The Latest Championship News, Views and general gossip for 2017 – 2018
- Sun, 29 Jan 2023 10:20:00 +0000: Blackburn star Ben Brereton Diaz snubs Premier League interest to sign surprise Villarreal transfer after signing pre-contract agreement - EFL Championship News, Features, Opinion - talkSPORT
Blackburn star Bern Brereton Diaz has snubbed Premier League interest and agreed a pre-contract deal with Villarreal to sign in the summer.
It means the 23-year-old will move to LaLiga on a free transfer when his contract expires at Ewood Park on June 30 this year.
That is a hefty blow for Rovers, who have been motoring along well in recent years in the Championship and had high hopes of reaching the Premier League.
But, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Villarreal have won the race for Brereton Diaz’s signature ahead of a whole host of clubs, including some in the English top flight.
A number of Premier League teams had been linked with the Chile international over the past year or so, including West Ham, Everton and Leeds.
However, the former Nottingham Forest star will now make the move abroad to continue his brilliant, but unusual, career to date.
Former England Under-20 international Brereton Diaz declared his international allegiance to Chile, qualifying through his mother, and has become a national icon in a short space of time.
Despite growing up in Staffordshire, the striker has gone on to make 17 caps for the South American nation after making his international debut in 2021 and has scored four goals.
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That included a strike against Bolivia on his first start for Chile at the 2021 Copa America, which sparked wild celebrations among the players and fans.
After becoming a cult hit with the Chilean supporters, Brereton Diaz has since revealed that he has been taking Spanish lessons three times a week and has been reciting the Chilean national anthem.
And it appears that his move to Spain could help him further at international level as he looks to envelop himself in their culture – though he was not named in the last international squad.
Losing Brereton Diaz will be a major blow to Blackburn, though, who sit fourth in the Championship while the forward has scored ten times this season in all competitions, setting up four assists as well.
Blackburn manager Jon Dahl Tomasson refused to comment on the speculation.
“I can’t say if anything is official yet, maybe later on other people can say that,” Tomasson said.
“I don’t think it’s official, I haven’t heard it yet from Villarreal.
“If it should be Villarreal then they’re a great club.
“I’m not the coach for Villarreal, I’m the coach of Rovers, so let’s wait and see.
“We all know that he’ll do a good job for Blackburn, do his best.
“I can’t say if anything is official yet, maybe later on other people can say that.
“I have had the question more than 1,000 times and that’s understandable because he’s an important player for us, a great lad to work with.
- Sat, 28 Jan 2023 18:47:12 +0000: Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge racially abused by fan during FA Cup tie with Blackburn, alleges Blues boss John Eustace - EFL Championship News, Features, Opinion - talkSPORT
Birmingham City manager John Eustace has alleged goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was racially abused during their FA Cup tie with Blackburn.
The fourth round 2-2 draw between the Championship sides at Ewood Park saw a delay to the game after an altercation by Etheridge’s goal.
Referee Keith Stroud stopped proceedings to talk to the England-born Philippines international, before restarting play.
Asked about what happened post-match, Blues manager Eustace told the media: “Neil was racially abused, which is bang out of order.
“There’s no room for any racism at all in society let alone football, really disappointing that that’s happened, us as a football club don’t condone it at all and we’re fully behind Neil.”
After confirming that it was a fan involved behind the goal, Eustace was asked about referee Stroud’s dealing of the situation.
“100 per cent [he dealt with it well],” he said. “It’s a very, very, very serious issue, you can’t not take it by the scruff of the neck.
“Neil was shook up a little bit after the game and quite rightly so, but the lads got right round him and made sure he’s OK.
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“We’ll speak to him on the bus and see how he is.
“I think the referee will report it then it will be up to Blackburn as a club to deal with the situation.”
The FA have since released a statement on the matter, which read: “We are aware of an alleged incident of racial abuse that was reported to the match official during the Emirates FA Cup match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Birmingham City FC.
“We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and we will be investigating as a matter of urgency, working with the clubs and the relevant authorities.”
- Sat, 28 Jan 2023 12:00:00 +0000: Wrexham striker Paul Mullin reveals club ‘expect to win’ against Sheffield United as he states transfer to Ryan Reynolds’ side is ‘the best thing I’ve ever done’ ahead of another potential FA Cup upset - EFL Championship News, Features, Opinion - talkSPORT
Wrexham striker Paul Mullin has told talkSPORT.com his side ‘don’t fear anyone’ ahead of another potential giant killing against Sheffield United.
The second-tier Blades travel to Wales to take on the National League outfit in the FA Cup on Sunday, which you can hear live on talkSPORT.
The three-division gap might seem like a step too far for a team only taken over by Hollywood royalty Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney just two years ago, but they’ve already done it once.
A 4-3 win over United’s fellow Championship side Coventry is the shock of the cup so far, but for their top scorer and talisman Mullin, it was business as usual.
“With the Coventry game especially and the Sheffield United game, we go into it expecting to win the game and try our best to win the game,” he said.
“We set up a plan and work on it to beat the opposition no matter who they are and I think the lads in the dressing room went into the Coventry game full of belief that we could go and get the job done.
