Alex Cooke’s 2013/14 Hopes and Expectations

TheWashbag contributor Alex Cooke looks ahead to the 2013/14 season…

What are your hopes and expectations for Swindon in 2013/14?

Hope? Stability. All of the club’s costs become predictable – with no lawsuits, pay offs, tribunals or extra emergency concert underwriting. That way any income the club actually gets can be used by the club for the benefit of the club.

And, fingers crossed, no one falls out with anyone from Spurs. And Spurs themselves don’t fall out with anyone at Spurs who might have arranged/approved/ignored all of our transfer dealings with them. After all one injury crisis in their reserves team and we’d be struggling to put out a six-a-side team.

Expectations? None of the above will happen.

Who has been your signing of the summer at the County Ground?

With so many of our players having never actually laced up their boots in anger, this is like trying to guess if Schrödinger’s cat prefers Whiskers – we actually need to answer about 10 questions first…

Good reports about players is one thing, pre-season form is another but without any evidence it is all as worthless as a Paolo Di Canio promise. So I’m picking Mass Luongo. Hopefully he’ll be able to work the ball more this time, playing his natural game, and be required less to drive and dribble.

Who will be the key player for Town?

Seriously? No idea. Darren Ward and Wes Foderingham will be pretty bloody vital but then Andy Williams will probably have the biggest burden as he will need to score regularly. It is a lot to live up to.

In what position will we finish?

Based on the evidence – which is of a mid-table wage bill (the rest is still guess work) I would say just below mid-table. But first we need to decide who is the manager, what is happening with Adam Rooney, what is happening with Paul Caddis…

Which teams will be promoted from League One?

Running a football club is far too much like those old seaside slot machines which are filled with two pence coins teetering and tottering on pulsing platforms. They threaten to cascade a shower of small change, but only if keep pouring the coins in yourself and aim your copper bullets correctly. On that logic, both Bristol City and Wolves will fire in enough cash to eventually escape – although it won’t be easy. Brentford should remain a serious force and Sheffield United have to do it this year, or condemn themselves to many more years down here. Otherwise Peterborough will probably nick a spot.

I do feel happy to say MKDonalds will fail yet again, but that won’t stop every hopelessly unaware hack linking their manager with any Championship job going.

Which teams are set to be relegated from League One?

Nothing against any of these clubs but in the extended metaphor that is the low-rent arcade, they aren’t exactly filling the slots – and regression to the mean should kick in at some point for: Gillingham, Shrewsbury, Port Vale and (wild stab in the dark based on nothing at all) Oldham.

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