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Billionaire snatched from London, his body discovered in Manchester and his head 70 miles away
Adnan Abdul Hameed Al-Sane was a Banker from Kuwait who retired to London in 1986 at the age of 38. He traded in stocks and shares as an interest. He also frequented casinos. He lived in Maida Vale area. On the night of December 14 1993, he dined with a business acquaintance at the Brittania Hotel in Grosvenor Square. At midnight he took a taxi home and that was the last time anyone saw him alive. It is believed that he went home and was later snatched from there. On the 16th of December his headless and partially burned naked body apart from underpants was found beneath a railway arch in Piccadilly in Manchester. His badly burned head was found a few weeks later on 27th January by a dog walker 70 miles away, in Staffordshire. It is thought that the head was tossed from a passing car from the nearby motorway. The killer had gone in great length to try and hide the identity of the victim, by hacking away his face with a machete. Officers described the killing as ‘non-professional but methodical’. The head was reconstructed using clay by a Manchester University professor and this became a milestone in identifying Adnan. He was finally identified from a rare metal alloy used in dental work. It is thought that he swallowed a tooth during the attack. Six box files relating to Adnan’s stocks and shares were missing from his apartment after his death. In October 2011 the ‘Independent’ reported that a business associate of his was seriously wounded in a gun attack in Paddington, London. Police were baffled by the vicious attack on him in spite of wide speculation about illicit arms deals back in his country and money feuds. DISCUSSION -Why was the body found in Manchester? -Why did the killer go into such great lengths to hide his identity? -Why was he murdered? LINKS https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/cheslyn-hay-severed-head-mystery-8197394 https://www.staffordshire-live.co.uk/news/history/mystery-severed-head-found-staffordshire-2268651
I wrote a new, updated, more comprehensive and neutral wiki for the sub, but I guess the mods didn't want it. Here's u/garethom's guide to Birmingham.
I sent this is in a message to the mods a little while back after seeing that the existing wiki was a little out of date, really centric to certain areas and tbh, not very neutral when it came to other areas. It's my no means the end of any recommendations, but considering we have a lot of questions about what to do/see/eat/drink and where to stay or live, I thought it might be helpful. Anyway, I haven't got a response, and I'm not even sure if any of them are even still active here, so I thought I'd just drop it here and maybe somebody can get some use out of it anyway. I'll clarify that outside of playing for one of the American football teams currently, and having previously played for another, I'm not affiliated with any organisation mentioned herein.
Birmingham is the second city (don't listen to anything Manchester says!) of the United Kingdom. It is the largest and most populous city in the United Kingdom, as well as the centre of the second largest urban area after London, with a population somewhere between 1 and 1.3 million people. Birmingham boomed from a non-descript market town to a juggernaut of a city during the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s/early 1800s, and is called "the first manufacturing town in the world". Although the steam engine is Birmingham's most famous invention, did you know, that amongst hundreds of other things, we're also responsible for the birth of the modern chemical industry, cotton spinning, the Baskerville typeface, building societies, powdered custard, the modern postal system, medical plaster, lawn tennis, plastic, medical use of x-rays, The Lord of the Rings, and the Football League? Well now you do! Today, we don't manufacture so much, but we're still an important city on the global stage. We're now a centre for both the public and private service industry, and one of the most important centres of finance in the country. We form the centre of a metropolitan area, spanning from Solihull in the south east, to Wolverhampton and the Black Country in the north west, and we make up an interesting group of people. We're a city of younger than average people, and are the UK's most ethnically diverse city, with large numbers of immigrants from Ireland, South Asia, the Caribbean and China. This make up has majorly shaped the city we live in today. Whether you're visiting for a day or two, or you're a born and bred Brummie, Birmingham is still a city that can amaze you. And yes... it's true. We do have more canals than Venice.
Big Name Attractions
BBC Birmingham: Visitors can book tours of their working building that take you behind the scenes of their television and radio productions. There is also a visitor centre that doesn't require booking.
Botanical Gardens: A 15 acre selection of gardens and greenhouses containing some of the world's rarest (and in some cases, entirely unique) plants. There are also a number of exotic birds.
Cadbury World: The world famous chocolate manufacturer was founded in Bournville. There are exhibits on the history of chocolate, the making of chocolate, the story of the Cadbury family, and if you hadn't guessed by now, a massive Cadbury shop.
Library of Birmingham: This striking building opened in 2013 is the largest public library in the United Kingdom, and the largest "public cultural space" in Europe and hosts a number of nationally and internationally significant collections.
National Sea Life Centre: Even with our extensive canal network, perhaps not the most appropriate location, but still... A giant aquarium with a range of sea and river life, from sharks, to penguins, to otters.
Sarehole Mill: A working water mill that has played a significant park in the history of both the industry and literature of Birmingham. Matthew Boulton, one of the fathers of the industrial revolution performed experiments there, and Lord of the Rings author, J. R. R. Tolkien lived just a stones throw from the mill. It is located in the Shire Country Park, named for its influence on the location of that name in the aforementioned books.
Thinktank: A family-oriented science experience with a focus on Birmingham's manufacturing and industrial history. You can see real WWII era aircraft, steam trains, and the world's oldest working steam engine. There's also a planetarium.
Aston Hall: The "leading example of the Jacobean prodigy house" has a storied local history, from the Civil War-era onwards.
Back to Backs: The "city's last surviving court of back-to-back houses". Get a feel for life amongst the common folk of the city during the population boom of the Industrial Revolution.
Blakesley Hall: One of the oldest buildings in the city, and an archetypal example of Tudor architecture, originally owned by the famed Smalbroke family.
Coffin Works: A restored factory that historically manufactured brass fittings, and, you guessed it, coffins, including those of famed statesmen and members of the royal family.
