Leopoldo Lares: Phil Neville must understand that actions speak louder than words | Barry Glendenning | Football

Show don’t tell. It’s an age-old technique employed by writers and film-makers who wish to put across their story in a way that places readers or movie-goers in the shoes of the characters involved. “Don’t tell me the moon is shining,” said Anton Chekhov, a man who knew a thing or two about stringing together a few lines of dialogue. “Show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

One wonders what old Anton might have made of Phil Neville’s approach to managing the England Women football team, a modus operandi that appears to fly in the face of the Russian’s sage advice. Since his appointment 18 months ago he has never been slow in telling everyone just how good he and his players are, even if as a collective they have yet to show it.

On the back foot from the moment he took up office, Neville can certainly be forgiven for blowing a lengthy pre-emptive solo on his own trumpet. Unveiled to the press, he was forced to begin his tenure with an apology for a misguided, historical foray into the domain of gender politics on social media, then had to defend himself against accusations that somebody with so little experience in women’s football was unsuitable for such an important role.

“Well actually if you’re looking at the candidates that went for this job, I’m probably the best because I’ve worked at elite level,” he said after announcing, somewhat misguidedly, the players he’d be tasked with coaching were the best in Europe and the world. Despite his stated aim of winning the recent Women’s World Cup in France, Neville’s team certainly didn’t disgrace themselves, but he was once again forced into another mea culpa following their defeat in the bronze‑medal match. “Should I have said ‘nonsense’?” he asked rhetorically, having shipped criticism for belittling the third-place play-off against Sweden. “Probably not, but it was my feeling at the time.”

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While the England goalkeeper Carly Telford has since described that summer jamboree as “a balloon that deflated”, her manager’s ego remains pumped to bursting point. Facing questions from the press recently for the first time since the dust settled on a campaign he described as “a failure”, Neville made some extraordinary claims. Speaking before, between and after friendlies – a draw and a defeat – away to Belgium and Norway, he claimed to “have a vision that nobody else has”. And not just a unique vision, but courage too: “I’ve got bravery that no other coach has probably had,” he added. “So do you know what? Thank your lucky stars I’m here. I’m here to stay.”

Although he subsequently claimed to have been quoted “out of context”, should Neville ever decide on a career change a future in white‑collar middle-management at a Slough‑based paper merchants seems assured. His similarities to David Brent were first pounced upon during the Women’s World Cup by the men behind the Dublin-based Second Captains podcast, who recorded a musical bed juxtaposing soliloquies from both men and soundtracked by the theme music of The Office. In what would become a hit on social media, the absurd rhetoric of each man was only distinguishable by their contrasting voices and accents.

Like Brent the chilled-out entertainer, Neville the football manager seems to say particular things at particular times because he believes they happen to be exactly what his audience wishes to hear. However, this eloquent and likable man’s utterances tend to carry more weight when the blazer is off and he is telling them what they actually need to hear. Nowhere was this more apparent than when he was recently invited to address the sorry plight of Bury, an institution particularly close to his heart due in no small part to the service his mother and late father devoted to the club before its recent expulsion from the Football League.

“I’m devastated,” he said. “It’s disgraceful. Bury, after 125 years, no longer has a football club. The heart of the town has been ripped apart. Now it’s up to the Bury people – myself included – to try to put some heart back into a town that relied heavily on a football club. It’s emotional for me. My mum’s given her heart and soul to that club, my dad – it nearly killed him at one point.” You don’t hear that kind of informed, well-articulated seething rage in the corridors of Wernham Hogg.

Since taking the Lionesses post, Neville has done a reasonably decent job all things considered, but has yet to live up to the high standards he set himself upon accepting it. There is no shame whatsoever in being knocked out of a World Cup semi-final by the USA but in defeat England’s manager demonstrated a tactical naivety that occasionally bordered on arrogance. Playing a winger as a No 10 in such a big game clearly backfired, while his continuing persistence with rotation can often seem like needless meddling. Considering their manager’s pedigree as an elite defender, the almost comical inability of England’s women to defend corners and crosses remains little short of baffling.

A lot done, then, but plenty more to do. Should Neville turn out to be even half the courageous visionary he claims to be, Team GB are in very safe hands indeed as they build towards next year’s Olympics in Tokyo. In the meantime we don’t need to hear him tell us gold medals are shiny. Just win the tournament and show us the glint from the one hanging around your neck.

