Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2020-21 (Part Two)

To keep up to date with the latest transfers of the Football Clubs in Part Two, click HERE.

Part One – Page One: Accrington Stanley, AFC Wimbledon, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, Burton Albion and Charlton Athletic.

Part One – Page Two: Crewe Alexandra, Doncaster Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Gillingham, Hull City and Ipswich Town.

Part Two – Page OneLincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons, Northampton Town, Oxford United, Peterborough United and Plymouth Argyle.

Part Two – Page TwoPortsmouth, Rochdale, Shrewsbury, Sunderland, Swindon Town and Wigan Athletic.

PORTSMOUTH

Last season: 5th (lost in play-off semi-final)
P35 W17 D9 L9 F53 A36 Pts60
Average attendance: 17,804

Chairman/owner: Michael Eisner, 78 (appointed August 2017)

Manager: Kenny Jackett, 58 (appointed June 2017)

Kenny Jackett’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (1):
Luke McGee, 25 (Forest Green Rovers)

Defenders (3):
Christian Burgess, 28 (Royale Union Saint-Gilloise – Belgium)
Brandon Haunstrup, 23 (Kilmarnock)
Matthew Casey, 20

Midfielders (1):
Adam May, 22 (Cambridge United)

Forwards (3):
Brett Pitman, 32 (Swindon Town)
Oliver Hawkins, 28
Bradley Lethbridge, 19 (Bognor Regis Town)

Players in (3):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (3):
Sean Raggett, 26 (Norwich City)
Callum Johnson, 23 (Accrington Stanley)
Cameron Pring, 22 (Bristol City – season loan)

Midfielders (0):

Forwards (0):

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 24

Player of the Season 2019-20: Christian Burgess, 28 (centre-half) – no longer with club

One to watch: Marcus Harness, 24 (winger)

Season ticket sales: 12,000 flexi-tickets (at 8/9/2020)

Ground capacity: 21,100

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,400 (all seated – may be increased to 2,800)

Pre-season:
P3 W2 D0 L1 F6 A3
15/8 Norwich City U23 N 2-0 Brown, Curtis at Five Lakes, Essex
22/8 Brighton & Hove Albion A 0-3
1/9 Gosport Borough A 4-0 Hackett-Fairchild 2, Curtis, Williams

Commentary:

“Every season will have strong sides and then you’ll also have surprises – who would have thought that Sunderland, Ipswich and Peterborough wouldn’t get into the top six? We’ve had a good degree of consistency, only to fall at the last hurdle in the past two seasons in some tight play-off games. We haven’t done too much wrong in that time. Ultimately, we want to go one better and there won’t be a hangover.” – Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett

Despite having the best home record in League One last year, Portsmouth still managed to fall short of promotion. A very poor start left Pompey in the bottom four at the end of September, but a steady improvement saw them just two points short of an automatic promotion spot when the season was curtailed. A relatively comfortable set of fixtures suggests that a promotion spot may well have been theirs. The play-offs produced two turgid matches against Oxford, and a 5-4 defeat on penalties consigned them to a fourth season in League One. The cups generated great excitement, with runs to the fifth round of the FA Cup, and the final of the Leasing.com Trophy for the second successive season. The final against Salford has been postponed until fans can attend, giving Portsmouth the unprecedented opportunity to win the same trophy twice in the same season.

The loss of captain and Player of the Season Christian Burgess came as a blow during the close season, especially considering his move to the Belgian second division. Transfer activity has been negligible at the time of writing, with Sean Raggett returning on a permanent basis alongside two other defensive acquisitions in Cameron Pring and Accrington’s Callum Johnson. Strike options appear reduced with the departure of Ollie Hawkins and Brett Pitman, so expect some movement there before the window closes.

Given the size of their infrastructure, Portsmouth were prominently unsupportive of the salary cap. A profit of just over £2 million was achieved during the last financial year, although that was generated by player sales of £3.3 million. The true picture is probably demonstrated by the loss the previous year of £1.37 million. CEO Mark Catlin gave the current playing budget at around £5 million, meaning that big changes will be necessary in order to comply with the new regulations if Portsmouth do not go up this season.