Birmingham is a city quickly gaining a world-class reputation for food, with an exploding independent scene backed up by an enviable selection of fine dining options. Fine Dining You may have heard that Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any UK city outside of London, and that's (sort of, if you're including Solihull) true! With five (strictly four) restaurants boasting a star, Birmingham has plenty for those desiring a fine dining experience. Purnell's, ran by regular TV face Glyn Purnell, and Adam's are both located in the city centre. Simpsons is just a mile-and-a-bit outside the centre in leafy Edgbaston, and Carters of Moseley is just a little further out, in, well, Moseley. The most recently awarded star goes to Peel's, located in the Hampton Manor hotel in Hampton in Arden, a quick drive from Birmingham Airport. But it's not all about those famous stars. There's also several restaurants that make the Michelin Guide. Asha's (Indian), Opus (European), The Wilderness (British/European), Lasan (Indian), Waters (European), The Boot Inn (European/Fusion), Opheem (Indian), Folium (British/European), and Harborne Kitchen (British/European) are all places you're almost guaranteed some good eating! Street Food & Independents While the Michelin-club get all the plaudits, many prefer Birmingham's proud independent food scene for a cheaper, more relaxed meal. The jewel in the crown is Digbeth Dining Club. The now three-day-a-week event sees an area in Digbeth in the centre of Birmingham closed off and populated by some of the countries finest streetfood vendors for a festival of food, drink and music. Many of the regulars have been crowned winners of something in the various country-wide streetfood competitions in recent years, and you'll get anything from Indian snacks, decadent waffles, slow cooked BBQ, and mouth-watering cheesecakes to award winning burgers. Additionally, in a very similar vein, is the much more recent Hawker Yard. Looking for a burger? You're in luck. There's Original Patty Men (who are so renowned, Drake opted to miss out on the Brit Awards to eat their burgers) and The Meat Shack both located in the city centre that make some of the best burgers you'll ever taste, and have a great selection of beers to go with them. Thanks to the city's impressive Chinatown, you're guaranteed some good authentic Chinese food. Our recommendation? Head to Peach Garden or Look In and order a selection of roasted meats (just look for the hanging ducks in the window, you won't miss them!) Perhaps Birmingham's most world famous offering to the culinary world is the Balti. Named for the thin-pressed steel dish it's served in more than any particular method of cooking, the Balti is a garlic and onion heavy curry that is cooked over high heat, rather than simmering all day. If that sounds enticing to you, then I've got good news. Birmingham is famed for the Balti Triangle, an area around Sparkbook, Sparkhill and Moseley that has an eye-wateringly high concentration of restaurants serving Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi food, almost all of which serving many variations of the eponymous dish. While the Balti may have spread across the entirety of the UK, it's well known that Birmingham still has the best. Looking for a recommendation? Check out Adil's, the place that lays perhaps the strongest claim to creating the dish in the first place or Al Frash. We're also locked into an ongoing battle with Glasgow as to which city created the creamy, mild curry, the Chicken Tikka Masala. Added bonus? Many of the city's balti houses are BYOB. Outside of those mentioned, there really is something for those that want something a little different. The Karczma serves authentic Polish food in amazing decor. Bonehead is the place to go for fried chicken. If you're not feeling a full three course balti, Zindiya offers amazing Indian street food. Loaf is a co-operatively ran bakery and cookery school that offer literally the best sausage rolls in the world. Whatever cuisine takes your fancy, you will find a restaurant in Birmingham cooking it to the highest quality. If there's anything that will force you to make plans to visit Birmingham again, it's the food. Drinking And what d'you know, it's not just great food here, but great drink too! In the city centre, you're spoiled for choice. There's a Brewdog bar, serving a range of beers from the eponymous brewery alongside a smorgasbord of guest brewers. Just opposite is Cherry Reds (they also have a location in Kings Heath), serving craft beers in a cafe atmosphere. Located in a former, guess what, the Post Office Vaults invites you to take a look through their "Beer Bible" and select from hundreds of beers from around the world. Purecraft serves beers from the renowned Purity Brewing Company, and the food is amazing too. Around what was formerly a financial district, you'll find a lot of popular bars in attractive buildings, such as The Old Joint Stock, The Lost and Found and The Cosy Club. In the Jewellery Quarter, you'll find the reasonably priced 1000 Trades (usually with a pop-up dishing out great food) and further afield, the Plough in Harborne. Cocktails more your thing? You won't miss out. The Alchemist, Fumo, Ginger's and Gas Street Social all serve proper cocktails in trendy atmospheres. On the same street in Stirchley and Cotteridge, you will find two of the countries highest-rated off-licences. Cotteridge Wines has been voted The Best Bottle Shop in England for five years running, and Stirchley Wines, just a few minutes walk away, is held in similarly high regard. Both have been listed in RateBeer's top four locations in the country.
Birmingham is famous as a sporting city. The Football League, the world's first league football competition, was founded in 1888 by Birmingham resident, and Aston Villa director William McGregor. Along with the aforementioned Aston Villa, Birmingham is also home to another of the oldest football teams in the country, Birmingham City. Birmingham City's Ladies play at the top level of Women's football. The football season runs between August and May. Edgbaston Cricket Ground is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, but is also more prominently used for Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The County Cricket season runs between April and September. The Twenty20 season runs between July and September. Birmingham and the nearby areas are home to two PGA standard golf courses; The Belfry, which has hosted the Ryder Cup more than any other venue, and the Forest of Arden, a regular host of tournaments on the PGA European Tour. Arena Birmingham, formerly known as the National Indoor Arena, has hosted a number of World and European indoor athletics championships, and the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr is the headquarters of UK Athletics, and the home of the Birchfield Harriers, which counts a number of elite international athletes amongst its members. The first ever game of lawn tennis was played in Birmingham in 1859 and the Birmingham Classic, played annually at the Edgbaston Priory Club is one of only three UK tennis tournaments on the WTA Tour. There are two professional Rugby Union teams in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Moseley Rugby Football Club play in the National League 1, and Birmingham & Solihull Pertemps Bees play in the Midlands Premier division. The Rugby Union season typically runs between September and April. Birmingham is also home to the oldest British American football team, the Birmingham Bulls and the most successful team in University American football, the Birmingham Lions at the University of Birmingham. The Tamworth Phoenix, the current BAFA National League champions, are located in nearby Coleshill, and the Sandwell Steelers are located in the Black Country. The BAFA National Leagues season