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Championship Chat: Wheeling and dealing, and that nest full of Hornets

PUBLISHED: 20:58 11 September 2020

Ben Gibson chatting to our Canaries correspondent Connor Southwell at Carrow Road this week Picture: Tony Thrussell/Archant

Ben Gibson chatting to our Canaries correspondent Connor Southwell at Carrow Road this week Picture: Tony Thrussell/Archant

Archant

Bringing you a new feature as Chris Lakey takes a look around the Championship... not always with his serious face on either

Vladimir Ivic showing the sort of work rate as a player for AEK Athens that he is now demanding from his players at Watford Picture: PAVladimir Ivic showing the sort of work rate as a player for AEK Athens that he is now demanding from his players at Watford Picture: PA

Should have kept Gibbo...

Brentford missed out on the richest game in football when they lost the Championship play-off final to Fulham – but are said to be rubbing their hands at the prospect of banking at least £7m should Burnley centre-half James Tarkowski join West Ham.

Tarkowski moved to Turf Moor in 2016 for £3m and West Ham are offering the Clarets a deal worth £27m – and Brentford get 27.5 per cent of any profit made on the sale.

Now that is a pretty good deal, eh?

Marcus Maddison - where are you? Picture: Joe Dent/JMPMarcus Maddison - where are you? Picture: Joe Dent/JMP

Don’t miss: Connor Southwell meets Ben Gibson

So it could be two good centre-halves who leave Burnley within a short space of time – Sean Dyche wouldn’t be looking for a replacement if he’d kept Ben Gibson rather than loaning him to Norwich City, two years after shelling out £15m for him and then not playing him.

Sunday best - City fans at Portman Road. Great memories ...  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdSunday best - City fans at Portman Road. Great memories ... Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Incidentally, word is that at a Zoom press conference this week, the Burnley boss wouldn’t entertain any questions about Gibson’s move to the Fine City.

How strange.

Nest of... Hornets

You know what it’s like: first day in the new job and you want to impress...

Trouble is, your new work-mates did rather like the chap you’ve been brought in to replace ... and it’s taking a bit of time winning them over.

It doesn’t help that you’re the office manager either...

So spare a thought for the new head coach at Watford, Vladimir Ivic (nope, me neither).

Already the Hornets Hierarchy, who seem to regard managers with the same disdain that Roy Keane regards anyone not named Reggie, Ronnie or Hannibal, have had to field questions about the players’ attitudes towards the new man.

Seems like rather than getting down to training, the players first wanted a game of “how long will Vlad last?”

A story popped up in the Mail Online saying the players didn’t like the Serbian coach’s full-on training regime, which prompted their version of the ‘sack race’.

Don’t forget, it was fair game, a sit were: Watford sacked three managers last season.

Now, ‘sources’ inside the Watford camp have said the report is “false” and “inaccurate” and say players are firmly behind their new boss. Although it appears they don’t want to be named.

However, goalkeeper Ben Foster did say this: “He (Ivic) is very direct and very happy to pull people up on things if they’re not working hard enough. He has been running the lads like dogs [in training]. Every single day they are crawling off the pitch, knackered. But because it is a ridiculously condensed season, being able to stay fit and keep fitness levels high could be the difference between making the top two or being in the play-offs.”

There you go.... (I say November, by the way)

Goodbye, cruel world

Mark Jenkins, who retired as West Brom’s chief executive after their promotion to the Premier League, has some harsh words to say for the EFL which, although it sounds a little right wing to me, is Jenkins says the Baggies “had to get out” of the Championship – and has called for a “change in the structure” of the EFL.

His gripes?

The Championship is a “great product, poorly marketed”

He is not in favour of salary caps and would prefer limits on squads instead

Having club directors on the EFL board is a “conflict of interest”

Media deals are not good enough, making it “very difficult for football clubs to survive without owners putting money in”.

So that’s why everyone is so desperate to get out...

Take a chance on me...

Marcus Maddison was a highly-rated player at Peterborough United. He went out on loan to Hull last season but is now out of contract with Posh. He was last seen playing for non league side Peterborough Sports. Sunderland fancy him, but there are salary cap issues. I am amazed a Championship club hasn’t taken a punt on him.

It is obviously dispiriting for the 26-year-old.

As he write on social media: “Most unwanted man in football.”

Not funny, just worrying.

Suffolk punch

And to end, I like to keep abreast of things down south. So on Saturday, as Norwich City head north to Huddersfield it’s time for Ipswich watch... the Tractor Boys are at home to Wigan on Sunday. It’s live on Sky Sports at noon. I remember when Sunday at noon on Sky Sports at Portman Road meant only one thing... for reasons other than the usual cross-border stuff, that’s a shame.

Pink Un Live! Watch as we preview the new season. Warning: Contains a couple of dodgy shirts


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