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Claridge Kicks Off

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Steve Claridge | 09:36 UK time, Wednesday, 23 February 2011

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

This week, Steve takes a look at all the contenders for the automatic and play-off spots in League One and analyses the pros and cons of Brighton's open passing style and whether Dagenham & Redbridge can avoid relegation.

Steve also reflects on goalkeeper Lee Camp's impressive display for Nottingham Forest against Cardiff, and the role striker Danny Cadamarteri might play for Huddersfield.

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.

Next week's blog will focus on League Two so if you have anything to ask on that, or any other Football League topic, please get in touch.

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

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash Installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.


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  • 1. At 10:59am on 23 Feb 2011, Wendy Dorset wrote:

    Brighton do need a plan B - Goalie rolling out the ball each time and the back 3 passing it around works briefly but we soon shut that down and then they had to thump it forward so they lost possession.
    Why is Bournemouth being where they are such a suprise? They have carried on the work rate and spirit from the last 18months and with luck a few long term injured players coming back will carry them to the end of the season. Going up? Steve's probably put the jinx on that!
    Danny Cadamarteri - didn't make any impact when he came EXCEPT for the one shot they had on goal!
    Video blog - I know it's been said loads of time but agree don't like it - It's just ego isn't it as you have to listen to the whole blog rather than just scan through it and pick out the bits that relate to you. It would be better if Steve had a more interesting voice!!!

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  • 2. At 11:16am on 23 Feb 2011, saintsfc wrote:

    Go back to basics...
    Go back to the writing.

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  • 3. At 11:27am on 23 Feb 2011, SeagullinExile wrote:

    Bournemouth won't last the pace. Southampton and Huddersfield will battle for 2nd spot. Brighton have not needed a 'plan B' so far, as quite simply we have been too much for most teams in League spot since the 25th of September....nothing else needs to be said.

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  • 4. At 11:30am on 23 Feb 2011, Johnno wrote:

    Well done to Forest for reducing ticket prices last night. Less cost now equals getting the kids in along with other 'first-timers' which can only bode well for the future of the game. Pity I can't see this catching on at Old Trafford, The Emirates or Stamford Bridge. Do they need better crowds now? Probably not. Think about it 'Big boys'

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  • 5. At 11:43am on 23 Feb 2011, Ryan-R-An-Addick wrote:

    Brighton are far from promoted. Remember Leeds last season? They had a bigger lead over third and still only got promoted in the last 10 minutes of the season.

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  • 6. At 11:51am on 23 Feb 2011, Mike wrote:

    Painful. No other word for it. Poor presentation, poor content, poor delivery.

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  • 7. At 11:54am on 23 Feb 2011, Up the hammers - Stuck with Avram wrote:

    Im sorry whats wrong with these Video blogs, there more interactive than Writing, and can give visual evidence to what he's speaking about...
    Great Blog Steve, loved you as a player and you still speak sense these days!

    I live in brighton and even tho im a West Ham fan im looking forward very much to going to see them next year at the new Falmer stadium, which will get packed every week, as the fan base of the team is huge!

    Also the loanie signing of Chris Wood from West Brom has made another huge impact, and im also certain that next year he will loan in a few more premier league talented youngters along with some from Spain, so i fully hop they maintain the style of Football they have been, they are the new Arsenal

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  • 8. At 11:55am on 23 Feb 2011, Jakeyyy wrote:

    He could have at least made the effort to pronounce Vincelot's name right.

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  • 9. At 12:30pm on 23 Feb 2011, Sue Denim wrote:


    Is there some kind of media conspiracy regarding Swansea City? They have been in the play off zone in the Championship for most of the season. They now sit in an automatic position yet you'd swear they didn't exist if you listen to the pundits unless they happen to play the so-called 'big clubs'.

    Personally, I'm quite happy to be ignored while continuing to win games and climb the table toward the automatic places but we play Leeds on Saturday so the pundits may wake up and realise Swansea are in the Championship too.

    What are your thoughts on Swansea, Steve?

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  • 10. At 12:34pm on 23 Feb 2011, JaseBHA wrote:

    Wendy Dorset, you don't say who you support - possibly Bournemouth? You need a Plan B only if Plan A doesn't work. 4 league defeats all season doesn't suggest there's much wrong with the plan. We've played plenty of teams twice already, and despite knowing exactly how we play, it doesn't seem to have affected our form too badly. Four goals in three consecutive league games, four points clear at the top with games in hand, top since September - I agree with the poster who said we're far from promoted, but nor do I think we're in urgent need of Plan B just yet.

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  • 11. At 12:35pm on 23 Feb 2011, scarfer1 wrote:

    1. Wendy
    "Goalie rolling out the ball each time and the back 3 passing it around works briefly . . ." By briefly I think you mean 'for the majority of the season against the vast majority of teams'

    We may not be up yet but results like last night's show we are still on track. I personally hope Bournemouth hang in there as they are putting the so called 'big teams' in their place and defying the lack of money at Dean Court.

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  • 12. At 12:36pm on 23 Feb 2011, Shep wrote:

    Welcome to the bandwagon Steve. Glad to see you pick up on Camps good performances after the media picked up on it. Its too bad you didn't mention the last two years of great performances from him, which shows just how poor an analysis you are.

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  • 13. At 12:40pm on 23 Feb 2011, Cheese And Biscuits wrote:

    "and whether bottom-of-the-table Dagenham & Redbridge can avoid relegation."

    Hmmm....a mistake on the BBC....getaway!

    Can't be bothered to watch the blog given basic facts are wrong in the blurb above!

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  • 14. At 12:47pm on 23 Feb 2011, pieface wrote:

    For your League 2 blog next week Steve what are your opinions on Southend United at the moment. We are currently the form team in the division with 17 points from our last 8 games and with a number of our games left against teams in the lower reaches of the table?
    With all the trouble surrounding the club financially, it is surely a testament to the managerial skills of Paul Sturrock to pull a team together in 2 weeks before the season started all of which were free transfers and yet he has still managed to produce a team looking stronger every week and hoping to push into the playoffs?

    Good blog as ever

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  • 15. At 12:58pm on 23 Feb 2011, JoeDerz wrote:

    Southampton and Brighton are the best teams in the league by far, and should secure automatic promotion. I fancy a surprise for 3rd promotion spot - Oldham have played some great stuff this season, while Rochdale and Orient are on a good run ???

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  • 16. At 1:02pm on 23 Feb 2011, Jeremy Orbell wrote:

    The video blog just needs an audio transcript. That's how the other the other text based blogs are done with the 'stars' so why is it not possible to do both?

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  • 17. At 1:09pm on 23 Feb 2011, jimmyfishbean wrote:

    Stevo was a decent player, but doesn't possess an ounce of charisma or a better memory that a goldfish!! He has me in stitches on the football league show as he is constantly reading "his thoughts" from a script.

    Presenter/pundit? Nah. Comedian, oh aye.

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  • 18. At 1:12pm on 23 Feb 2011, Cammers wrote:

    And the award for "most clueless pundit" is......

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  • 19. At 1:30pm on 23 Feb 2011, Proudtobeacumbrian wrote:

    15. At 12:58pm on 23 Feb 2011, JoeDerz wrote:
    Southampton and Brighton are the best teams in the league by far, and should secure automatic promotion. I fancy a surprise for 3rd promotion spot - Oldham have played some great stuff this season, while Rochdale and Orient are on a good run ???


    Lower your trousers so I can hear you.

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  • 20. At 1:50pm on 23 Feb 2011, Dave Jones wrote:

    I see there is no mention of Charlton in the comments. They have shown signs of some improvement under Chris Powell and Wright-Phillips looks a good investment. I agree that Brighton look very strong and are deserving automatic promotion but I still think there are five or six teams in the mix. A number of teams have two or three games in hand. It should be an interesting run in.

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  • 21. At 1:51pm on 23 Feb 2011, Feel MaDullTie wrote:

    @18....erm....Garth Crooks?

    How do you think New Brighton, Nelson, Loughborough and Workington will get on this season?

