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Posted by on Aug 4, 2016 in Articles | 0 comments

Championship Fans’ Previews (Pt 4): QPR. Reading. Rotherham. Sheffield Wednesday. Wigan. Wolves

Championship Fans’ Previews (Pt 4): QPR. Reading. Rotherham. Sheffield Wednesday. Wigan. Wolves

 

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 QPR (@akutrs)Reading (@TheTilehurstEnd)Rotherham (@AxholmeMiller)Sheffield Wednesday (@OwlsOnline.co.uk), Wigan (@LaticsSpeyk) and Wolves (@wwfcfancast) 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)Bristol City to Huddersfield (Pt 2) and Ipswich to Preston (Pt 3) . 

We also spoke to guests on the Beesotted PrideOfWest.London podcast to get their views on the forthcoming season (click here). 

Queens Park Rangers
Dave Thomas – A Kick Up The Rs Fanzine (@akutrs)

How would you describe last season for your club?
It panned out pretty much as all but the most (foolishly) optimistic Rangers fans thought it would. The club were very clear in stating that the days of trying to buy a place in the land of milk and honey – and then spend even more in trying to stay there – were over and that future policy would be in developing younger players rather that providing one last over-generous payday to those well past their best.

Mid-table always beckoned. But there was quiet and not unreasonable fear was of ‘Doing a Wigan’ and dropping from the Premier League to League One. Under those circumstances, mid-table and signs of that new policy working were considered reasonably satisfactory.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
General wisdom has it that it takes three seasons to develop any successful team.  So with Rangers very much in transition still, it would be ambitious to talk promotion just now. Some entertaining football and a few decent results here and there – along with definite signs of a half-decent team taking shape – will keep most of us happy.

What could hold your team back this season?
A lack of goals, for one. He might have been a prolific goalscorer as a player. But so far, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink appears to be taking a fairly cautious approach in the way he sets up his team. The rebuild is a work-in-progress, though, and we’ll be in a much better position to judge by the end of the season.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited? 

At the time of writing, Rangers have bought in four new faces. Midfielder Ariel Borysiuk has arrived from Legia Warsaw and is already out for a few weeks with an injury. Also adding to our well stocked midfield is Jordan Cousins, who has joined from Charlton. He impressed against us last season – according to those Rangers fans far more observant than myself.

Our defence which definitely needs competition, now has that in the signings of Joe Lynch from Huddersfield and Jake Bidwell who has taken Martin Rowlands’ path from Griffin Park to Loftus Road. General excitement levels at all this activity remain pretty level, truth be told.

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Play anyone decent? Any shockers?
We went to Holland and beat Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven 1-0, but it was little more than a training exercise. We played at the home side’s training ground after the scheduled game was called off due to security fears. Over what and by whom, no-one seems entirely sure.

It was quickly back to reality with a 3-1 defeat to FC Groningen, followed by uninspiring draws away at Northampton and Wycombe.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Tjarron Chery was awarded our Player of the Season accolade for his goals and all-round play in his first season at QPR. But the unexpected (cult) hero was Seb Polter – our big, ungainly, angular German striker – who went from being written off as utterly useless before barely kicking a ball,  to being afforded his own chant on the back of some whole-hearted performances.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Matt Phillips. Looked disinterested all season and (don’t tell West Brom this. Let them find out for themselves!) nowhere near as good a winger as his reputation has it. That, though, is as much about his own lack of confidence as it is any bad attitude.

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Central defender Grant Hall was the official Player of the Season, and deservedly so. More of the same this season and he’ll start attracting other clubs.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Brighton

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

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
Of the three promoted sides, Wigan look best equipped to trouble the division.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why
Nottingham Forest away. One day Rangers will win there. It’s now 32 attempts and counting. I want to be there when it finally happens… if it ever happens.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Wolves brought a big support for a ridiculous 12.30pm kick-off and earned respect for their chant of “Three o’clock on a Saturday…”, a no-nonsense message aimed at Sky.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
Seb Polter was fouled inside the area and picked up the ball in expectation of taking the penalty. Charlie Austin had other ideas, striding up purposefully and firmly taking the ball from the big German. Using international sign language, Charlie made it perfectly clear who was going to be on the score-sheet that day. And he was.

With Brentford, Fulham and QPR once again set to slug it out, which one of you will finish closer to Brentford?

Rangers. I have a feeling that – having flirted with relegation for much of last season – Fulham are the most likely to do best of the three.

