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Claridge Kicks Off

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Steve Claridge | 10:28 UK time, Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Hello, and welcome to another edition of 'Claridge Kicks Off', the Football League video blog where Steve Claridge tackles all the big talking points in the Championship, League One and League Two.

This week, in his final blog of 2010, Steve looks ahead to the frantic festive period that, weather permitting, will see teams play four games in nine days between Boxing Day and 3 January and discusses the effects such an intense spell of action will have on teams and individual players as the season starts to take shape.

Steve also reflects on Leeds' charge up the Championship table and takes a look at a much needed win for a manager under pressure at the other end of the division, Ipswich's Roy Keane.

And he gives his take on Bristol Rovers' decision to sack boss Paul Trollope, and discusses what Sheffield United should do next following Gary Speed's departure as manager to take charge of Wales.

You can submit your questions for Steve below, or contact him on Twitter. He will answer them on a future 'Claridge Kicks Off' rather than posting a reply.

Non-UK users can see a special international version of Steve's video blog here.

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  • 1. At 12:03pm on 22 Dec 2010, Stone Cold Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira wrote:

    Hi Steve,

    What are your opinions on Watford this season, Judging from your reactions to some of there recent games it seems you like them quite a bit? The Millwall and QPR away games were fantastic.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 12:05pm on 22 Dec 2010, Cludger wrote:

    'ello Stevie,

    Do you bother reading these comments?

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Cludger

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 1:09pm on 22 Dec 2010, horgan88 wrote:

    Do you think Leeds has the best squad in the Championship at the moment?

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 3:05pm on 22 Dec 2010, Superman69 wrote:

    Im sorry but i spend a lot of time on the excellent BBC website but this guy is by far and above the worst you have. Outdated and ill-informed opinions on everything.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 4:41pm on 22 Dec 2010, Chriso wrote:

    Now hang on a minute Clarky... don't get your red pants in a twist.

    Claridge is one of the best BBC pundits, certainly better than his usual counterpart Mr. Plastic, Manish. And compared to some of the online jokers, I think we should be giving Steve some respect. Do like Tim Vickery though - but everyone likes him don't they?

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  • 6. At 4:48pm on 22 Dec 2010, babyTeenwolf wrote:

    4. At 3:05pm on 22 Dec 2010, Superman69 wrote:
    Im sorry but i spend a lot of time on the excellent BBC website but this guy is by far and above the worst you have. Outdated and ill-informed opinions on everything.

    He loves his Portsmouth and can see how they have done nothing wrong in the whole cheating the system and screwing the good people.

    I used to have respect for him, but its all gone now

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  • 7. At 4:49pm on 22 Dec 2010, afcbathlete wrote:

    Hi Steve,

    I was wondering if you think Bournemouth are promotion candidates this year and how well do you think our season has gone so far this year after being promoted last year and do you think we can stay in the positionn which we are in now?

    Thanks

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  • 8. At 5:01pm on 22 Dec 2010, Scottish Bergkamp wrote:

    comment #4 clearly hasn't a clue

    nice blog as always

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  • 9. At 5:58pm on 22 Dec 2010, Superman69 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 10. At 6:06pm on 22 Dec 2010, PabloPiatti wrote:

    Have a read of http://upper90magazine.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/identity-theft/

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  • 11. At 6:08pm on 22 Dec 2010, Alex Marshall wrote:

    It is a long way off is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Is there any way world football can get together as a majority and tell FIFA that they have made a big mistake for the sport of football/soccer? Yes it would have been good for England to have secured it. Blatter wants nations that have not staged it, so why not Australia? Steve, I hope I am wrong but I think it will be a disater for the beautiful game.

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  • 12. At 6:41pm on 22 Dec 2010, sibusiso wrote:

    last week some people had a go about steve saying QPR had a dodgy defence...
    looks pretty wise now.

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  • 13. At 6:41pm on 22 Dec 2010, ANDY LAMBERT wrote:

    hi steve leeds are going well. i am a life long leeds supporter i live overseas but make about 6 games a year. we are used to heartache. this year we have a more realistic vision but we are stronger than we thought and the league is there for the tacking if the chairman is prepared to support simon grayson in the transfer market. a strong squad will win this league not the first team.