Cup runs aside, it was ultimately a disappointing season at Fratton Park for the supporters, who will be expecting nothing less than promotion this time around. Manager Kenny Jackett has received criticism from fans due to his style of play, although the directors say onfield performance is in line with their key performance indicators for both the manager and the club’s strategy. Having said that, promotion must now be the imperative if that salary cap is not to impact. That will not be an easy task, as Portsmouth are one of seven former Premier League clubs in the division trying to return to the big time.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 5/2 (third favourites)

Prediction: Play-offs again.


ROCHDALE

Last season: 18th
P34 W10 D6 L18 F39 A57 Pts36
Average attendance: 3,632 (highest for almost 50 years)

Chairman: Andrew Kilpatrick, 59 (appointed December 2018)

Manager: Brian Barry-Murphy, 42 (appointed March 2019 as caretaker, April 2019 permanently)

Brian Barry-Murphy’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (7):

Goalkeepers (1):
Josh Lillis, 33

Defenders (1):
Callum Camps, 24 (Fleetwood Town)

Midfielders (1):
Jordan (MJ) Williams, 24 (Blackpool)

Forwards (4):
Aaron Wilbraham, 40
Ian Henderson, 35 (Salford City)
Calvin Andrew, 33
Matty Gillam, 22 (Guiseley)

Players in (3):

Goalkeepers (1):
Gavin Bazunu, 18 (Manchester City – season loan)

Defenders (1):
Yeboah Amankwah, 19 (Manchester City – season loan)

Midfielders (1):
Alex Newby, 24 (Chorley)

Forwards (0):

Average age of players out: 30
Average age of players in: 20

Number of players in squad: 22

Player of the Season 2019-20: Eoghan O’Connell, 25 (centre-half)

One to watch: Eoghan O’Connell, 25 (centre-half)

Season ticket sales: 1,056 (at 1/9/2020)

Ground capacity: 10,000

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,500 (all seated – may be increased to 3,650)

Pre-season:
P4 W3 D0 L1 F8 A3
19/8 Atherton Collieries A 4-1 Newby 2, Ryan, Morley
22/8 Stockport County A 2-0 Lund, Baah
25/8 Oldham Athletic A 1-0 Newby
29/8 Port Vale A 1-2 Morley (pen)

Commentary:

“It will be an exciting season in League One, as we line up against eight teams that have played in the Premier League and ten that have played at the top level of English football, as well as multiple winners of both the FA Cup and League Cup, so there are good times ahead.” – Rochdale CEO David Bottomley

There can be no doubt that this season’s League One comprises an eclectic mix of clubs from opposite ends of the financial scale. The likes of Sunderland and Ipswich have been joined by Wigan and Hull, yet they will be crossing swords with minnows Accrington, Burton Albion and –  dare we say – Rochdale. There may not necessarily be good times ahead for those minnows in terms of results, but things look set to be very interesting as David meets Goliath on a regular basis.

Rochdale were one of a number of clubs towards the foot of League One who might have been very grateful for the curtailment of the season, but for the unwelcome financial impact. Dale were just four points clear of relegation when play was suspended, and in poor form with just two wins in nine games. League form was in direct contrast to success in the two main cups, reaching the third round of both. The highlight of the season was a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the League Cup, the windfall from a 58,313 crowd offering substantial compensation for the 5-3 defeat on penalties. Sadly, the money will have been eaten up during the coronavirus suspension, with the club losing £125,000 per month against their monthly wage bill of £250,000.

Summer transfer activity therefore was extremely restricted, with Barry-Murphy admitting that significant replacements were needed after the club released a tranche of senior players as an economy measure. That has not happened, the only additions being non-league midfielder Alex Newby and two teenagers from Manchester City’s development squad. The departed Ian Henderson scored 16 of Rochdale’s paltry 39 league goals last season, and will be very hard to replace. No one remaining in the squad scored more than three goals last season, suggesting goals may not be a regular feature in 2020-21.

