Tag Archives: Gary Locke

Ladbrokes Championship Predictions 2016-17

31 Jul

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Continuing on from the Ladbrokes Premiership Predictions its probably a good time to step into the mire that is the Ladbrokes Championship.  Mire is a apt word as this league is by far the hardest to predict and Clubs finding themselves dropped into this league have found it easier to fall out the bottom of the League than gain Promotion to the Premiership.  In last three years only Hamilton Accies have moved up via the perilous route of the Playoffs.  Relegating Hibernian who have repeatedly failed to get out of the league.  Falkirk failed at the last Hurdle last year and Rangers the year before.  Don’t think for a second that remaining a in the Championship is easy too Alloa were last years whipping Boys and they successfully Beat or Drew with Teams chasing Promotion and Playoff Places.  Even before Ross Jack took some green paint to narrow the pitch.  The remaining teams will be delighted that their fixtures don’t include two trips to the dodgy carpet at The Innodrill.   

1 Falkirk
2 Saint Mirren
3 Hibernian
4 Raith Rovers
5 Dundee United
6 Dunfermline Athletic
7 Queen of South
8 Greenock Morton
9 Ayr United
10 Dumbarton
Falkirk Stad

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 In a League spoiled by Title Contenders I have plumped for Falkirk to gain automatic Promotion.  Peter Houston’s late goal kings simply have something money can’t buy they don’t give up which is good because the lack of any real investment in the Squad and relying on Loan’s and Youth to freshen up the Squad is the only real reason the perennial Bridesmaid cant walk down the aisle to the Premiership.

 

Alex Rae’s Saint Mirren in second is again, some will say a surprising choice.  It’s the former Rangers stars first real Season in Charge and he took Ian Murray’s Duds at Christmas and turned them into a team with something that the Paisley Buddies hardly recognised.  A Team that would play well at The Paisley 2021 Stadium not  just playing well a team that actually won at Home.  Rae has stamped his personality on the Squad,  determined, skilful, thoughtful and playing with a smile.  New Owners with Fan involvement should ensure smiles all round Greenfield Road this season.  Maybe not automatic promotion but a good chance in the playoffs.

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Scottish Cup winners Hibernian in Third.  Neil Lennon replaces Leith Hero Alan Stubbs but there is something worrying in Easter Road.  After beating the Cup Jinx can Hibs beat the League Jinx.  With tricky trips to unfamiliar surroundings and with a slightly lower standard of Referees will former Celtic Boss Lennon remain in the dug out long enough to exert influence.  The European failure gave the impression that the Hibs team has a feel of after the Lord Mayors Show.  No amount of exuberance can hide Hibernians terrible record in the Playoffs,  so with all this in mind my thoughts is another season of under achieving in the league.

If it wasn’t for Bad Luck Gary Locke would have no Luck at all.  Head Coach at troubled Hearts then being Sacked by new Board to move to take over at equally troubled Kilmarnock to be sacked mid Season.  Locke is a good Coach, one to watch and maybe the stability of Kirkcaldy will suit him so a nice easy Fourth and a playoff place.  No One would grudge Hearts Legend Locke that. From the good foundations laid by Ray McKinnon I suspect that Raith Rovers will cock a snoop at their previous Manager.

in Bottom half of the league.  Its by the talents of the former Raith Boss that I place United in fifth.Dundee United have that look of British Home Stores.  Faded glory,  if you look past the neglect and mismanagement you can see hints of gold leaf but you have to look through layers of dust. The Days of Jim McLean and Ivan Golak have been tarnished by Stephen Thompson’s colossal mismanaging his inheritance.  Board Room Family Squabbles, Managers on commission on sales of players,  Finger Pointing and generally blaming anyone but himself in conjunction with being a loud voice in matters not directly involving Tannadice.  If I have missed something out in that description its only because they are so many rocks a Arab can throw at The Tannadice Board Room and Pantomime villain Chairman Moan Thompson.  Ray McKinnon former player in the good old days has gambled his stock with the Tangerine Fans.  Ray has a top heavy demoralised squad with a mighty wage bill to service and a Shop Keepers Idiot son as His Boss.  If it wasn’t for sheer respect for McKinnon I would once again like last year place Dundee United

Dunfermline Athletic in sixth as the Pars recover from near financial meltdown.  If any club could have the tag too big to be… then surely its the East End Park Club. Allan Johnston has slowly filled a playing roster with youth and players on last chance to great effect.  A year to cement away days in Dunfermline as the development continues with a creditable Sixth place.

When Previous Managers flew north to Ross County James Fowler faced up with the expectations of the Dumfries fans and didn’t quiet reach the mark. Selling good players on or losing them to others didn’t help and I suspect Fowler is still learning at Queen Of The South. I suspect the influx of Teams with Premiership Experience has made Queen Of The South’s task of Challenging difficult.  It would be a Leicester City style shock of Biblical proportions for Queen Of The South to be in top half of the table but I don’t see them troubling the Playoff or relegation places either.

Jim Duffy what can you say about a man who is so enthusiastic and a Football Man.  Strip controversy apart their is a hard core loyal fan base to please in Greenock and on the whole Duffy’s Morton do just that.  Tight Budget constraints mean that Morton for me will shock sometimes awe but mainly settle for a nice Eighth.

Ayr United in ninth,  Ian McColl worked wonders bringing the Somerset Park Club up last term and with similar Budget to Jim Duffy along the coast at Greenock I think Ayr United will miss the experience of Morton and fail to overtake them in League.  I do think in the final shakedown a trip to the Beach will be on the fixture list next year.

 Dumbarton in automatic relegation place as the Championship waves goodbye to the Rock.  Stephen Aitken is a good coach but there are only ten teams in this league and some one has to finish last and its difficult to argue against Dumbarton not filling that slot. 