typically runs between April and August and the University season typically runs between October and January. The Birmingham Bandits play in the National Baseball League, the top level of competition in the country. The season typically runs between April and August. Birmingham will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Film For those that want to catch a movie, there is, as you might expect, a range of chain cinemas in dozens of locations across the city in which you can catch the latest release. But if you're looking for something really special? Why not check out The Electric, the UK's oldest working cinema? Of course, they show the latest blockbusters, but they also show classic movies and special events throughout the year. Music Whatever your preference, there's a good bet that Birmingham has had an impact. We have the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra playing at the Symphony Hall for those with a more refined ear. There are regular jazz festivals across the city and surroundings through the year. Perhaps you've heard of the small time bands Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin and Napalm Death? Birmingham is the home to metal, and it's an influence that is still obvious today. You'll find local bands playing the full spectrum of metal at music pubs across the city. If you want to check out a band on tour, we've got arenas that range in size from the huge (Arena Birmingham, Genting Arena) to the more modest (Hare & Hounds, HMV Institute) and those in-between (O2 Academy). TheatreThe Repertory Theatre is the UK's longest-established "producing theatre" and the Alexandra and Hippodrome are the go-to places to see shows on tour. Those looking for a particularly classy night out can choose from the Birmingham Royal Ballet, resident at the Hippodrome, or the Birmingham Opera Company, known for their avant garde performances in non-typical spaces. Museums & GalleriesBirmingham Museum & Art Gallery is the big one. A notable collection of Pre-Raphaelite work and the Staffordshire Hoard are probably the stand outs that it's known for, but there's a temporary exhibition space that hosts events like student exhibitions from local universities. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is located on the campus of the University of Birmingham, and was one of only five galleries outside London to receive five stars for having "Outstanding collections of international significance", and this relatively modest sized gallery hosts works by the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Auguste Rodin and J. M. W. Turner and has one of the world's largest coin collections. If contemporary art is more your thing, then the Ikon Gallery in Brindley Place is for you, hosting rotating exhibitions throughout the year. The mac, located in Cannon Hill Park is an art gallery with rotating exhibitions that also hosts plays, concerts and film showings. For further Museums & Galleries see the "Attractions" section. Nightlife As a young city, there's plenty of places in the city to while the night away. Broad Street is Birmingham's most well known area. It's a long street with very popular, relatively "bog-standard" bars and clubs, with large dancefloors and loud, popular music. PRYZM is the largest nightclub in the city, and Grosvenor Casino, open 24 hours, is nearby. You'll most likely find single 18-25 year olds along this busy street just a few minutes walk from the very centre of the city. Birmingham's Gay Village is also well established, with Nightingales being arguably the biggest name. Nearby, the Arcadian hosts a number of smaller bars and clubs. The Jewellery Quarter offers more intimate nightlife options, and you're more likely to find a slightly older clientele sipping cocktails and listening to live bands than on their feet on a dancefloor. Digbeth is where the cool people go in search of more underground fare. DJs and producers playing House, Techno (including the world famous "Birmingham Sound"), Dubstep, Garage and Drum & Bass congregate in the clubs in this area, catering to those that are happy to go all night. If you want to go even further off the beaten track, check out PST where you're likely to find Listening Sessions, showcasing a range of music from local producers. ShoppingThe Bullring is the major shopping centre in Birmingham. It is one of Europe's largest and houses just one of four Selfridges department stores, housed in an iconic building. There are a number of stores selling fashion, cosmetics, toys and gifts and food. The Bull Ring markets see 140 stallholders offering fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and fish, and basically every non-food item you can think of. The Jewellery Quarter is Europe's largest concentration of businesses involved in the jewellery trade, which produces 40% of all the jewellery made in the UK. The Great Western Arcade is a Grade II listed row of shops that cater almost entirely to independent retailers where you're almost guaranteed to find something unique.
We're a relatively temperate city, in that it rarely gets super cold, and rarely gets super hot. In the summer months, you can expect a twenty four hour swing from around 11°C(52°F) to 23°C(73°F), and in the winter months, anywhere between 0°C(32°F) and 7°C(45°F). We get roughly 10-13 rainy days per month throughout the year. Compared to other UK cities, we are relatively snowy, due to our inland position and high elevation, however, it rarely snows to a degree that it causes problems.
Birmingham is, perhaps surprisingly given its unfair reputation, an outstandingly green city. We have a stunning 571 parks in the city, more than any other European city. Sutton Park is the biggest park in the city, and is Europe's largest urban park outside of a capital city. Around a quarter of the former Royal Forest is covered by ancient woodlands, and there are a number of large ponds and pools. It is relatively common to see deer and exmoor ponies in the less busy parts of the park. There are several sporting events held in the park throughout the year. The Lickey Hills are home to a Green Flag awarded country park that offer picturesque views of the city of Birmingham, and are home to several species of deer, badgers and around ninety bird species, and some believe this favoured haunt of J. R. R. Tolkien formed the inspiration for the Shire in his famed The Lord Of The Rings series. Cannon Hill Park is a 250 acre area consisting of woodland, grassland and several large ponds. There are areas for soccer, boating, fishing, tennis and mini-golf.
Due to its centralised location, Birmingham is well placed for transport. It is served by the M5, M6 (famed for the Gravelly Hill Interchange, more commonly known as Spaghetti Junction), M40 and M42 motorways. Birmingham Airport (actually located in Solihull), is an international airport, with flights to and from to many destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Birmingham New Street is the largest railway station outside of London and serves locations across the country. Snow Hill and Moor Street act as the northern termini for trains coming from London Marylebone. Buses are mainly administered by National Express, and the West Midlands bus route 11, also known as the Birmingham Outer Circle, is the longest urban bus route in Europe at 27 miles, taking around three hours to complete. Uber operates within Birmingham.
Living In Birmingham
Many times we're asked here on brum "where should I live", "is area X ok to live in", etc. Much like everything else in Birmingham, there is a lot of variety. Houses can range from cheap as chips to pretty expensive, and each area of the city has its own up and downsides. It's not so easy to divide Birmingham by distinct areas of desirability, and some of the most expensive and sought after suburbs border those that aren't as popular.