If you could only beat one of Brentford of Fulham, who would it be?Fulham, just because they keep hammering us.

What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
Above everything else. The constant switching of fixtures, home or away, but almost always to a different day or kick-off, at the whim of television drives me bonkers. No-one, of course, gives a toss about supporters and the disruption it causes.

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
That another Leicester emerge – or come to think of it, Leicester themselves – to repeat last season’s Premier League title win!

Favourite Terrace chant (home or away)?
“Are you Chelsea in disguise…?” to every team we happened to be winning against.

Predicted league finish?
9th

Reading
Dave ‘Handbags’ (@Handbags82) – The Tilehurst End

How would you describe last season for your club?
A huge disappointment. A slow but solid start quickly turned into what we thought were the beginnings of some sort of form after the high calibre signings we made late on.

Sadly, after finding ourselves in 2nd after 11 matches –  just 4 points behind Brighton – reality soon set in. We went on to win just 7 of our remaining 35 matches, remarkably similar to the season before and ended up finishing in a similar position.

Steve Clarke courting Fulham so brazenly didn’t exactly help. And club stalwart Brian McDermott had a lot of work to do to win over supporters who were sceptical of his return. Sadly he didn’t do enough to and the atmosphere around the Madejski grew steadily more toxic as the season wore on.

Once the Cup run came to an end, performances – which were already questionable due to not producing results – dropped off drastically. McDermott – who was not aided by far too many loan players who simply didn’t cut the mustard (Fernandez, John, Vydra, Hector, Taylor, Piazon) and players from abroad who simply didn’t take to English football and culture (Sa, Hurtado) – was a dead man walking.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
Given the situation currently, to survive in the Championship and build on the youth products we currently have showing the potential to play at Championship level.

We don’t have a great deal of money due to poor decisions taken by the Thais over the past two years, and we’re still feeling the effects of the Zingarevich era despite losing the majority of the high earners signed under him.

If we can steer clear of relegation but show some potential – and Stam quickly learns the division and shows some managerial capability – I think supporters with half a brain cell will generally accept that.

What could hold your team back this season?
The need to bed-in the youth team products who will need to learn quickly. The high turnover of players over the last 2 to 3 years and the enormously high wages given to substandard players means we’re predicted to be close to breaching FFP rules.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
Intrigued and pensive. We’re trying to sign sensibly and have delved into the Dutch market with Gravenberch, van den Berg and Beerens joining. We also signed John Swift who played for you guys last week as you wrote about on The Tilehurst End blog here. But ultimately there will be a very youthful feel to the side which takes to the field against PNE on 6 August.

FFP, as mentioned above, will dictate what we can and can’t do and it remains to be seen whether the Cloggies cut the mustard.

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
We had a tour of Slovenia planned which was ditched in the days before McDermott got the axe. Stam, perhaps predictably, took the squad to Holland instead where we played an Arabian team who helped us to a 3-1 win with a quite stunningly inept OG.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
The fact that nobody really stood out probably tells you all you need to know. Stephen Quinn’s work rate and quality more than endeared him to the Reading faithful however.

Who was your biggest villain?

For me, Lucas Piazon.

Powderpuff, lightweight, heart of a pea, and he came from Chelsea. Most would say Matej Vydra however, who was an unequivocal disaster.

Which of your players should we be looking out for?

I would have said Aaron Tshibola but he’s just been transferred to Villa. So I’ll go with either Jack Stacey or Tarique Fosu. Plenty of youth who are showing more than enough potential to shine though. The likes of Craig Tanner, Dominic Samuel, Liam Kelly, Dominic Hyam and Rob Dickie will all more than likely be in and around the first team this year.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Newcastle. And they’ll probably beat our 106 point record.

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

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?
At risk of looking like an arselicker, I’m going to say Brentford. Apart from a slow start and a mid-season blip last season, Brentford have been one of the standout sides over the last couple of years and know how to win matches.

Dean Smith seemed to be getting it together at the back end of last season and there’s no reason why you can’t continue that on into the new year – particularly when Alan Judge gets back who is one of the division’s best attackers.

Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?
Brentford and Burton – terracing!!

What fans impressed you most last season?
As always, Sheffield Wednesday.

No airs, no graces. travel in numbers. Constant noise. And 90-95% of their noise is backing for their own team. Many supporters of other clubs could learn a thing or two.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch.
Our co-owner giving an elongated speech prior to our first home match and being thoroughly drowned out by 4000 Leeds fans.

Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
Joe Garner for Preston. Horrible player, who somehow managed to knee Paul McShane in the head in December and still got awarded a foul and got McShane booked.

If you could ask for one thing this season, what would it be?
Euro 2016 hero Hal Robson-Kanu to resort to type at whatever team he ends up at so every Reading fan can turn around and say “I told you so”.

Where will you finish last season?
In a Burton bar celebrating 14th place and no relegation

Rotherham United
Chris Saxon – Axholme Miller (@AxholmeMiller)

How would you describe last season for your club?
The season of three managers! I suppose that we once again confounded the pundits with our great escape. Steve Evans had long departed in odd circumstances – immediately after an impressive away win at Birmingham City! Neil Redfern took charge but failed to make any real positive impact. His tenure was also brought to an abrupt end following two disastrous defeats in two successive weeks – at Bolton and at home to Charlton. Enter the iconic Mr Warnock – fresh from his retirement in Cornwall – and the club came to life!

Wins at our local “massive” neighbours Sheffield Wednesday and at Ipswich plus some encouraging home displays against Brentford and Leeds and we found hope where previously there was none. We even managed a win over Middlesbrough and a three all draw against Derby after being three down.

We saved our finest performance when it mattered though – winning 4-0 at MK Dons (aka Franchise FC – Ed) and they went down and we stayed up. A season of highs and lows culminating in another season in the Championship

A success I think. Shame Neil Warnock refused our offer to stay another season.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
A season devoid of struggle please. Alan Stubbs has left what looked a great job at Hibs for the New York Stadium so he must think we can achieve that? Mustn’t he?  (Interesting the Falkirk branch of the Brentford Beesotted crew think that Stubbs actually underachieved last season with a strong Hibs team so will be interesting to see what he does down south – Ed) Fifth from bottom as opposed to fourth bottom last time would be good.

What could hold your team back this season?
Our lack of financial clout in this monied league. Our wage budget was second lowest last season and will be so again, MK Dons having been replaced by minnows Burton Albion.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
Our lack of any transfer activity so far is a real sore subject amongst the faithful. Anthony Forde from Walsall being our sole addition. Chairman and Manager urge patience and signings will come they say. We have a very small squad so far with many of last season’s players gone. We have even suffered the embarrassment of having to cancel our friendly fixture at Grimsby this week through a lack of players!

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
Another sore subject this. A two-match pre-season stint in Poland has been the only pre-season fixtures to date – both games being played in the hotel complex. We have a single home friendly against Sunderland – providing we can field a team

Who was your biggest hero last season?

For me our biggest hero was the Captain Lee Frecklington. Gives 100% week in week out. When he’s injured we lose! Lee Camp (goalkeeper) proved to be an inspired signing too. Saved us a least two goals a game

Who was your biggest villain?
Villains? Not sure if that’s the right word. We had so many. Namely the vast array of loan signings which came – and went – with little effort or desire. There were exceptions though – Grant Ward being the most notable one

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Danny Ward our striker who got better as the season progressed might be worth looking out for. We also have a promising home grown talent in Jerry Yates – a useful young striker who might well shine.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
My favourites for promotion have to be Newcastle with their famous manager and their huge fan base. Norwich will also do well.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
Burton Albion will finish bottom for sure. They were fortunate to win promotion last season and with their small wage budget and their tiny fan-base, they will find it difficult to say the least

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?
Leeds United are my choice as surprise packets. They have a shrewd manager in Gary Monk and have made a few good signings. Of course, that all depends on their Chairman keeping clear of team affairs

Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?
Newcastle United away. I’ve never been to St James Park and it will be a fantastic moment when my Millers run out in front of a big crowd there

What fans impressed you most last season?
Best fans at NYS – definitely those of Birmingham City. So loud and so proud. Same as the season before – just very vocal

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
Funniest moment(s) at home to big-headed Derby County fans and their even bigger-headed manager at the time. Three up and coasting, we had to endure the customary “Can we play you every week” chants.

Darren Wassall, the manager, spent most of the game running up and down the touchline in his fake Armani suit – juggling the ball and gesturing to the fans at every opportunity.

I suppose with less than ten minutes left, he was entitled to some celebrations but not the seeminlgy carnival antics he displayed. He substituted his best players with the game won!

Or was it?

We scored three goals in those final ten minutes and had the game gone on a little longer, we would have won. Afterwards he blamed the players, the officials and indeed anybody but himself.

Lovely!

Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
Lack of interest and even worse lack of effort from some of the loanees

If you could ask for one thing this season, what would it be?
One thing for me would be consistency from match officials. Last season, some of the refereeing was abysmal. I would also like to see free kicks awarded for the practice of shielding the ball out of play for a goal kick by any means – fair or foul. You know what I mean. Penalties awarded for shirt pulling in the area should be given

Where will you finish this season?
Rotherham United .. Heart says we will finish 11th but head says lack of quality investment will finally tell and we will finish 23rd (well one consolation … that’s one place above Villa in 24th place anyway – Ed)

Hope I’m wrong on that final prediction.

Sheffield Wednesday
Terry Hibberd  – Owls Online (@owlsonline)

How would you describe last season for your club?
Last season represented a real turning point for the club, for so long we’ve had false hope and no expectation. Then we had a season chock-a-block full of goals, exciting football and a visit to Wembley. But obviously losing at the final hurdle was a real disappointment. Expectations now have risen immeasurably for some.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
More progress. Some would say there is only promotion is the only option but while it is the target, I don’t think its promotion or bust. But we do hope for a top six finish again at the very least.

What could hold your team back this season?
At this moment in time, it’s recruitment. As I type this we’ve only signed two players – Steven Fletcher and Jake Kean. We need more quality in the squad for a sustained push for promotion. We’re lacking depth in a couple of positions due to loanees from last season returning to parent clubs.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?

We’re happy with the addition of Steven Fletcher. He’s played in the Premier League and in France (we actually saw him play for Olympic Marseilles against PSG last season at the Velodrome when we shot the video below pre-Euro 2016 – Ed) as well as internationally for the last few years. You could say he’s ‘proven himself’ and his style of play will fit ours, which only bodes well. Jake Kean is a very competent ‘keeper and a good addition to the squad. But we need further additions to really ramp up the enthusiasm for the big kick-off.

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
In pre-season it’s been the normal fare. A bit of non league action. A visit to a smaller local club and what seems to be the now annual trip to Portugal. But sandwiched in the middle was a very interesting friendly against Benfica at home. It was a terrific game which we won 1-0 – and deserved it too – against a very impressive visiting side.

Who was your biggest hero last season?
It’s a little wrong to pick out an individual after last season as many deserve plaudits. If I had to pick one though it would be Fernando Forestieri. He gets our fans off their feet with sublime skills, has scored crucial goals and created for others.

For a player with so much skill, effort and application usually come second place but he leaves everything out on the pitch in every game. A lovely footballer.

Who was your biggest villain?
Daryl Lachman. He came in last summer from Holland, filmed himself driving over to sign (it’s on YouTube), then subsequently was bombed out of contention and into the U21 side without as much as a look in and hasn’t played a minute for the first team. He was then sent out on loan until the end of the season.

Our head coach seems a level headed bloke so it would suggest Mr Lachman was a little too opinionated…. or he’s just not very good!!

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Two of our Portuguese imports could have a real impact this season – Marco Matias and Lucas Joao. The latter scored the winner at your place last season.

They’ve shown flashes of absolute brilliance, but then been off the pace of the English game a bit. Now with that experience and a full pre-season, they could really make a name for themselves (sounds a it like the Brentford players we bought in last close-season who have taken a full 12 months to acclimatise to the English game – Ed)

Other that your team (of course), what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
It’s hard to look past Newcastle with the players they’ve signed adding to some of the players they’ve managed to keep. They’ll be a formidable force.

What team has would you lump £100 on for relegation?
It’s possibly the easy choice – but Burton Albion. Nigel Clough did very well to continue the work of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink but I can see them getting turned over quite a few times this season.

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?
I don’t think they’ll be in contention for promotion but I think Bristol City will surprise a few teams this year and maybe sneak the top ten. They thumped us at the back end of last season and have added some decent players to their squad. They also have a decent young manager.

Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?
All of them. For many years we’ve not had a team to believe in. Now we do.They deserve the all the support of our fans each week. With 20,000 season ticket holders, there’ll be no place to hide for anyone and away sides should be a little more intimidated too at Hillsborough.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Middlesbrough. They came in numbers, were vocal all game.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
As always there’s a player who some love to hate. For us it seems to be Atdhe Nuhiu. The big striker divides opinion… One game last season a bloke behind us was slating him all game. Nuhiu then scored… We all turned and just shot a look at the bloke who had been previously berating our striker… He just held his hands up in a resignation and laughed along with us..

Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally pissed you off?
It’s the thing that always does. The fickleness of football supporters…. Some by design aren’t supporters – they just go to moan.

If you could ask for one thing this season, what would it be?
Football clubs to be sensible and realistic, £40m+ fees, £100k a week wages. Stop it. It’s going to get to NFL wage levels where the ‘working man’ becomes an after-thought when the costs are passed down the line.

Where will you finish this season?
4th

Wigan
Worbo – Vital Wigan (@LaticsSpeyk)

How would you describe last season for your club?
The 2015/16 season was brilliant for the Latics, it gave us our identity back following a dreadful year when we were in the news for all the wrong reasons.

The drop into League 1 was embraced by the club and fans alike. We certainly came out of it smiling with not only a title under our arms, but also a top 10 hit with the ‘Will Grigg’s On Fire’ song.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
I hope that the coming season sees the club building on the success of the previous one. We have a superb season ticket offer – £179 for adults and Under 16’s free – so the powers-to-be are doing all they can to get the fans on board.

There is a little trepidation with the squad being relatively new to the challenges of Championship football. But hopefully we can keep the momentum going from last season to carry us through the first few weeks until we settle into the campaign.

I’d be delighted with a mid-table finish with no relegation worries. But I would also love to flirt with the top six spots.

One can but dream.

What could hold your team back this season?
As always in this league, goals will be vitally important. Defences are usually well drilled and creating clear cut chances is difficult.

We scored quite a few last season – 82 – and we will need to find the back of the net regularly this season too.

The big question is can Grigg make the step up? He is prolific in League 1 but this is a different kettle of fish. Hopefully he will still be on fire.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
Strange one as at the time of going to press as we haven’t splashed any cash. All free transfers and loan deals so far. The capture of Nick Powell though is a great piece of business. We had him on loan in 2013/14 and he is real quality and at just 22, his best is yet to come. I’m excited about him.

Stephen Warnock coming in after a successful loan spell last season is also a good signing. The rest though I feel is a wait and see.

Did you go anywhere nice for pre-season? Any shockers?
Personally I went to the North West of Scotland and got away from it all for a week to recharge my batteries – and they are fully charged now.

The Latics? – well nowhere nice at all really. Macclesfield, Rochdale, Oldham and Fleetwood! No wins either…

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Will Grigg grabbed all the headlines and deservedly took the plaudits with 28 League goals. But for me, Mr Consistency – David Perkins – just went about his business and had an outstanding season. He was the lynchpin that held the team together, so Perks for me.

Who was your biggest villain?
We didn’t really have any villains last season. Hard to pick out a donkey when you win a title. Even Grant Holt did well in the games he played. I suppose the biggest villain for me were Bradford City and Phil Parkinson – anti-football. They tried to kick us off the pitch.

Which of your players should we be looking out for?
Yanic Wildschut. Every time he is on the ball, he gets the fans on their feet. He has blistering pace, great ball control, strength and he is very direct. Plus he can score a goal or two

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?
Burton Albion

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season do you think?
Barnsley. They play really attractive attacking football and – as their form showed from the turn of the New Year – they are a real unit.

Which match is the must-go-to match of the season and why?
Away game for me is always Barnsley. Love going there. A great friendly Working Mens Club – East Deane – to get a cheap pint at and it is a short walk to Oakwell from there.

Home game is Villa. They were the last team we played in the Premier League at the end of the 2012/13 season and they gave us a really nice send-off. They always bring a big following and create a good atmosphere.

What fans impressed you most last season?
I sound like a Barnsley fan here but they were tremendous at the DW Stadium. Great banter and they joined in with the Will Grigg’s On Fire song

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch
My mate and fellow Latics podcaster Rob Gibson doing the half time challenge at the DW Stadium – hit the back of the net from the penalty spot, the ‘D’, halfway ‘D’ and halfway line – and ending up on his arse with an almighty slip as he kicked the ball in absolutely atrocious conditions,

You had to be there. But very, very funny.

Was there one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
This may go against the grain with some but people standing up in front of me at away games…now I understand that some like to stand but why do they insist on getting seats in the front row?

I have a really dodgy left knee and standing for long periods leaves me in great pain, so for away days I always try to get tickets as close to the front as possible but invariably I find myself one row back from the front and two burly, usually pissed up blokes stood directly in front.

Now I ask politely for them to swap places with me explaining my predicament and all I get is a mouthful of abuse! Happens several times over the course of a season.