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  • 14. At 6:49pm on 22 Dec 2010, ANDY LAMBERT wrote:

    hi steve i think leeds have a great squad but lack a defensive general it looks like 1 hi profile defender may come available at villa i would like to sea leeds take that opportunity when are defense is solid we can overcome any team because are forward squad is exellent

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  • 15. At 6:55pm on 22 Dec 2010, Winnershroyal wrote:

    Watched Leeds get pummelled at our place last month, hung on for a draw though, looked pretty ordinary really.

    So this rise started in December? Hardly meteoric.

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  • 16. At 7:12pm on 22 Dec 2010, ANDY LAMBERT wrote:

    when leeds get beat they have showed the right character and bounce back. that is very important in this league we are on a learning curve so mistakes will happen and we may loose to lesser teams.but we will deal with it

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  • 17. At 7:36pm on 22 Dec 2010, LP1988 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 18. At 7:48pm on 22 Dec 2010, THE BOW LEGGED CHICKEN wrote:

    Sorry to see P Trollope go from rovers, some great trips to see the GAS, 8,000 away to fullam and we are the small club in Bristol... lol.
    maybe big sam will want to come to THE BRFC.

    Happy Xmas to all 606 users .. even the she teds at Trashton.

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  • 19. At 02:32am on 23 Dec 2010, In Off The Ghost wrote:

    I would like to see the big boys from the Championship back in the Premier League, Leeds and Forest in particular!

    How is David James getting on? Is he still doing well?

    http://www.inofftheghost.wordpress.com

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  • 20. At 09:50am on 23 Dec 2010, Mark Sells wrote:

    Hi Steve, like most Leeds fans I'm on cloud 9 after beating Colin's hoops last w/end and Becchio committing to the club. Our achilles heel though seems to be the lower teams like Preston this yr and Exeter last season. I'm therefore agreeing with Andy Lambert (post 16) and looking forward to getting Paddy Kisnorbo back!

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  • 21. At 09:54am on 23 Dec 2010, danny1991 wrote:

    you orite man i think leeds united deserve to go back in the premier leauge again its not right that our club got relegated as we were in deubt buy a few million we man u r in more debut and go unpunnished because of there name hope we go up braders is wrong for leaving howson for england lol have a good crimbo danny =)

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  • 22. At 11:38am on 23 Dec 2010, DaiDroop wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 12:05pm on 23 Dec 2010, freespeechoneeach wrote:

    Happy Christmas, Steve. You're my favourite BBC pundit, by several miles.
    Leeds for the Prem?

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  • 24. At 12:06pm on 23 Dec 2010, Askers wrote:

    Leeds United - should and will they go up?
    This season it would be great if they could get promoted - its never too early, even if the squad lacks the Premier league quality. When watching the Premier League I feel myself refecting on the past, when you see young Milner, Robinson flourishing along with others, such as Woodgate (where he now) - if only the Chair and manager hadn't over committed in financial terms who knows where we would be now.

    Lets hope they do go up and the current Chair shows some commitment to Leeds and not to his own pocket and invests in some real quality.

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  • 25. At 12:32pm on 23 Dec 2010, DaiDroop wrote:

    How can QPR's defence be dodgy when it has the best record in the League?

    Get a grip man.

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  • 26. At 3:20pm on 23 Dec 2010, Brendan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 3:27pm on 23 Dec 2010, Andrew wrote:

    Afternoon Steve,

    Two questions, first up do you think Middlesbrough will turn their season round and make a push up the table and secure a play off place? Secondly, do you remember your goal against them at Hillsborough in the League Cup final replay for Leicester?

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  • 28. At 6:07pm on 23 Dec 2010, aladinsaneuk wrote:

    hmmmm

    massive expectations?

    I think most of us long term leeds fans wanted one thing above anything else this season - to avoid relegtion!

    At the start of the season, I wanted mid table respectability - no more and no less.

    I fear that even if we were to go up - we would bounce down swiftly - unless papa smurf sold the club to a mad billionaire:)

    Having said that - I rate Larry G. more and more each week - he is a young manager, but keeps learning - and i only hope he stays with us

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  • 29. At 7:18pm on 23 Dec 2010, dykesy61 wrote:

    being a die hard Leeds fan has been hard - but football is about enjoying the ride.
    Simon G is a great manager, and we're doing well - promotion if it comes will be fine, even if we do bounce back...enjoy the ride!

