Manager: John N (Yorkshire)
Last season: 16th
Trophy cabinet: empty (best finish – 11th in 2011/12)
Darts music: Everyday Normal Guy – Jon Lajoie
Outlook (on 24 August 2013): Detractors would say he’s never won any silverware, not even a Manager of the Month award. Apologists would argue he’s never been relegated or even got a Turkey of the Month award. Everyone would agree the Kenna career of the Headless Chickens manager has been one of absolute mediocrity, and the stats back this up.
In his third attempt to win, well, anything, the Chickens boss picked up one of the bargains of the auction in Yaya Touré for half a million. Fortunate, since the rest of the midfield look unable to score points at this level – Schneiderlin plays in the holding role, Gardner plays in defence and Sigurdsson rarely plays at all.
Further uncertainty hangs over the front pair. Will Michu continue to enjoy the rich vein of form that saw him score 19 goals last season? Will Craig Bellamy take a five iron to his team mates?
At the back things look more solid, and not just because they have an extra right back in Gardner. Cole, Baines, McAuley and Bassong are likely to start almost every game this season. The Szczesny circus act looks set to continue.
Perhaps where the Chickens manager needs to be most careful is the transfer window. Last October he jettisoned a performing Theo Walcott in favour of Raheem Sterling. Walcott ended the season as one of the top midfielders with 179 points. Sterling scored a below-par 68.
He may as well have used Bellamy’s golf clubs.
First transfer window – 5 October 2013
Starting budget: £11m, remaining budget: £3m, net loss: £8m
|STR||Bellamy, C||CAR||Free||STR||Cisse, P||NEW||£8m|
Second transfer window – 7 February 2014
|STR||Cisse, P||NEW||Free||STR||Mitroglou, K||FUL||£12.5m|