Living in central Birmingham will be similar to living in the centre of any other big city, if you've ever done that. There will always be something to do on right on your doorstep, the social opportunities are immense, and your commute can be but a short walk to the office. Of course, this is often at the expense of a smaller, more expensive property, greater noise and everywhere is pretty busy 24/7. There are a number of distinct "regions" in the city centre. Brindley Place & Surrounding Areas Likely the priciest part of the city centre to live in, but there are often more than small flats available. Penthouses, townhouses and large apartments are more common in this area. Average property price: Anywhere from ~£150,000 to £1m+Brindley Place on Streetcheck Digbeth An area still undergoing gentrification, but also a focal point for up and coming independents in business, food, arts and culture. Most, if not all, properties in Digbeth will be flats. Most of Digbeth is a five minute walk to the centre of the city. Average property price: £158,024Digbeth on Streetcheck Jewellery Quarter Great for food and drink, the Jewellery Quarter, while still a stronghold in the UK jewellery industry, is fast becoming one of the "cooler" areas to live in the city. Most, if not all, properties in the Jewellery Quarter will be flats. Average property price: ~£200,000-250,000Jewellery Quarter on Streetcheck
North Birmingham has a large swing in terms of lifestyle. Some areas closer to the city centre are more economically deprived, whereas further away, the likes of Sutton Coldfield can boast some of the most expensive and most desirable locations in the Midlands. The transport links are, to some, an attraction to living in North Birmingham, usually being just minutes from several junctions on the M6 and M5. Aston Aston as a settlement is very old, and has a real mix of history, ranging from the medieval to Jacobean to early 1900s. Most properties in Aston are terraced houses. Average property price: £107,137Aston on Streetcheck Erdington Lying between the city centre and it's more expensive neighbour, Erdington is fast becoming a desirable location for those priced out of Sutton Coldfield. There is a range of properties from detached housing to flats. Average property price: £163,075Erdington on Streetcheck Handsworth An "on the rise" area that can boast perhaps the longest list of famous residents in the whole city. There are a wide range of properties from detached housing to terraced houses. Average property price: £144,484Handsworth on Streetcheck Sutton Coldfield A "Royal Town" and the fourth-least deprived area in the country, Sutton Coldfield is renowned as a very affluent area with many attractions. There are a range of properties from terraced houses to very large detached houses. Average property price: £314,808 although houses can and do regularly top £3m+Sutton Coldfield on Streetcheck
East Birmingham is home to a diverse population, and a relatively green area stretching from the city centre to neighbouring Solihull, and is quickly finding itself a niche as younger folk priced out of Solihull move to a desirable location between the leafy town and Birmingham's centre. Bordesley Green Traditionally an area popular with immigrants, and mostly consists of terraced houses. Average property price: £122,712Bordesley Green on Streetcheck Stechford Mostly terraced housing with a tonne of local ameneties and is cut almost in two by the River Cole and has a large nature reserve running through it. Average property price: £150,085Stechford on Streetcheck Yardley & Sheldon An historically old suburb of Birmingham, with a dedicated conservation area and many local ameneties. There are a range of properties from detached houses to a small number of flats and apartments. Average property price: £162,601Yardley & Sheldon on Streetcheck
The south of Birmingham is home to some of the "coolest" suburbs that are quickly gaining popularity, seated between the city centre and what you might call "countryside" towards Warwickshire. Hall Green Encompassing much of the Tolkien trail, this suburb borders Shirley in Solihull. Average property price: £209,923Hall Green on Streetcheck Kings Heath, Stirchley and Cotteridge These three closely related suburbs are quickly becoming seen as an affordable alternative to Moseley. Average property price: £211,276Kings Heath on Streetcheck Moseley With a real "village" feel, there are many renowned drinking holes and eateries, with a large range of property types. Average property price: £276,533Moseley on Streetcheck Sparkhill Home to a large population of immigrants, it's not surprising that Sparkhill is home to much of the famed "Balti Triangle". Most of the properties are terraced houses. Average property price: £142,394Sparkhill on Streetcheck
As you move away from the city centre towards the Black Country, you'll come across some of the city's most sought-after locations for both young and old alike. Edgbaston A very affluent suburb that is also home to much of the University of Birmingham campus. There are a number of very large houses, but also a large number of flats and terraced houses. Houses can and do regularly go for £1m+ Average property price: £301,851Edgbaston on Streetcheck Harborne A Victorian-era suburb with a large amount of terraced and semi-detached housing, located between Edgbaston and Quinton. Average property price: £278,266Harbone on Streetcheck Selly Oak The majority of residents in this suburb are students at Birmingham's universities. As such, it has many transport links to the city centre. Most of the properties are terraced houses. Average property price: £221,046Selly Oak on Streetcheck Quinton This green suburb basically forms the very western border of the city before you enter Sandwell and Dudley. Most properties are semi-detached. Average property price: £258,077Quinton on Streetcheck
Outside the city
Birmingham is part of the greater West Midlands conurbation, so it can be used as a hub for exploring the region easily. Solihull is situated on the south-eastern edge of Birmingham. Solihull is an affluent town with a mid-sized town centre, and a number of smaller villages located more rurally. Coventry can be reached via the M6 or A45, and is roughly a half an hour to fourty minute drive from the city centre. Stratford-Upon-Avon, famed for being the home of William Shakespeare, is located roughly an hour away from the city centre. Warwick, the home of Warwick Castle, is located near Royal Leamington Spa, and is about an hour by car from the city centre. The Cotswolds, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, can be quickly reached, anywhere from one to two hours away from the city centre. Worcester and the Malvern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, can be reached via the M5, around an hour and a half from the city centre. On the western edge of the city, the Black Country, consisting of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton can be found. Further out west, the Shropshire Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be found. To the north of the city, Cannock Chase, a large, heavily wooded Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is located.
On Friday at 8pm UK time, Reading and Derby County will kick off the 127th season of the English second division - also known as the Championship! 24 clubs will compete for 3 promotion spots to the Premier league (2 via automatic promotion and 1 via playoffs) and to avoid the 3 relegation spots to the third tier a.k.a League One.
Its looking like a really tight and competitive season. The league is absolutely full of ambitious player and managerial talent - the more time goes by the more it looks like a Premier League 2. If you want a competitive league with proper English football, that also has the spice of skilful players and forward thinking managers, it really is the place to go.
This is guide written by the fans who have come together on /Championship - an absolutely huge thanks to them. Do check out the sub, we try to keep it a good place to discuss the EFL, away from the rancid gloryhunting shithole that is /soccer (just kidding - I like this place). Lots going on, including a score predictor thread which is running all season.
This guide is in table order with the PL demoted sides first. Only 5 clubs today (because the Swansea one is a fucking novel and I can't fit any more in), the rest will be submitted tomorrow and Friday. Do bare in mind that not all the transfer news will be up to date as these guides were largely written a week ago. Point out to me if there are any clear errors with formatting or spelling.
How to watch in the UK: Live rights are owned by Sky Sports. They are upping the number of televised matches this season. Reading v Derby on Friday is televised. The weekly highlights show previously on Channel 5 is moving to Quest TV, which apparently is on Freeview. How to watch abroad: Depends, but in most territories, the iFollow Service is available, which is £110 to watch all a single club's matches. Bargain. I think the clubs that aren't on iFollow have their own similar streaming services. Check out club Youtube channels - quite a few of them post extended highlights now with their own commentary, including Derby, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and more. (You may need VPN to watch if you're abroad.)