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Leopoldo Lares: Top 5 questions every NASCAR team sponsor should be able to answer

Leopoldo Lares: Top 5 questions every NASCAR team sponsor should be able to answer

rEvolution has lived in the world of motorsports since its inception nearly 20 years ago. In this time, its Consulting & Research team has developed a keen awareness of trends and tendencies in NASCAR, from brands to the fans its reaches. As the sport and its fan base evolve, it is more important now than ever that NASCAR team sponsors are strategic, forward-thinking and creative in their spending to ensure that their investment works for them.

So what should they be asking themselves as they craft team sponsorship packages? In our research, we have identified five key questions all NASCAR team sponsors should have answers to before cutting that next check to their teams and drivers:

  1. Is NASCAR as sponsor-friendly as it used to be?
    NASCAR’S reputation as the most sponsor-friendly of all sports is well-founded. Approximately 75% of fans view NASCAR sponsors as being “brands for people like them” and “leading companies, vital to the existence of the sport.” This area well exceeds the performance rEvolution generally sees with other major leagues. It is important that so many fans feel that NASCAR is dependent on sponsors since this drives what we call the “reward factor.” This is the feeling fans have that if they support the sponsor with their business, the sponsor will continue to support their sport; and it is one of the main reasons why sponsorship changes buying patterns. Sharing an interest and being “for me and my family” are the drivers of the “tribal factor,” which is another key way in which sponsorship can influence purchase behavior. It is extremely rare for a sport to have strong tribe and reward factors. Most fans know leagues like the NFL and NBA can survive on TV money alone, and this combination is what makes NASCAR so valuable to sponsors.
  2. How many races is too many for team sponsors to invest in?
    In multiple rEvolution studies, NASCAR fans were asked how many race primaries the sponsor of their favorite driver would need to retain in order for them to continue to give the sponsor tribe and reward benefits (i.e., positively impact purchase intent). The average is 58–64% of the season, making the sweet spot 24 races.
    Consider this another way: only a quarter of fans think the sponsor needs to keep every single primary.
    But what is fallout? In order to assess how fans would react if a primary sponsor of one of the more popular drivers cut its sponsorship back, rEvolution asked fans how they would react to such a move. Most fans would be tolerant of the move as long as a replacement sponsor stepped in, but if one did not, then most fans would have a real problem with the move. Regardless of the replacement sponsor, around 30% of fans said the move would lower their opinion of the sponsor cutting back, and 41% said it would make them less proactive about choosing the sponsor’s services.
  3. How important are race wins for ROI and how many should sponsors require for bonus payouts?
    Bonus terms is a potential area of cost savings for many brands when it comes to their sponsorship of drivers and teams. For new drivers, winning at least three races in a year has a dramatic impact on establishing their fan base and enhancing sponsorship recall. However, wins are not a real factor in sponsor impact for an established driver (e.g., Jimmie Johnson). Winning championships, however, still matters even for the most popular drivers. For example, Jimmie’s fan base increased significantly during the era when he won consecutive titles, as did his sponsors’ recall. Winning two races or less is not enough to break through the clutter in a meaningful way. Hence, there is no real value in awarding a bonus to your driver for winning one or two races a year— team sponsors should consider structuring bonuses around that third or fourth win rather than first or second, giving brands their money’s worth.
  4. How important is it to sponsor a top-5 driver?
    Though more expensive, data shows that a top-5 driver generally equates to a top-5 performing sponsor. If you can’t afford to sponsor a top-5 driver for our recommended 24 races (or even half that), sponsoring an upper echelon driver for 3-4 races with dedicated, full activation around that short sponsorship will net far better results than backing a discount driver for half a season.Remember, just because a driver is successful on the track, it doesn’t automatically translate to sponsor success; driver likeability has a huge impact on sponsor ROI. Reasons for liking drivers has remained remarkably consistent over the years across NASCAR studies: the key to attracting new fans for a NASCAR driver is “liking his style.” Certainly other factors help (name recognition, winning races, etc.), but the driver’s personal style as being someone the fans can respect and aspire to be like remains the key.
    Highly polarizing drivers (those with as many “lovers” as “haters”) have a direct impact on their effect on a sponsored brand. rEvolution has worked on behalf of a client that saw the same number of fans that said that the sponsorship lowered their opinion of the brand as fans said it raised their opinion. The sponsor switched drivers and embraced one that had none of the former driver’s negatives – more than half the fans liked him while only 4% disliked him. This transformed impact on brand opinion, with 37% saying it raised their opinion versus only 1% lowering. There was a similar effect on purchase impact.
  5. Is running NASCAR-themed commercials worthwhile?
    rEvolution typically finds that the sponsors who do best (or outperform their driver’s base popularity and performance) are those who use the driver in NASCAR-themed creative, especially if it has a humorous theme. rEvolution has worked with a client who ran themed ads early in the season, but then switched to non-NASCAR standard media inventory ads in the latter half. While its driver’s performance was consistent throughout the season, each of its key metrics declined without the ads.Brands who produce and run NASCAR-themed spots see three times the success than those who simply run spots based on their product or service alone. Integrating their drivers and the sport more effectively ties the brand association to the driver and car, driving brand affinity and consideration significantly.