Like many clubs in the lower divisions, Rochdale FC is a loss-making enterprise. Losses for the last three years have exceeded £1 million each, making the total loss for the period around £4 million. The perennial battle for support in the Manchester area continues, although last season was a significant one at the Crown Oils Arena: an average attendance of 3,632 may not appear substantial at this level, but it represents Rochdale’s highest average attendance since 1971-72.

There was also an interesting public spat with club legend Ian Henderson over contract negotiations, leading the club to take the unusual step of issuing a formal statement to explain why he was eventually released. And therein lies the main challenge for Rochdale: Henderson’s 126 goals saw him finish leading scorer for six successive seasons, and it will be interesting to see who will score the goals now. Failure to find a replacement will surely signify relegation back to the basement they left in 2014.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 66/1 (favourites for relegation)

Prediction: Relegation without a miracle.


SHREWSBURY TOWN

Last season: 15th
P34 W10 D11 L13 F31 A42 Pts41
Average attendance: 6,059

Chairman/owner: Roland Wycherley, 79 (appointed July 1996)

Manager: Sam Ricketts, 38 (appointed December 2018)

Sam Ricketts’ managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (6):

Goalkeepers (1):
Joe Murphy, 39 (Tranmere Rovers)

Defenders (1):
Omar Beckles, 28 (Crewe Alexandra)

Midfielders (3):
Romain Vincelot, 34 (Stevenage)
Josh Laurent, 25 (Reading)
Kian Taylor, 19 (Coalville Town)

Forwards (1):
Lifumpa Mwandwe, 19

Players in (5):

Goalkeepers (1):
Matija Šarkić, 23 (Wolverhampton Wanderers – season loan)

Defenders (1):
Marlon Fossey, 21 (Fulham – season loan)

Midfielders (2):
Josh Daniels, 24 (Glenavon)
Scott High, 19 (Huddersfield Town – season loan)

Forwards (1):
Rekeil Pyke, 23 (Huddersfield Town)

Average age of players out: 27
Average age of players in: 22

Number of players in squad: 24

Player of the Season 2019-20: Aaron Pierre, 27 (centre-half)

One to watch: Aaron Pierre, 27 (centre-half)

Season ticket sales: 2,250 (at 15/7/2020)

Ground capacity: 9,875

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,796 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P6 W4 D0 L2 F10 A8
11/8 BALA TOWN H 3-0 Caton, Daniels, Cummings
18/8 Nuneaton Borough N 3-1 Pierre, Sears, Barnett at AFC Telford
21/8 WALSALL H 0-1
25/8 Stoke City A 1-5 Whalley (pen)
25/8 Wolverhampton Wanderers U23 N 1-0 Udoh (pen) at AFC Telford
29/8 Burnley A 2-1 High, Whalley

Commentary:

“With pre-season, it’s usually a short break that the players have to experience but the players have had months and months off. We have only really had four or five weeks before the first competitive game and it seems to have flown by. I think it’s the same for every team so that pre-season effect will be there for at least a good few weeks into the season. I think it will be October when we start to feel fully up to speed for the new season.” – Shrewsbury manager Sam Rickett

With a tight defence and a far from deadly forward line, fans were hardly kept on the edge of their seats at the Montgomery Waters Meadow last season. Shrewsbury were the second-lowest scorers in League One with just 31 goals – only bottom club Bolton (27) scored fewer. Furthermore, just 73 goals were scored in Shrewsbury’s 34 games, which was also the second-lowest combined total in the entire EFL. Three players tied for joint top scorer with just four league goals each, which may explain why a possible play-off push at Christmas deteriorated into two wins in fourteen games and a bottom-half finish. The FA Cup produced a fourth-round replay defeat to Liverpool’s youngest ever side in front of 52,300 at Anfield, and the money received would have been very welcome during the coronavirus suspension.

Two key players were lost during the summer when defender Omar Beckles and midfielder Josh Laurent declined new contract offers and moved on. They will have to be replaced if the status quo of last season’s fifteenth place is to be maintained, but manager Sam Ricketts admits to having a frustrating time this summer. Attacking full-back Marlon Fossey on loan from Fulham is an interesting signing, while winger Josh Daniels from Glenavon could be dangerous if he can make the step up from the semi-professional NIFL. That elusive striker has yet to be found, with new addition Rekeil Pyke having just one goal to his name from 39 Football League appearances. An attempt to sign Danny Graham ahead of Sunderland was a statement of intent, albeit an unsuccessful one. The bookmakers indicate a relegation battle for Shrewsbury as things stand, but Ricketts starts his second full season at New Meadow knowing that the addition of a proven goalscorer could change that outlook considerably.