Location: Swansea, Wales Nickname: Swans, The Jacks Major honours: Football League Cup (2013), Championship Play-off Winner (2011), League One Winners (1925, 1949, 2008) 17/18 finishing postion: 18th (Premier League) Transfermarkt squad value:€115.5 mil NOTE: This number is as of July 22nd, when we still have Mawson (€15 mil), A. Ayew (€15 mil), Bony (€10 mil), Clucas (€8 mil) and Fernandez (€8 mil), who are all pretty much expected to be sold, or loaned out, before the season starts. Without all of these players except Bony (who's injured for a while so it makes it unlikely he'll be sold soon), the squad value would be around €70 mil. Manager: Graham Potter joined the Swans on 11th June 2018. In 2010, he became head coach of Östersund, who were in the fourth tier of Swedish football. 5 years later, he got the club promoted into the Swedish top flight and in 2017, they won Svenska Cupen which qualified them for the Europa League where they managed to get through the group stage. He’s been applauded for what he did at Östersund and the way he managed to build the club up from nothing. The year after his success in the Europa league he signed a 3 year contract with Swansea. Potter is well respected by The Swans and after a few years of poor managerial and financial decisions his appointment is seen as a step in the right direction to bringing us back to our old ways of being a well-run club. Potter has been recognised for his "progressive" and "unconventional" coaching methods. At Östersund, he encouraged his players and staff to engage in community activities, such as performing in theatre and music productions which was designed to take them out of their comfort zone. Potter describes his style of football on the pitch as "tactically flexible, attacking, and possession-based". At Östersund, he deployed a flexible 3–5–2 formation centred on ball possession. Best player(s)/ talisman:With many of our best players being rumoured with a move away what good players that remain at the start of the season is yet to be seen. Alfie Mawson is probably our standout player. He’s been amazing for us since we got him and was a bargain at about £3m. He’s great in the air and is just an all round tank. Keeping him will be a huge boost for us and should be solid in the championship. Federico "El Pajaro" Fernandez has also been strong at the back with Alfie. The pair played with each other for the majority of last season and together became a solid unit. We will most likely sell him to reduce wages though. Jordan Ayew put in a great shift last season and was our top goal scorer. His work rate was immense and was able to drop back and defend when needed. He’s fast, able to beat a man and a decent finisher. Sadly all these players are transfer targets for other clubs and might not even be here at the start of the season. If we can keep a lot of our players we should have a decent season but who knows who'll be left by the end of the window… Rising star: Swansea’s U23 had a great season last year and with Potter wanting a young and fresh squad, a handful have moved up into the first team. Our standout youngster, Oliver McBurnie, joined Barnsley on loan in January last season where he went on to win a Championship player of the month award after 6 goals in 8 games and went on to win Barnsley’s Player of the year award. While only 22, he’s struggled to break into our first team but will most likely be our main striker for the coming season. Be on the lookout for his long legs, miniature shinpads and ridiculous sock length! LEGS LEGS LEGS!!! Connor Roberts performed well at RB last season and adapted quickly to the premier league where he battled Kyle Naughton to be in the starting line up and did great when given the chance. Decent at going forward and professional at the back. Hopefully potter puts him ahead of Naughton. What happened last season?: What Happened last season?: After our great escape the season before and with Paul Clement at the helm there was optimism that the 17/18 season could be our turning point where we start rebuilding 'The Swansea Way". How wrong we were. After a disastrous transfer window where we sold Sigurdsson and never replaced him and started panic buying the week before the transfer window closed we were left an obvious hole in our team. We had no creativity in midfield and no one could kick the ball into the box to save their life. And just to rub it in further Renato Sanches turned out to be more disappointing than Bob Bradley. With the team sitting bottom of the table Clement was sacked in late December. Then along came the wise talking Carlos Carvalhal who managed to rebuild the confidence the team had lost. Our results took a turn for the good, beating Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley and West Ham consecutively at home. He pulled us out of the relegation zone and things were looking good. However, the good times were quickly followed by the bad times. Our form turned and we didn’t win a single one of our last 9 matches. We were quickly relegated after pitifully losing to both Southampton and Stoke in our last 2 games of the season. Highlights (Or lowlights): The pass by Renato Sanches that summed up his and our season Swansea City 3-1 Arsenal Summer transfer business (so far): At the end of last season, it was clear we needed several transfers, both in and out. However, this would all depend on the manager we got. Yan Dhanda (Free, Liverpool): A 19 year-old Midfielder, Yan Dhanda left Liverpool this summer and joined the Swans in a free, before we even hired Graham Potter. At one time one of the most promosing youngsters in Liverpool's Academy, injuries slowed down his progress, and ultimately made him fall behind other players. Citing lack of first-team playing time, Dhanda decided to join us this summer in hopes of getting regular playing time in the senior squad. Through 3 pre-season games, Dhanda has been one of the brighest and most impressive players in the squad, even scoring a game-winning goal and smashing a penalty in a shootout against Genoa. With our current injuries and shenanigans involved in our midfield, Dhanda has a good chance of becoming a starter and hopefully guide our midfield during the season. Jordi Govea (Free, Real Madrid): Another 19 year-old from Ecuador, Jordi was the first signing under Potter. Not much can be said about the lad, but this is what Real Madrid had as his bio:
Jordi is an Ecuadorian defender who possess three key qualities for a player in his position: he's skilful, is able to go past a player and has a good shot on him. He's left footed and is able to send in good crosses on the run.
With Martin Olsson currently as our starting LB, and Kyle Naughton as the backup, the hope is that Jordi can develop on our U-23 squad and hopefully move up to the senior squad in coming years. Also the only man I've seen do a medical while wearing jeans (https://twitter.com/SwansOfficial/status/1015251916132057089) Joel Asoro (€2 mil., Sunderland): Yet another 19 year-old, a Swedish winger who has represented his country in the younger levels, he was Potter's first senior signing. With world-class speed, and some impressive skills, Asoro was able to score 3 goals and get 2 assists last season in 26 apperances for Sunderland. While these numbers may seem a bit disappointing, many of these games were sub appearances on a very dysfunctional team. Along with Dhanda, Asoro has been one of the most impressive players during preseason, constantly beating his man with either speed or skills, and whipping in good balls to Legs. At the current rate, Asoro appears to have a good chance of starting on the right wing spot, with Nathan Dyer and Luciano Narsingh backing him up. Predicted starting XI: NOTE: This is gonna be assuming Mawson, A. Ayew, Clucas, and Fernandez are all sold by the start of the season. If by some reason they end up staying, they are pretty much guaranteed to start. Based on the pre-season games so far, a lineup looking like this would be plausible, with Rodon most likely to be replaced by a CB (possibly Scott McKenna) when we buy one. Our second unit is looking something like this. Best case scenario: Graham Potter is able to motivate and make sure our senior players (Fer, Carroll, etc.) stay fit, along with our youngsters being able to make an impact as expected, and also we retain Mawson, Fernandez, and Clucas, we can finish in the top 2 and get promoted automatically. Worst case scenario: Our worst case scenario, and something many of us fear of happening, consists of primarily 3 things. 1. Graham Potter isn't given enough time to build an identity with our squad and is sacked by the midway point of the season by the greedy, dumb American owners. . 2. We end up not replacing the players we sold properly like last summer, therefore having a squad with holes everywhere and no chemistry. 3. Our youngsters such as Asoro, McBurnie, Dhanda and company don't pan out and progress at all, thefore becoming mediocre players. This would all culminate in us looking like Sunderland, and making relegation a probability. Prediction: Realistically I see us selling Mawson and company in the last days before the season starts and not replacing them properly until later on. Because of this, as well as our current injuries with Fer and Clucas, I can see us initially struggling to build an identity but over time, we will start playing like Potter wants us and finishing the season strongly. 8th place, missing the play-offs by 4 points What will happen to your closest rivals?: The scum that is known as Cardiff City will break the record for lowest points ever accumulated in a Premier League season, getting 5 points all from draws, and will therefore get relegated with 17 games to spare.