 

 

One Team in Edinburgh?

23 Jun

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Hearts must be in trouble. Reports of Gary Locke contacting Ally McCoist looking from a glamour friendly game to raise funds for the beleaguered Gorgie club. Smacks of desperation.

The hypocrisy involved in Jam Tarts fans paying to see a club that they said they didn’t need and didn’t want to know this time last year to benefit their club. There are so many U turns happening in Gorgie that Hearts should rent out the Tynecastle pitch for the Waltzers! As for Rangers fans turning up to help Hearts, No chance. What next Stuart Regan and Neil Doncaster being paraded at Ibrox to be welcomed as returning heroes!

Ally I am sure is sympathetic to Gary Locke and staff. The Rangers Manager and Staff after all have first hand experience. Ally is a professional well liked guy and will be kind to any Hearts request but in Ally’s and anyone at Rangers mind the answer surely has to be a polite no. The fiasco that lead Rangers to start last season with not one pre season game will I fear be remembered in Ibrox. No one was willing to stump up a team for Rangers to play last year and that was not games for profit, Rangers wanted games for sporting fitness. Rangers only played in Brechin in the Ramsdens Cup due to a hastily cobbled together temporary license for SFA.

Now Heart of Midlothian Football Club seem like they are in their death throws. Poor season ticket sales, credit/debit card issues have left sales on the pittance scale rather than selling like hot cakes. Is this forgotten promises from fans or a administrational nightmare?

A CVA seems to be the last chance saloon for the Gorgie Faithful, a bar full of Administrators sounds like the least fun place you could go for a pint but I bet Gary Locke is on all the fruit machines hoping to win big. Hearts situation has now went international, around the CVA table will be representatives from Lithuanian Administrators for UBIG group. The mess is such that we now have Administrators talking to Liquidators about a CVA. Add in HMRC and you have a nightmare of figures. The Lithuanian accountants have to get all the money in to pay off a country faced with bailing out a Bank! The HMRC have to do the same. This does not sound like a amenable compromise situation for BDO. It seems with so many legal vested interests in the room that a compromise to find a pence in the pound Company Volunteer Agreement is less than realistic.

Tynecastles only assets some players and a stadia. Players who guided by SPFA will legally be able to sign for who they like as soon as a CVA fails and liquidation kicks in. Therefore the only asset is a area of prime real estate in expensive congested Edinburgh. Allied to administrators/liquidators legally empowered to get as much money as possible for creditors. The threat of Heart of Midlothian being disassembled is real. This could happen not for petty vendettas but because of a legal duty.

So Hearts liquidate and look towards G51 for a template for recovery. This template has been set by Rangers, SFA and SFL so the SFPL will obviously follow the same proceedures. Hearts will leave newly published fixture list to be replaced by Morton and the knock on will follow down the league’s as happened last year. Hearts will enter the 4th tier. The mantra will be to try to follow Rangers up the league’s. Hoping along the way that Hearts and Tyncastle don’t part company. Surely that’s an option?

Well no. Rangers have a vastly increased fan base than Hearts. This made Rangers, its brand and assets attractive to investors and media sponsors. Even with local and die hard support a Newco Hearts would struggle. Tynecastle is by far the biggest asset or to be exact the land Tynecastle sits on is prime for development. The spectre of property developers asset stripping haunts Hearts. The sale of its spiritual home means the heart will be stripped from Hearts.

That’s attractive to investors but a nightmare for Jam Tarts dwindling fans. Homeless, potless and languishing in the lowest division Hearts would be lucky not to become Clydebank or Third Lanark.

The recently new formed pyramid system voted in by Hearts and others means Hearts surely now if liquidated would go into the newly created LOWLAND LEAGUE!

This makes Hearts now what can best be described as suspect statements given to authorities two days before the end of last season that they were financially ok in spite of UBIG administration a folly. In addition the recent events at Tynecastle bring into question the validity of the Hearts last solvent league game against Aberdeen. If Hearts had beaten the Dons they would of had a extra piont deduction this season. Surely this played on someone’s mind as the Hearts team bus travelled up the M90/A90. Never has a game been played in Scotland with such a benefit for a team not to win. The hangover from the tail end of last season could haunt Hearts for years to come. At a minimum a new charge from the Beeks could be winging its way from Hampden.

Last season a points deduction due to administration would of deducted Hearts 18 points and consigned them to go down. Relegation one division is nothing compared to relegation of FOUR into a league that is in its first year with no track record media deal or sponsor. I can’t see a Hearts deal to parachute them into spfl4 like Rangers were last year going down well with the newly empowered teams of the Highland and Lowland Leagues.
Regardless of what lower league Broken Hearts play in, it will not entice any tv companies to screen their games. Their will not be a clamour to buy Hearts games. Sponsors will simply not care that Hearts have appeared in a lower division. There is little or no added value to them. Certainly not to the value of last year when Rangers fans freindly, income generating invasion of small towns last year. That’s solely due to a lack of numbers of Hearts fan base.

The fate of Hearts remains in the balance. Make no mistake the abyss awaits. Edinburgh could even become a one club city. Hibs could become the only representative in the league from our nation’s capital. Twenty-five years ago Edinburgh had three clubs in league football. Medowbank moved to Livingston, Livingston themselves went onto administration and now ply their trade in lower divisions. Hibs are in a group of tight rope walking clubs, one missed payment away from Administration.

One Club in Edinburgh? There is a real prospect of no football in Edinburgh? A laughable prospect? Well scoot back a year, Hearts fans laughed! Sadly now I fear Gorgie Road will be filled with tears.