Off the field, Shrewsbury have taken a prominent role in discussions regarding reduced capacity attendance at matches, offering their services as a pilot site from 19 September. The proposal looks unlikely to be adopted at the time of writing.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 18/1

Prediction: Relegation battle, but could be safe if they can find a goalscorer.


SUNDERLAND

Last season: 8th
P36 W16 D11 L9 F48 A32 Pts59
Average attendance: 30,317 (highest in League One)

Chairman/owner: Stewart Donald, 45 (appointed May 2018)

Manager: Phil Parkinson, 52 (appointed October 2019)

Phil Parkinson’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (9):

Goalkeepers (1):
Jon McLaughlin, 32 (Glasgow Rangers)

Defenders (4):
Joel Lynch, 32
Tommy Smith, 30 (Colchester United)
Jack Baldwin, 27 (Bristol Rovers)
Alim Öztürk, 27 (Ümraniyespor – Turkey)

Midfielders (2):
Ethan Robson, 23 (Blackpool)
Bali Mumba, 18 (Norwich City)

Forwards (2):
Kyle Lafferty, 32 (Reggina – Italy)
Duncan Watmore, 26

Sunderland have also released 17 players from their U23 squad, some of whom have made first-team appearances at various times.

Players in (6):

Goalkeepers (1):
Remi Matthews, 26 (Bolton Wanderers)

Defenders (3):
Bailey Wright, 28 (Bristol City)
Arbenit Xhemajli, 22 (Neuchâtel Xamax – Switzerland)
Morgan Feeney, 21 (Everton)

Midfielders (0):

Forwards (2):
Danny Graham, 35 (Blackburn Rovers)
Aiden O’Brien, 26 (Millwall)

Average age of players out: 26
Average age of players in: 26

Number of players in squad: 22

Player of the Season 2019-20: not awarded

One to watch: Bailey Wright, 28 (centre-half)

Season ticket sales: 12,000 (when sales halted on 29/7/2020)

Ground capacity: 49,000 (highest in League One)

Visiting supporter capacity: 3,000 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P3 W3 D0 L0 F7 A2
22/8 Gateshead A 3-1 Maguire, Grigg, Scowen
25/8 CARLISLE UNITED H 3-1 Wyke 2, Maguire
29/8 HARROGATE TOWN H 1-0 Grigg

Commentary:

With unpopular owner Stewart Donald ‘desperate’ to sell Sunderland for £37.6 million, it was another acrimonious summer for League One’s premier fish out of water club. Sunderland’s continued presence in the third tier is a surprise, given the crowds and resources available, and to miss promotion and the play-offs was not on the agenda accordingly. Donald resigned as chairman in mid-July under increasing pressure from disgruntled supporters and promised to exit as soon as a buyer could be found. The accounts for the 2018-19 financial year showed an ‘impairment’ loss of £20.53 million, which was the result of the way Donald purchased the club in May 2018 (using a parachute payment). The size and nature of this debt was believed to be the cause of a number of potential buyers pulling out of negotiations. Having originally written off the debt in the accounts, Donald now intends to repay the money in full when the club is sold. Watch this space.

Considering the club was £159 million in debt as recently as 2016, Sunderland’s finances look in reasonably good shape. However, the suggestion of imminent salary caps have muddied the waters further, the proposed limit of £2.5 million seeming incongruous for a club with an average attendance of over 30,000. Even allowing for its gradual introduction, there would appear to be an added impetus to Sunderland’s efforts to return to the Championship and ideally beyond. All of this means that failure again in 2020-21 is not an option.