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  • 22. At 1:55pm on 23 Feb 2011, tony_lancing wrote:

    So Wendy, Plan A doesn't work against Championship sides? Maybe you should ask Portsmouth and Watford that question.
    Also, I don't agree with Steve about changing the style - if he is suggesting that we play like Stoke should we ever get back to the top division, then God help us.................

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  • 23. At 2:16pm on 23 Feb 2011, Chief_Mason wrote:

    Still wating for my braile version

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  • 24. At 2:54pm on 23 Feb 2011, Courage wrote:

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

  • 25. At 2:59pm on 23 Feb 2011, fan1956 wrote:

    Don't think Brighton need to worry how teams in higher leagues will combat our style, just yet Steve! It'll be a nice problem if it comes about.

    Quite honestly, in the meantime - 'if it aint broke, don't fix it'!

    So far Brighton's expected demise - forecast by some of our opponents fans for the last few months, has not yet materialised. Indeed the current lead is now effectively 9 points.

    However - we don't have chickens in Brighton, we have seagulls - but if we did, I promise you we wouln't be counting them!

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  • 26. At 3:04pm on 23 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to Sue Denim (9 above)

    Sue, the problem is there are so many of the Championship sides in the top 8 or 9 in good form at present. To illustrate the point:

    QPR unbeaten in 9
    Hull City unbeaten in 9
    Leicester City lost just 1 in 9
    Burnley, Swansea, Cardiff City, Forest, and Norwich all lost just 1 in 6.

    Swansea City are a good footballing side. I watched them at Hull City on the opening game of the season where they lost, but played good football, were easy on the eye and for long spells looked in control. On that day however, Swansea had no penetration and their final ball was poor, which is why Hull City eventually won the game. I did say at the time that I thought if Swansea sorted out that final ball and penetration they would feature in the promotion places at the end of the season. The quality of the team and how comfortable their players were whilst in possession was there for all to see.

    Currently you would expect QPR to win automatic promotion, because they appear to have what it takes, with a very good experienced manager behind them. Then there is a scramble for the second automatic promotion place and the Play Offs. Someone from the those mentioned above will miss out on the top six, but I will be very surprised if any team other than from those mentioned manage a top six finish; maybe Reading as an outside bet! (Watford appear to be in free fall).

    I do think Swansea will finish top six and I think Cardiff City inspired by their loan players from Arsenal and Man City are likely to feature as well.

    Steve Claridge suggests QPR are not playing well etc., and makes comments of a similar nature about other clubs. What he says however, is often not backed up by the stats, so if he doesn't mention Swansea, be happy. It must mean he cannot think of anything to say to criticise. Steve Claridge, rarely if ever says anything constructive about any team, which is why maybe he is not coaching or managing!

    If you listen to Andy Gray on the other hand you get a very different 'expert opinion'. It was reported before David Moyes was appointed Everton manager Andy Gray was offered the job. Such is his class when analysing games and giving 'expert opinion' he makes everyone sit up and notice. I have heard players say they have watched recordings of games they have played in and have listened to what Andy Gray had to say at half time. Often, the players say it reflects what their own managers had to say in the dressing room. Now that is class!

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  • 27. At 3:09pm on 23 Feb 2011, Tengullenhat wrote:

    As a Tranmere fan, I hardly expected my team to get any mention. However, as someone who regularly travels throughout the UK, I have managed to see some of the better teams in this league throughout the season.

    Firstly, let me say how I totally disagree with Steve's description of either Brighton or Southampton.

    Having seen the Saints play five or six matches, I can honestly say that they play in the same way, game in, game out. Because of this, then most sides are able to counter their style and nullify the threat from their undoubtedly talented strike force. My own team were able to make them look very ordinary, and certainly nowhere near automatic promotion candidates.

    Brighton on the other hand, and completely the opposite of Steve's summing up on them, play football, not only on a skill level way above this league, but they are able to play and adapt their formation and style during a match, according to that played by the opposition. This is something that has never been witnessed in the lower league levels before, and they will be able to adapt the style in the Championship to gain further success. You have to credit the way that the club is run now.

    Southampton have their work cut out to make second spot, and because they are reluctant to change their system, then I feel either Bournemouth or Charlton will be gaining the runners-up position. Whoever does finish second, they will be a long way behind Brighton.

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  • 28. At 3:15pm on 23 Feb 2011, paul croft wrote:

    "Yer Oldhams, yer Rochdales, yer Colchesters...."

    Just how many clubs with these names are there in that division? Would they not be more effective if they each played as just one team for that town?

    How many football fans would be unable to spout these platitudes by the way - it's hardly insightful listening.

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  • 29. At 3:26pm on 23 Feb 2011, Sue Denim wrote:

    Re: Anthony (26)

    Thanks for your thoughts. It gets very frustrating to find that despite your team doing very well, in general, that they don't seem to even get a mention. Having the most league wins can't be bad and the fact we shut out (albeit a depeted) Doncaster so that they managed a fat zero in the shots on target, shots off target and Corners stats would be worth a mention at the very least.

    But, like you said, if there's nothing to criticise it can't be bad! I'm happy to keep under the radar if it means other teams take no notice and we continue to march onward.

    On a related aside, it's interesting to note that although the pundits are blanking the Swans, upcoming opponent's managers (e.g. Grayson of Leeds and Boothroyd of Coventry) came to watch us play recently tells me another story. The pundits can't see it but the people who count (opposition managers) certainly know that we're a strong side and a real threat this season.

    Finally, we're on 59 points! I think we're safe from relegation for another season! Also, we finished on 68(?) points last May. 3 wins and we're matching up and there are currently 13 games to go. It's exciting times as a Swansea supporter (not that the pundits notice) ;)

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  • 30. At 3:55pm on 23 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    Brighton have shown this season that variations on a theme work rather well. Whether we play 1, 2 or 3 upfront the team will play football to get the ball to them.

    No one in League 1 is capable of the intensity shown by Stoke for 90 minutes. Not physically or mentally.

    This is no fluke. We are an exceptional team at this level.

    Wendy...yes we did lose to Bournemouth...but we were due an off day...just thank your lucky stars that it came against you!

    We are not promoted yet though and until we are our performance level needs to be maintained. 8 games in March will go along way to deciding things one way or the other.

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  • 31. At 4:06pm on 23 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    oh an Ryan the this stage last season Leeds advantage over 3rd place was 3 points less than Brighton's is now and they didn't have 2/3 games in hand.

    That's not to say we can't make an even bigger mess to the end of the season that they nearly did though!

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  • 32. At 4:12pm on 23 Feb 2011, Amrit wrote:

    Brighton wont make the automatic promotion places...there squad isnt strong enough. A couple of injuries and they will slide fast. Southampton will win the league by miles and 2nd will be between Peterborough and Bournemouth.

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  • 33. At 4:33pm on 23 Feb 2011, SimonBHA wrote:

    The presumption that Brighton only play one way is not very accurate.

    We have used a variety of different systems throughout the season to keep the opposition guessing.

    We began the season with a 4-5-1 formation. We then began to used a lop sided 4-3-1-2 in which we had a holding midfielder, two centre mids, a left winger and two strikers. This developed into a 4-4-2 diamond formation with Bennett behind the front two and we've now moved on to a 4-3-3 system.

    The idea that we only build from the back and never go long is wrong. Take a look at the Hartlepool highlights for example and if they show it when theyre up Greer's amazing long ball into Barnes who headed wide last night.

    We played excellent passing football against Portsmouth and Watford in the cup. Whether or not we can repeat it who knows, it would just be a pleasure to get the opprtunity to try to!

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  • 34. At 4:35pm on 23 Feb 2011, OneGarryNelson wrote:

    Amrit - I'll have a pint of whatever you've been drinking please. We've been top since the end of September and fans of the so called 'big' clubs - South Coast Club and Sheff Weds keep saying it wont last. Well it's nearly five months now!

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  • 35. At 4:36pm on 23 Feb 2011, RIP Adam Stansfield wrote:

    Surprised you didn't say Exeter in the play-off contenders. When you have a look at our remaining fixtures, the majority of our games are at home and against the bottom 12. I think we may just surprise you Steve and certainly challenge the top 6. What do you think?