“For us it was back to more important games on Tuesday which is the league, it’s your bread and butter, where you earn your money and I think Tuesday was just as big a win [2-1 vs promotion rivals Bromley] but we won’t fear going into any game.”
The league certainly is where glory lies for Wrexham, with their pursuit of that elusive promotion to the football league the subject of the hit Disney+ documentary Welcome to Wrexham.
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Along with Reynolds and McElenney, Mullin is the star of the show, with his mighty impressive return of 45 goals in 64 games putting the Reds well on course to achieve their goal.
The striker has described the ownership duo as fantastic, saying ‘they’re the same as us’ and complimenting their accessibility and down-to-earth nature.
Wrexham now boast a record of 25 wins from 34 matches in all competitions this season with just two defeats, and they sit five clear at the top of the table with a 15-game unbeaten run.
Mullin was questioned for his decision to leave Cambridge – who he’d just guided to League One by breaking the fourth-tier’s scoring record – to join the Wrexham revolution, but it’s so far paying off.
“For me it was sort of rinse and repeat,” he said. “Throughout my career, anyone can look back over the stats if they want but I’d already scored goals a lot of the time not starting games and playing out of position.
“When I went to Cambridge I just knew I needed game time to show I could do it full time rather than part time off of the substitute bench.
“I loved it, the manager was great and the whole town was fantastic for me and I loved my time there but going to Wrexham it was the same.
“I don’t really care what anyone has to say about me or any expectations from other people, it’s just what I expect from myself, the only pressure I can put on myself is from me and that couldn’t be greater.”
Liverpool-born Mullin, who was in both Everton and Liverpool’s academies, stressed in Welcome to Wrexham how important it was to return back to the north west, a decision he is now cherishing.
“My little boy was a big factor in me coming back home and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” the 28-year-old explained.
“Witnessing his development over the past few years, being able to see him every day and give him a real routine has helped him a lot, and also myself, as mentally it’s tough when you don’t get to see him every day.
“Coming back home was brilliant for me, but coming to Wrexham was even better, ever since I’ve got here I’ve loved every minute and coming home every night to see my partner, my baby and the rest of my family.
“It relieves some pressure that does come from outside, I try not to be bothered by that but it does naturally come on but when you get to come home at the end of the day and see your family you don’t sit on it as long.”
The impact on Mullin is certainly clear, and on the town too, with the striker praising ‘genuine’ ownership from a duo who ‘want to help the community’.
That’s reflected in not only help around the town, but also their beloved team finally on the up.
Commenting on the 4,000 Wrexham fans that were in attendance at Coventry, Mullin remarked: “It’s Premier League support really.
“We’d have sold out double if we’d been given the tickets which is a credit to them because they work hard for their money to pay and travel to come and watch us, never mind coming to the home games which are sold out too.
“It’s an absolute honour for us to play in front of them because not many teams get to do that, but it’s something we relish and something we enjoy because ultimately without them we’re not here.
“I can only say from when I signed for the club, but since I got here it’s been nothing but the owners trying to help the community and the club progress to the next stage, the stuff they do for the food banks and the surrounding areas.
“The attention they’ve brought to Wrexham, they’ve got people coming to support from afar.
“They come to watch us play and there’s young kids now who want to support Wrexham, I’ve had plenty of messages about how over the past few years the young kids have been walking around in Liverpool in Manchester United and Chelsea shirts, all the top teams.
“Now I get a lot of messages saying they’re now all proud of their Wrexham tops with Mullin on the back or [Ollie] Palmer or [Aaron] Hayden so it’s great to see.
“Hopefully it can keep taking the community forward because they’re really committed to coming to the games, they work hard for their money but they spend it coming to watch us so we’ll try to repay them.”
Right now, there’s no doubt the fans are getting repaid, with the number one goal currently on course to be achieved, and cup dreams in full flow.
But if Mullin can keep scoring at his current rate, it surely won’t be long before shirts become murals, with legendary status on the line as Wrexham aim for history.
- Sat, 28 Jan 2023 10:15:00 +0000: Liverpool and Chelsea transfer interest in midfielder Sander Berge confirmed by Sheffield United manager, but stresses no official bid made - EFL Championship News, Features, Opinion - talkSPORT
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has confirmed there is ‘interest’ in Sander Berge, amid reported interest from Liverpool and Chelsea.
The Norway international midfielder is one of several targets on both clubs’ shortlists with the January transfer window coming to an end on Tuesday night.
And Heckingbottom has confirmed that there is interest in his midfielder this month, but insisted there have been no official bids for his services.
“I think there’s been interest, and there always is,” he said ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth round clash against Hollywood celebrity-backed non-league side Wrexham.
“You start to hear it before windows and things like that, but there have been no bids.
“All I can do is stress the same things. With the position we’ve got ourselves in, I don’t want anyone to leave. The landscape’s changed with where we are and what we’ve got.
“But from my point of view, if we’re embargoed, it’s even more important they don’t leave. My stance on that won’t change.”
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Sheffield United were hit with a transfer embargo which means that they cannot sign any players, while they are also chasing promotion to the Premier League.
