VB Crystal Ball 2012/13 - The Results
It's a now annual tradition which is difficult to explain as we're all fairly rubbish at it and end up looking silly.
No benefit of hindsight, no foresight of any note, so the chances of Bom Bom, Sasman, Joe Ainscough and myself looking anything but a bit daft seemed remote.
I posed the questions, this is what we all reckoned would happen...
1) So, we're in the Championship. First off I've got to ask - can we bounce straight back up?
Sasman - Tough one, with the squad we have we should be in with a shot. However with the gaffer we have, then who bloody knows. I'll tip a play-off position, then its anything goes from there.
Bom Bom - If we can get rid of the clown and get a half decent manager, maybe but we have serious lack of depth at the back and that worries me.
Mikey Delap - Yes I think so. We'll need to be shed of Kean to stand a chance but with a large squad it'll stand us in good stead for a long season. Play offs.
Joe Ainscough - Yes. It will no doubt be tough but I feel we can do it. I don't think it will be Steve Kean in charge when we do though. He needs to be gone for us to stand any chance of promotion, but after what Shebby Singh said this summer, I think he will be out of here before October.
Yeah. Not a good start. Good shout from Ainscough on Kean leaving around that time, but other than that too much blind optimism.
Victory for Bom on this one as he did a stellar bit of fence sitting and came out looking less stupid than the others.
2) Rovers (for once) have been very active in the transfer market. Which signing do you think will make the biggest impact? (Please note, questions were asked before we signed Jordan Rhodes)
Sasman - I think Danny Murphy will be a shrewd signing. The engine in midfield is something we have been lacking for a while, his experience and ability to pick a pass will provide us with several opportunities.
Bom Bom - I think Danny Murphy is a shrewd signing (couldn't have been Kean's idea then, eh?) but I think that one of the younger Portuguese contingent will surprise and impress us, providing they don't have clauses in their contract about playing so many games or scoring so many goals.
Mikey Delap - I am quite impressed by the signing of Etuhu. Tall and strong, he should do well in the Championship. Nunes as well if given game time should add something positive.
Joe Ainscough - I think Danny Murphy's experience and leadership in the midfield, along side his Fulham midfield partner Etuhu will have the biggest impact this season. We do have a young squad after we got rid of Emerton, Salgado, Nelsen etc, so his experience will be much needed.
Err, shall we move on?
3) And which signing will flop the most?
Sasman - Well Best is already gone for 6 months and we won't see the best of him this year, so the big man up front gets the nod for me.
Bom Bom - Depends on what you expect out of him, Nuno Gomes I think. If he is there to inspire and provide experience, he will do that, if folk expect him to score 20 goals then I think he will be considered a flop. Outside of the new guys, I think Vukcevic will flop. Not played enough to acclimate and he will not be used to the Championship style of play and will be off in January.
Mikey Delap - Gomes is a fairly obvious pick, but I'll go with Edinho Junior. Never heard of him, which doesn't mean a lot but that's who I'll plump forout of sheer guesswork.
Joe Ainscough - Paulo Jorge. From what I have seen I haven't been impressed. Let's hope he improves and I get this question wrong.
Anyone who mentioned an Iberian player not called Nuno Gomes well done. Sasman cheated for the Leon Best answer so he faces 5 lashes of the whip.
4) Who will finish as Rovers top scorer? (again, please note, this was pre-Rhodes signing)
Sasman - I think we will see more of Mauro Formica this season, probably playing in behind the striker. His ability to dance through a defensive line will be further assisted via some neat passing from Murphy. Formica to notch 14 Goals.
Bom Bom - Sadly, I can see GrandMember or Kazim Kazim doing that. If we manage to actually secure the services of Jordan Rhodes or another proven goalscorer, then my money will be on them (Would have been Leon Best, oh well).
Mikey Delap - I'd have gone for Best if it wasn't for his stupid injury. Without a particularly prolific option in the squad at present I'll plump for Ruben Rochina.
Joe Ainscough - Out of the players we have currently I think Colin Kazim-Richards, however I think the top scorer is yet to be signed.
Hey, we actually did 'fairly well' on this one - as rare as an eclipse - Ainscough and Bom pick up a bonus point for daring to mention Rhodes (his signing wasn't a given). Rochina and Kaz finished second joint top, which granted isn't hard.
In other news, Sasman may have been overly generous with the Formica 14 goals shout. He scored 1.
5) Elsewhere in the League - Name your top 6.
Sasman - Tricky one. Bolton, Cardiff, Blackburn, Blackpool, Leeds, Hull
Bom Bom - Birmingham City
Mikey Delap - Cardiff, Bolton, Leicester, Rovers, Blackpool,Nottingham Forest.
Joe Ainscough - 1)Birmingham 2) Blackburn 3) Wolves 4) Cardiff 5) Leicester 6) Hull
Sasman - 2. Bom - 1. Delap - 2. Ainscough - 3. Nice work Joseph. Bom, evil stares in your direction.
6) And can you name the play off winners?
Sasman - Blackburn to edge out Leeds!
Bom Bom - Cardiff City.
Mikey Delap - Leicester.
Joe Ainscough - Wolves.
Obviously, we haven't got quite this far ahead yet. But (of all people) myself are still in with a shout. Joe gets docked 3,000 points for picking Wolves.
7) Who's getting relegated?
Sasman - My logic is pick a couple of teams I've never heard of, and take a gamble on the third. Peterborough, Brighton Hove Albion and Barnsley.
Bom Bom - Hull City, Charlton, Burnley.
Mikey Delap - Peterborough, Huddersfield and Bristol City.
Joe Ainscough - Crystal Palace, Charlton and Barnsley.
Well I never. Delap - 2, Sasman - 1, Bom - 0, Ainscough - 0.
Bom gets special attention and mockage for picking a team that got automatically promoted.
8) Finally, name me the divisions Team of the Year come the seasons end?
Sasman -Bloody Hell, here goes.
GK Paul Robinson/Mark Bunn
DF Kevin McNaughton
DF Patrick Kisnorbo
DF Roger Johnson
DF David Wheater
MD Lewis McGugan
MD Danny Murphy
MD Peter Whittingham
FW Luciano Becchio
FW Craig Bellamy
FW Wilfred Zaha
Schmeichel, McNaughton, Dann, Johnson, Alonso, Murphy, Whittingham, Taylor-Fletcher, Guedioura, Zaha, Bellamy.
Butland, Jack Hobbs, Matt Mills, Givet, Ward, Matt Philips, Danny Murphy, Whittingham, Sone Aluko, Fryatt, Doyle.
Always a toughie this one.
Here was the actual team as voted for by the PFA - Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester), Kieran Trippier (Burnley), Wes Morgan (Leicester), Mark Hudson (Cardiff), Wayne Bridge (Brighton), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Thomas Ince (Blackpool), Peter Whittingham (Cardiff), Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace), Glenn Murray (Crystal Palace), Matej Vydra (Watford).
Right, see you down the pub in about an hour? That was pretty embarrassing!
Same again next season?