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  • 36. At 4:36pm on 23 Feb 2011, tony_lancing wrote:

    Amrit - **their**

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  • 37. At 4:43pm on 23 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    "a couple of injuries and they will slide fast"

    that'll be alan navarro and kazenga lua lua then.

    Blimey, we'd be up by now if our form hadn't 'collapsed' after we lost them eh.

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  • 38. At 5:02pm on 23 Feb 2011, fan1956 wrote:

    Amrit(32), Benny Hill passed away some time ago? You didn't by any chance move into his old house - did you?

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  • 39. At 5:17pm on 23 Feb 2011, JamieMackie wrote:

    What about Paddy Kenny? he has been fantastic in goal and so much better than Camp. Oh wait a minute I know why you dont praise him. He is a QPR player.

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  • 40. At 5:20pm on 23 Feb 2011, Amrit wrote:

    whos lua lua?? he must be in his fifties now...he wont make a difference. Murray and Barnes are due to get injured. Even than Fran Sandaza will leave u. Brightons got 17 VERY TOUGH games, they wont get more than 20 points, 79 at end of season....not enuff 4 automatic promotion.

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  • 41. At 5:25pm on 23 Feb 2011, Andrew wrote:

    Amrit, you just need to look at the league table. As regards a thin squad, we have only had two injuries of note, Navarro and Lua Lua. Due to the set up behind the scenes in terms of preparation and game recovery (where there has been a lot of investment) there have been almost zero muscle strains and pulls and virtually every week everyone is available for selection.

    As for going back to the strength of the squad, we have enought depth to maintain this push. Your boys are now 10 points adrift and shipping points and still have to come to Withdean. You have trips to Colchester and Bournemouth and still need to play Charlton home and away. Plenty of banana skins there.

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  • 42. At 5:30pm on 23 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    i'd love to have some money on that being a hopelessly wide of the mark prediction Amrit.

    and you need to brush up on your lua lua's mate.

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  • 43. At 5:32pm on 23 Feb 2011, bha wrote:

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

  • 44. At 5:32pm on 23 Feb 2011, GradelSnodgrassBecchioGOOOOOAL wrote:

    @26 - Anthony

    You seem to have missed out Leeds, with only 1 defeat in the last 18 games...

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  • 45. At 5:40pm on 23 Feb 2011, bha wrote:

    Mr Claridge, about the fact we won't be able to play our style higher up, one question.. what happened to your beloved pompey?.. enough said.

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  • 46. At 5:52pm on 23 Feb 2011, Amrit wrote:

    (42) u would luv 2 hav money on that but u dont coz u dnt knw ur footy.
    (41) Jus cos u got a gd setup(nt sayin u do) doesnt mean ur not gna get any injuries. Plus 10 points is nuffin, u seen ur nxt 5 games, ur gna get 4 or 5 points from them, n thats gna bunch the teams bak up agen. Colchester, bournemouth n charlton r nuffin compared 2 southampton. We got at least half a dozen premier league players, were jus messin bout wiv da teams at the moment, jus finding out da perfect tactics. Once we get going there will be no stopping us.
    (38) Nah i live wiv alan hansen...

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  • 47. At 5:53pm on 23 Feb 2011, 4everEng wrote:

    Hey Amrit......wrong Lua Lua!! If you are going to spit out your dummy and get all hot under the collar, at least get your facts straight. We had a tough game against you lot didn't we!!!!

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  • 48. At 6:00pm on 23 Feb 2011, Amrit wrote:

    (47) i like ur insult...NOT!!!! Mate go check the match facts out...we MULLERED u!!

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  • 49. At 6:10pm on 23 Feb 2011, malstarr wrote:

    I watched Steve's "kick off" after reading his introduction which includes "Steve reflecting on the unsavoury scenes that marred Millwall's match with Middlesbrough" to see if anything would be done about the "bottle throwers" of Millwall. After all, Boro were once deducted 3 points which contributed towards their relegation and this was not for an offence of sheer violence towards the opposition players. How about knocking a few points off millwall,but oh sorry I forget they are a London club and as such are untouchable like The Hammers.
    Anyhow,unless Iam going senile Steve C's promised reflection did not show up. Perhaps he is still reflecting.

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  • 50. At 6:16pm on 23 Feb 2011, BHAFC0694 wrote:

    I've been going to Brighton for the last 9 years and under gus poyet and the rest of the managment we are playing the best I have seen both home and away in those 9 years, I don't think we need to change our game in the championship as we proved it works against watford and Portsmouth as they didn't they didn't have an answer to our stlyle of play when we played them and resulted in us beating them confortablly. I think we should get promoted if we carry on playing as we are, I hope with bournemouth although southampton were probally the best team we played against this season but Huddersfield do have some quality players so you can't rule them out aswell.

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  • 51. At 6:28pm on 23 Feb 2011, BHAFC0694 wrote:

    I've been ging to Brighton for the last 9 years and under Gus Poyet and the rest of the management we are the best I have seen in those 9 years both home and away. I don't think we would need to change our style if we get promoted as we proved against Watford and Portsmouth our style works as we beat them both Comfortably.

    I think we will get promoted as champions as long as we carry on playing as we are and Bournemouth we hopefully come 2nd behind to prove you don't need big budgets to get promoted, however I think Southampton will come 2nd as I think they were the best team we played so far this season and there talent should scrape them a promotion, however you can not rule out Huddersfield as they do have some quality players in their team.

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  • 52. At 7:00pm on 23 Feb 2011, Superhoopa wrote:

    If any goalkeeper deserves praise for there performances this season, surely its Paddy Kenny?

    After being out of football for 9 months (despite what happened) and be as sharp as he has been and putting in performances he has throughout this season is remarkable. He has saved QPR so many times this season.

    19 clean sheets is a fantastic achievement. Yet Lee Camp gets praise when he has only kept 9 clean sheets?

    Having watched your blog the other week in regards to QPR fans, i have to agree with what you said that recently we havent had that flare we had at the start of the season. And we were maybe lacking creativity. But defensivley we have the best defense in the league. Last nights fixture against Ipswich proved that as we were able to drop our centre backs (Connolly and Gorkks) and replace them with Hall and Shittu who did just as good despite playing there first game with each other! We have the best squad in this division.

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  • 53. At 7:02pm on 23 Feb 2011, OneGarryNelson wrote:

    Amrit - please stop. My sides are splitting. On Planet Amrit what you say all sounds plausible, meanwhile back on planet earth.....last night - we knocked in another four goals while a 0-0 at Hartlepool.

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  • 54. At 7:14pm on 23 Feb 2011, garythenotrashcougar wrote:

    Why is Steve Claridge still in employment by the BBC?

    Why is a public service broadcaster like the BBC obsessed with chasing viewing figures, by showing only the 'big' clubs as the main game on the FL Show every week regardless of where they may be in the table?

    Why don't they do a midweek FL Show? Is it too much effort or something?

    Why is this blog so badly researched every week?

    All questions that Claridge and/or the BBC should be made to answer.

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  • 55. At 7:15pm on 23 Feb 2011, ClydachSwan wrote:

    Steve, How can you say that Brighton cannot step up a level and can continue to play free flowing "total football". The Swans have done this since coming up from the championship and are thiving (in the auto places as I write this). It really takes courage to stick to a system of passing football and players who are comfortable on the ball. It's not all about physical teams. Look at what most people consider the best team in the world at the moment Barcelona. They play so called physical teams in the Champions League and beat them.
    Really think your views a blured by the way you played the game but you need to realise the passing style does work against any team as long as the players are comfortable on the ball and know the system.

    Hope you read this and stop saying that passing football will not work at a higher level. I know my team The Swans will continue prove you wrong :)

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  • 56. At 7:37pm on 23 Feb 2011, TheWorthinGer wrote:

    Reading this as a neutral - who lives on the Sussex coast and wishes the very best to Brighton in their drive for success - I found Amrit most amusing.