It means that the Championship outfit would not be able sign a replacement at a crucial point of the season, but that has not stopped Liverpool and Chelsea taking an interest in Berge.
Injuries have troubled both Premier League clubs and they are struggling as a result with a top-four finish looking improbable for them, with the Reds in ninth place and the Blues one spot behind them in tenth.
It has not stopped them from looking to reinforce the squad this month, with Liverpool signing Cody Gakpo while Chelsea snapped up Mykhailo Mudryk, Benoit Badiashile and David Datro Fofana.
Jurgen Klopp is desperate for a midfielder with Jude Bellingham heavily linked, though there is no chance of a transfer this month with a summer bid likely.
- Fri, 27 Jan 2023 12:30:00 +0000: Championship close to breaking league record for most managerial changes in one season with 15 so far – and Watford have made just one - EFL Championship News, Features, Opinion - talkSPORT
Every season the Championship has become increasingly competitive in the race to win the £170million promotion to the Premier League.
As a result, clubs have become more and more cut throat when it comes to their managers – so much so that England’s second tier is now close to breaking its own record for the most changes in one season.
As it stands, just four points separate third place and 11th place Preston in the race for the play-off spots, with Vincent Kompany’s Burnley and Sheffield United comfortably taking up the automatic promotion spots.
As a result, all those sides in the race bar Blackburn have made managerial changes. But whilst the battle for the top six has been tense, dismissals have happened all across the second tier.
By the start of October, Chris Wilder’s departure from Middlesbrough saw the tally for managerial changes rise to eight for the season – a record for that stage of the campaign.
Now, following Blackpool’s decision to sack Michael Appleton, the tally stands at 15, with 14 out of 24 clubs making changes with four months of the season still to go.
The record for the most switches in the dugout in one Championship season is 19, which was set in the 2014/15 campaign back when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked by Cardiff before his managerial spell at Manchester United.
So which clubs have made the chop this season and should we expect anymore before May? talkSPORT.com has all the information…
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The story so far
Mick McCarthy’s first game in charge at Blackpool against Huddersfield – who sacked Danny Schofield for Mark Fotheringham in September – was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
But whilst McCarthy has time to turn the Tangerine’s season around, the Terriers still sit in the drop zone and are at risk of dropping to League One for the first time since 2012.
It’s no surprise Watford have contributed to the sacking tally this season.
However, whilst the Hornets board have a reputation for being trigger happy with managers, they’ve made just one change this campaign – although they did dismiss Rob Edwards for Slaven Bilic after just nine games.
Edwards then signed for Watford’s fierce rivals Luton Town, stepping in for Nathan Jones after the Welshman’s first Premier League appointment at Southampton.
It’s actually strugglers Cardiff that have sacked two managers, dismissing Steve Morison and his replacement Mark Hudson and bringing in ex-Nottingham Forest manager Sabri Lamouchi, with Sol Bamba returning to the club as first team coach.
The changes haven’t driven the Bluebirds clear of the relegation zone, and QPR’s change hasn’t seen them progress either with now-Rangers boss Mick Beale‘s replacement Neil Critchley’s side still sitting in 13th.
Rock-bottom side Wigan bringing in Kolo Toure and Stoke City’s decision to appoint Alex Neil from Sunderland following the sacking of Michael O’Neill has had the same effect.
Meanwhile, the Black Cats’ decision to hire Tony Mowbray, Middlesbrough appointing Michael Carrick, West Brom’s choice of Carlos Corberan after dismissing Steve Bruce and Norwich hiring David Wagner after removing Dean Smith, have all paid off.
All those ex-Premier League sides are now pushing for promotion.
Former Hull star Liam Rosenior is also proving to be a good appointment for the Tigers following the sacking of Shota Arveladze, too, with them pushing up the league from 20th to 16th.
Only 10 clubs remain that have decided to stick with their managers: Burnley, Sheffield United, Blackburn, Millwall, Preston, Swansea, Reading, Coventry, Bristol City and Birmingham.
But if recent history is anything to go by, the Championship may well surpass 19 managerial switches.
List of managerial changes so far
- Watford – Rob Edwards → Slaven Bilic
- Middlesbrough – Chris Wilder → Michael Carrick
- West Brom – Steve Bruce → Carlos Corberan
- Norwich City – Dean Smith → David Wagner
- Luton Town – Nathan Jones → Rob Edwards
- Sunderland – Alex Neil → Tony Mowbray
- QPR – Michael Beale → Neil Critchley
- Hull City – Shota Arveladze → Liam Rosenior
- Rotherham – Paul Warne → Matt Taylor
- Stoke City – Michael O’Neill → Alex Neil
- Cardiff City – Steve Morison → Mark Hudson → Sabri Lamouchi
- Huddersfield Town – Danny Schofield → Mark Fotheringham
- Blackpool – Michael Appleton → Mick McCarthy
- Wigan Athletic – Leam Richardson → Kolo Toure
A Basic list of recent teams in the Championship
More Information on each Football Team will be duly added shortly, along with Daily Motion details on the latest Videos.