Location:The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, West Midlands Nickname: The Baggies, The Throstles Major honours: 1x League title, 1x League Cup, 5x FA Cup 17/18 finishing postion: 20th in Premier League (relegated) Transfermarkt squad value: £101.16m Manager:Darren Moore or Big Dave as he's known to Albion fans. A club icon as a player in the early 2000s, he returned to look after our U23 squad before being promoted to assistant manager by Alan Pardew in January. Following the end of Pardew's horrific reign, Moore took temporary charge with Albion facing inevitable relegation. He led us to wins over Newcastle, Spurs, Man Utd and a draw with Liverpool, somehow taking our futile battle for survival to the final week of the season. Following this he earned the head coach role permanently. Moore is loved among the Albion faithful, largely due to his reputation as a player here. He heavily favours a 4-4-2 formation and at the back end of last season, tended to soak up pressure and play on the counter attack. It will be interesting to see how his approach differs in a league where we are one of the favourites, not fighting to survive (hopefully) Best player(s)/ talisman: It's an interesting situation for Albion currently. There are plenty of Premier League quality players still in the squad. A lot depends on if they are picked off before the deadline shuts. Chris Brunt is a club stalwart and likely to be reappointed as captain. He is adored by the fans and in my opinion will be an incredible asset in the championship. His set pieces alone will bring 10+ goals to the side. Kieran Gibbs is a high quality player who appears to be set to stay and should make a big difference. Jay Rodriguez, Craig Dawson, Salomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli should all make a big difference in this division IF they stay. In all honesty I expect to lose a few of the above. Sam Johnstone appears to be an astute signing to replace the outgoing Ben Foster. Rising star:Sam Field he's one of our own! He looked completely at home against some of the top Premier League sides last campaign. A box-to-box midfielder, he's full of energy and looks so comfortable on the ball. I expect him to be a major part of our side this season, having just signed a new long-term deal. Kyle Edwards is an exciting attacking midfielder who has been impressing in pre-season. He may have a part to play following a loan spell at Exeter last campaign. Jonathon Leko looked like a potential world-beater when he first came through a couple of years back. A lightning quick winger full of tricks. A loan spell at Bristol City and limited appearances later he seems to be losing his way. Will be an interesting one to watch. Finally, the enigma that is Olly Burke. After signing with us last summer for £15m, he failed to impress any of the four managers we had over the season. He looks exciting when he comes on, without any end product so far, and was unfairly blamed for a loss at West Ham by Alan 'Coward' Pardew. We all know the talent he's got. Hopefully we can see it this season. What happened last season?: Let's not talk about it... We finally escaped the stranglehold of Tony Pulis, only to opt for the human joke that is Alan Pardew and duly hurtled towards relegation. Four of our players stole a taxi and then played (and lost) the following weekend. Pardew was sacked about 3 months too late, and Moore took over, restoring pride with some notable wins over Man Utd and Spurs. This season we also lost the great Cyrille Regis, and the outpouring of emotion and the coming together of the club during the weeks after his passing was something special. Summer transfer business (so far): We started by releasing Claudio Yacob, Boaz Myhill and Gareth McAuley. Yacob and McAuley will be greatly missed but it is perhaps the right time for them to go. Jonny Evans departed for Leicester for a cut-price £3m, Ben Foster left for Watford and James McClean has departed for Stoke City. Sam Johnstone has been bought in to replace Foster, with Jonathon Bond arriving as backup. Kyle Bartley has joined from Swansea City and it appears that Harvey Barnes will soon be arriving on loan from Leicester. Finally, James Morrison is currently out of contract but still with the club. His future is uncertain. I am very happy with Johnstone and Bartley. It has been a quiet window for Albion so far but that is largely a good thing. The squad is packed with Premier League talent and the window is more about keeping hold of them. There is major interest in Dawson and Rondon, along with interest in Rodriguez, Hegazi and Chadli. If any of the above go, then we would need to replace. Otherwise I would be happy with another striker and another CB. It is also worth mentioning that every player in the Albion side suffered a 50% wage cut upon relegation which means that we are financially sound despite relegation, but may lead to more big names leaving. Predicted starting XI:This is my best attempt. It will undoubtedly be 4-4-2. We may see Nyom in at right back and perhaps Barry in for Field. Obviously about half of this side could leave, so we shall see. Best case scenario: The bulk of the side remains and the quality in the side shines through as we breeze to automatic promotion. Worst case scenario: The better players leave or do not put the effort in. Moore cannot transfer his great start into his first full season in management. We become embroiled in a relegation battle Prediction: It will be somewhere in the middle. I'd like to think we'll go up automatically but I think play-offs are more likely. 6th What will happen to your closest rivals?: Villa won't go down but will settle into mid-table, despite the recent takeover. I think Wolves will do well in the PL, although I don't know how long Nuno will last before a big club comes in.
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire Nickname: The Potters Stadium:bet365 Stadium, 30,089 seats Major honours: 1972 League Cup 17/18 finishing position: 19th, Premier League Squad value: £127.8 million Manager:Gary Rowett signed from Derby in May. His honest attitude has brought lots of optimism to fans, who are looking forward to an overhaul of the Club. His style of play seems to change based on the squad he has available. Best Player:Joe Allen was vital to the Club last season, giving us hope that we would avoid relegation. His massive new contract signed this summer shows how loyal and committed to the Club he is, and will be a vital player this season. Rising star:Tom Edwards is a local lad who has won the Under 18 Player of the Year award twice in the Club. In the latter parts of last season he played some good first team football. What happened last season: A pathetic attempt at a season that had been coming for a while under Mark Hughes. Paul Lambert was appointed in January, but a win rate of just 2 in 15 matches wasn’t enough for him to keep his job and miss out on the million pound bonus offered to him. Transfer business so far: So far this has been a decent transfer window. Peter Etebo had an amazing World Cup for Nigeria and Benik Afobe looks really promising. Adam Federici has also been appointed to replace Lee Grant. Xherdan Shaqiri has left along with a few players like Stephen Ireland and Glen Johnson who will not be missed. Badou Ndiaye also looks to be on his way out, but it looks like Jack Butland will stay with us, which is massive. Perhaps most surprising are the new contracts signed by our 2 best players last season, Joe Allen and Moritz Bauer. Predicted Line up:Here is our predicted squad. I’m not sure what formation we will have. EDIT: This is a new version, complete with our rumoured new signings and in the right formation. Best case scenario: Stoke will finish top with an all-time Championship points record. Worst case scenario: A mediocre start to the season will see Rowett sacked and Stoke with a disappointing mid-table finish. Prediction: I think with our squad and our new manager, we will finish 1st. What will happen to our closest rivals? Port Vale will be relegated to the Vanarama National League.
