Friday, 30 July 2010

A chance as good as any

This time of the year is characterised by football forums and message boards filling up with fans telling their opponents how brilliant their clubs pre-season signings are, how their team will run riot over all others in the division, and inevitably, that their club will finish the league as champions.

Two weeks into the competitive matches and half of those forum posters will already have egg on their faces.

Bookmakers of course are rather more neutral and objective. Although bookmaker odds have to reflect the level of wagers already placed on teams by punters, odds are also determined in order to attract or dissuade prospective punts by offering value-for-money (or not) on a particular club.

League 2 is of great interest this season, in that the offered odds on the league favourites (Gillingham and Bradford at a generous 9/1) are frankly no different to those of over half the teams in the division. The rank outsider, Barnet, is offered at a tight 80/1.

Compare these odds with those on offer on the Premiership (Chelsea 6/4, Manchester Utd 5/2 and Blackpool 10,000/1), Championship (Middlesborough 6/1, Nottingham Forest 15/2, Scunthorpe 100/1), League 1 (Southampton 12/5, Sheffield Wed 9/2, Dagenham 100/1) and the BSP (Luton 7/4, Crawley 5/1, Eastbourne 150/1) and you have to conclude that the professionals have no idea who might win League 2 this season and that claiming promotion, or indeed sufering relegation, is a very real possibility for almost any of the clubs competing this year. Of all the leagues, League 2 is on paper the most competitive.

At 14/1, Oxford United are well placed by the bookies, who clearly believe that Chris Wilders men have both the talents, momentum and experience of the dog-fight to emulate ex-BSP teams Carlisle, Exeter and Dagenham in achieving a quick promotion up to League 1... but are one of many sides who could do it.

The players, management, non-playing staff and fanbase at OUFC know that we have a chance as good as any. We know from our time in the BSP that a good start is imperative, and for United it will mean transitioning our rich 'road to Wembley' form, of positive passing and pressing football, onto the pitches of Burton, Wycombe and Hereford.

4/1 for OUFC to get promoted up to League 1 looks an attractive proposition right now.

My face is clean. The eggs are waiting in the fridge.

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