    I took his advice and looked through the results to find Brighton were "mullered" 0-0 by Southampton at Southampton. It is unusual, to say the least, that Southampton would receive 3 points for a 0-0 victory.

    Anyway I expect to see Brighton in the Championship next season. Here's hoping they can hang on to their prize assett - the manager.

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  • 57. At 8:12pm on 23 Feb 2011, 4everEng wrote:

    Amrit, whilst I agree a point away at a promotion hopeful team is very good, against Soton we threw away 2 points with a missed penalty. Soton are just an ordinary team, like the rest of the promo wanabies. I will say this for you though, you are providing the rest of us with a good laugh thanks to your so comical comments! Haha!

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  • 58. At 8:26pm on 23 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    I would like to comment in relation to: PPCC36 (30 above); Clydachswan (55 above); OneGaryNelson 934 (above); Jamiemackie (39 above); Gradelsnodgrassbecchiogooooooal (44 above) and Superhoops (52 above):

    To PPCC36 and OneGaryNelson, the manager's intention should only be to build a team to achieve the seasons goal (short term business plan). That goal for Brighton currently being promotion. If promotion is achieved then that is a result - you then build a team for the following seasons challenge. Brighton have a system, which is currently achieving that goal - why change? To be fair to Steve Clarridge when talking about Brighton I think he does cover that.

    Clydachswan, I know Clydach well, having worked in Risca, Abercarn, Ebbw Vale and Brynmawr - greetings! Please see my comment at 26, which I hope makes it clear I support your point of view. Swansea are an excellent footballing side!

    JamieMackie and Superhoops I'm with you. Paddy Kenny is a super 'keeper who does not get the credit he deserves. How many clean sheets is it now? Kenny is sheer class!

    Gradelsnodgrassbecchiogoooooal - appologies you are quite right, I failed to mention Leeds United. Before Christmas my wife and I were at Elland Road and saw Leeds beat a very good QPR side. It was so cold, I cannot tell you just how cold but only now have I got feelings in my feet! Leeds looked a very good side that day and I am a huge admirer of Ken Bates, he certainly knows how to run a football club; and Chelsea should realise their success is built on the foundations of Mr Bates. Leeds United could not be in better hands. On the field of play, Leeds attack is very powerful, but to win promotion they must stop leaking so many goals. Again, apologies for not mentioning Leeds, I should have done as they will certainly be fighting for at the very least a Play Off place!

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  • 59. At 8:34pm on 23 Feb 2011, SeagullinExile wrote:

    We also got mullered when we beat them at there place last season..oh and when they got a last minute leveller at ours last year...and no doubt they will muller us when we play them at ours late this season...

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  • 60. At 8:39pm on 23 Feb 2011, millwallroar wrote:

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

  • 61. At 9:15pm on 23 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    I think Phil Brown is beginning to make a real impression at Preston - and good for him. What he achieved at Hull City was quite remarkable. Yes he made mistakes, the half time team talk at Man City and the business at the Emirates with Horton/Fabregas were all handled badly. Brown is not Alex Ferguson and needed great managers like Arsene Wenger on his side, not as enemies! But Phil Brown is a young manager and is still learning his trade. It is great that Preston have given him an opportunity to get back into the game and with draws against the Championships better teams in recent weeks, ie Watford away, QPR home and Forest away he's on the right track.

    I say good luck to Phil Brown - he deserves this opportunity. If ever anyone wanted to talk about loyalty in football then discuss how Hull City treated Phil Brown. Without doubt, the most succesful manager in the history of Hull City!

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  • 62. At 9:42pm on 23 Feb 2011, rrrrrs wrote:

    get a proper job as your not very good at punditry or, at the very least, remove the word 'expert' from underneth your god awful photo!! Seriously is that your foot or your face??

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  • 63. At 9:52pm on 23 Feb 2011, NapiersKit wrote:

    I'm not sure why we, Brighton, are being advised to change our style if and when we get promoted. Isn't our style of football i.e having a team where everyone feels comfortable on the ball and passes it around, the sort of thing that every pundit on the planet was crying out to happen in English football after our inept World Cup display? I'm not comparing Brighton to Spain but come on Steve, are you seriously suggesting that if we go up with we abandon our passing play and invest in a few Micky Droy lookalikes just to get by?
    P.S. No disrespect intended towards Mr Droy.

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  • 64. At 10:03pm on 23 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    BBC - I visit BBC Sport online then click on 'Championship' then 'Steve Claridge' and of 11 minutes and 13 seconds video there is less than one minutes discussion on the Championship.

    Please don't treat us genuine fans as fools!

    I enjoy commenting on the site - but wait for true fans to make their comments before adding mine. Most comments by the fans are knowledgeable and worth reading. Most, know their teams and have great points to make. For all of Steve Claridges experience as a Football League player, a TV or web analyser he is not!

    Please ensure the Championship link matches up to Championship comments and so on; League 1, 2 etc., so we all know where we stand.

    Well done to the fans who contribute to these comments becaue you are the true stars, and without doubt the greatest knowledge!

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  • 65. At 10:04pm on 23 Feb 2011, Aarfy_Aardvark - bring back 606 wrote:

    @46 - *brap* *brap* *braaaaaaap*

    Surprisingly makes more coherence than Claridge though. You free next week innit blood? I gets you nice job at the BBC all proper like.

    @49 - I believe he's contractually obligated not to mention any criticism of his former teams, lest he lose his free tea and biscuit privileges.

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  • 66. At 10:35pm on 23 Feb 2011, it_adel_not_abdul_you_donkey wrote:

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

  • 67. At 11:05pm on 23 Feb 2011, BigGiantHead wrote:

    When Brighton came to Dean Court, they looked clueless. Huddersfield came and managed a single shot on target (that went in). Having said that if Bournemouth did go up, it would be a disaster, they need a few years of League 1 attendances before they could even hope to challenge to stay up. Southampton have the players but they don't have that invincible togetherness that most teams that win this division often have, maybe Brighton do, we'll find out.

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  • 68. At 11:09pm on 23 Feb 2011, Feel MaDullTie wrote:

    @Courage Leeds.... erm, how do you know I'm not an ex-pro?

    Many ex players are successful businessmen... Jim Melrose, Niall Quinn, Francis Lee, Des name just a few.

    I made a decent whack out of football, investing my money on the way then got lucky and became a successful businessman.

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  • 69. At 11:33pm on 23 Feb 2011, Devon Park Rangers wrote:

    Steve do you not cringe when you watch yourself on these video blogs ?
    I can only assume that the BBC are paying you peanuts as your presentation is shocking...

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  • 70. At 11:41pm on 23 Feb 2011, it_adel_not_abdul_you_donkey wrote:

    Another absolutely shocking piece of Journalism(if it can be called that).

    A good start is pronouncing players names right.

    Oh by the way, how many goals did QPR's 'poor' defence let in last night?

    boy the BBC could do with someone who actually knows something about football.

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  • 71. At 11:47pm on 23 Feb 2011, it_adel_not_abdul_you_donkey wrote:

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

  • 72. At 11:48pm on 23 Feb 2011, Feel MaDullTie wrote:

    Why not rotate the pundits every week....The best pundits seem to be the ones who are rarely used.

    I like Matt Holland, Mark Bright, Martin Keown and Leroy Rosenior, although I may be in the minority!

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  • 73. At 11:48pm on 23 Feb 2011, EamonnHolmes wrote:

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

  • 74. At 00:49am on 24 Feb 2011, daveyjoneslocker wrote:

    i love the way u have totally ignored paddy kenny. and u are giving praise to lee camp because he has made a couple of good saves in a vital match . may i remind u steve. paddy has kept 19 clean sheets this season and as for good saves the guy performs at least ten a month. o well i will look forward too you bumbling your way through another claridge kicks off soon . er er er eer er er . brighton play 100% total football er er er eer

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  • 75. At 01:12am on 24 Feb 2011, Terriers wrote:

    As a long time Huddersfield fan,the best team i've seen at the galpharm this season were Bournemouth. brighton's game plan was nullified by Town and we beat them, but it was an ugly affair.
    It's so close any of a number of sides have a chance, but we're unbeaten in ten games although still playing erraticaly.
    Oldham came with their own ref and mugged us, we beat Charlton and mkdons easy, but home games against peterbro', soton and orient are our hardest during the run in.
    I think brighton will finish top, and any one of 7 or 8 for 2nd...Town will need to find the elusive consistency that Lee Clark is still looking for, after 31 games !. But we don't mind been unrated at all, it's points that win prizes, not fancy flashy footy !

