EFL (Bi)-Weekly Review: Wrexham Smash Attendance Record and The End of the Affair
All the best moments from the past two weeks of the English Football League
EFL Monthly Awards
The player/manager of the month awards for August were announced on Friday. The award is based on performances in the opening four Championship matches and the opening five in League One and League Two.
In the championship, Leicester City’s manager Enzo Maresca picked up the award for his inaugural month in the EFL. The foxes were the only team in the second tier with a 100% record by September 1st. Maresca dedicated his award to the rest of the team, saying “you never reach something yourself, you need people behind you.”
The player of the month award was picked up by Gabriel Sara. Norwich City’s creative midfielder created an astonishing 17 chances in August, with Norwich ending the month second in the league with the most goals of any team in the division. After winning Norwich’s player of the season in his debut outing for the Canaries, Sara could end the season as one of the best in the Championship outright.
In League One, Liam Manning picked up his third manager of the month award having led Oxford to a stellar start to the season. Oxford narrowly avoided relegation last year thanks to consecutive wins in late April. Their 12 point haul means the U’s have as many wins in their opening five matches as their final 23 last season.
Wigan Athletic’s Charlie Wyke picked up the player of the month award, having scored five in five to top the scoring charts. After health issues had plagued his previous two seasons, Wyke was back in full form and scoring for fun. His performances helped Wigan Athletic overturn their eight point deduction and finish the month outside the relegation zone.
In League Two, Graham Alexander also picked up his fifth manager of the month award, almost a decade after his first. His free-scoring MK Dons side ended the month top of the league.
Swindon’s Jake Young had an incredible first month with Swindon Town. The Bradford City loanee was directly involved in 10 of Swindon’s 15 goals, scoring seven and assisting three. His four goals in 24 minutes against Crawley Town was the undoubted highlight of his month.
Wrexham’s EFL Trophy Attendance Record
Wrexham boasted the fourth highest EFL Trophy group stage attendance, as well as the highest attendance for a League Two side, since the format was introduced in 2016 with 7,988 attendees. Only Sunderland vs Carlisle United in 2018 (8,112), Bolton Wanderers vs Bradford in 2019 (9,062) and Ipswich vs Colchester United in 2011 (8,100) have boasted higher attendances in the last eight seasons of the tournament.
Each of these clubs were in far different circumstances to Wrexham, however. Sunderland and Ipswich both had average league attendances of over 20,000 in their respective seasons, while Bolton’s match against Bradford had been their first home game since the club was rescued from extinction at the 11th hour.
Wrexham, meanwhile, have an average attendance of 10,200 so far this season and have been under the highly publicised ownership of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney since 2020. With Wrexham regularly selling out thanks to their limited capacity of 10,771, fans look are snapping up tickets for every match possible, despite the tournament’s controversial reputation among fans in recent years.
Reading Receive Fresh Points Deduction
Reading were given a second points deductions of the season this week. The club activated a suspended three point deduction this week after not depositing the required funds into an account as previously agreed. The requirement was installed after the club’s one point deduction in August after failing to pay players wages on time.
Reading fans outraged by the latest events, threw tennis balls onto the pitch in the 16th minute of their match against Bolton on the weekend. The protest highlighted the 16 points the Royals had been deducted since Dai Yongge took ownership in 2017. The most notable of these was the six point deduction that ultimately relegated Reading last season. Despite the side falling behind shortly after the protest, the Berkshire side made a late comeback to win 2-1. Despite this, Reading remain in the relegation zone, behind fellow points deductees Wigan Athletic.
The End of the Affair
Neil Warnock’s time at Huddersfield may be coming to an end after a rift between him and the board. Warnock’s career has spanned four decades, but the Terriers’ great escape last season has to be one of his most memorable, but despite signing a new one-year deal in the summer, the 74 year old is expected to announce his departure on Monday morning.
The Yorkshireman’s last match in charge will be Stoke’s visit to the John Smith’s stadium. After his first retirement in 2022, it is likely this one will be for good.
Bluebirds See off Sinking Swans in South Wales Derby
Cardiff emerged victorious in this season’s opening leg of their rivalry with Swansea City with a 2-0 win. Both sides have experienced struggles this season, only picking up one win between them in their opening 10. It was a memorable day for both goalscorers. 21 year old Ollie Tanner scored his first goal in blue in the 71st minute. Tanner picked up the ball at the corner of the box, beat his man before drilling his shot across goal, beating keeper Carl Rushworth.
15 minutes later, Aaron Ramsey scored his first South Wales Derby goal with a calmly taken penalty. While there were questions raised whether Tanner had been fouled inside the box or not, Ramsey was focused purely on putting the match to bed. His classic penalty style sent the Rushworth diving the wrong way, leaving Ramsey to celebrate his match winner, 12 years after playing in his first derby.
A first defeat for Swansea in Cardiff since 2013 puts manager Michael Duff under intense pressure, with his side one three teams yet to win this season. Failing to win at fellow strugglers QPR and Sheffield Wednesday could spell the end of his spell in the second tier, damaging his previously solid managerial reputation.