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Farkes The Herald Angels

Here We Go Again...

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I''ve been a supporter from near and now far for the last 40 years.

We''re in the promised land of the Premier League. Again.

I wouldn''t want to be anywhere else. It''s the ultimate challenge for English football teams.

But, having got here once again I''m filled with both fear and excitement.

The fear is that we cannot compete and are left floundering.

The excitement is that we''re playing the best, punch above our weight and can establish ourselves as a club that genuinely belongs in the top tier.

I''ll leave the judgment as to whether our players, coaches, managers and owners have the wherewithal to survive to others who have witnessed things up close over the last few months. I haven''t been able to do that.

But, I''m deeply proud my home city is back in the Premier League and will be cheering from afar to make sure we stay there.

For what it''s worth I am not confident that we have the players to do it, nor the management commitment to invest in what''s necessary to survive and flourish. There is just too much quality and money in this league to be confident of staying up. Our strikers do not fill me with optimism and our back four seem flakey.

But, I''m sure that the supporters of Crystal Palace, Stoke, Leicester, Swansea, West Brom and even Southampton felt that way in recent years. when they were promoted. And they survived and in some cases flourished.

The one thing we seem to have is a sense of belief and togetherness and a manager who instills that in the players.

And that is why I think we''ll still be in this league in a year''s time and beyond.

Here we go...

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Don''t forget that a united team that know their jobs and fight for the cause are a dangerous animal. Lambert''s 3rd season proved that if we can be greater than the sum of our parts we can survive comfortably.

Burnley are a good example of how effort and morale may not be enough to see you over the line but we have more quality than they did.

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Last time we got promoted, many on here had the same concerns. We went on to have one of our most exciting Prem seasons ever. Scoring was not an issue. Give our strikers a chance before writing them off.

If we play like we belong, instead of filled with fear and intimidation, we should be fine. Even if we don''t survive, if we go down swinging, at least it will have been fun.

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Gainer - totally agree with you.

That''s why I said I have concerns, but that I think ultimately we''ll stay up. I am not writing off either the strikers of the defence, but I am concerned that we don''t have the proven quality in either departments. But I felt the same way about Grant Holt last time round, and look what he did. As some have said in other threads, most of the squad - including the newcomers - have only been involved in lower Premier League teams, or relegated teams.

The key to all this is belief and teamwork. It''s something Lambert instilled and it''s something that Neil appears to be instilling. And lest we forget, we do have players capable of doing the extraordinary, which, when things aren''t going our way as a collective, will be necessary. I see Redmond, Hoolahan still,  and on very brief evidence, Wisdom and Brady as examples. And I also think it''s just conceivable that Van Wolf could surprise us. His confidence is shot, yes, but he came to us as a prolific scorer from Portugal (not one of Europe''s elite leagues I agree) and I don''t think you completely lose your instincts, even though one season in the Premier League and the top French league might suggest otherwise. And it may just be that with AN''s personal encouragement he can rediscover his goal-scoring instincts. I hope for him (as from what I''ve seen and heard he seems a genuinely good guy) and for us that he blossoms.

I still believe we need another proven, prolific goal-scorer and to bring in a reassuring CB, but ''proven'' elsewhere doesn''t always translate into reality when a player moves to a new club. What Spurs spent on 4-5 ''proven'' top quality players, bought after Bale''s departure seems evidence of this.

If we remain with what we have, I''ll still remain optimistically on edge, but then I''ll be in good company with the supporters of at least half of the Premier League''s teams.

Ultimately, I sense that there''s a group determination and a smattering of exceptional talent that will have us facing another season in the PL this time next year.

I can''t get to any games, but to all of you who do, I hope it''s exciting, fun and ultimately rewarding.

I''ll be watching from 6,000 miles away tomorrow night, but it won''t reduce my level of passion and involvement, as my Chinese wife will readily and bemusingly attest to.


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