Monsieur Salut writes: Burton Albion are a club with lots of virtues but the size of the fanbase is not among them, unless small is beautiful. Finding a Who are You? interview volunteer who isn’t the one we had before, and also the one before that, is not easy. Hence, our latest cap-in-hand approach to the admirable Dave Child*, who combines home-and-away support with a mini-career as a radio pundit on all things Burton Albion and also the quality of football ground pies.
It is no hardship to turn to Dave once more for a look at the season our two clubs have had in the third tier after going down together a year ago. And he will collect a Salut! Sunderland mug in honour of of his services to this series …
Salut! Sunderland: as I write, you are one up at home to Barnsley – thanks, especially for making it 3-1 by the end – and we are one down at Rochdale (and bigger thanks to the Lads for turning that round). Do you sense the playoffs are a distinct possibility or a distant one?
Dave Child: the playoffs for Burton Albion this season will probably be unlikely. We have left it far too late and been far too inconsistent, but it will be very close.
Nigel Clough: born in Sunderland but has no real memories of being there as an infant – what is your current view of what he has done for you and whether he should be managing at a higher level
Nigel is a legend at Burton Albion: 10 years in his first spell, it was his work that steered us into the Football League, now in his second spell he understands the club and our limitations…. the Premier League you’re having a laugh, hands off our Nigel.
Leading on from the first question, your impression of this season? Who has been class for you and who has failed to perform as expected?
Our first season back in League One has been very disappointing, at times we have looked an average team in a very average league, but we will look back on our Caraboa Cup adventure the decent teams we beat to reach the semi final, a great achievement.
Player wise could have done with Liam Boyce scoring more goals, our veteran Jake Buxton has had a great second half to the season but Mr Consistent Lucas Akins is the pick of the bunch for me.
Best moment of the season so far – and worst?
Best moment, strangely, losing 9-0 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. Wow what an experience. and the worst moment was losing at Oxford United we were dreadful that afternoon.
Have you kept an eye on our progress? Any thoughts on how we’ve done and how we compare with Luton, Barnsley, Portsmouth and Charlton?
I have watched with interest Sunderland’s progress. You guys have had a great season, but it only stays great if you win promotion. Very little to chose between the top four 4 at the moment, I thought Barnsley were the pick of the bunch but they didn’t look so hot when the Brewers sorted them out at the weekend.
And hand on heart, where will each of our sides finish?
You will finish above us, I think Sunderland will sneak that final automatic slot, perhaps with a little help from your friends at Burton Albion, as we still have to play Portsmouth and Luton.
What is your long-term prognosis for Burton?
Now we have dropped into League One I think the Champions League is perhaps a little out of our reach for about 20 years, so ideally I would like us to be serious challengers for promotion in back to the Championship next season.
Who will win the Premier League (and do you care)?
Who will win it or who would I like to win it…… so long as it’s a team from the Northern half of the country I don’t really care [think you’re safe there, Dave – Ed]. I have got a bit of a soft spot for Manchester City as they treated us with such great respect in our cup semi final.
Will you make it to Sunderland for a midweek evening game? What will be there score?
Alas I will not make it on Tuesday evening but will watch the match in full on iFollow. I was looking forward to it as a Saturday fixture and making the trip, but your lot had a Sunday fixture at Wembley (messed that one up) and moved our game to Tuesday.
You really don’t wont to be playing in-form Burton Albion at the moment, we can beat anybody on our day and are doing just that at the moment.
The Black Cats have not lost at home this season, but there’s always a first time, and don’t forget we relegated you on our last trip. So Burton to win 2-1.
* Dave Childs on himself: fifty years now as a Burton Albion fan, I still love my team. You will hear me twice a week on the Touch FM breakfast show with a light-hearted look at the club and more importantly a report on the pies at each ground we visit, making me known as the Pieman.
It’s been great fun visiting away grounds this season, perhaps a little more friendly than the Championship.
Interview: Colin Randall