So if any of you like to stand for a full game please have some consideration for those who cant and get your seats anywhere bar the first two rows…please (sounds like the perfect reason why clubs should create ‘unofficial’ sitting and standing sections whatever they want to call them. They can’t pretend fans won’t stand so surely it’s best to facilitate all the fans who want to stand are in one area leaving the fans who want to sit to themselves – Ed).

If you could ask for one thing this season, what would it be?
Sensible ticket prices, 20 is plenty. Is that too much to ask? (For the record, Wigan charged £10 or something silly on a Saturday afternoon the last time we went up there which prompted 1500 Bees fans to travel. Fair play – Ed)

Where will you finish next season?
8th

Wolves
Richard Hobbs – Wolves Fancast (@WWFCFancast)

How would you describe last season for your club?
Mediocre. We really struggled to get out of second gear last season and basically gave up by February when we realised we would be promoted or relegated. We really felt the impact of losing Bakary Sako and Benik Afobe in recent transfer windows and Nouha Dicko for the season in September.

What are your hopes for 2016-17 season?
If the protracted takeover happens and there’s some invested in the team before the end of August then we should make the top six. Everyone knows how close the league can be and hopefully with some more fire power, Wolves can challenge for promotion

What could hold your team back this season?
We are somewhat relying on our youth academy right now which is keeping us in a steady position. But with more investment being made in this league, we really need to add some proven quality alongside some of our younger players. However, while the club are in the middle of a takeover, Wolves are unable to spend money on players so its a bit of a catch 22.

How did you get on in the transfer market? Excited?
We have shipped out some of the deadwood from the squad which is good. However they do need replacing. A new possible new owner has given fans hope we can go after a greater level of player and with areas of the first team needing improvement, fans wait in eager anticipation of new signings

Who was your biggest hero last season?
Matt Doherty. At full back, he isn’t really one to set the world alight. However, in a dull second half of the season, he switched to left back and was our best player by a country mile. He seems to have taken a big step in his development and still in his mid 20’s, there is still a lot to come from him.

Who was your biggest disappointment?
Joe Mason. It’s slightly harsh as he wasn’t played in a role that suited him, but he was brought in for. £3m to replace Afobe but hasn’t scored or made a big enough impact as yet.

Which of your players should we be looking out for?

Dominic Iorfa. After a great breakout season in 2014/15, he plateaued last season. None the less, he is a natural defender, has greater awareness and is very athletic. He’s spent most of his time at right back despite being a centre half by trade and not looked out of place. When he’s been give the opportunity in a central role, he a looked a class above.

Other that your team (of course) what team would you put £100 on for promotion?
Newcastle

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

What team is going to be the surprise packet this season?
So long as they don’t sack their manager, Leeds. I really rate Garry Monk and he’s made a couple of astute signings already.

Which match is your must-go-to match of the season and why?
Villa at home. For so long, they been the so called “biggest team in the midlands” and to see them crashing down to the Champ will be a nice reality shock for them.

What fans impressed you most last season?
Middlesbrough brought a lot of fans considering the distance and made a lot of noise.

Describe a funny moment last season on or off the pitch

At Brentford away towards the tail end of the season on a Wednesday night, a woman was moaning about how Wolves fans were reacting to the poor performance. To which a fan said to her “Listen, we don’t all live in a Mary Berry Cake World. Thing are not all nice and sugary. Sometimes the eggs are off”. He then proceeded to walk out the stadium. Queue mike drop

What one thing that reeeeeeeeeeally p!ssed you off?
When your team doesn’t put in enough visible effort. Nothing worse in a league where all games all win-able and to see players not going the extra mile. I don’t mind spending money and watching Wolves lose or play ugly. So long as to a man they come off the pitch knowing there isn’t any more they could have done

If you could be granted one thing this season, what would it be?
Pretending like you’ve been shot when there’s been minimal contact. In my eyes it should be a booking for simulation as they are trying to get the referee to send the other player off.

Van La Parra experienced the wrath of Wolves fans last season with his tweet about being loved and then hated. Who in the team is most likely to put his foot in it this time around?
Potentially Lee Evans if he makes his way back to the first team. He’s a bit mouthy and has been in hot water with the club a few times and could rub some of the fans the wrong way in this regard.

If you could absolutely hammer one team this season who would it be and why?
Aston Villa

You can read season previews from bloggers for Aston Villa to Brighton (Pt 1)Bristol City to Huddersfield (Pt 2) and Ipswich to Preston (Pt 3) . 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:

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