship campaigns have all flirted with or ended in, relegation, most would be happy with a comfortable, mid-table finish, hopefully peeking into the top 10.

A lack of goals is one real danger. We relied heavily on Jonathan Kodjia last season and our rough diamond signed from France’s Ligue 2 delivered 20 goals in his debut season. Aside from that though only Tomlin and centre-half Aden Flint made much impression on the scoresheet and we need many more goals from midfield. Defensively I think we also need some work still, but if Adam Matthews joins on a permanent basis, then three of our back four are solid enough.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
Infinitely better than last year!! We’ve signed 12 players in total, albeit some specifically for the under-21 squad, and have spent something in the region of £7m. Not a lot by comparison of the parachute payees admittedly, but a big commitment for us.

Lee Tomlin is the headline grabber, as talented a player as we’ve seen at Ashton Gate for a number of years during his loan spell last season, but Gary O’Neil adds crucial experience in the middle of the park, whilst Callum O’Dowda is an Irish youngster rated very highly by some. Having paid £1m+ for him after a single full League Two campaign, I hope we’ve gambled correctly!
Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Play anyone decent? Any shockers?
A week in La Manga was our squad’s treat and our kitman Scotty Murray – a proud Scotsman – earned his reward for a 40-⎌hour drive there and back with a photo with Kenny Dalglish who was at the same hotel! We got beaten by Grenada, but have played a sprinkling of lower league opposition in the remainder so it’s a bit difficult to gauge.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
That’s got to be Lee Tomlin. Arriving in January, he made an instant impact with goals, skill and creativity we haven’t seen at this level since Lee Trundle graced the turf, but he worked harder than Trunds and got himself more involved in the game. Two thunder-cracker goals stay long in the memory, the first a 92nd minute free kick winner against Fulham in a big relegation ballet at Craven Cottage, the second a sublime chip and flick to himself and then a volley, all in one movement in the last home game of the season.
Who was your biggest disappointment?
Luke Freeman spent the previous season battling with, and arguably beating, Delle Alli to the league one player of the year award. Goals, nearly 20 assists a and all-round flair.
Whilst Alli became a household name in football quarters with some brilliant goals in Spurs’ title challenge, Freeman struggled to replicate at the higher level and by the Spring had become no more than a squad player.
Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Aside from Tomlin, who you might have guessed I rate quite highly, Kodjia will be watched more closely this time around and isn’t the surprise package any more. He scored 20 and that could have easily been 40 if he learned how to stay onside and didn’t slice 50% of his chances miles wide of the post.
Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion? (name)
Newcastle are obvious favourites, but you won’t win much money on them so I’d plum for Norwich. They seem to be not quite good enough for the Premier League but retain most of their squad and should be too strong for most at this level, especially if they add Ross McCormack’s guaranteed 20 goals as has been rumoured.
What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Without the magic of Neil Warnock, it’s hard to see Rotherham surviving again. They looked goners ’til Colin came in and, even by his standards, pulled off a remarkable change in fortunes.
What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
Living on the outskirts of the city, Cardiff are bubbling along quite nicely. They looked very good against us last spring, Vincent Tan has written off all Sam Hamman’s old bad debts and has seemingly worked out its not good to just piss fans off for the sake of his stubbornness. They let thousands of kids into the last few games of last season and there seems to be a general feel good factor back around the place after two tough years for their fans.
Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why
Definitely Villa away. Newcastle is a great trip but we did that seven years ago so many have been recently, but Villa is obviously significantly closer for us and I’ve been going to City for nearly 35 years and never seen us play them, so a trip to Villa Park is the one you’ll see the mass mobilisation of fans for.
What fans impressed you most last season?
Sheffield Wednesday are followed by big crowds everywhere and their good season was evident when I saw them. Noise, support and it seemed to be the start of the return of a big club.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch.
When Zach Clough rejected City after a £3m bid had been accepted by Bolton, and his Dad waded in on Twitter saying “we thought about it for about five seconds, then both laughed”, it was sweet to have him unable to even get off the bench as we demolished them 6-0 in March. ‘6-0 and you can’t get on’ was definitely the best chant of the season and he never looked up from the floor!
What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally pissed you off?
Where to start! Officials behind the goal line is probably an easy option, degenerates who start transfer agent accounts on Twitter are up there, as are monosyllabic footballers and coaches who say nothing when fans demand passion and heart (Roy Hodgson take note).
But having heard a whole season of gloating, squealing and screeching about Leicester’s title win, to have that followed up by the sheer, unrivalled (understandable!) biased nature of Robbie Savage’s broadcasts during Wales’ run to the semi-finals in France left me reaching for the off button immediately.
If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
As we all watch it, a Premier League season that’s as entertaining, equally balanced and unpredictable as last season. No-one can possibly argue that was anything but great for the game.
Predicted league finish?
11th

