Sixer’s Accrington Stanley Soapbox:Wham! Bam! Thank you Stan!

Malcolm Dawson writes……what a contrast between yesterday and my previous visit to The Wham Stadium. Less than twelve months ago I got absolutely drenched as we watched the Lads playing for 70 odd minutes in a mud bath before the game was eventually called off. What’s more my car had collected a slow puncture which meant that I had to stop twice on the way home to try and get some air in my tyres in Accrington town centre then somewhere near Skipton and I drove home in the pitch dark, through driving rain, with the air vents struggling to keep my windscreen clear of the steam rising from my soaking thighs.

Yesterday I sat in glorious sunshine in a tee shirt regretting the fact I hadn’t decided to put my shorts on nor brought along any factor 20 Ambre Solaire (other sun protection creams are available). They’ve done a bit of work to the ground too and I was disappointed to find the double decker bus that sold cheap beer had been replaced by a number of bespoke refreshment bars but with a pie and a pint deal costing only a fiver it was still an inexpensive way to take a break from the diet.

I couldn’t get to the two midweek games we have played since Noah and his sons were spotted doing a bit of DIY on the recreation ground next door but Pete Sixsmith did and he has yet to see us lose there. It’s not a big stand at Accrington and Pete was only a few seats away so I have a pretty good idea about his impressions of a performance which brought about another three points in another 3-1 win. You can find out too by reading yet another top notch match report. 

WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU STAN!

After a two-week break from the County Palatinate, it was back to Lancashire as we trekked over Blubberhouses Moor and along the A59 to Accrington via Colne.

For many of us, this was the fourth visit to the home of the Accrington Nori (it’s a brick) in 9 months. For part timers like me, it was the third one since April. Fortunately, all three have been bathed in sunshine rather than bathed in the precipitation that often hangs over Pendle Hill.

It was an important game for us after the unpleasantness at Peterborough. With more pressure on the ramrod straight shoulders of Jack Ross and players needing to cement their places in the team, it was a game we needed to win.

By 3.05, it didn’t look good. Accrington played a long ball forward, Willis and Ozturk showed perfect manners in leaving it for each other.

Jordan Willis. Photo by courtesy of safc,com

“After you, Alim.”

“No, after you, Jordan.” “

“I say Alim, what’s that cad, Jordan Clark doing thumping the ball into the net?”

“He’s not quite pukka, Jordan.”

The conversation on the terraces was probably not that polite.

(It wasn’t behind me with a proliferation of fs and cs and a bloke in front doing an impression of Bez from the Happy Mondays – MD).

The mood lasted two minutes. Denver Hume put a fine cross in from the left for Lyndon Gooch to volley home a spectacular equaliser, restore equilibrium and establish control.

Half an hour later we were well ahead with goals from Aiden McGeady and Mark McNulty and the game was all but over.

McGeady’s came after a penetrating pass from the lively Gooch. The mercurial Irish international used his twinkling feet to create space and scored for the third successive game in this little corner of North East Lancashire.

Ten minutes later, Accrington’s defence was wide open as Chris Maguire broke away, beat two defenders and slipped the ball to the industrious Mark McNulty who opened his league account for the club with a comfortable finish.

Kick off at The Wham

In between the two goals, Stanley could have equalised when a Cody Bishop shot struck Jordan Willis, fooled John McLaughlin, hit the bar and dropped just the right side of the goal line before being hoofed clear.

The second half was relatively comfortable as Accrington huffed and puffed and resorted to a long ball game, which Ozturk and Willis handled with reasonable aplomb.

McLaughlin had a couple of tricky moments but was never really in any trouble and we had opportunities to wipe out the three-goal deficit in our goal differences.

For Rob Mason, one of the Durham Branch’s intrepid travellers, emotions were split. Another goal or two would put a marker down with the other promotion rivals and quell some of the grumbling. On the other hand, he had 1-3 at 16/1 and with the Mason family mortgage riding on it, he exhaled loudly when Will Grigg fluffed a sitter that would have made it 4-1 and would have reduced he and the delightful Sandra to living in a cardboard box on the mean streets of South Hetton.