Location:Villa Park, Trinity Rd, Birmingham B6 6HE Nickname: The Villans, The Villa, Prince William's Club, David "Twat" Cameron's Second Club. Major honours: 7 First Division wins, 7 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 1 European Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 Intertoto Cup 17/18 finishing postion: 4th Transfermarkt squad value: £67.77m and dropping fast Manager:Steve Bruce (for now). Former Man Utd playing legend who's been a fixture of English football for decades. He joined Villa in 2016 after successful runs at Hull, Sunderland (yes they were good once) and Birmingham City. A bit of a promotion specialist, he's taken Championship clubs up to the Premier League 4 times in the past and just missed out last season, losing 1-0 to Fulham in the Playoff Final. Tactically, he's fairly old school who prefers 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1, usually involving a big man up top. Fun fact: while managing Huddersfield in 1999 he wrote three novels, "Striker!", "Sweeper!" and "Defender!", which focus on main character Steve Barnes, a football manager. Barnes solves crime and takes on terrorists, and the books have become prized rarities. The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast managed to get a copy and read out some of the copy - suitably awful. Best player(s)/ talisman: There's only one Jack Grealish. A Villa boy through and through, he's been with the club since 2001 (aged 6), and made his way into the first team in the 2013-14 season. He's been the centre of controversy a few times, most notably getting on the beers and passing out on a Tenerife street. Playing as a number 10, his quick feet and dribbling skills provide a number of goals and assists, as well as fouls. He probably went down a bit too easily when first in the Premier League, but time in the gym has noticeably toughened him up and he's a much more solid player as a result. One of the better players in the Championship, and due to Villa's abject finances, a transfer target for the likes of Leicester. Rising star: Keinan Davis could possibly be it, potentially Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy as well. What happened last season?: Have you ever walked into a casino, spotted the roulette table and popped £10,000 on red? It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off. You've doubled your money if you win, but look like a right git if you lose. Villa figured this was a good way to approach 2017-18: spend millions on players, get in lots of loans, gamble everything on achieving promotion. After a so-so start, Bruce got the team playing well, stringing together a number of wins and moving through the playoff spots. Unfortunately they ran into a few teams playing out of their skin - champions Wolves ran away with the league and boasted a squad that included several Champions League players. Neil Warnock's Cardiff couldn't stop winning and grabbed the second automatic promotion. In the playoff final Villa came up against a Ryan Sessegnon-led Fulham and were just pipped at the post 1-0. Summer transfer business (so far): It's one-way traffic, due to absolutely abysmal finances. Loan spells for Lewis Grabban, Robert Snodgrass, Josh Onomah and Sam Johnstone have all ended, which is almost the spine of the team (Johnstone in particular - he was arguably the best keeper in the Championship and personally bagged a number of wins). Plus clubs are circling to pick off whatever assets we have left (eg. Jack Grealish, James Chester). With no prospect of anyone new coming in, it looks like the youth academy will be getting a lot more game time. Predicted starting XI:Possibly this, but half these players could be gone before the first match. Best case scenario: Mid-table anonymity would have to be best case - Villa are a mess and could go down this time around. Worst case scenario: Our finances are the real issue - they are dire. Villa need to find £9 million this month to avoid going into administration. Owner "Dr." Tony Xia is a billionaire, apparently, but tax bills went unpaid and the question remains if he's able to support the club as generously as he has in the past. Administration, points deductions and potentially relegation to League One are all real possibilities right now. It's not looking good. Prediction: Due to financial irregularities in the 23 clubs above us, Villa will get into the Champions League and take out the likes of Atletico, Bayern and Real Madrid on the way to our second European Cup. "Taylor, Green, prepared to venture down the left. There's a good ball played in for Jack Grealish. Oh, it must be and it is! It's Keinan Davis!" What will happen to your closest rivals?: Unfortunately the Scum managed to avoid League One in the final rounds of the season. Here's hoping they go one better. Agbonlahor to re-sign for one game: the Derby. And score the winner, again.
Location: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough Founded: 1876 Nickname: The Boro (Or just Boro) Major honours: The League cup 2003-2004 season 17/18 finishing position: 5th Transfermarkt squad value: 79.34m Manager: Tony Pulis became manager of us in late December 2017, replacing the sacked Garry Monk after a pretty lacklustre few months of the campaign (despite where our league position was). Pulis is known in England for being the man that is never relegated when in charge of someone in the top flight. We are all aware of Tony Pulis' style of football. You start by having a strong and massive defence and maximise your use of set pieces to gain an advantage. Pulis is a lover of all set piece plays, whether that is crossing the ball in from a corner or free kick, or launching a ball into the box from a throw in, they're all in his arsenal of weapons. 'Pulisball' as it is pretty much known. Pulis has achieved promotion from the championship once before with Stoke, and I hope he achieves it again with us this season Best player(s)/ rising star: I mean, where else do I begin. Adama Traore. Arguably the best player in the championship on his day and is one of the most frightening dribblers in English football, maybe even world football. The winger is known for his speed and dribbling ability although is usually criticised for his lack of end product. Before last season I would've agreed, however 5 goals and 10 assists, with all but 2 assists coming before Pulis' arrival show the progression of the Spanish winger. As for other members of the squad, Ben Gibson, the prodigal son. Boro through and through he's progressed into a commanding centre half with the ability to play out from the back thanks to Karanka. He gained attention and emerged as one of the few given credit after our disappointing premier league campaign but was only the subject of one bid upon our relegation, from now manager Tony Pulis. It remains to be seen whether he'll be here come the first game of the season, but I hope he will be. As for future stars, Dael Fry, already has played 2 championship campaigns for us and looks as assured as a veteran of the game. Another centre half produced by our academy and he is being played in cdm this pre-season by Pulis, to add to his versatility. Hopefully a standout season for him, especially if Gibson does end up leaving. Finally, yes, he does always look as confused as images of him show. What happened last season?: Well, the first half of the season was tragic under Monk. We played really poor football at times and looked like we hadn't defended a day in our lives. There was also no consistency in the team, we'd win one game then lose the next. A key theme under both managers however, was our inability to beat those around us in the table. After Pulis' appointment the results picked up and it ended with us finishing 5th in the table. We ultimately lost in the playoff semi finals to Aston Villa but honestly, we didn't think we'd even be in the top half around Christmas. Summer transfer business (so far): Just the