Burton Albion
Adam Drew (@AdamBAFCDrew)

How would you describe last season for your club?
Last season went beyond anyone’s expectations. We were one of the smallest clubs in League One, and written off heavily by critics. To secure back to back promotions despite Jimmy Floyd moving on was out of this world.
What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
Just staying in the Championship really. We are a tiny fish in a massive pond, so I just hope some of the bigger clubs underestimate little Burton and get stung.
What could hold your team back this season?
The tiny budget Burton gave available. While other clubs can spend millions on players willy nilly, we broke our £20,000 transfer record twice in a week. And that’s now believed to be £250,000. Peanuts to most clubs in The Championship.
How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
It was really quiet until the friendlies begun. But we are starting to bring players in. With Jackson Irvine from Ross County particularly looking good. I imagine we will use the loan market a lot this season.
Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Play anyone decent? Any shockers?
Our pre-season is quieter under Nigel Clough. Gary Rowett took the team abroad to train, Hasselbaink took them to Holland. Nigel’s took them to midland non league clubs and Exeter. Most the teams we normally face in pre season are now in the same league.
Who was your biggest hero last season?

Stuart Beavon. His work rate is always incredible, makes you sweat just watching sometimes how hard he grafts. A ball rolling out for a goal kick, he sprints for and often keeps in play. A striker who isn’t selfish too, and racks up plenty of assists.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
It’s hard to single anyone out with us achieving automatic promotion. But Aurelien Joachim came in as an international striker for Luxembourg. And never really hit it off, making a handful of appearances before moving on in January.

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
The keeper, Jon McLaughlin. He has been a solid part of a team that hasn’t conceded many goals in our 2 promotion seasons. Lucas Akins has also been top scorer from the wing them 2 seasons.
Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Newcastle United
What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Barnsley
What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
I don’t know much about The Championship yet. But I think QPR will kick on this season, with a full pre season under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. He knows the division well now and I believe he will work wonders.
Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Derby County. They are our close neighbours, and so many people from Burton support them. No one from either club could have ever imagined Burton and Derby sharing a league. Especially when we were a part time non league club, until 7 years ago.
What fans impressed you most last season?
Oldham, their fanbase isn’t big. They haven’t had a lot to shout about for a while. But their fans didn’t half make a racket when we played them. Especially at the Pirelli. The colour and noise their small group generate is something to inspire our fans maybe in this big season.
Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch.
Our German striker Timmy Thiele, during an interview describing his goal drought, having not scored. He compared it to a ketchup bottle where you can’t get the lid off. And when you do it all comes out at once. He was the butt of jokes from our fans and the local media after that, the fans went crazy when he finally scored. Unfortunately that was his only goal.

What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
Fans on social media constantly belittling us, making out we don’t deserve our success because we are a small club with small crowds. I never get involved in posts on the Facebook groups anymore, cos I tire of the same rubbish about us belonging to non league and other ignorant crap.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Relaxing rules for fans in football grounds, and applying common sense. The stories of heavy handed stewarding and policing for things like persistent standing annoy me.