It was an adequate performance rather than a great one.

Accrington Market

The game was one that we needed to win and win we did, so what’s not to like about that? Well, it wasn’t the most coherent performance and there were some blips but we could put that down to being rusty after a couple of weeks off.

Stanley look like strugglers for the rest of the season. Without Billy Kee, currently having some serious mental health issues from which we hope he makes a complete recovery, they had little up front and, despite having a grip on midfield, never really threatened.

Sam Finley was the pick of their players and kept them ticking over. His career started at Everton and has taken in stints at Southport, Warrington Town, Wrexham, The New Saints and AFC Fylde before he pitched up at Stanley a couple of years ago. He is a busy player who can pass, tackle and move forward and I admired his technique and commitment. He may not go any higher than League One but it shows that there are players who deserve an opportunity at this level.

For us, Lynden Gooch made a massive contribution with a splendid goal and an excellent pass for the second one. He used the ball well and worked extremely hard. George Dobson, who replaced Max Power, drove us forward but this was not one of Grant Leadbitter’s better games as he was hustled out of it by eager if limited, opponents.

At the back, Denver Hume did well and once they had been re-introduced to each other, Ozturk and Willis looked comfortable. Luke O’Nien was as industrious as ever, but there is a feeling that a good winger will take advantage of him. Accrington didn’t have one.

I liked McNulty, who works really hard and who will score goals at this level, McGeady once again scored at The Crown Ground and Maguire did well enough. The arrival of McGeoch and Grigg reinforced the depth in our squad compared with the relative paucity of the opposition’s.

I enjoyed my day out. The bright lunchtime lights of Colne were not for me so I caught a train on the East Lancashire line that took me from Colne via Nelson, Brierfield, Burnley Central, Burnley Barracks, Rose Hill (change for the Todmorden Loop here), Hapton, Huncoat to Grand Central Station, Accrington before departing for (amongst others) Blackburn, Bamber Bridge and Preston. It crossed three splendid viaducts which gave a clear picture of theses old mill towns, tightly tucked into deep valleys where witches roam and Massey’s Ales are still fondly remembered.

Accrington is a small town of 35,000 people, slightly bigger than Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor and with a clear identity. They have a splendid classical style Town Hall, a shopping centre that has seen better days, a fine (but very quiet) market hall and tributes to The Accrington Pals and the groundsman’s dog from Peel Park.

Tribute to an Accrington groundsman and his dog

After three visits there, I hope not to be visiting again next season and will be happy to travel the rest of the East Lancs line through to either Blackburn or Preston. The two games this week, against Rotherham United and Bolton Wanderers may well define whether I am able to do this.

Ha’way the Lads (in American accent).

Highlights via safc.com

Sixer’s Accrington Sevens: when the result matters and the team delivers it’s a good day, despite…

Pete Sixsmith gives us value for money on yet another trip across the Pennines.

He sent a pre-match text telling us he had arrived on a warm afternoon, followed that with texts commenting on woeful defending – both ours and theirs – then gave us a seven word text telling us about the first half – “Stuttered at start but superior at end”.

Then he capped this with a final seven word text as the whistle blew to set the scene for Tuesday and also for tomorrow’s match report.

Read moreSixer’s Accrington Sevens: when the result matters and the team delivers it’s a good day, despite…

Sixer’s U23s Soapbox: Sunderland Triumph in Washington DC (Durham Challenge Cup) tie

Malcolm Dawson writes……I was trying to decide whether take the car and go to see our U23s in action in Durham last night or walk up to the local for the Wednesday pub quiz, when I decided that I needed to escape the ever pervading smell of some pan fried mackerel I’d had in an effort to follow the latest dietary guidelines. So leaving the Fabreze and Glade plug ins to do their work I elected that the footy had to be the sensible choice. After a bit of banter with the lady in the shipping container which serves as the refreshment centre (£1.40 for a cup of tea!) I made my way into the stand as the teams took to the field. I was about to take the nearest empty seat, which just happened to be next to one Gary Bennett, when I heard my name called from a couple of rows behind. It was none other than Peter Sixsmith. Was I surprised to see him there? Well of course not but especially as we had both been at the Shildon v Guisborough game the previous evening and talked about going to this one. 

