Category: Npower League 1

Paulo di Canio will be celebrating a step forward in his managerial career - but does he have what it takes to save Sunderland? (Image | Getty)

Paulo di Canio will be celebrating a step forward in his managerial career – but does he have what it takes to save Sunderland? (Image | Getty)

Sunderland made a bold decision yesterday in hiring highly flammable but little-tested Italian Paulo Di Canio as their new manager in the midst of a relegation battle. The first question that came to my mind, however, was: is Di Canio really the ideal candidate for a team fighting to stave off relegation?

There’s no denying that the controversial Di Canio is a talented manager; his Swindon charges certainly seemed inspired to greater things by him based on the club’s dip in form following his departure. But the Sunderland post presents new challenges to Di Canio.

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Obsession | Football is as much a part of the British national psyche as queuing, drinking tea and spending hours in the pub. (Image | The Sun)

It is probably fair to say that if the next national census asked whether people considered themselves to be a fan of sport, and then asked them to specify their favourite, the most popular answer would be football. By popular consensus, football is the national sport.

It is a constant talking point in the media and a regular source of conversation in workplaces and public houses. With this in mind: why do such a large number of people seem to know so little about the game?

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Mark Cousins, Colchester United‘s first-choice goalkeeper, met up with TAP editor Rob Schatten (left) to discuss his chances of cementing the number one spot, the season so far and recent facility upgrades. (Image | The Armchair Pundits)

It’s been a difficult start to the season for Colchester United, who after seven games remain one of three winless teams in League 1 and find themselves sitting 22nd in the division ahead of this weekend’s road trip to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe.

But one of the bright spots of the new season has been the emergence of long-serving goalkeeper Mark Cousins, who at the age of 25 is enjoying his first opportunity to seize for himself the job of first-choice goalkeeper at the club.

After several seasons of patiently waiting behind Manchester United youth product Ben Williams, who bolted for Hibernian as a free agent in the summer, Cousins made the most of his golden chance early on, with a stellar performance earning the team a point away at Preston North End. Despite the U’s poor run of form so far in the new campaign, supporters will agree that many of the side’s draws or narrow defeats would have been worse had it not been for Cousins’ heroics.

We were naturally thrilled, then, when the stopper agreed to stop off at the Weston Homes Community Stadium after training on Thursday and speak exclusively with The Armchair Pundits. Here’s what he had to say…

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Rangers owner Charles Green accepted the vote, saying that Rangers had “made clear we would play where we were told to play and we just want to get back to playing football.” (Image | SNS)

So Rangers will be in the bottom tier of the Scottish Football League next season, after a vote by the Scottish Football Association voted overwhelmingly against the newly re-formed club being admitted to Division 1 of the league structure.

The decision ends a month of uncertainty for Rangers, who were first told their ‘newco’ re-formed club would not be admitted to the Scottish Premier League on July 4, before talks of a break-away ‘SPL2’ and other nervous rumours essentially scotched their hopes of being allowed into Division 1.

Rangers fans have reacted angrily to the news today, with texts and tweets pouring into the BBC’s live news page.

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Kayode Odejayi, who completed a free-transfer move to League 2 Rotherham United last month, was this season’s Colchester United Player Of The Year (Image | Beswicks Sports)

Kayode Odejayi has had a busy couple of months. Since the end of the League 1 season, which proved to be his last of three with Colchester United, the 6’3″ striker has signed a contract with Rotherham United, got married and moved home. Now, with pre-season around the corner, the one-time Nigerian international sits down to talk exclusively to The Armchair Pundits about the season ahead, as well as the club he leaves behind.

Odejayi’s move to Rotherham was met well by fans of both his new and former clubs. Millers fans were excited to see the hard-working former Barnsley man signed to bolster an impressive front line featuring Alex Revell and Daniel Nardiello; Colchester fans mostly wished Odejayi well while praising the performances which saw him named Player of the Year at an awards dinner in May.

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Joy unconfined: Huddersfield Town rejoined the Championship after 11 years in the third tier of English football courtesy of their shoot-out success. (Image | The Telegraph)

Huddersfield Town Football Club returned to the second tier of English football yesterday courtesy of an 8-7 victory on penalties over Sheffield United in the nPower League One play-off final.

The shoot-out followed 120 minutes of goal-less action, in one of the least enthralling play-off finals in recent memory.

Town nearly broke the deadlock twice, 20-year-old winger Danny Ward hitting the woodwork just before half time, while Michael Doyle blocked Tommy Miller’s shot with less than 10 minutes to go.

Half an hour of extra time followed, in which neither side, clearly playing within themselves in the 25 degree heat, could open the scoring.

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