Predicted league finish?
20th

Cardiff City
Daniel Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis92)  – Dan Lewis Blog

How would you describe last season for your club?

It’s fair to say that the style of play adopted under Russell Slade did not go down too well with the fanbase. While a play-off finish was still within reach heading into the closing weeks of the season, City looked far from a side able to battle it out with the division’s elite and a change of management was very much welcome.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?

An improvement on last season’s eventual eighth-placed finish will be tough to achieve, yet the hope is that new boss Paul Trollope can get the best out of the players available to him and at the very least improve the bland style of play. A switch to a 3-5-2 formation this summer gives hope that many will get their wish.

What could hold your team back this season?
A lack of goals. Cardiff have plenty of top-quality players for this level, particularly in defence where the squad looks particularly strong right across the backline, but the further forward you get the more the options begin to dry up. Anthony Pilkington had to fill in up top for the second half of last season, and that could well be the case again this time around which is hardly ideal for a play-off chasing side.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
Vincent Tan is unwilling to spend big to chase the riches of the Premier League, which many supporters understand after years of overspending in the past. It has been half a decade since Cardiff last had a prolific scorer at any level, though, and the arrival of Frederic Gounongbe is unlikely to change that. Jazz Richards is the other arrival; hopefully providing some strong competition in the wing-back role.

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Play anyone decent? Any shockers?
For the first time in living memory, Cardiff went the entire summer without playing a home friendly – supposedly down to a new, much-needed playing surface being fitted in time for the new campaign. It has therefore been a very low-key pre-season, with just a handful of games – two lasting for just an hour and one being halted at the midway stage due to the threat of a storm. Trollope has been able to test a new formation and give some fringe players a chance to impress, however, so it has not been all bad.

Who was your biggest hero last season?

Following on from that theme of lacking goals, Lex Immers arrived on loan from Feyenoord in January and was soon winning over supporters with his never-say-die attitude. The Dutchman ended the campaign with five goals in 15 outings, so putting pen to paper on a permanent deal this summer – despite interest from as many as five other Football League clubs – was very much welcome.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
A few candidates for this accolade, but I’m going to give it to Kagisho Dikgacoi. The former Crystal Palace man was not necessarily our worst performer, though his high wages and prominent position on the field – the club’s only real defensive midfielder – meant that the pressure was on him to perform. Now there is a different problem – trying to offload him to another side!

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
As well as the aforementioned Immers, this will likely be a big season in the career of Declan John. The Welshman was overlooked during Slade’s near-two season tenure, despite being used heavily during City’s short spell in the top flight. Give a chance by Trollope at wing-back this summer, John looks well up for the battle of nailing down a permanent starting spot.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
I’m sure I won’t be alone in backing Newcastle United to go straight back up. I don’t think it will be as easy for them as it was when last in the second tier, but they will surely have enough to finish top of the pile.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
A strong end to the season under Neil Warnock somehow saw Rotherham United climb to safety with relative ease, but matching that feat for a second time will be a tough ask.

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
It pains me to say it, but Leeds United have got themselves a very good, young manager in Garry Monk – someone who was linked with the England job less than 12 months ago, remember! They could well pinch that final play-off spot.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
With Swansea City still enjoying life in the Premier League, our only real derby affair these days is with that small team 40 miles up the road – Bristol City. The double-header with Leeds is also usually one to look forward to.

What fans impressed you most last season?
They won’t be with us this time around, of course, but City fans built a strong rapport with Middlesbrough supporters last season. Both sets of supporters have been affected by the current state of the steel industry, providing many jobs in the area.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
Not a great deal to enjoy at the Cardiff City Stadium last season, despite the eighth-placed finish. Think the best moment to sum it up came in a live televised game around the turn of the year when the camera cut to one supporter asleep during the match. Couldn’t really blame him!