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  • 76. At 01:44am on 24 Feb 2011, Chris Primmer wrote:

    Im a Saints fan and to be honest as a supporter I find it a little insulting that people keep complaining about the money we have. Just think 3/4 years ago, us Saints fans didnt think we'd have a club to support. Im glad were just alive, and that goes for any club such as Plymouth etc and even Portsmouth.

    Anyway, don't think all Saints supporters are like Amrit cos were not. Id be amazed if Brighton don't go up automatically and run away with the league, considering their form, games in hand and the fixtures they have left. They're not hard games, save a couple. And truthfully I think it's anyone's guess who will finish second and will probably go down to the last week or so.

    As a Sainsts fan, a lot will depend on our games in hand (though fixture congestion aint gona be beneficial) and fixtures against Bournemouth and Charlton. Bournemouth have done brilliantly and will stay up there challenging, cos they just don't go away just like Pompey lol. Huddersfield have some decent fixtures and will be up there. However if Ferguson can finally give Peterborough some sort of defence, I fancy they might grab second.

    Finally, you don't need loads of money to produce players like Walcott, Bale, Shearer, Kevin Phillips, Chamberlain and Lallana now do you??.

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  • 77. At 01:53am on 24 Feb 2011, Chris Primmer wrote:

    Btw, RhinoW (72) I agree about Keown and Holland. But Mark Bright is so dull and simple. Plus Leroy just says what you want to hear (e.g. "They lost 5-0, but at least they tried hard"). At least Steve tells it how it is.

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  • 78. At 04:53am on 24 Feb 2011, Simon Seagull wrote:

    BigGiantHead(67) I came to Dean Court and yes we lost to the better team on the day but unusually for Gus he picked the wrong team that day resting Glen Murray and Gary Dicker..When he changed it in the last 20 mins we started to play but a very generous "homer" linesman ruled out a valid Murray goal (I am that sad that I have frozen the replay and at the moment the ball was played Murray was clearly onside!) Had it stood I am sure we would have gone on to take the game however we did labour for much of the match and in truth deserved nothing but dont judge Brighton on that one performance.. league tables dont lie and we have played most teams off the park this season..especially at home.
    Remember also that at our place you managed to pinch a draw courtesy of a linesman clearly excited at being live on Sky giving a penalty for a debatable handball that was proven to be a yard outside the box and that was your only shot on goal in 90 minutes!!
    Southampton make me laugh..empty threats as they fall further behind their more unfashionable south coast neighbours! We didnt play that well at St Marys but would still have nicked all 3 points if we hadnt missed a penalty! Any side that has "one gear" Dean Hammond as captain cant be that great!
    Good luck to the Cherries..hope u come up with us and play at our fab new home next year!

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  • 79. At 07:51am on 24 Feb 2011, Ole ole ole WEMBLEY WEMBLEY - MayhillBoiJACK wrote:



    Someone from the Beeb MUST read the comments then for Steve to defend his viewpoints on QPR... Yet here we are, yet again, no written blog.

    Shocking lack of, i dunno, accountability by the Beeb. We want a written blog, so give us a WRITTEN BLOG. We pay your wages, courtesy of the TV licence. So how's about listening to your customers...?

    Another thing about The Championship that's starting to grate... The time of the show itself. If i remember correctly, 23:50 last Saturday. Shoddy isn't a strong enough word.

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  • 80. At 10:20am on 24 Feb 2011, Spigz wrote:

    @21 ... I take your Garth Crooks (good shout by the way!) and raise you a David Pleat ... :)

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  • 81. At 12:03pm on 24 Feb 2011, LTrent wrote:

    To Anthony

    “What he [Claridge] says however, is often not backed up by the stats”

    Hang on, last week you were telling me that ‘stats don’t tell the whole story’ when I used to match statistics to counter your summary of the Hull City versus QPR match, so for you to criticise Claridge for making statements not based on stats is quite contradictory.

    I attended the Hull City 2 Swansea City 0 match you mentioned too. From what I recall, it was a dull game (bar Bostock's goal) and looked like a game between two poor sides. Hull City comfortably won and (as you point out) Swansea created nothing – bar one decent chance they fluffed and a first half direct free-kick.

    But, that was the first game of the season and Swansea were probably rusty and I think it was before they made some new key signings (Sinclair etc.) Hull City have dramatically changed too, hardly any players left (or in the team) from who played that match.

    I really hope Phil Brown succeeds at PNE. He shouldn’t have been sacked until the end of the season (at least). I was devastated at our relegation, but now I must admit I think it’s been for the best.

    We now are run sensibly (on schedule to be trading in the black by April – our wages bull is 13m now from 38m last year and several mortgages/fiscal obligations on the club) and are owned by a local family who bought the club as a ‘gift to the city of Hull’. They immediately paid outstanding debts to the tune of 20-30m and provided money to strengthen. They plan to share ownership of the club with fans/consortia of local businesses and eventually increase the capacity of The Circle to just under 40,000 with widespread cheap match tickets available (figure currently quoted is £10/£5 tickets).

    Much as I like Phil Brown (and he IS the most successful manager in our history), I think Nigel Pearson is a better all round manager and (aided by Steve Walsh) is building a young and clever team.

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  • 82. At 12:17pm on 24 Feb 2011, HuddersfieldTown-PrideOfYorkshire wrote:

    huddersfields record vs promotion rivals:

    2-1 win vs brigton
    1-1 draw vs bournemouth
    2-2 draw vs bournemouth
    3-2 win vs peterborogh (jp trophy)
    4-2 loss vs peterborogh
    2-0 win vs southampton
    4-1 loss vs southampton
    4-1 win vs mk dons
    3-1 win vs charlton
    0-0 draw vs oldham
    1-0 loss vs oldham
    3-0 win vs colchester
    o-o draw vs colchester
    2-1 win vs leyton orient

    also, 2 wins vs sheff wednesday, great performance vs arsenal and unbeaten in league one since 28th december 2010

    not a bad record to have!!!

    clearly promotion form

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  • 83. At 1:10pm on 24 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to LTrent

    As I told you, you are entitled to your opinion. Two poor sides, fair enough, your view but the League table does not support your view does it? All teams stregnthen during a season, otherwise I wouldn't have a job. Swansea have been known for playing good football for a few years now and most observant knowlegeable fans agree they are a good footballing side. I can live with a home fan seeing it a different way, thats football fans for you. I am not a Hull City or Swansea fan but attended the game on a scouting trip, so my view is completely without bias.

    You cannot blame Phil Brown for players wages or huge transfer fees paid out that were not affordable. As manager Brown would have approached the Board with a shopping list and that has to have Board approval. The mess was not of Phil Brown's making. He was, and still is a young manager learning his trade and as I said he did make mistakes; but what he achieved at Hull City was outstanding. Half way through Hull's first season in the Premier League their fans were even talking about Europe, always unrealistic, but thats fans for you. And why not, we should all have dreams for the clubs we support.

    On Nigel Pearson - I think he is doing a fine job and has made Hull City very difficult to beat. But he has only been there a very short spell and cannot at this stage be compared to Phil Brown. Pearson now has to work on Hull City's offensive play where not enough goals are scored (I feel sure he is doing that by the way). Hull, although getting the results of late have the exact opposite problems to free scoring Leeds, who it appears cannot keep their back door closed.