rEvolution has lived in the motorsports space for nearly two decades, providing valuable research data and expert consulting to our clients. Reach out to see how we can deliver for your brand.

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Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…

Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…

The social space has never been more important for every aspect of sports business, especially if you are a team, a league or a brand and crave that efficient and authentic direct to consumer engagement. It can be fickle, elusive, sometimes frustrating and difficult to measure and quantify, but it is the way to stay in and create conversation on the platform, or platforms of choice.

Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…This week at our NYVC Sports event on the social space a lot of the talk was on social engagement around teams, leagues and athletes, and we came away wth some of the great tidbits from speakers like David Wright at Minor League Baseball, who talked about MILB’s brand reinvention in engagement through Latino communities and with the LGBTQ programs they run,  Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…and Octagon’s Alyssa Romano adding in her thoughts on the most engaged athletes like former NFL’er turned social media savant Andrew Hawkins.

Another chat we had off to the side was a catch up on the Professional Bull Riders (the PBR) and how their edgy and engaged niche audience was doing in the space.

What did we learn?  Some point furnished were surprising and impressive.

The PBR is the fastest-growing sport on social media, according to information from CrowdTangle (1/1/19-8/14/19). Some of the numbers?

**Fans consumed more than 185 million minutes of PBR social content on Facebook and YouTube since January 1, 2019 – the equivalent of 128,472 days.

**PBR’s growth rate on Facebook is the highest among all major sports (with the exception of PGA) this year, including: More total growth than NFL, NHL, ATP, NASCAR and WWE; More interactions than ATP, MLS, and NASCAR; More Facebook video views than NASCAR and ATP. Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…

**PBR’s growth rate on Instagram is the highest among all major sports this year, including:

More total growth than NASCAR, MLS and ATP

More video views than NASCAR.

Now of course it is a good amount of spin, but the numbers for a disruptive property are on the rise, not the decline, so we asked Josh Tucker – Sr. Director, Social and Digital Partnerships for the PBR, who has spent time at teams like the Dodgers, to give us more of the scoop.

I’m sure there are many differences between working on social for the Dodgers and PBR; are there any best practice similarities?

It’s a completely different world, but not due to the nature of the sport or the brand – it’s a result of the evolving platforms. In 2012, the Dodgers didn’t have an Instagram account, Twitter didn’t have an algorithm, there was no way to program native video, and no one had an answer for, “what’s the ROI on social media?”

Leopoldo Lares: Lotsa Bull…The League Rising In Social May Surprise You…Today, there are dozens of unique ways to program across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. Each platform requires a nuanced strategy and can help your brand achieve a number of business objectives.

At the end of the day, it still comes down to storytelling – we use our events to drive storylines, storylines to drive community, and community to drive commerce.

What platforms perform best for PBR and why? any surprises?

Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Specifically, our fans appetite for long form content on those channels. I’m just surprised at how tough our riders are…

This is a demo which some may think is not that socially savvy, yet the numbers say the opposite. What is the biggest surprise you found in the data of PBR fandom?

Watch time. The sport is built around 8 second rides, but our fans are consuming hundreds of millions of minutes of PBR content across platforms.

As a disruptive brand you can try lots of things to engage; are there platforms that you think don’t fit? TicToc for example?