What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally pissed you off?
The standard of refereeing seemed to take a massive plummet last season. They say it balances out across a whole season, but that did not appear to be the case with numerous big calls going against City. Ticket prices still a major problem that needs to be rectified, too.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Following on from that last point and, while it may seem like a point raised a million times before, lowering ticket prices to make it affordable for the entire family is something that is well overdue.

Favourite Terrace Chant ?
A major shame that the “You’re just a shi* Barry Island!” chant can’t be used again this season due to Blackpool’s relegation.

Predicted league finish
I’ll go with 8th place – the same as last season.

Derby County
Ollie Wright – Derby County Blog (@DerbyCountyBlog)

How would you describe last season for your club?
Weird and uniquely painful. Paul Clement’s sacking followed a winless streak of eight games, but the Rams were still fifth at the time, so parting with the head coach made no obvious sense.
Opinion will always be split on whether owner Mel Morris was showing admirable decisiveness by backing his feeling that Clement was the wrong guy, or a worrying level of impatience and impulsiveness.
Either way, Morris’ decision to replace Clement with the unqualified and unsuitable Darren Wassall for the remainder of the campaign was disastrous.
What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
That the new boss Nigel Pearson doesn’t verbally or physically abuse anybody and gets us promoted. Most supporters see him as the right man for the job at hand – which is to focus minds, instil discipline and organise a winning team with the stamina and mental toughness to actually get over the line, this time.
What could hold your team back this season?
There can be no excuses. The players are undoubtedly good enough. It’s simply a case of not imploding mid-season, which has happened in the previous two seasons. Pending a few tweaks, the squad depth is there; the coaching team has great experience, the facilities are superb, everything is set up for the Premier League.
Mel Morris needs to stay in the background and let Pearson manage – and I’m sure he’ll do exactly that.
How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
At the time of writing, Derby haven’t signed any new players. The priority was actually moving players out, which is unique in all of my time following this club. Stephen Warnock, Ryan Shotton and Raúl Albentosa all left, with Pearson rightly opting to assess his already strong squad before making any additions.
Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
The squad went to the Algarve for a week of hot-weather training and a friendly against Benfica, with two different XIs playing a half each for a combined 4-0 walloping (half-a-dozen senior pros were missing).
The traditional home friendly against a high-profile opponent won’t happen this year, due to ongoing work within the iPro Stadium.
Who was your biggest hero last season

Marcus Olsson, for scoring a fine winning goal against Forest. Overall, there was little heroism on view, although the team did fail heroically in the second leg of the play-off semis, at Hull.
Who was your biggest villain?
Mel Morris, for appointing Darren Wassall as interim manager. It was a decision which shook my faith in his ability to run the club, for all of his fabulous wealth and passionate commitment to Derby.
Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Will Hughes missed the bulk of last season, but is back now and will soon remind everybody why he is recognised as one of the division’s star players.
Elsewhere, much will depend upon what system Pearson opts for. A switch from 4-3-3 to two up-front could propel Darren Bent, Andreas Weimann, or even Nick Blackman to prominence – none of those three did much last year.
Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Newcastle.
What team would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Rotherham.
What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?

Brentford are always my ‘dark horse’. But the takeover of Wolves by a reportedly minted Chinese consortium could well transform them from also-rans into contenders.
Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?
For Derby, it has to be Burton Albion away. Burton have been our lower league pre-season friendly opponent from down the road for donkey’s years. But I believe this will be the two clubs’ first ever meeting in the league.
It’s an incredible achievement for the Brewers to have reached the second tier and, just to add a little extra spice, their manager happens to be one Nigel Clough….
Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally pissed you off?
Darren Wassall
Where will you finish this season?
2nd

Fulham
Dan Crawford (@dancrawford85) – Hammy End blog

How would you describe last season for your club?
Painful, traumatic and forgettable. Everybody knows the Championship is a ridiculously tough league to get out of, but for the second season in succession, Fulham looked more likely to exit via the relegation zone than putting together any sort of promotion challenge.
There were fleeting moments when we looked like a really useful side, but more often than not we were sloppy, sluggish and unbelievably generous to our opponents. Only three straight wins towards the end of the season – and the fact there were three worse sides in the league – saved us from the drop.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?