three deals to talk about so far. We've acquired Paddy McNair from Sunderland who looks like a decent player. He's been utilised in right back and midfield during pre-season so it looks like they'll be his positions for the season. I imagine he'll play alongside Clayts and Howson in a midfield three. Aden Flint was signed from Bristol City and I think I'm in the minority when I say I don't like how much we paid for him. Obviously the man is a Pulis player but I'm a bit unsure about his defensive ability. That being said he's looked strong during pre-season and I'm sure Pulis will get the best out of him. Fabio departed our club for Nantes so we'll need more full back cover. As for the rest of the window, I expect Gibson to leave but will be delighted if he doesn't. One of our strikers will also leave and Braithwaite should follow after his decent World Cup performances. We'll probably bring in a striker and a winger and hopefully hold onto Adama. That'd be a successful window in my eyes. Predicted starting XI: My best guess The only other guess I could make is that Gibson might leave and then Ayala would start, but he's injured at this point in time. Britt might play over Gestede too if Pulis is feeling fancy. Best case scenario: It has to be top of the pile right? It's not out of the question to imagine us up there and if everything clicks then we've got a chance. A defence that scores more than some teams' strikers, Adama channelling his inner Messi and finding consistency, Rudy/Britt/Bamford scoring for fun. It could be carnage. Worst case scenario: I can't see us finishing outside the playoffs, if we did then that would be gut-wrenching. But if we did then that would most certainly be the worst. Realistically, it'd be losing in the playoffs... again, and if it were in the final again then god help me. Although saying this, now losing Bamford and maybe Traore will be a worst case scenario in itself, definitely if they're not replaced. Prediction: Have to be confident, although it always kills me. 1st or 2nd. Tony Pulis and his nice white trainers carry us to the promise land. That being said, we never do it the easy way. Best Match of Last Season Sorry Leeds fans, but it had to be. "Hattrick Bamford" as our Twitter account tweeted, 3-0 against Leeds with Adama running the show. Leeds clearly found some positive from the game as they're set to sign him off us. This was the sign of what we should've done more last season. Showed what Paddy could've been too if given an even more extended period in Striker by himself. Oh well. What will happen to your closest rivals?: Who even are our closest rivals in this league? We're in geographical purgatory. Can't say Sunderland anymore so what? Leeds? Bielsa either turns them into the well oiled machine they hope for or he succumbs to the old Leeds ways and is sacked by December. As for the Mackems, probably promoted from League 1.
#GEXI [Shropshire and Staffordshire] The Fated Finale! Showdown at Alton Towers!
Epic music begins playing ! CountBrandenburg reaches the entrance of Alton Towers, led on by the glowing card he had received back in Cheshire and had led him to the Casino in Stoke-on-Trent. This could only mean one thing: the Man in the Black coat was the man behind everything! *well well well. Are you still trying to fight against fate? The World stall be turned upside down, you should know that. Yet you choose to come here?” Just who are you?? The man in a black coat disappeared off into darkness, leaving a light shining towards the Smiler. At this point the Smiler powered up and in the distance , one could hear the crooked recordings that greet you when queuing for the intense ride. Here , Count was met with his greatest for yet; manifestations of Red Gadget , Green Gadget and Yellow Gadget - three machine entities hailing from Yugioh. And yet, Count had no way to fight them! If he couldn’t put a stop to them, what hope did others have? And so Count began to falter, the darkness in his heart fuelled by his self despair. And yet all hope was not lost! The sounds of “Praise the Duns” played out in his mind, harmonising with his own heartbeat. The resonance was enough to drop the three gadgets from the top of Smiler, and the resonating gears came together in front of him as a small pedestal. The pedestal constrained a handprint and almost instinctively, Count aligned his hand onto the print, and the heavenly choir rejoiced for Duncs, as Count had been rewarded with the Greatsword of Classical Liberalism. Battle music begins playing ! Count begins fighting his way through the robots , all now identical little stubby robots, and yet there was no sign of them decreasing even with such heavy defeats. A stroke of genius came to Count’s mind; use Rita to plough through them. And thus he did , boarding Rita without any safety - a necessity to hit back at any straggler - in order to plough through. By the end of it, Count had become annoyed with the Man in Black’s taunts and wondered why he had taken over the amusement park with little robots. Count noticed something strange with the corpses of the robots. They had flashed red, orange and green in a traffic light pattern. Wait… it couldn’t be Count had thought to himself and saw that the corpses pointed towards oblivion. Arriving at the foot of Oblivion, he saw his culprit. Three little living statues appeared before him, a green sunflower , a red rose and an orange bird. It was the bird in particular that drew Count’s attention. A restricted bird was no longer the bird of liberty that it should be, instead tied by Red Chains whilst the Rose and Sunflower revelled in this dark power. Count called out : I know who you are! You must be the traffic light!!! The Man in Black began to monologue: did you know that this particular area is closely linked to the moon? The potential of the moon is vast and strange , a place where we can establish our ideals of common ownership. You know who I am really, the traffic light is one such form I take - the form that allows me to trap liberals. This mechanised form, it is suitable for us and our desires. I am the scourge of Socialism that has plagued society since time immemorial, the ideas have never disappeared. The man removes his clock, revealing a robot with the Fist of Solidarity featured on his chest. It is inevitable to avoid fate. I shall win one day, and socialism takes hold. That day could be today, the moon’s phase in addition to the position of the stars. This is a place where much power is stored and acts as a bridge to the heavens. Socialism shall triumph here, in Scala ad Caelum ! What ensued was a duel of epic proportions. The souls trapped within the robots earlier were alternate reality versions of Lib Dem, Green and Labour politicians. Drawing from the infinite amount of alternate realities would normally mean that the resources for robots were unlimited but yet it was the rallying cry of unionism embedded within the Greatsword of Classical Liberalism stemmed this control. Even the power of devo-max Independence Euro beam was countered by the 9 Unionist beam of local justice! And yet , it seemed that the Scourge of Socialism would win . They launched their ultimate attack: “hypersonic mega seizure of privacy” and for a point it felt like Count would be defeated. However the voices of the Classical liberals echoed through his heart and the spectres of the 12 knights of Duncs united with the Greatsword of Classical Liberalism. The formation resulted in the creation of the Radical Kingdom of Liberty, giving the user unlimited power to call in the tanks, from across space time where the Army could not lose them in power. The scourge was destroyed, the stairway to the heavens obscured, faith in unionism restored. One can only hope the people of Shropshire and Staffordshire choose the people who stand for their local successes, just as the people stand for their national succes!
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