Both were enjoyable games played in a good spirit by four teams all trying to play good football. On Saturday there’s another enjoyable trip to Accrington and a couple of beers in the Peel Park Hotel before the game. What’s not to like about football outside of the Premier League? Oh yes – the Stanley drums but then you can’t have everything.

I know Pete enjoyed last night’s game as much as I did – let him tell you why.

WASHINGTON SQUARED UP.

It was a nostalgic evening at New Ferens Park last night when our Under 23’s took on Washington F.C of the Northern League Second Division in the Preliminary Round of the Durham Challenge Cup.

Nostalgia for the days in the 90’s when our Reserve team turned out there on Monday nights and crowds in excess of 2,000 turned up to watch Andy Marriott, Neil Wainwright and Danny Dichio strut their stuff on what was probably the best grass pitch in County Durham.

Did you ever see him use his “other” foot?

Nostalgia too for some of the opposing players we saw. Paul Merson, then of Villa and playing in a side that were 6 down, turning to the crowd and saying “What the f*** am I doing here? And what the f*** are you lot here doing watching me?”

Gazza in one of his more reflective moments

Or Paul Gascoigne, recovering from injury at Everton, being jeered at the start and then winning a deserved standing ovation as he went off after 70 minutes for his sheer good nature as he smiled, chuckled and gurned his way through his latest recovery and made it very clear that he just loved playing football.

No such stars last night, as our Under 23 squad had a comfortable 5-1 win over a Washington side who played football throughout, refused to lump the ball upfield, committed no egregious fouls and who scored a spectacular goal that, briefly, brought it back to 4-1.

They are playing at NFP because it is available and nothing else is. They left their Albany Park ground a while ago after a long running dispute with the owners – I gather the site is now being converted to housing – and lodged at the Nissan Sports and Social Club for a while.

Now they are playing on an artificial surface at a ground where Durham City played until they too fell out with the owner – they now ground share with Willington – but they have not neglected their Wearside roots and there was a good turnout from the club’s many junior teams of both genders. Some watched the football, some played on their phones, most spent a large amount of the evening scoffing chips, ket and chocolate.

The Under 23s are not doing particularly well in Premier League 2 Division 2 but the purpose is not winning but trying to bring young players through. The Two Jordans started at this level as did Jack Colback (a better player than JH at 18 in some regulars’ books).

Of the current first team squad, Denver Hume, Elliott Embleton, Ethan Robson and to a lesser extent, Duncan Watmore and Grant Leadbitter all learned their trade at Under 23 level and the work done by the likes of Robbie Stockdale, Elliot Dickman and Michael Proctor, should not be dismissed.

Bali Mumba and Benji Kimpioka were missing as they have just returned from international duty so it gave some of the younger lads a chance to show what they could do. The player who really caught the eye was French full back cum winger Williams Kokolo, who has filled out well over the summer without losing any of his speed. He scored a fine goal, defended well and used his developing strength to edge out a couple of dangerous Washington breaks. Definitely one for the EFL Trophy games.

Caught the eye

Lee Connolly scored two well taken goals but was caught offside at least three times as much, which reduced his effectiveness. He is quick and sharp but small so he has to rely on his speed to get away from defenders. Another one for the Trophy, I feel.

Jack Bainbridge and Ruben Sammut both looked very comfortable and these two venerable 22 year olds were withdrawn with half an hour left to allow them to get the pipe and slippers out and relax over a whisky and soda, while young keeper Ahmed Abdelkader made a couple of decent saves and ran his box well.