    As for stats - there are times when stats do not tell the whole story, that is true. However, week in and week out when someone, promoted as an expert gives an opinion, such as 'QPR are struggling a bit' etc, this is a team unbeaten in 9, best defence, one of the best attacks, 5 points clear, look at the goal difference yourself and compare it to other clubs, top of the league virtually all season, scored more goals at home than any other Championship team, conceded less at home than any other Championship team, conceded less goals away than any other Chapionship team, 18 clean sheets - come on, do you really agree with Steve Claridge and think QPR are a team struggling at present?

    Put away your Hull City bias and look at the facts!

    If an opposing club has a particular stregnth try to recognise that and enjoy their qualities as well as your own clubs. It makes following football all the more enjoyable.

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  • 84. At 1:20pm on 24 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    Huddersfield maybe unbeaten but their form since Dec 29th is only good enough for 5th place

    P W D L CS FtS F A GD Pt PPG
    1 Brighton 10 7 2 1 4 2 25 7 +18 23 2.30
    2 Rochdale 10 6 4 0 3 1 15 8 +7 22 2.20
    3 Bournemouth 12 7 4 1 5 2 18 9 +9 25 2.08
    4 Southampton 9 5 3 1 5 3 20 8 +12 18 2.00
    5 Huddersfield Town 10 5 5 0 4 2 18 9 +9 20 2.00

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  • 85. At 1:25pm on 24 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    woops I better tidy that up

    Brighton Played 10 Points 23 (2.3ppg)
    Rochdale Played 10 Points 22 (2.2ppg)
    Bo'mouth Played 12 Points 25 (2.08ppg)
    So'ton Played 9 Points 18 (2.00ppg)GD +12
    Hudds T. Played 10 Points 20 (2.00ppg)GD +9

    Clearly drawing too many games.

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  • 86. At 1:31pm on 24 Feb 2011, LordSirSteveTreacle wrote:


    Question: Are you a "can-I-ged merchant" (CIGM)?



    (Lord Sir) Steve

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  • 87. At 1:39pm on 24 Feb 2011, tom010203 wrote:

    Bore off! The video is a great idea. However I do think there should be some writing for the people that read this stuff at work and dont want their boss' knowing!

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  • 88. At 1:54pm on 24 Feb 2011, LTrent wrote:

    To Anthony.

    Swansea looked poor on that day, as we did.

    “You cannot blame Phil Brown for players wages or huge transfer fees paid out.”

    I don’t blame him for that. I blame our former board/owners. Some of the contracts handed out were unbelievable(to some poor players) and tied us to bankruptcy if we were to ever go down, which let’s face it, was always a probably outcome at some point.

    “On Nigel Pearson…[he] cannot at this stage be compared to Phil Brown.”

    Fair point and I don’t like knocking Phil Brown.

    “come on, do you really agree with Steve Claridge and think QPR are a team struggling at present?”

    No. Like I said last week, QPR are there on merit and will get promoted.

    “Put away your Hull City bias and look at the facts!”

    I’ve hardly shown much bias towards other clubs. I’ve said Swansea played poorly on the first game of the season; QPR will go up; defended Cardiff against the usual fiscal based criticism; and said the Hull City did not ‘park the bus’ v QPR (which was backed by the match facts). Hardly partisan is it?

    “If an opposing club has a particular strength try to recognise that and enjoy their qualities as well as your own clubs. It makes following football all the more enjoyable.”

    That sounds well patronising, very David Melloresque. But it made me laugh anyway.

    Not that I’ve written much about it on here, but I do think a certain degree of antipathy as a football fan can be a positive thing. It bonds support to dislike a rival. Perhaps not in the way Man City are obsessed with outdoing United, or say Scotland are obsessed with beating England as I believe that engulfs rather than inspiring them, but to have a common enemy is a method of cohesion: a common front amongst fans (this common enemy philosophy is embedded in our everyday lives) and whilst it’s maybe not a positive human trait, in football terms, however, it adds to the overall interest/excitement in the game in my opinion.

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  • 89. At 3:56pm on 24 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to LTrent

    Thanks for a comprehensive response. You put your point of view across very well. And I assure you it is not meant to be patronsing just an acknowledgement.

    I realise I am in a minority on the subject of a hatred of opposing teams, something I have never subscribed to. I have supported QPR all my life as does my father and as did my grandfather. My grandfather saw QPR win the Southern League in 1908 and then play Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the very first Community Shield match (then called Charity Shield). The first QPR game I saw was at the White City in a 1962 FA Cup tie; and one of the best days of my life was when I saw Division 3 QPR beat Division 1 West Bromwich Albion at Wembley on 4th March 1967, in what was the very first League Cup Final to be played at the historic stadium. Between 1979 and 1996 I held a season ticket in South Africa Road Stand and from 1997 to 2005 and Executive Box. However, due to my work I now have to attend a variety of football matches in the Premier and Football League so no longer see QPR every week. I do however, attend as many QPR games as I can, and will do so until the day I die. I have been with them in the bad days of Divison 3 South and the good days in the Premier League, which hopefully is about to return.

    For all that QPR pedigree, if Chelsea are playing in Europe I support Chelsea. If Man U are playing in Europe I support Man U etc. Of the Premier League teams, as a neutral I most enjoy watching Arsenal; terrific on the eye! Brian Clough once said of Wenger's Arsenal 'I've been waiting all my life to see football played like this.' Who am I to argue with the great man?

    I support these teams because they are English and are representing what is the best of our League in European competitions. At 6pm tonight I will be watching and supporting Liverpool (albeit on TV) and later in the evening Man City. If you ask Ray Wilkins (a real gentleman by the way) he will tell you even with his love of Chelsea, he wants to see their neighbours Fulham, Brentford and QPR doing well. In fact Ray Wilkins has a real passion for QPR and their fans. Whenever he visits Loftus Road he always signs autographs and spends time talking to the supporters. Although fans on occasions do show sheer hatred toward each other, and always have a rivalry most clubs try to assist each other off the field of play and have great relationships. Within the game disliking a rival rarely raises it's head. There is of course a desire and the professionalism to win, but both before and after the game most players and club officials get on really well; and there is almost always the utmost respect.

    That is how I enjoy my football, but I recognise your wish to follow the game in a different way; which is fine.

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  • 90. At 4:10pm on 24 Feb 2011, PPCC36 wrote:

    Antony said

    "To PPCC36 and OneGaryNelson, the manager's intention should only be to build a team to achieve the seasons goal (short term business plan). That goal for Brighton currently being promotion. If promotion is achieved then that is a result - you then build a team for the following seasons challenge. Brighton have a system, which is currently achieving that goal - why change? To be fair to Steve Clarridge when talking about Brighton I think he does cover that."

    what post of mine is that a response to? I don't want us to change our style. I'm very happy with it thank you. I'm not even thinking about next season until this one is over.

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  • 91. At 6:18pm on 24 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to PPCC36

    The response was to add my comments to yours. I am in agreement with waht you said about Brighton's style of play. Long may it continue.

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  • 92. At 10:46pm on 24 Feb 2011, johnnycrumplinfootballgenius wrote:

    If we don't go up as champions which we deserve It will be disappointing the main thing is Albion will be in the championship next season playing in the same style in a rammed stadium with some quality additions to the squad in the summer. Brighton will be a very appealing move to players in the higher divisions who before would not have even considered a move to the coast. Who would have thought Blackpool would be mixing it in the prem with the big boys
    Albion will be in the perm in the next 3 years, anyone fancy a flutter ?!

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  • 93. At 07:26am on 25 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    I am at Swansea v Leeds lunchtime on Saturday and then travelling to Bristol City v Scunthorpe for 3pm; before the League Cup Final at Wembley, Sunday. A tight schedule on Saturday and I will have to miss the last 10 minutes of the game in Swansea and hopefully no more than the first 10 in Bristol.

    The game that intrigues me this weekend however, is Hull City v Cardiff. I read my notes from the Hull v QPR game of some weeks ago. In the 9th minute Taraabt received the ball on the attacking left, he was closely marked by three amber shirts, he stepped inside playing a square ball to Miller, who 22 yards from goal was closely marked by two different amber shirts; Miller in turn took three touches before squaring the ball to Routledge, wide right Routledge marked closely by three amber shirts passed backward 20 yards to the centre circle. Hull City had no players in the attacking two thirds at all.

