New Boys on the Block: A Preview of the Promoted Clubs

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New Boys on the Block: A Preview of the Promoted Clubs
At the end of the 2007/2008 season, Reading, Birmingham City, and Derby County were regulated to the Championship. This season Stoke City, Hull City, and West Bromwich Albion (WBA) made it to the Premiership. 
What will the 2008/2009 season hold for these newcomers?  Will any of them remain in the Premiership at the end of the season—or will they all be regulated? 
Here's a preview of each club.

 

1. Stoke City

Stoke City return to the top division, after being in lower divisions for 23 years. The club have won the Football League twice in their history—once in 1992 and another time in 2000. 

Stoke City finished second in the Championship last season, reserving their ticket to the Premiership. Their manager, Tony Pulis, came to the club in 2002 after stints at Bournemouth, Gillingham, Portsmouth, and Bristol City.

Stoke City's key player is midfielder Liam Lawrence. Last season Lawrence scored 14 goals in the Championship, and he's already had Premiership experience with Sunderland back in 2004-2006. He's also an international for Ireland. 

Another key player is midfielder Rory Delap, again a former Black Cat. During the recent transfer window, Stoke City brought in striker Dave Kitson from Reading and midfielder Seyi Olofinjana from the Wolves.

 

 2.  Hull City A.F.C.

For the first time in Hull City's history, they will be playing in the top division. Last season, Hull City finished third in the Championship and made it to the playoffs at Wembley.  There they defeated Bristol City 1-0. 

Hull City's manager, Phil Brown, is relatively new to managing.  However, he had a successful 18-year career as a player for Hartlepool United, Bolton, and Blackpool. He joined Hull City as a coach in 2005. But when the old manager, Phil Parkinson, got sacked in 2006 it was Brown who took over.

Hull City's star player is 39-year-old Dean Windass—who scored the crucial winning goal at Wembley. Although the club has never played top-division football, Windass has experience at the Premiership with Bradford City, Middlesbrough, and Sheffield United. 

Windass scored the most goals for the club last season, with a total of 12 goals.

Another key player is striker Nicky Barmby, who used to play for Tottenham and Everton. Last season Barmby scored five goals for the club and helped them get to the Premiership. 

Hull City have brought in many players with Premiership experience—such as George Boateng from Middlesbrough, Geovanni from Manchester City, and goalkeeper Tony Warner from Fulham. 

Their biggest buy of this transfer season though was Hungarian midfielder Peter Halmosi from Plymouth.

 

 3.  West Bromwich Albion F.C.

WBA return to the Premiership for the first time since 2004, but for the fourth time in their history. 

West Brom have only been champions of the top division once—back in 1920. However, they have won the FA Cup five different times in 1888, 1892, 1931, 1954, and 1968.

They also won the Football League Cup once in 1966. Last season, the Baggies finished first in the Championship, automatically reserving a spot in the Premiership.  Their manager, Tony Mowbray, joined the club from Hibernian in 2006—where he had led the Scottish team to a third place finish in the league. 

WBA's most valued player is ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson. Last season, Carson was loaned out to Aston Villa where he had 11 clean sheets.

In order to stay in the Premiership, West Brom has transferred many key players. They signed strikers Luke Moore and Roman Bednar from Aston Villa and Hearts respectively, midfielders Kim Do-Heon (from Seongnam) and Graham Dorrans (from Livingston), as well as defenders Marek Cech from Porto and Gianni Zuiverloon from Heerenveen.

 

With three different clubs joining the Premiership, who do you think will remain at the end, and who will go? 

Only time will tell what happens, but in the meantime, these three clubs hope to make an impression in the Premier League.

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