The crowd of 195, gorged on chips and chocolate, went home happy at witnessing a decent game of football, well refereed and on a pleasantly warm night. Far better than watching the telly, that’s for sure (c. Steve Bruce).

Accrington next and my third visit in 6 months.

Bet we get them in the FA Cup.

Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland Who are You? .. any Stanley fans up for questions?

Jake wants answers …

It would be an exaggeration to say Salut! Sunderland expects dozens of Stanley fans to turn up here and answer the questions below. Our Who are You? feature is in its dying days.

 

The death of Who are You? is a great shame – well, maybe only a small shame. It’s been fun to do, but simply too time-consuming given the modest resources of this site.

In all honesty, posting questions here in open letter format was never really likely to bring in lots of opposing fans even though they see the invitation via newsnow.co.uk. It just seemed worth a try; had the supporters of other clubs responded as well as did Ipswich fans, the series would be continuing.

But it hasnt happened. That has nothing to do with, for example, Accrington Stanley’s small fan base. We can tell from our internal systems data that lots of opposing fans, including some driven here by links at newsnow.co.uk, visited Salut! Sunderland, have seen the open invitation to have their say. They simply chose not to respond.

So be it. But on the off chance that some Stanley devotee out there sees this and wishes to offer his or gee thoughts, here are the questions again (updated since they originally applied to the league cup game) …

 

Read moreAccrington Stanley vs Sunderland Who are You? .. any Stanley fans up for questions?

Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland: just as we were enjoying a break from football …


Yes, it’s back. Proper football, I mean, says Monsieur Salut.

Along with plenty of others, if probably still a minority, I tend to regard international breaks as weekends without football. At the very least, it’s a time to welcome not being too bothered about results.

Delighted though I am that England won against Bulgaria, and much as I hope they also beat Kosovo handsomely, I do not lose sleep over the international side’s ups and downs as I do over Sunderland. I am not in England just now and it took me a day or more to remember to check online for the Bulgaria score.

That sums up my interest in the national side though I was amused to see that here in France, they played the Andorran national anthem instead of Albania’s and then, after kickoff was delayed for the mistake to be rectified and the Albanian players assuaged, offered hearty apologies to Armenia.

Even in France, I suspect, protective labour laws and the abolition of execution by guilltoine may not be enough to stop heads rolling.

But football – for us – is back on Saturday and this is your chance to tell us, without selfish thoughts of reward, whether Sunderland will get the promotion drive back on course after the bad defeat at Posh.

Read moreAccrington Stanley vs Sunderland: just as we were enjoying a break from football …

Sixer’s Accrington Stanley Soapbox: You’ve got to eliminate the negative

Easy Peasy says Jake

Malcolm Dawson writes……like a lot of us Pete Sixsmith was underwhelmed by our performance against Oxford and after the Ipswich game he e-mailed me to say that he was becoming disillusioned with SAFC and the game in general. It’s a phase many of us have been through and while I was disappointed by yet another two draws, as I see it, it is better than being disappointed by yet another two defeats and I remain convinced that we have owners who have the best interests of the club and supporters at heart, and a manager and players who are striving for success and never give less than 100%. Disappointment I can deal with if I can see commitment. Despite the disappointment, for me the football at League 1 and Championship level is closer to the game I have followed for nigh on 60 years, whilst the top half of Premiership with its ridiculous transfer fees, wages and player power is now so far removed from the game that was created for the working man and it is there I lose interest.

It was the nature of our performance against Oxford and in the first half of the game at Portman Road that was so frustrating. Last night’s game, as reported by Barnes and Benno, sounded much more open and whilst there were still some defensive lapses was, by all accounts, a much more impressive and attacking display by our boys in blue, with the first shot on target coming in the first minute thus immediately equaling the total for the entire 90 minutes last Saturday.