    Hull City play at home, set up as many away sides do. It is tricky for the visitors to overcome. You expect the home team to attack and take the game to you, but that is not the Hull City way. They are tight, compact, well organised and play as a unit. The main objective appears to be to prevent the opposition from scoring and try to nick a goal on the break. Toward the end of a game, especially where Barmby is introduced Hull do improve their attacking options and try to nick a goal at the end. Pretty to watch, attacking football, plenty of flair and entertaining? Definately not. But effective, making Hull City one of the most difficult Championship sides to beat.

    Hull City have scored just 14 home goals, the fewest (along with struggling Scunthorpe) in the Championship. They have conceded just 8 at the KC, only QPR are meaner (6); (QPR have of course scored 35 home goals).

    Cardiff City, I believe on paper have a squad, which is probably stronger than any other Championship side. In contention to play on Saturday they boast (Manchester City's) Craig Bellamy, Bothroyd, Chopra, Parkin, Olofinjana and (Arsenal's) Aaron Ramsey. I appreciate Portsmouth have a forward line costing £14m and QPR are top of the league and have been all season, but on paper Cardiff are very formidable. Pearson has Hull City players playing with the same desire Phil Brown achieved. They know they are hard to beat; they are confident; they know their jobs and carry them out efficiently; great organisation; A TEAM! Cardiff City, well Bothroyd won't commit himself to the Bluebirds refusing to sign a new contract, Bellamy and Ramsey are loanees and Chopra - a real talent whom I recommended to QPR when he was playing for Newcastle reserves is not fulfilling his potential; (QPR did make an enquiry by the way but Bobby Robson didn't want to let him go).

    Saturday will not be an exciting game at the KC and will be a no go area for a neutral wanting to be entertained. Unless Cardiff manage to score early on, it will be very tight throughout with few goals. One will probably win it. If you do the pools, this is as good a bet for a draw as any.

    I mention this because Hull City, unbeaten in nine are in the next seven days going to have their credentials well and truly tested. Following 3rd placed Cardiff City, a week Saturday Hull visit Nottingham Forest; and by that time Forest could be in second place as they play their 'in hand game' next Tuesday. Forest have scored 30 at home, and in spite of a few little blips of late will ask a lot of questions of Hull. I still expect the game to be tight, because of the sheer organisation and determination of Pearson's side, but whether Hull are capable of denting Forests automatic promotion hopes is a question that won't be answered until next week.

    Hull City were promoted via the Play Offs in 2008. Their current league position is almost mirrored by their position at the same time of the season three years ago. To predict Championship scores is impossible. I believe, without doubt this is the most competative league in the country and as interesting as the next few weeks fixtures are, nothing will be answered. The promotion race will go right down to the final two weeks when some of the top teams Leeds, Burnley, QPR and Norwich are to play each other in six pointers!

    If you haven't seen Championship football this season, then go and have a look. There are some really good sides out there with genuine Premier League quality players.

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  • 94. At 09:19am on 25 Feb 2011, saint_in_oz wrote:

    some of the comments on here make me embarrassed to be a saints fan.

    I reckon Brighton have 1st place by a mile, with saints or bournemouth in second. with hudds and peterborough not far behind.

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  • 95. At 10:00am on 25 Feb 2011, GrugenMcTavish wrote:

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

  • 96. At 11:49am on 25 Feb 2011, Speedshrew wrote:

    Hi Steve,
    As a Shrewsbury fan, I have been delighted to see their progress with a new squad and new manager-my question is this-Having got decent recents against League 1 clubs in the JPT over the last few years, do you think we can stay up if we get promoted?
    PS. Why are there differnt numbers of relgation spots in each league?

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  • 97. At 12:01pm on 25 Feb 2011, alarch wrote:

    Claridge's comments on Brighton's prospects next year really makes it transparent how blinkered his views are. Quite apart from ignoring Brighton's successes against Championships opposition, he seems completely unaware of Swansea and Doncaster's success over two and a half season's playing continental football on a shoestring. If Brighton get promoted (and as a Swansea fan I do) then all the evidence points to them being successful. That a paid pundit cannot see the obvious suggests a blinkered, if not Little Englander attitude - surely those continentals can't be capable of producing better, more successful football than the English? Er, yes...

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  • 98. At 12:30pm on 25 Feb 2011, U14345488 wrote:


    You can't include Colchester and Leyton Orient in that list of results against promotion rivals but then conveniently miss out Rochdale because you lost 3-0!

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  • 99. At 1:20pm on 25 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to alarch

    I agree with what you say about Brighton and Swansea playing football. And of course teams can be succesful in any division if they have the talent, play to their stregnths and have the players suited to that particular style i.e. the passing/possession game. Arsenal however, who have played that style of footgball for many years are unlikely to agree with your assessment of it being 'continental'.

    I have to however, strongly object to and defend the English teams quality, stregnth and style of play against what you have said at the end of your comment. You are a million miles away from being accurate.

    Some people in our own country (like you), for whatever reason knock the English even when we are the best. We have the best league in the world, without a doubt. It is watched by more fans live, domestically on TV and world wide than any other and that is because of the excitement, style of play and real class shown by some truly outstanding football teams.

    Teams like Barcelona and Real Madrid spend a few weeks in their domestic league playing against good quality opposition whilst the rest of the time they play inferior sides and have a stroll in the park. In the Premier League our best teams meet very good teams every week. There is no let up and there are no weak teams in the Premier League.

    Can you quote one country that has had more clubs than England reach the latter stages of the Champions League?

    No, the fact is the continental clubs do not produce better or more succesful football than the English clubs. We all accept of course that Barcelona are a team of real class, however they are not the best team I have ever seen, which was the Brazilian 1970 team. And to date Barcelona has achieved very little, so cannot be judged as more succesful than the Liverpool team which dominated Europe in the late 70s and 80s or the great Real Madrid team of the late 1950s and early 60s.

    To pre-empt anything else you might say about Barcelona, put to one side (if you wish) the fact that Arsenal defeated them last week; just watch a replay of the 2009 Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League semi final, which is the season that Barcelona last won the tournament. Can you say honestly that Barcelona deserved to beat Chelsea. Over two legs Chelsea were clearly the better side. The fact is there were some very, very strange refereeing decisions at Stamford Bridge that night preventing Chelsea reaching the Final where they would have played another English club Manchester United.

    The past 6 years has seen 4 different English teams make the Final of the Champions League and in those 6 years there has been 6 English finalists: 2009 Man U; 2008 Man U and Chelsea; 2007 Liverpool; 2006 Arsenal; 2005 Liverpool.

    In that same period the totals read: England 6 finalists; Italy 3 finalists; Spain 2 finalists and Germany 1. So those continental football powers all added together only equal the number of English teams that have made the Final in recent years.

    Portugese teams, French or any other continental countries you care to mention are nowhere to be seen.

    Continental superiority - don't make me laugh!

    Recognise and accept, oh and celebrate the fact that the English club teams are the best and most succesful in the world.

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  • 100. At 1:42pm on 25 Feb 2011, bakes8 wrote:

    Hey Steve, How is Abdul Taarabt getting on this season?

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  • 101. At 2:16pm on 25 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to bakes8 (100 above)

    Really funny, brilliant - cheered up my Friday afternoon!

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  • 102. At 3:59pm on 25 Feb 2011, Jolliffe22 wrote:

    I can see what Claridge is trying to say about Brighton, he expects the seagulls to go up, play their type of football that has been so successful this season, only to get completely turned over by teams, as has been proved in the two previous times the Albion have gone up. But what i don't think Claridge pointed out, however, was that type of football beat Watford and Portsmouth convincingly in the cup, as the fan site wearebrighton pointed out, and it wasn't as if it was the usual scrappy 1-0 win against the bigger teams that is usually witnessed in the domestic competition. The Albion played their usual style of football, true football, not like the usual league one scramble.
    The Albion also have a lot more resources than have previously been available next season, with the new stadium at Falmer, a wealthy chairman and a manager who is looking to build for the future. Therefore i believe the Albion can survive in the championship, and contrary to Claridge's point, sustain the type of football that has been turning so many heads this season.