Summer signings have been impressive to date, with dominant central defender Bailey Wright returning from Bristol City on a permanent deal. Striker Aiden O’Brien will score goals in League One, while the return of Danny Graham could prove the icing on the cake, even at 35. New Kosovo international defender Arbenit Xhemajli has a unique claim to fame: he made his debut for previous club Neuchâtel Xamax in a 21-0 away win in the Swiss Cup. His debut for Sunderland? The 8-1 win over Aston Villa U21 in the EFL Trophy on 8 September.

Although Sunderland fans have been critical of his style of play at times, manager Phil Parkinson has two previous promotions to the Championship on his record and is well-placed to lead the challenge. He has probably the best squad in League One to play with, and will hold some financial advantages over rivals if further reinforcements are required in January.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 9/4 (joint-favourites)

Prediction: Champions.


SWINDON TOWN

Last season: 1st in League Two (promoted)
P36 W21 D6 L9 F62 A39 Pts69
Average attendance: 7,913

Chairman/owner: Lee Power, 48 (appointed December 2013)

Manager: Richie Wellens, 40 (appointed November 2018)

Richie Wellens’ managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (8):

Goalkeepers (2):
Luke McCormick, 37 (Plymouth Argyle)
Will Henry, 22

Defenders (1):
Joe Romanski, 20 (Zagłębie Lubin II – Poland)

Midfielders (3):
Danny Rose, 32 (Grimsby Town)
Jacob Bancroft, 19
Ralph Graham, 19

Forwards (2):
Eoin Doyle, 32 (Bolton Wanderers)
Keshi Anderson, 25 (Blackpool)

Players in (8):

Goalkeepers (1):
Matěj Kovář, 20 (Manchester United – season loan)

Defenders (1):
Akin Odimayo, 20 (Reading)

Midfielders (4):
Jack Payne, 25 (Lincoln City)
Jonny Smith, 23 (Bristol City – season loan)
Diallang Jaiyesimi, 22 (Norwich City)
Matt Smith, 19 (Arsenal – season loan)

Forwards (2):
Brett Pitman, 32 (Portsmouth)
Tyler Smith, 21 (Sheffield United – season loan)

Average age of players out: 25
Average age of players in: 23

Number of players in squad: 22

Player of the Season 2019-20: not awarded

One to watch: Diallang Jaiyesimi, 22 (attacking midfielder)

Season ticket sales: not disclosed

Ground capacity: 15,728

Visiting supporter capacity: 1,200 (all seated – may be increased to 3,300)

Pre-season:
P7 W4 D2 L1 F20 A9
8/8 Nuneaton Borough A 8-0 Smith 4, Jaiyesimi 2, Trialist, Trialist
11/8 BRISTOL ROVERS U23 H 3-1 Payne, Twine, Trialist
15/8 COVENTRY CITY H 2-1 Smith, Twine
22/8 Ashton United A 3-4 Hope 2, Smith
25/8 Melksham Town A 1-1 Twine
29/8 Bristol City A 1-1 Payne
29/8 Brentford B H 2-1 Hope, Twine

Commentary:

Having finished in the bottom half in 2018-19, very few would have expected Swindon to take the League Two title last season. A reasonable start to the season saw them in and around the play-off places before a run of seven successive wins carried them to the top in December. A 2-0 home defeat by Forest Green in their final match knocked them off top spot, but the points-per-game calculation handed the Robins the championship from leaders Crewe. The average attendance at the County Ground rose to almost 8,000 and everything looked set fair.

However, High Court rulings in May preventing chairman Lee Power from selling the club cast a shadow over the promotion celebrations, with a number of very interesting comments from one judge about Power’s conduct. Power stated he could not continue to fund the club throughout the coronavirus suspension, and that the sale was vital if administration were to be avoided. However, part of the judgment stated that Power could neither sell the club, nor place it into administration due to outstanding issues of ownership. The proceedings also cast doubt over who actually owns the club, with a suggestion that £800,000 in funding was received in 2013 from either a player’s agent (Michael Standing) or a player (Gareth Barry), neither of whom are eligible owners of a football club under EFL rules. If confirmed, EFL sanctions could follow. The Football Association has launched an investigation, so watch this space with interest.