Pete Sixsmith was there and having instructed his manservant Bruce to retrieve the soapbox from below stairs, then to give it a good wax and polish, is now ready to climb back on it for the first time this season. Was he more inspired by last night’s performance in hilly east Lancs? Let’s find out………

ENJOYING EAST LANCASHIRE – ACCRINGTON STANLEY, LEAGUE CUP 13/08/19

What’s not to enjoy about a Tuesday night visit to Accrington?

It’s a pleasant run over the A59, down to Skipton and then along to Colne for a pre-match pint in Boyce’s Barrel, a pleasant micro pub complete with Sam, the Golden Retriever who will turn on his sad eye look in return for a crisp or two.

Boyce’s Barrel and dog

The beer’s not bad either. The Robbie’s Porter from Ayr was a welcome change from all the hopped pales and bitters that seem to be in favour at the moment.

The Crown Ground is neat and tidy (although it would benefit from a cover on the away end) and the stewarding is friendly but effective. Once through the portals, there is a pleasant alfresco bar area with relatively cheap beer and a splendid selection of Clayton’s Pies for those who are hungry.

Being a Tuesday night League Cup tie after a rather underwhelming start, the turn out was less than it would be for a league game, but 41%of the crowd of 2343 stood in the uncovered end or sat down the side, which is not a bad turn out at all – just under 1,000 made it.

Of that 1,000 (959 to be precise), the vast majority were non beer chuckers, non singers of songs about players they never saw and non-moaners, so that made for a pleasant evening as well.

The other thing I like about Accrington is that Aiden McGeady does something special there. In March, he opened the scoring with a fantastic strike from the edge of the box. Here, five months after the crushing disappointment of last season, he opened his account by scoring an even better one.

He arrived to replace an ineffective Will Grigg in the 69th minute, nine minutes after Stanley had levelled. Within two minutes, he had played a killer ball to McNulty, whose shot hit the bar and bounced out and then five minutes later, along came a wonderful goal to restore the lead.

He picked up a loose ball just outside the centre circle and bore down on the Accrington defenders as if he were a lion attacking a herd of frightened wildebeest. As they backed off, the McGeady twinkle toes took him into the box, from where he placed a superb shot beyond Dimitar Evtimov and into the net, to prompt wild celebrations amongst the faithful 959 who had made the trip.

Oooh that McGeady!

It also prompted one elderly female Accrington supporters to say to her friend, “That’s why I said s*** when he came on,” a comment that was picked up by Barnsey and Benno’s mike and faithfully relayed by Malcolm in his fine introduction to the 7. The ghosts of Cissie and Ada stalk the Crown Ground. I wonder if they heaved their bosoms up as effectively as Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough did…..

Enough of large knockers – there are a few of them that sit near me. Let’s do what Bing Crosby said and “Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative.”

There were first outings for Lee Burge, Alim Ozturk, Max Power and Grant Leadbitter. All did well, encouraging us to follow The Ole Groaner’s advice.

Decent return to the starting line up for Alim

Burge was a bit shaky at the start and was well away from a ball across the box that could have led to an equaliser, but as the game went on, he grew in confidence and showed that John McLaughlin has genuine competition for the goalkeeping spot this season. His distribution was excellent, if not quite Pickfordian.

Lee Burge – competition between the sticks

Alim Ozturk also did well as the second central defender in a back four. He looked fit and capable of forming a partnership with Willis. Both are strong in the tackle, neither gets pushed about and Ozturk clears his lines. He’ll probably have a stinker against Portsmouth (Remember – Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative).

The midfield duo of Grant Leadbitter and Max Power gelled nicely. This looks like a good pairing, as effective as the pairing between Bluetooth and the various devices that run off it. It will do its job for most of the time but will occasionally need a reboot – or whatever computers call it.

Leadbitter was competitive and sat a bit deeper than Max, who showed why we were all raving about him this time last year. The ball he played for Maguire to set up McNulty’s opener was excellent and he continued in that vein until he tired near the end. On this performance, Dobson and McGeouch will find it difficult to get into the starting XI.