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  • 103. At 4:49pm on 25 Feb 2011, pedrobarca wrote:

    can you not write steve...I mean literally

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  • 104. At 5:38pm on 25 Feb 2011, Iain wrote:

    Walk on Claridge.
    Forget Plan B. The clubs that survive in the Championship are the ones that can adapt considering Poyet has built a team in such a short time that can play GOOD football im surprised you find a fault. I cant see how you dont think a passing game will work. What are you suggesting long ball to no joy.
    Id rather watch an attractive Brighton and than switch from playing the best football ive seen in years.

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  • 105. At 3:27pm on 26 Feb 2011, micklin27 wrote:

    Bournemouth have not got the facilities for championship football, very poor ground, poxy away stand, terrible catering, stinking mobile toilets. they are at best a average old fourth division side, with as much ambition as leyton orient

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  • 106. At 9:09pm on 26 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Response to micklin27 (105 above)

    The web site Football Ground Guide reports as follows:

    'The stadium was literally built in 2001 in a matter of months. It comprises three permanent stands on both sides and at one end, with a temporary stand at the South end of the ground. The three permanent stands are of roughly the same design and height and are quite smart looking, with the Main Stand having a row of executive boxes to its rear. Each is a covered single tiered stand, with good views of the playing action, with perspex wind shields at each side. The stand roofs have perspex panels, helping get more light to the pitch. For a number of seasons the South end of the stadium has been unused but it has now been filled with a temporary structure. This stand is a small uncovered all seated affair. It is just ten rows high and has a capacity of 1360 seats. The corners of the ground are open and they are home to some unusual looking floodlights. The pitch has been rotated 90 degrees from its old position and if you ever visited the old ground, try figuring out where the old Brighton Beach End was located!

    'Away fans are located on one side of the East Stand, at one side of the pitch. The normal allocation for this area is 1,500, but this can be increased to 2,000 if required. The stand is shared with home supporters, offers a good view of the playing action and generates a good atmosphere. The facilities are okay and food on offer includes such delights as the Chicken Balti Pie (£2.20). I had a fairly relaxing visit to the stadium with no problems experienced. Bournemouth is a nice seaside town, with good nightlife, so why not make a weekend of it?'

    I hope thats of interest and probably gives an independant view of the ground at Bournemouth.

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  • 107. At 11:33pm on 26 Feb 2011, Bedford R wrote:

    So then, Steve. What do you think of today's performance by QPR? Still a one man show are we? I know we have figured out how to beat teams. By being the best team in the division - but you can't admit that can you?

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  • 108. At 01:21am on 27 Feb 2011, TomNFFC wrote:

    (#52) Superhoopa wrote:

    '19 clean sheets is a fantastic achievement. Yet Lee Camp gets praise when he has only kept 9 clean sheets?'

    If being a good goalkeeper is down to how many clean sheets you keep, then why is Coventry City goalkeeper Kieren Westwood regarded as one of the best goalkeepers outside the Premier League?

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  • 109. At 09:19am on 27 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Re: QPR

    A team can be fortunate in the cup, with home draws and avoiding the best teams etc. On occasions due to this, clubs struggling in the league can go all the way. However, that isn't how it works in the league, the league fully tests credentials!

    If a team is top of the league after 34 games with a five point lead and a goal difference twice as good as anyone else (which in practice is worth an extra point), the team is there on merit.

    Steve Claridge's comments on QPR were ill advised, unfortunate and no doubt on reflection, an embarrasment to him.

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  • 110. At 11:41am on 27 Feb 2011, lee wrote:

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

  • 111. At 11:46am on 27 Feb 2011, lee wrote:

    say we are qpr say we are top of the league.

    sing it clarage

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  • 112. At 8:41pm on 27 Feb 2011, Anthony wrote:

    Re: my comment at 109 above.

    The proof, as they say is in the eating.

    That is not taking anything away from Birmingham City, who without doubt were the best team on the day - congratulations!

    Arsenal fans - well an average age of 23; if Wenger keeps the nucleas together, especially the likes of Fabregas, Wiltshire etc., Arsenal can dominate not just English, but also European football for many years to come.

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  • 113. At 09:35am on 28 Feb 2011, BlueDutch wrote:

    Re: number 82 UddersfieldTown POY

    It seems you do not consider little old Rochdale as a promotion rival. Perhaps that has something to do with a 3-0 defeat not looking so good in your results table.

    I am quite happy for everyone to continue ignoring us, as being unfashionable seems to make us invisible. Leyton Orient are probably classed the same way by most, but have only been mentioned because of their cup exploits and not the tremendous vein of form they are in.

    Beware, minnows bite back!

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  • 114. At 5:09pm on 28 Feb 2011, NarrowboatDave wrote:

    As a Posh fan it pains me to say it, but Brighton are by far and away the best side I have seen in L1 this season.

    They absolutely hammered us 4-0 at home earlier in the season, and played some beautiful football in the process.

    Sure, under Gary Johnson we had no defence and no Plan B (come to think of it, there wasn't much of a Plan A either), but they passed the ball around us as if we were an Under-11 side. The score could have been much worse.

    Poyet has got them playing in his style, passing and movement.

    With Darren Ferguson back at the helm, results have picked up and we now have a few clean sheets under our belt, whilst our stirkers are stilling knocking goals in for fun.

    If our defence continues to improve, don't rule us out of the secdond automatic place, but realistically, play offs are probably where we'll end up.

    Please, please, don't let Southampton get promoted. Most arrogant set of supporters in L1, wumming away on here and on 606 boards as well. They're worse than when Leeds had a prolinged stay in L1 and that's saying something.

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  • 115. At 5:10pm on 28 Feb 2011, Ian wrote:

    I think the problem with a blog looking at who will get promoted from league one is that it's practically impossible to tell! With one obvious exception, ie Brighton. Therefore all Steve can really do is what we've all done all season - wondered to ourselves which teams are going to get a bit of consistency which is clearly all you need for a play-off place. As a Colchester fan, we have absolutely no right to still be in with a chance following some of our results this season, but because everyone else keeps stuffing up we seem to be able to lose, look at the league table and still be in with a chance - although it's not looking so good after our weekend defeat at Plymouth. Even so, a run of 3 or 4 wins would change all that, and despite that defeat we do seem to be playing quite well at the moment, including a good point at Peterborough.

    For what it's worth, the best team I've seem at the WHCS this season was Huddersfield, who completely destroyed us in the opening half hour. But Brighton are clearly a class act - and as to whether they can do well in the Championship or not, I would suggest the main issue will be whether or not they can keep hold of Gus Poyet. If they can, and with the move to the new stadium, I suspect they will have no problem establishing themselves as a Championship side.

    Regarding the quality of Steve's blog, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, having read everybody's comments before I watched it! Again, I would say the main problem is that it's such a hard league to predict again this year - but that's what makes it such a good league to be involved in!

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  • 116. At 6:43pm on 28 Feb 2011, kevallen wrote:

    to micklin27 post 105

    As an Leyton Orient fan you must be please with the millons of pounds your chairman has ploughed into YOUR club, UNLIKE us fans at Bournemouth who at on point put our hands deep into our OWN pockets to keep OUR club going.
    To be second in the League at this present time is a great Achevement and as for being a average side all I can say is Orient are 11th in the league 14pts behind us now thats what I call an average side,
    and please don't slate our Club that has NO money just becouse of a few problems with our RENTED ground.

    I personaly feel that this is NOT the season to be promoted to the Championship we haven't got the players to play compeditive in the League, but hey look at Stoke and Blackpool who would have thought they would do so well with there squad

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  • 117. At 12:16pm on 01 Mar 2011, The_Bounder wrote:

    So amateurish.

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  • 118. At 9:49pm on 01 Mar 2011, kalow wrote:

    Could someone remind Steve that Brighton comfortably beat Portsmouth and Watford this season

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