THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

What WSC contributors got right and wrong

icon league1b27 July ~ There was talk of Doncaster Rovers making a swift return to the Championship following their relegation to League One at the end of 2011-12. However, Rovers fan Glen Wilson was slightly more cautious: "A season of mid-table stability looks on the cards. After last year's implosion this would be no bad thing." The rest of the fans agreed, predicting Doncaster would finish in eighth, just outside the play-offs. They were wrong. In a dramatic final minute of the season Rovers clinched automatic promotion and the League One title.

In doing that they leapfrogged Bournemouth. "New manager Paul Groves has no track record but deserves time," Cherries fan Steve Menary said. He wasn't given much – after just one win in their opening ten games Groves was replaced by returning hero Eddie Howe. Bournemouth then went unbeaten until January and only a disappointing 0-0 draw in the final match at Tranmere cost them the title.

2013LeagueOneThe biggest losers of the final-day drama were the team beaten by Doncaster – Brentford. "I really think we have a chance of reaching the play-offs," said Bees fan Chris Dean. "And then, like the previous seven times, losing." He's unlikely to take much pleasure in his superior prediction power as Brentford first missed out on automatic promotion and then, having beaten Swindon on penalties in the semi-final, lost out at Wembley.

Brentford were beaten there by the surprise package of the season. Yeovil Town were predicted to avoid relegation by one position. Even their contributor, William Biss, insisted he saw them as "no more than mid-table". However, Gary Johnson's first full season back as manager ended in the Glovers' highest ever finish – fourth – and a 2-1 victory over Brentford at Wembley to reach the second tier for the first time in their history.

At the bottom Portsmouth's points-deduction and financial worries proved too much for them as they were relegated to League Two. Leon Tricker expected a tough season but wished that, if he could improve one aspect of his club, it would be the owners. He did at least get that wish, as the Pompey Supporters' Trust finally gained control to end a long, painful saga in Portsmouth's history.

Elsewhere Bury's relegation many have come as a shock to James Bentley, who expected his team to "consolidate and improve" on their previous mid-table finish. The rest of the contributors weren't so sure and had them in 21st – they eventually came 22nd and returned to League Two, which it took them nine years to get out of last time.

Both Scunthorpe and Hartlepool were expected to comfortable avoid relegation by the rest of the League One fans. Pools fan Ed Parkinson was more optimistic: "If Luke James starts to fulfil his potential and Steve Howard can still bully defenders we'll each the play-offs." The plan didn't quite work out as Hartlepool won just once before Christmas.

Scunthorpe fan Steve Askew, meanwhile, expected "another year of being underwhelmed". They lost their first four games and didn't get any higher than 19th the entire season. A 3-1 victory over Swindon on the final day offered hope but Colchester's 2-0 win at Carlisle meant the Iron took the last relegation place.

The WSC 2013-14 Season Guide will be in shops on August 1

 

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