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  • 30. At 09:19am on 24 Dec 2010, james wrote:

    QPR have lost two games, hardly a dodgy defence. Usually we would have lost two games by the end of September!
    It was quite surreal seeing Leeds fans celebrating like they had just won the Champions League after beating us. Steve is right, we have shown we can be beaten but thats okay, WBA lost seven last season and still went up in second place. Hard games to come with Cov, Norwich and Burnley over the Xmas period, squeekiy bum time indeed.

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  • 31. At 11:32am on 24 Dec 2010, Rob Hardy wrote:

    winnershroyal - we did look average at your place, you know believe it or not but you actually have a pretty decent team at this level so we were happy to come back with a point. It's impossible for you to determine how good we are from a game we didn't turn up for but perhaps you could read between the lines? We were poor against you, who I consider to be a good team, and STILL came away with a point - surely the mark of a decent team? Look at our website, the players are saying Leicester are the best team they have played this season and where are they in the league? Basically, you can't call us an average side after one game you saw. As for meteoric rise, I disagree - we have gone from outside the play offs in league 1 2 years ago to an auto promotion place in the Championship. It really saddens me people have to comment on Leeds so negatively just because we are having positive publicity at the moment. Love us or hate us, we have had a horrible decade and I think our fans deserve some good press.

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  • 32. At 12:32pm on 24 Dec 2010, Cayo Millington wrote:

    Hi Steve,
    There is usually a big team that gets relegated, who do you reckon this could be?
    There is also a suprise in the play-offs such as Blackpool last year and Bristol City when they made it recently, who would you label as a suprise play-off candidate?
    And finally, why do people who haven't played football but have qualified in all of their coaching badges still not get a job with a professional club?

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  • 33. At 1:48pm on 24 Dec 2010, james wrote:

    To Rob Hardy:

    You think you've had a bad decade! We had to play Bretford for three seasons on the trot and we lost to Vauxhall Motors in the cup.
    Would love to see QPR and Leeds go up.

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  • 34. At 10:49pm on 24 Dec 2010, KOP_needs_to_STANDUP wrote:

    Being a Leicester fan i had a huge amount of respect for Claridge but recently i have lost it all. Awful opinions, out-dated and boring.
    The Football league show aswell should completely restarted.

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  • 35. At 10:02am on 25 Dec 2010, Mark Sells wrote:

    Re: Askers (post 24), surely I can't be the only Leeds fan reading Redknapp's comments on Woodgate and thinking "What about Woody coming back on loan for a couple of months?" Kisnorbo still injured, O'Brien & Bruce both iffy for the Leicester match etc. We're enjoying a purple patch at the moment but we know from experience how things can turn so it might help sustain our momentum if we could get the always-popular Woody back for a spell. Affordable and high-impact I would say.

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  • 36. At 5:16pm on 25 Dec 2010, ANDY LAMBERT wrote:

    hi steve responding to mark sells com 35
    yes woody would have a big impact if we can be assured of is fitness at this moment i prefer to take someone with match fitness to get the most out of a loan spell . but if woody came as-well GREAT

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  • 37. At 5:00pm on 26 Dec 2010, ANDY LAMBERT wrote:

    2 points lost today just need to take a general in defense and these things would not happen it,s a problem for us come on you whites

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  • 38. At 8:14pm on 26 Dec 2010, Edward_de_Bonehead wrote:

    Nigel has awoken the giant. City coming up on the blindside!

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  • 39. At 09:38am on 27 Dec 2010, Beefforhire-NCFC-The Messiah wrote:

    Steve,

    Do you think all this talk of Leeds is a bit premature, I mean, its LEEDS. They are going to mess it all up pretty soon.

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  • 40. At 2:07pm on 27 Dec 2010, changoputonalga wrote:

    why are leeds never the main game on the championship highlights,against qpr it was the top game of the day and they showed ipswich v leicester and last night the main game was qpr v swansea.does the diectors of the bbc still not like the dirty leeds

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  • 41. At 5:33pm on 28 Dec 2010, Bracknell-Ranger wrote:

    You are a muppet, how do you like it QPR are even points clear.haha.Get another job cos your useless at this one.

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  • 42. At 4:03pm on 29 Dec 2010, LeedsBest wrote:

    Hi Steve, do you think it could be too early to get promoted to the Premiership?

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