Season's Preview - Stockport County's View

Last updated : 26 July 2004 By Andy Burton
1) Last season was simply a 'out with the old, in with the new' time for us. Carlton Palmer was sacked after 7 or 8 games, and Sammy McIlroy brought in. So for a majority of the season, it was about Sammy inserting into the team what he has. Bringing in new players on a tight budget, and trying to carve results out of a deflated team. Many of the players were low on morale which needed boosting, fast! - and I think Sammy installed that. County fans aren't the most generous when it comes to giving managers the chance they deserve, but a few games into Sammy taking over at EP, there was an air of anticipation. This came to the front in the last part of the season, as we went on an 11 game unbeaten run - our best for 52 years. Finally, County fans had something to cheer about.
The best moment of last season, was probably being 3-0 down at Everton (Carling Cup), and chanting 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to the Toffees - absolute quality!
Worst moment - losing 4-2 at home to Swindon, not a pleasant experience!

2) Next season is very much about progression - not facing the relegation battle we've had to endure for the past 4 seasons! Sammy has bought during the summer, and very good signing's at that. Everybody seems optimistic about the new season, who isn't? But this time, we're just looking forward to finishing mid table or maybe at a push, a play-off spot. Also, a decent cup run is in order. I can't remember the last time we had a decent enough cup run. Hopes - Continuation of last seasons 11 game unbeaten run style of football, and to improve on the past 4 seasons.
Final Position - I'd go for 8th to 12th, but I'd gladly take anything above.

3) The squad we have is probably the biggest in the division, and it's been added to over the summer. Warren Feeney, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, Lee Mair and Neil Cutler have all signed, which adds competition to the squad. Couple that with Beckett up from, Rob Clare at the back, Owen Morrison and Andy Welsh on the wings - we have a pretty good first eleven.

4) Andy Welsh is expected to continue what he's already started. Bombing down the left wing - I just hope his final ball can be better.

5) Sammy McIlroy is a legend - he's the best man for the job at the minute. He's got the lads playing football, which was non-existent under Palmer. There's a real buzz about the place, and hopefully we can progress into The Championship with McIlroy.

6) Completely happy with the back room staff. Cheshire Sports have so far 'worked wonders' in terms of selection of management and funds flow. They've cleared our debts and provided us with much needed financial backing to sign up much needed players. They're quite approachable (although I've never met them!), but there's always comms sessions and supporters meeting's where anybody is welcome. And all minutes are released on the website.

7) There's a few teams we really want to beat. Firstly for me, it's Oldham. The rivalry and the fact that we've not beat them since we started playing each other again. And no team has David Eyres playing for them, scores the winner in the last minute - and gets away with it!! Secondly, Sheffield Wednesday - they came, they saw, and they lost 1-0. Not before ripping all our seats off, hoarding's and pitch covers. Plus, they're a big club - the bigger they are.......... And thirdly, Port Vale - long time rivalry - goes back to the Wembley Final years ago. plus they ripped our hoarding's off last year - popular our hoarding's you know?

8) Champions - Bristol City, Runners Up - Tranmere, Play-Offs - Wrexham, Hartlepool, Sheffield Wed & Bradford, To Go Down - Torquay, Doncaster, Chesterfield and Brentford

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