Date:Sunday May 15 2011
Vital QPR takes a look back at Boxer's pre-season predictions - how did his promotion and relegation candidates fare?
What can I say other than I was plainly wrong about this one. Mark Robins has once again worked well to improve his current crop of players and finish a respectable 17th.
Performances in isolation, particularly at home, promise much for next season if they can maintain the renewed level of competition for places among the current squad.
The lofty claim for a positive Bristol City season lay squarely with then manager Steve Coppell. Once he jumped ship rather promptly it was clear that it would be another season of inconsistency.
The loss of Nicky Maynard with injury certainly didn't help their cause as their season never really found a level of consistency to challenge above their mid-table berth.
I get the impression Burnley fans will be a tad disappointed with an eigth-placed finish, but nevertheless their finale to the 2010-11 campaign will promise much for next season.
The difference between a playoff place and their current position could be traced squarely down to the negativity of Brian Laws, and under the rejuvenated guidance of Eddie Howe I expect them to challenge next season.
This was written prior to the signing of Craig Bellamy, who has made all the difference in their climb into the playoffs. Rather surprising then that they didn't finish higher than fourth place.
Cardiff invested late and appeared to be a favourite as the season commenced with the likes of Bellamy, Bothroyd, Whittingham, Burke and Chopra leading the line - only the playoffs for the Bluebirds.
Despite under new management, Coventry finished fairly much as expected in what has become a standard position in the lower middle echelons of the division.
The addition of Marlon King has helped, but a poor run of form put pay to Aidy Boothroyd as manager as the season was truly finished shortly after the Christmas period.
Palace were sadly destined to struggle this season and George Burley hadn't helped the case with his style of management. They became galvanised when fans' favourite Dougie Freedman took the helm.
The former Eagles front-man instilled a belief in his players and they applied the same grit and determination to see the season through as they did in dramatic circumstances the previous season.
Once again Derby are where I expected them to be at the start of the season. Nigel Clough is building slowly, but despite the family name being enshrined in the club's history it may be too slow for some.
County don't seem to be moving anywhere quickly, which only serves to back up what an incredible support they have. The Rams fans still turn out in their numbers to witness an underwhelming product.
Rovers actually slipped a little below what I expected this season, with O'Driscoll starting to move away from the passing football that has seen them blossom in the npower Championship.
The loss of Billy Sharp through injury evidently hit them hard while they predominantly looked direct in the channels for their attacking delivery - should fare better next season.
Hull's inexplicably poor start to the campaign really halted them this season, but I fully expect them to came again next season. A wise manager, Nigel Pearson really had them playing in the latter half of the season.
Their formidable away record has been at its consistent best and had their home record matched they would without question have been a Premier League team next season.
Around about where I expected Ipswich, but perhaps not taking the same route as first thought. Keane's inconsistent nature as boss made me assume they'd rise and peter away.
It was not to be however - the season as a whole was relatively mediocre with Paul Jewell picking up a few positive results as the new boss later on in the campaign, a new season and renewed hope for Town.
Got this one plainly wrong as Leeds have surpassed all expectations this season. If they can repeat their performance levels next time out then they will have a good chance of making the playoffs.
Max Gradel has really surprised me and stepped up a level, as have most - and if this can be maintained then there are good times ahead for Leeds supporters.
Again, hardly by design but Leicester are around where I thought they'd be. They started the season woefuly under Paulo Sousa, whose brand of cautious football didn't quite fit with the picture.
The appointment of Sven has rejuvenated them and the money he has splashed on talented players have pushed them into a playoff contention in the latter stages - will be a force next season.
Got this once wrong truthfully. Assumed that Middlesbrough would finally realise that with the players they have at their disposal they should be at the right end of the table.
Once Gordon Strachan was rightfully dispatched of, Tony Mowbray put in place the building blocks for what should be a good campaign for Boro next season.
Millwall certainly surpassed my expectations, and this is down to the potent finishing of Steve Morison and the excellent guidance of Kenny Jackett.
They will have to guard against second season syndrome and if Jackett remains at the helm I think he'll steer them to another mid-table berth.
Bravo Norwich City and Paul Lambert - didn't expect them to be challenging and instead see this as a season for stabilising in the npower Championship.
They didn't fancy hanging around and showed the consistency necessary to obtain their second successive promotion and Lambert deserves great credit for this achievement.
I thought this would be Forest's year to lift the title. Previously Davies was given the sums necessary to bolster the squad but the same squad wasn't able to live up to their previous billing.
Davies is contented with his sixth-placed finish indicating that it is exactly where he expected his side to be - others however have leapfrogged over Forest and into a position that was certainly attainable.
I had to get one right didn't I? - I agonised over this one for a long period of time and despite having decent players, it was the management that I didn't find all too flattering.
Steve Cotterill is cheap and available rather than being the right man for the job, but Portsmouth must be contented with another season down in the Football League.
Preston North End
I saw Preston struggling, but not necessarily being relegated. I had assumed that Darren Ferguson would have them motivated from the off - but it certainly didn't prove to be his season.
Phil Brown came in and motivated for short spells, but the writing was already on the wall long before he arrived, and despite a few good results in isolation, PNE must now begin life in League One.
Queens Park Rangers
Pre-season my comments were:
'Speaking with my heart as well as my head, I believe that Neil Warnock can turn Rangers from perennial underachievers, pretenders if you will, to genuine playoff candidates.
Rangers have for a long time had talent in their squad, without the application, desire or team spirit to truly succeed - this is something that Warnock has sought to install in recent weeks.
A striker or two would do their chances of promotion the world of good and with the boss set to tie these up before the end of the week, it could be a very exciting season in W12 - I hope.'
What do you know, we surpassed by beliefs this year and achieved our top flight dream. We found a level of consistency that has eluded us and we combined that edge with our creative flair.
Credit to Reading and Brian McDermott, he built on his form last season and managed to obtain a playoff place. The manager has once again re-built Steve Coppell's legacy and they look strong.
He is doing well on a budget afforded to him by Mr Madejski and if it doesn't happen for them in the playoffs I expect them to be in a similar position next season.
It didn't take a genius sadly, and I do mean sadly, that Scunthorpe United once again dropped into League One. The loss of Nigel Adkins really did for them as Ian Baraclough couldn't steady the ship.
Alan Knill is a wise lower-league manager but it was always going to be a tough ask to follow Adkins to the Glanford Park helm, this proved to be true.
I was slated by a Sheffield United supporter for saying that they had recruited below their usual standard and they would struggle to gain a playoff place this season.
Well they have even surpassed by expectations with their mediocrity this season. Sacking Blackwell was on hindsight a very poor decision but his replacement Micky Adams was also a poor decision.
Well done Brendan Rodgers. I have given him some stick in the past but he picked up the baton from Sousa and Martinez and ran with it.
He has recruited safely with the likes of Scott Sinclair, but nevertheless it has proven a positive move as the Swans not only finish above their Welsh rivals, but also just outside the automatic places.
Watford certainly did better than I was expecting, and once again it's down to good management and the correct use of youth team players to supplement existing talents.
Marvin Sordell has come out of his shell under Malky Mackay while Danny Graham continues to thrive. Keep hold of Graham and Watford will move up the table next season.
That's how I saw it - How did you see it? - LET US KNOW!
Date:Sunday May 15 2011
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|2.||The Uncredibale Hulk||26|
|15. Aston Villa||33||8||8||17||-21||32|
|17. Hull City||32||6||10||16||-16||28|
|18. Leicester City||32||7||7||18||-17||28|
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