I’d hope that under a streetwise head coach in Slavisa Jokanovic we could aim for a more constructive campaign and look towards the top half. Promotion is the obvious target but it is one hell of a job to revamp such a lopsided squad over the course of a close season and look to be challenging to go up.
Much depends on the start we make because we’ve always been playing catch up in the Championship – and most sides view as a team that’s easy on the eye, but wilts under a bit of pressure.
What could hold your team back this season?
The same thing that has blighted our Championship campaigns over the past two seasons – a remarkably porous defence. Last year’s was just as shambolic as the previous season, even with a couple of attentions of supposedly experienced centre backs in the August transfer window.
Jokanovic has made some useful additions during the summer but we will have to wait and see if the bad habits have been left behind. You simply can’t get anywhere in football with poor marking at corners and failing to track clever runners.
How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
The transfer window’s been encouraging. There hasn’t been big money splashed around but the arrivals look good. I don’t need to introduce Brentford fans to David Button, of course, but we’re signed Michael Madl (who looked a cut above every other centre back we had last season – not hard, I know) on a permanent deal and brought in Thomas Kalas as well.

There have been some crucial additions at full-back and our year-long pursuit of Kevin McDonald has concluded successfully, so the squad looks a lot less threadbare. It is measure of how unfit for purpose it seemed by the close of last season that the coach is still demanding more additions.
Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Play anyone decent? Any shockers?
We’ve had a good pre-season, which started in Ireland and also took in a trip to Portugal, only losing our first game to Real Betis last night, but anyone who reads too much into the results is probably asking for trouble. Jokanovic has used it to try out a couple of systems and blood a few more of the youngsters that have shined in the academy over the past year.
With so many new signings, there’s still some debate about how the side will shape up for our season opener against Newcastle in a couple of weeks.
Who was your biggest hero last season?
It has to be Ross McCormack, whose goals and creativity, were the main reason we stayed up once again. He was a cut above most of our other performances and has the ability to produce something out of absolutely nothing.
The usual rumours are floating around about him leaving for pastures new at the moment but starting the new campaign without him, Moussa Dembele (who scored a hatful as well last year and moved to Celtic) or a top-class replacement would be unthinkable.
Who was your biggest disappointment?
I would say Jazz Richards, because the chasm between his nervous performances for Fulham and the outstanding displays that helped Wales to Euro 2016 was truly something to behold. There is clearly a player there but it’s a cardinal sin for a full back to be caught wrong side of the ball and then dive it to concede a penalty or dangerous free kick – as he did so many times.
His dreadful display at Brentford towards the end of last season capped off a disappointing Fulham career – we managed to swap him with Cardiff’s Scott Malone the other week.
Which of your players should we be looking out for?
I’d go for Tom Cairney, who has shows real quality when he gets on the ball in central midfield. A proven performer in this league, he can move the ball intelligently and pops up with the odd stupendous goal. We’ve shoehorned him into a midfield four by playing him out on the right wing far too often, though – he looks an entirely different player in the number ten role he should make his own.
There were encouraging signs in his first full season at the club and if he builds on that, we should have a good season.
Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
My bets usually fall at the first hurdle or limp round in last, so don’t be rushing down the bookies on my advice. You’d say Newcastle should be nailed on for promotion if they keep most of their squad together.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?

