Monday, 4 June 2012

League One and Two: 2011/12 season reviews

It was a fantastic season in both League One and League Two which saw joy and tears for both fans and players. Charlton Athletic and Swindon claimed the league title in League One and Two respectively. Both club's managers were former players and had not been in management long. Chris Powell, a former Charlton player guided the Addicks to the Championship next season. For Swindon, the ever humorous Paolo Di Canio guided his side to the League Two championship as well as an appearance at Wembley in the Johnstone Paint Trophy final where they were defeated by Chesterfield.

The race for second place and the final automatic promotion spot in League One was one of the closest race for it in a while. Sheffield Wednesday were the eventual winners taking it ahead of arch rivals Sheffield United who had to settle for the play off's. With 40 goal man Jordan Rhodes, Huddersfield were also in contention for the place during the season but like Sheffield United in the end had to settle for a play off place. They were both joined in the play off's by the ever present MK Dons and newly promoted Stevenage. Promoted via the play off's in League Two last season, Stevenage were narrowly beaten by Sheffield United in the semi finals, which saw Huddersfield overcome MK Dons in the other semi final in a close fought encounter. It was Huddersfield though that came out winners in the final at Wembley, beating Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United in a penalty shoot out. United keeper Steve Simonsen missed the decisive penalty which saw Huddersfield win 8-7.

Looking down to the bottom of the division, four teams were relegated from the League down to League Two. Having been promoted automatically from League Two last season, both Wycombe and Chesterfield failed in their bid to play another season in the third tier of English football. They were joined by Rochdale and Exeter who will bemoan a poor season in League One. Having finished in a respectable ninth the season before, Rochdale surprisingly found themselves in the bottom four for the majority of this season only managing eight wins in their 46 league games. Just like Rochdale, Exeter narrowly missed out on a play off place the season before, but by only managing two away wins all season, they will now play their football in League Two next year.

Moving onto League Two, it was Swindon Town who took the title under manager Paolo Di Canio. Having been relegated from League One last season, Di Canio's men have made an immediate return to League One. They were joined by fellow sides Crawley Town and Shrewsbury who secured automatic promotion. Having been promoted to League Two from the conference last season, Crawley secured back to back promotions. Their season also contained a memorable FA Cup run beating the likes of Hull City and Bristol City before falling to Premier League side Stoke City. Having also lost strikers Matt Tubbs and Tyrone Barnett to bigger clubs, getting promoted again this season is some achievement. With three of the four promotion places gone, there was one more promotion spot available to the four teams in the play off's. It was Crewe that took the initiative and achieved promotion after beating Cheltenham in the final at Wembley. Crewe had beaten Southend in the semi finals, while Cheltenham overcame Torquay United in their semi final tie.

Joy for some was despair for others, as two teams from League Two made the drop from the Football League into the Blue Square Premier Division. Despite a final day victory over Torquay, relegation wasn't prevented for Hereford Town. The Bulls were relying on fellow side Barnet to slip up in their game, but after they beat Burton, Hereford slipped out of League Two into the Blue Square. Defeat meant that Hereford dropped out the Football League for the first time in 15 years. Despite winning their last two games, poor form over the season was their downfall. They are joined by Macclesfield Town who endured a dreadful season. A 22 match win less run stretching to the end of December ended their 15 year stay in the Football League. The run included 15 defeats with the 2-0 home defeat to Burton the game that sent the Silkmen down. Fleetwood Town and York City will take their places after they were promoted from the Blue Square Premier Division.

After another exciting season in the Football League we are sure to see as much even more drama than we have this season in the coming twelve months. The fixtures for the Football League are released on the 18th June at 9am giving plenty of time for fans to start organising their trips to games for next season.

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