They were aided by Maguire and Gooch, both effective at times. Gooch still seems to need an extra touch on the ball and Maguire is reluctant to go into a hard challenge after his broken leg last year, but both did well.

Up front, Will Grigg had a decent first half and could (should?) have opened his account for the season. In the second half, his game collapsed and once again, he was hauled off to be replaced by the man himself, Aiden McGeady. I’m afraid the sands of time are running out for Grigg with the support and maybe the manager as well. He seems a decent guy so let’s hope he can turn it round.

Mark McNulty looks a completely different type of player. He is physical, puts genuine pressure on defenders and seems very keen to show that his season at Reading was a waste of a year. Having to play at the dreary Majedski Stadium in front of dreary supporters and live in a dreary town must have taken its toll, although you would have thought he should have been used to it having joined Reading from Coventry City.

At The Crown Ground, he showed exactly why Ross brought him in. He scored an excellent opening goal, rounding off a fine move started by Power and extended by Maguire and finished off the game by bullying a Stanley defender off the ball, going to the by-line and giving Charlie Wyke a gilt-edged chance that he took gleefully to make it 3-1. Effective running from a Sunderland forward in the 90th minute is as rare as a thoughtful intervention into the national debate from Nigel Farage.

Poor Conor McLaughlin drew the short straw and had to play at left back. No doubt there will be some on social media lambasting Ross, Donald, Methven and the tea lady for letting Donald Love go, but we do need to bring someone in PDQ. The Ulsterman was bombarded with long balls behind him at the start of the second half and when Jordan Clark got in front of him, a needless penalty was given away. He may struggle to get his place back on the right as Luke O’Nien was his usual chirpy self on that side. We shall see….

Stanley were ok. A bit niggly at times, but no time wasting and for a team that is always being rebuilt, showed some cohesion. I liked the look of former Leamington forward Colby Bishop who converted the penalty with some power and Sean McConville was tidy and organised. With only two relegation places available, they should be fine. The league game in four weeks’ time will give a clearer indication.

On the way out, I dropped some coins into the bucket of a Bury supporter who was collecting to try and save The Shakers from oblivion. He was pessimistic about their chances of survival. In a world where huge amounts of money are paid out for decent but not outstanding players, the £3.5m that the Gigg Lane club need is a relatively insignificant sum.

Brian Clough

There is no chance of them getting any aid from a league where clubs have just spent £1.4bn in the summer. And you wonder why I am becoming disillusioned with a game I fell in love with when people gasped at the £42,500 we paid for Cloughie?

Let’s hope that we can continue the good work on Saturday and see off Portsmouth and some of the moaners and groaners. Remember what the oldest one of the latter said….

You gotta accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

Latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mister In Between.

Ha’way the Lads

 

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Sixer’s Sevens: Burnley beckons after comfortable win at Accrington Stanley

Jake: ‘Sixer (or his sub) does it in seven words, no more, no less – unless he miscounts’

Malcolm Dawson writes….circumstances meant I couldn’t get to Accrington this evening, which is a shame because despite the rain and the abandoned game on my last visit, this together with Rochdale, is one of the venues I was really looking forward to revisiting this year. And presumably the Stanley Chairman is still miffed with Stewart Donald as I couldn’t even pay to watch a live stream via safsee. So it was Barnes and Benno for me, accompanied by the Lancashire burr of a couple of ladies sitting immediately in front of the commentary position. 

Benno was certainly feeling more upbeat at halftime than he has been recently, and so was Pete Sixsmith, whose half time 7 read “comfortable first half with an improved performance.” Only one goal to show at the break, but at least it was in our favour this time.

One goal of course, is often never enough and as Pete’s second text said “one all after stupid penalty given away” brought a much more familiar scoreline. Aiden McGeady however obviously hadn’t read the script and put us back in front to no surprise for one of the two ladies who confessed to the listening audience “that’s why I said ‘s***’ when he came on” while Pete’s update read “wonderful goal by McGeady“. With time running out and me wondering if we might have to endure a penalty shoot out, Charlie Wyke stuck in a third and that was that. 