Hate to say it, but you wonder whether Burton have enough.
What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
Do Derby qualify as a surprise package given how we all expect them to be up there? The surprise would probably be them winning the league – but the young talent they’ve got looks very exciting and they have to get in together, sooner or later, don’t they?
Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
We’ve long enjoyed some wonderful trips to Wigan and were delighted to see them come up again. Great place, lovely people, a nice bar and a rare club that really looks after away supporters – what’s not to like?
What fans impressed you most last season?
Plenty of fans came and sang songs loudly as their team dominated on the pitch but I’d actually give a special word to the Bolton fans, who endured an awful season, but travelled to Craven Cottage in good numbers having long been relegated for a game that meant nothing at 12.30pm on the final day of the season. They got behind their team and all you could think was ‘what a shame that such a proud club fallen so far?
Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
I wasn’t laughing at the time but my mates thought me tumbling down the steps on the way to my seat at Sheffield Wednesday and almost reaching the front of the stand was hilarious. Of course, the funniest thing on view last season was our attempts at defending – but you’ve probably gathered that already.
What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
The standard of refereeing in the Championship is atrocious. What constitutes a free-kick seems to vary from week to week and depend on which whistle-happy official has turned up. There seems to be very little consistency and some of the decisions are truly baffling.
If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
A reciprocal ticket pricing deal for Championship fans that ensures the loyal, match-going supporter doesn’t get fleeced. It seems crazy that the Premier League supporters can be certain of being no more than £30 to watch a game, but tickets in the second tier could cost far more. Six clubs charged more than that last season by my reckoning, which is barmy.
Favourite terrance chant from last season?
Probably the one that mocked our attempts to move up the table:
‘Slavisa had a dream,
To build a football dream,
Had an embargo, so we signed the players on loan.
We’re s*** at the back,
With Ross in attack,
We can’t find our way back’
Is it cold in the Brentford shadow?
We wouldn’t know – but it is nice to help you fill your ground every time we visit.
QPR or Brentford, who do you want to beat more and why?

I’ve honestly never really thought about it. Three points are always important – and, the way we’ve been playing, beggars can’t be choosers.
Predicted league finish?
9th

Huddersfield
Phil Barden (@TeamIAmPhil) – Owner Herberts Bar & Northern Taps

How would you describe last season for your club?
A Big change then big Ideas. Now with High Hopes and a club on the right track.
What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
Top Half at Xmas then who knows!!!!?
What could hold your team back this season?
A lot of new faces and the integration of overseas players with the existing squad could prove problematic. Saying that, it looks to me that the coaching staff have sorted that out already. Time will tell.
How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
We made 13 signings pretty quickly and settled in to pre-season fully manned. So very good indeed.
Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
First trip “team building” Norway. I think now balls were taken it was a survival exercise.
Who was your biggest hero last season?
Our German manager David Wagner and owner Dean Hoyle. A new way of playing embracing a new philosophy running throughout the whole club. A brave but intelligent choice.
Who was your biggest villain?
Last years number 9. No name required what a waste (We’ll mention his name then Phil to save you the pain – Do you mean James Vaughan who moved to Birmingham? We’re not too fond of him either after his behaviour at Griffin Park a few season back – Ed)

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
13 new signings even we don’t know who to look out for!!
Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Newcastle. 55k home matches!!!
What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Burton (sorry guys but first season is so hard)
What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?
Us. DW has the players he wanted to play his way.
Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?Leeds home and away. It’s pure passion on both sides. Families friends divided for two big weekends.
What fans impressed you most last season?
Burnley. Good songs and banter.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
The fourth goal at you know who’s ground!! (Leeds by any chance? – Ed)
Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally pissed you off
3 nil home defeat to you know who! (er .. Leeds again? – Ed)
If you could ask for one thing this season, what would it be
Video ref. Let’s just try it.
Where will you finish this season?
Top ten hopefully. I say 7th.
You can read season previews from bloggers for Aston Villa to Brighton Pt 1), Ipswich to Preston (Pt 3) and QPR to Wolves (Pt 4) . We also spoke to guests on the Beesotted PrideOfWest.London podcast to get their views on the forthcoming season (click here). 
Written and compiled by Billy Grant (@BillyTheBee99), Dave Lane (@Beesotted100) and Carl Massey (@TheBFCBeesBlog)

You can check out our “Return from Summer Holidays” podcast here: