Forget About England, Go To A League One Game Instead

Roy's boys take on minnows San Marino in what will likely be a dull affair, so why not change things up and attend one of the many exciting League One matches this weekend...
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Roy's boys take on minnows San Marino in what will likely be a dull affair, so why not change things up and attend one of the many exciting League One matches this weekend...

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Yet again, the international break has cruelly separated us from following our beloved Premier League and Championship clubs. This weekend, we shall all be following England play San Marino who, with the greatest of respect, aren’t the most exciting football team in the world. And, if we’re honest, England aren’t either. And, if you’re not English, you’ll probably be watching either Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland lose. It doesn’t sound like fun to me, but, I assure you, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! There are still 12 League One games taking place this weekend that are going ahead as planned, and, if you haven’t previously experienced it, take it from someone who knows – the football in the third tier of English football is not only decent, but the fans are a joy to meet and the atmosphere is truly special, as compared to a Premier League or even Championship game. So don’t stay in front of the telly this weekend, grab your umbrellas and wellington boots and take your pick from these four corkers:

Tranmere Rovers vs. Yeovil Town

Why you should watch

Well, firstly it’s a 3 ‘o’ clock kick off, which is only too rare in the Premier League these days, as I’m sure you know. But, more importantly, Tranmere are on metaphorical fire. For a start, all three of the division’s top scorers are Tranmere players, with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Jake Cassidy and Andy Robinson all currently residing on seven goals apiece. The rest of Tranmere’s team have added a further five goals between them, meaning the Superwhites have accumulated 26 goals in just 11 league games this season. Yeovil, on the other hand, were above Tranmere after four games, but then went on an especially long losing streak of six matches before finally beating struggling Colchester last Saturday. That could signal a return to form, in which case we’re due some goals at Prenton Park, with the Glovers themselves having scored 17 goals this season.

Verdict: 4-1.

What it costs

To sit in Prenton Park’s Main Stand on Saturday will cost you £20.50. If you’re over-60, it will cost you just £12, however, with under-23s paying £15.

Swindon Town vs. Coventry City

Why you should watch

Swindon have already shown what they’re capable of this season, with wins in the League Cup over both Stoke and Burnley – and you could hardly classify either of those matches as dull. The Robins have also made a terrific start to their first season back in League One, and with Paolo Di Canio bouncing along the touchline throughout the course of the match, there’ll also be something to watch if the football is dull. Meanwhile, if it’s somehow escaped your attention, Coventry are a club in crisis. Having sacked Andy Thorn after just three games, it’ll be interesting to see how Mark Robins settles back into management after his success, and then failure, with Rotherham and Barnsley respectively. The Sky Blues have attained seven points from Robins’ first four games in charge, and are unbeaten in three.

Verdict: 2-2.

What it costs

£25 to sit in the Arkells Stand, but £19 to sit in the Town End stand. Pricey, but it should be a quality game.

Swindon have already shown what they’re capable of this season, with wins in the League Cup over both Stoke and Burnley – and you could hardly classify either of those matches as dull.

Preston North End vs. Milton Keynes Dons

Why you should watch

Are Preston finally finding their form again? After a miserable first season in League One, where they finished 15th, North End are now 8th, having won three of their last four games. Also, due mainly to a 5-0 win over Hartlepool at the start of the aforementioned run, the Lilywhites are averaging just under two goals a game. And if that doesn’t entice you, then their manager, Graham Westley is also bonkers, having dropped players by text, at 2 in the morning, last season. MK Dons, just two points and three places above Preston, have the youngest manager in the football league, with Karl Robinson, aged 32, having employed Ian Wright, who attempted to help the Dons’ struggling strikers find the net by showing them tape after tape of himself putting the ball away. It’s helped, though – MK haven’t lost since that particular piece of news broke. They will also be without Jimmy Bullard, who announced his retirement last week – but, with Dean Bowditch, who represented England at U19 level, and Luke Chadwick, who’s played in the Champions League, among the Dons’ ranks, they should still have plenty of attacking impetus.

Verdict: 1-2

What it costs

£20 in the Town End, but £14 if you’re over 60 or under 19, or are a full-time student. Bear in mind this is a 1.15pm kick-off on Sunday.

Portsmouth vs. Crewe Alexandra

Why you should watch

Whatever Pompey do, intrigue now follows, what with their great financial collapse and having gone into administration 27 times in 3 years. They have now, however, gained seven points from their last three games, and look as if they may be on the up. According to the fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the club now has 20 players in its squad. However, some of these players are very decent. Darel Russell has gained promotion from League One twice, with Norwich and Charlton, while Akos Buzsaky played a significant part in QPR’s promotion to the Premier League in 2011. Izale McLeod, a renowned lower league scorer, has already scored five goals for Pompey as well. Crewe, meanwhile, are very much a side on the up, having finally been promoted back to the third tier last season. Young starlet Max Clayton is looking like a real game-changer at the moment, with the player having been named Football League young player of the month for August, and having scored three goals already. If Crewe are to beat Portsmouth, however, they must tame Mathias Pogba, who, having snatched the ball off Alexandra’s normal penalty taker on Saturday against Hartlepool, then proceeded to miss the target entirely. Fortunately for Pogba, Crewe went on to win 2-1.

Verdict: 2-0

What it costs

Most seats are £20 for adults. A bit steep, perhaps, but if you don’t go Portmsouth will probably end up in administration again. You wouldn’t want that hanging over your head, would you?

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