Pete will be dusting down his soapbox and filing his match report tomorrow but for now make do with his full time summary in just seven words.

Read moreSixer’s Sevens: Burnley beckons after comfortable win at Accrington Stanley

Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland: victory would boost confidence for the Pompey test

Jake: ‘Pkmoey’s the bigger game, but a win here would be nice’

The invitation to supporters of our Carabao Cup opponents, Accrington Stanley, to answer a few questions from Salut! Sunderland has received more or less the response we might have expected.

Not one of the hardy souls who follow “the club that wouldn’t die” has taken us up on the offer.

The questions are repeated below in case there is more enthusiasm with the game being that much closer. There isn’t much to update; Stanley’s first home game of the season was suspended because of the continuing crisis at the intended opponents, Bury, so they remain pointless.

Another invitation – to supporters of Sunderland and Ipswich to predict the outcome of Saturday’s game at Portman Road fared better.

The absence of a prize did not deter readers and the posting attracted a healthy 18 responses, though not all were entries. David Miller correctly forecast 1-1 and is probably cursing Salut! Sunderland for making it a prizeless edition.

Let’s have another go, once again for fun. Do we care too much about a league cup game? Well, clearly not as much we care about Saturday’s tough league match at home to Portsmouth, who beat us twice last season as we played each other five times (including the Checkatrade final and the play-off semis). But for those of us who want Sunderland to win every game, a strong and successful performance at the tiny Wham stadium would be welcome – and do no harm to confidence after our less than resounding start to the season.

Read moreAccrington Stanley vs Sunderland: victory would boost confidence for the Pompey test

Accrington Stanley vs Sunderland: giving a voice to Stanley fans

Jake: ‘the League Cup – an opportunity or a nuisance?’

Salut! Sunderland maintains its idle hands new approach to the traditional Who are You? exercise ahead of Tuesday night’s visit to Accrington Stanley in the Carabao Cup (League Cup still sounds better).

Accordingly, rather than go out a search for a winning interviewee, a task that proved desperately hard last season, a shortened version of the questions we have previously asked appears below and we invite Stanley fans to respond to any or all of them in the Comments below.

This method worked excellently for yesterday’s league game at Ipswich, as acknowledged by our deputy editor Malcolm Dawson, but less well for the opener against Oxford United. Stanley’s small fan base makes a bumper response to this post unlikely but we’d love to be proved wrong. It’s your chance to have your say about your club; it means as much to you as ours does to us …

Read moreAccrington Stanley vs Sunderland: giving a voice to Stanley fans

Portsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?

On Friday we had over 3,000 visitors, followed by a quiet weekend. Not everyone took part in our top six poll  but over 1200 votes (not voters) have now been cast. That’s not bad, I suppose, for a League One fans’ site but I am expecting a few more will chip in before the season kicks off.

Early results suggest the headline I used then – for which I visited a couple of betting sites to find the promotion favourites – was on the right lines. Of the six clubs I named five are in the top spots. Lincoln (currently lingering in 8th place) are the exception with Sunderland, unsurprisingly, replacing them. There’s a gap – slight but quite evident – between the top three and the next three,  after which numbers drop off, so Lincoln and Doncaster, who made last season’s playoffs and now lie seventh, have quite a bit of ground to make up.

All of the clubs in the League received votes, which I’m taking to signify that we  managed a wide reach. It will be interesting to see if enough fans of so-called smaller clubs, which are predominantly towards the bottom of the poll, visit in large enough numbers to move their favourites upwards. Crowdwise, numbers are against them but we have only small numbers voting so you never know.

Read morePortsmouth then Sunderland, Ipswich, Rotherham, Peterborough and Coventry top our poll. But where are Lincoln?