2nd Season Syndrome

It is a common theory in football that the second season can be tough. The original success of the previous campaign can quickly seem a distant memory. The opposition has figured out the team’s style of play which was initially an unknown quantity taking more illustrious opponents by surprise. Pressure from the fans to relive the glories of the past can overwhelm the team with confidence visibly draining from the whole club.

You can read last year’s review of the blogs first season here. Now see how the potentially dreaded second season panned out…

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This year I have been fortunate to have some new signings in the form of guest writers on the blog. Before the World Cup in Brazil kicked off last summer Luca Hodges-Ramon (@LH_Ramon25) previewed Colombia’s chances on the world’s biggest stage without Radamel Falcao, who missed the tournament due to injury. Unsurprisingly for such a knowledgeable writer Luca was proven correct as the South Americans thrived despite the loss of their talisman, topping Group C with three wins out of three, defeating Uruguay in the round of 16 before eventually being edged out by hosts, Brazil, in the quarter finals.

Author Chris Darwen (@comeontheoviedo) starred on the blog on a couple of occasions, firstly to promote his excellent new book, Johnny Cooper Championship Managerbefore turning his attention to CD Torrevieja from the Spanish 4th division where he is a member as well as working on the club’s PR.

After Chris’ persuasive pitch to encourage readers to become a member of the Spanish club there was a pitch of a different kind as Becca Honeybill (@SoftSurfacesBex) of Soft Surface Sport looked at the advantages of using 3G pitches. It was excellent to be able to host an article by a team with such extensive professional knowledge on a part of the game which is vital and widely discussed.

Next we made our way to Aberdeen, a place which can see all sorts of weather and would see the benefits of 3G pitches. However it wasn’t a problem for Eoin Jess, who was the focus for Scottish Fitba Base‘s (@ScottishFitball) debut article on the site. It was great to have a writer who specialise in the game north of the border, specifically in the Highlands. The article also had a personal touch as Sean’s uncle had coached Jess before the former Aberdeen man went on to represent Scotland.

The final guest article of the season was from Valentin Boulan (@valentinboulan). Valentin put forward the case for Cristiano Ronaldo being the ‘real’ Ronaldo. This was an interesting debate especially as both were among the best players of their generation and perhaps all time. Although everyone didn’t agree Valentin you can’t argue with the quality of the case put forward.

If anyone else would like to write for the site please get in contact.

A new series on the blog this season was the Globe Blogs of Football. Since starting the blog and discovering fellow football site through Twitter I was intrigued by the scope of topics others specialised in. I was specifically interested in discovering more about the people who ran these sites to see where there motivation to write about football in specific regions of the world. So far I have interviewed Bundesliga Fanatic (@Bundesliga4uScottish Soccer Show (@ScottishSoccer), Caribbean Football (@caribbeanftbl) and Escape to Suomi (@EscapeToSuomi).

Suggestions on who you think should be interview next are always welcome.

As well as writing on the blog I have also looked to get my work featured on other sites to increase my readership. My first article to feature elsewhere was The Reading Way which I submitted to These Football Times (@thesefootytimes). I have been a regular reader of the site and is without doubt one of my favourite football websites. I was fortunate to be able to contribute to These Football These new project Original Coach (@original_coach) during there first week live. Despite what turned out to be a disappointing league campaign for Reading the Royals academy continued to thrive.

The idea for my latest article originally  came in January after watching the Crazy Gang documentary on BT Sport. After eventually finishing the article on the comparison between Wimbledon striker John Fashanu and Mario Balotelli the article was picked up by Proven Quality (@provenquality) and Think Football (@Think_Football). As I wrote in last year’s review these are two of the best blogs around.

One of my personal highlights of the season was getting a vote for the Best New Blog at the Football Blog Awards (@TheFBAs). If you don’t know the system anyone can vote for their favourite website across a number of categories. It was an honour to be thought of in such high regard especially as it was in the form of one of my peers in She’s on the Ball (@ShesOnTheBall). Although the awards are a fantastic platform to recognise all those who write about the game we love one of the irritations, debated here, was whether there should be a best male award.

The Premier League didn’t see a managerial change until December this season. Then the managerial merry go round started with Neil Warnock’s sacking at Crystal Palace. He was replaced by under fire Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew. With the former Eagles player tenure in the North East looking to end with his dismissal rather than his defection to Selhurst Park I wrote about The man who climbed out of the sack and disappeared to Selhurst Park.

Tony Pulis appointment as head coach at West Brom having started the season as manager at Crystal Palace and with Mike Ashley potentially looking for a more continental approach led to an investigation into the changing trend of appointments in the Premier League.

As the season came to a close it was time review those players who made a positive impact to their teams with the 10 Best Premier League Summer Signings, and the 10 Worst included a host of players who endured a different campaign for one reason or another.

I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have written for the blog as well as all the other site who have hosted my work.

The following site have also shown tremendous support over the past year.

License to Roam (@licencetoroam) – two brothers based in Australia regularly offering quality articles on a wide range of football topics

FC Business Magazine (@fcbusiness– excellent publication on all aspects of the business side of the game

Manuel Veth (@homosovieticus) – editor of Futbolgrad and Futbol Cidade; two fantastic sites covering the post-Soviet region and the Americas respectively

Dispensable Soccer (@Dispenssoccer) – fresh, new football blog full of all the latest news as well as some nostalgia

Jamie Allen (@plymkrprss) – a Bradford City fan and insightful writer featured interesting original content.

Midfield Veteran (@midfieldveteran) – Celtic fan, focusing on the wider game in Scotland as well as many other subjects of the beautiful game around the world.

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