Summer transfer business did not go to plan initially. Strikers Keshi Anderson and League Two’s top scorer Eoin Doyle declined contract offers to join Blackpool and Bolton respectively, while Jerry Yates also signed for Blackpool at the end of his loan from Rotherham. That left manager Richie Wellens with the unenviable task of finding a completely new forward line ahead of the step up to League One. That is no mean task, considering the trio scored 45 of Swindon’s 62 league goals. The experienced Brett Pitman has been brought in following his release from Portsmouth, while Sheffield United’s Tyler Smith has scored six goals during three separate loans to League One. The top signing appears to be highly-rated attacking midfielder Diallang Jaiyesimi from Norwich, who joins permanently after last season’s loan. Jack Payne joins from Lincoln to add some midfield guile.

Many observers feel that Swindon have been punching below their weight for some time, bouncing regularly between Leagues One and Two. Chairman Lee Power is desperate to sell the club, and perhaps Swindon’s survival in League One will depend on receiving no sanctions from the football authorities for the alleged breach of ownership rules. In spite of some challenging circumstances, the fans will be hoping this latest promotion is the start of a steady climb back up the leagues instead of the precursor to what would be a fourth relegation in fifteen years.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 9/1

Prediction: Lower mid-table provided no sanctions for the alleged ownership breach.


WIGAN ATHLETIC

Last season: 23rd in the Championship (relegated after 12-point deduction)
P46 W15 D14 L17 F57 A56 Pts47 (59)
Average attendance: 10,684

Chairman/owner: none

Administrators: Paul Stanley, Dean Watson and Gerald Krasner of Begbies Traynor

Caretaker Manager: Leam Richardson, 40 (appointed caretaker August 2020)

Leam Richardson’s managerial record:
League games only – play-offs and cup games not included.

Players out (13):

Goalkeepers (2):
David Marshall, 35 (Derby County)
Dániel Gyollai, 23 (Peterborough United)

Defenders (4):
Leon Balogun, 32 (Glasgow Rangers)
Chey Dunkley, 28 (Sheffield Wednesday)
Antonee Robinson, 23 (Fulham)
Cedric Kipré, 23 (West Bromwich Albion)

Midfielders (3):
Joe Williams, 23 (Bristol City)
Jensen Weir, 18 (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Alfie Devine, 15 (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards (4):
Kieffer Moore, 28 (Cardiff City)
Jamal Lowe, 26 (Swansea City)
Josh Windass, 26 (Sheffield Wednesday)
Joe Gelhardt, 18 (Leeds United)

Players in (2):

Goalkeepers (0):

Defenders (0):

Midfielders (0):

Forwards (2):
Dan Gardner, 30 (Salford City)
Viv Solomon-Otabor, 22 (CSKA Sofia – Bulgaria)

Average age of players out: 24
Average age of players in: 26

Number of players in squad: 10

Player of the Season 2019-20: Samy Morsy, 28 (defensive midfield)

One to watch: Samy Morsy, 28 (defensive midfield)

Season ticket sales: nil

Ground capacity: 25,133

Visiting supporter capacity: 4,800 (all seated)

Pre-season:
P3 W2 D0 L1 F9 A5
22/8 CARLISLE UNITED H 1-2 Crankshaw
25/8 BOLTON WANDERERS H 5-1 Garner 3, McManaman, Trialist
29/8 Bradford City A 3-2 Naismith 2, Roberts

Commentary:

Wigan Athletic’s ignominious slide into administration came as a major shock to fans of the Latics and to football in general, especially given the takeover of the club four weeks earlier. The move generated an automatic 12-point deduction that ultimately led to relegation from a comfortable thirteenth place. A misguided and very expensive appeal on the basis of force majeure (effectively an act of God) was never going to succeed, and Wigan return to League One after two years away.

In truth, the Premier League and FA Cup-winning glory days are long gone. This was Wigan’s third relegation from the Championship in five seasons, and administration revealed some incredible numbers. Their last published accounts for 2018-19 showed a wage spend of £19.4 million against revenue of just £11.5 million, 168% of revenue. Losses in the last two financial years amounted to £7.7 million and £9.2 million respectively, suggesting a club that is not as well-run as its supporters like to claim. Football creditors amounted to £6 million, and an outstanding tax bill of £2.8 million muddied the financial waters further. The administrators confirmed the total debt as £45.7 million, although legal wriggling could reduce that to as little as £6 million; it is believed that the new owners would need around £15 million to take over successfully. In August, present owner Wai Kay Au Yeung waived his rights to the repayment of £36 million owed to his companies, making an acquisition of the club more possible.

Set against an average attendance for the last two years of 10,407, the only surprise is the length of time taken for things to collapse (in comparison, Lincoln’s average for the same period was not a great deal lower at 8,894). The administrators were forced to make no fewer than 75 members of staff redundant in July, further confirming that the club could no longer sustain a Premier League operation with EFL revenue.

In an attempt to find a buyer by reducing debt, the administrators immediately set about the task of selling as many players as possible, and also sold the club’s Euxton training ground to Preston. The majority of the big-name players departed, some for good money: Jamal Lowe, Antonee Robinson, David Marshall, Josh Windass and Kieffer Moore have all gone. As expected, manager Paul Cook called it a day at the start of August, leaving his long-term deputy Leam Richardson with the task of creating a squad with no money. The fans raised over £500,000 via a Crowdfunder appeal to keep the club going after the administrators confirmed the club could not be sold by the original deadline of 31 August, but far more is needed. As things stand, Wigan have just ten first-team players under contract plus a number of U23 players.

Wigan made an immediate return to the Championship as League One champions following the previous two relegations. It goes without saying that a hat-trick looks remote under the present circumstances.

At the bookies (Sky Bet): 15/2

Prediction: Your guess is as good as mine.

Acknowledgements

The information and quotations given in this article have been drawn from a multitude of sources, as follows: the websites of all 24 League One clubs; BBC; EFL; The Price of Football; Sky Bet; Companies House; a range of local newspapers including Blackpool Gazette, Derby Telegraph, Oxford Mail, Peterborough Today, Plymouth Herald, Portsmouth News, and Yorkshire Post.

End

Writer: Scotimp

1 of 10

Prior to Joe Morrell, who was the last loanee to win the Player of the Season award?

If you haven’t already had a go at our quizzes, this is a great way to learn some random information about the Football Club, as well as helping us generate much-needed page views: Quiz No.1, Quiz No.2, Quiz No.3, Quiz No.4, Quiz No.5, Quiz No.6, Quiz No.7, Quiz No.8, Quiz No.9Quiz No.10, Quiz No.11Quiz No.12, Quiz No.13, Quiz No.14, Quiz No.15, Quiz No.16, Quiz No.17, Quiz No.18, Quiz No.19, Quiz No.20, Quiz No.21, Quiz No.22, Quiz No.23, Quiz No.24, Quiz No.25, Quiz No.26, Quiz No.27, Quiz No.28, Quiz No.29 and Quiz No.30.

Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2020-21:Part Two – Page…

Zveřejnil(a) Vital Lincoln City dne Pátek 11. září 2020

2 Replies to “Vital Lincoln City – League One Season Preview 2020-21 (Part Two)”

  • Jules,
    I’ve just read your article regarding Wigan Athletic. I’m so disapointed as you have obviously spent a long time preparing it. Your peice is ill informed and (dare l say)? reeks a little of a bitter satisfaction in seeing Wigan Athletics demise.
    As a football fan of a small provincial club like Lincoln, you should be supportive of clubs like Wigan, as one day you might get your 15 minutes of fame.
    For the record the debt you quote was way off the mark. The previous owner tried to recoup his investment. Do your research properly!
    Regards David.

    • A reply from the author (because the author wasn’t me if you bother to read the article properly): “I am sorry if anyone doesn’t like what I have written about their club, but those who know me will be aware that I like facts. The numbers quoted in my preview come straight from Wigan’s own financial statements and from comments made by the administrators.

      Can a club that is £45m in debt on gates of 10,500 possibly be well-run? Although something strange has gone on with the takeover, I fail to see how that debt can be blamed on Au Yeung Wai Kay, and the debt is the underlying problem.

      As for players sold for good money, they got £500,000 for a 15-year-old for starters.”

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