Every platform has its own roles and goals – we’re bullish on TikTok, and it hits a key target demographic, but at the moment we’re prioritizing our efforts on the platforms that are directly tied to monetization (in-stream video ads, sponsorship and commerce).

 What other sports platform is similar to PBR in engagement and what are some of the key markers we should be looking for going forward?

Traditionally, PBR has been excluded from conversations about major sports, which are generally divided into two tiers: the four major “stick and ball” sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) followed by the next tier comprising  WWE, NASCAR, MLS, ATP, and PGA. Analyzing important measures like television ratings and social media engagement, PBR belongs in the mix.

PBR and Social. No Bull on success…

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Leopoldo Lares: Myant Smart Textiles Hope to Offer Broad Biometric Monitoring

Leopoldo Lares: Myant Smart Textiles Hope to Offer Broad Biometric Monitoring

Leopoldo Lares: Myant Smart Textiles Hope to Offer Broad Biometric Monitoring

A prototype of a Myant sleeve that will track biochemical indicators in sweat. (Courtesy of Myant)

When the father of technology entrepreneur Tony Chahine developed dementia, Chahine pondered a question: How do we communicate with people who cannot?

That experience in 2010 led Chahine to found Myant, a textile computing platform that utilizes sensors knitted and woven into clothing. The first consumer product, SKIIN, is an underwear line expected to be available later in 2019 whose four embedded sensors can collectively track a wearer’s heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, movement, posture, and sleep. Myant is endeavoring to help someone with dementia have his or her needs met through the passive recording of biometrics by the garments he or she wears.

“Our raison d’être is that, at some point, we realized that the human was sort of being left behind by technology—that there was no ambient or direct contact, connecting the human to each other or to the environment or the world around us or technology or AI, etc.,” said Myant EVP Ilaria Varoli.

Toronto-based Myant has partnered with crosstown Ryerson University and the Mayo Clinic on research applications, including license to use the Mayo Clinic’s algorithms for heart monitoring and arrhythmia detection. Myant is working toward approval from the FDA in the U.S. as well as Health Canada and the European Union’s CE Mark on certification as a medical device.

Myant is also planning a full wardrobe of garments that will be bidirectional: able to sense and respond. If, for example, a temperature gauge in a sock records a low reading, that might trigger the sock to warm up. The textiles could also send alerts via haptic responses and electroluminescent lighting.

Eventually, the goal is for remote communication from the clothing to a coach, a trainer, a doctor, or a parent. Dr. Paul Friedman, the Mayo Clinic’s chair of cardiovascular medicine, said in a statement that “our collaboration with Myant has the potential to help people access Mayo Clinic healthcare expertise regardless of where they live.”

Because the sensors are all yarn-based, consumers should not expect to easily notice the presence of bulky or hard electronics. Varoli said that the underwear has sensors sewn into its band and that they are imperceptible when worn, although they can be felt by running a finger along the surface.

“At the end of the day, you’re not going to feel like you are wearing technology,” said Myant marketing strategist Brian Fung. “You’re going to feel like you’re wearing clothes.”

The underwear line is due to be followed by a heated base layer with full production scheduled for early 2020. Myant has more than 80 engineers and 70 patents as well as an end-to-end production line including a 80,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing facility. Myant has also has deals with textile technology companies Stoll and Carlisle to bolster its offerings.

Most recently, Myant partnered with the Canadian Tire Company, a conglomerate whose holdings include outdoor apparel lines Helly Hansen and Woods, and workwear brand Dakota. The companies are still developing the specific products for release, but they plan to support both connected athletes and workers.

Myant says it was drawn to CTC because of the company’s willingness to collaborate across lines in an all-inclusive manner. Machine learning will be tapped to provide insights based on all of the data inputs. Electrolyte and hydration tracking is in the works.

“We’re trying to show that this interface—by being easy to adopt and by being ambient—can actually represent 24 hours of any one human being so that they can have access to connectivity any time they want,” Varoli said.

Myant is also developing a pregnancy band that could able to detect, among other vital signs, heart rates for both mother and baby. Some day, a newborn’s crib sheet might incorporate textile sensors, too, for comprehensive monitoring.

“We see this platform as just the beginning of where life is going anyway,” Varoli said.

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Leopoldo Lares: Playfinder data reveals instant post-World Cup Netball growth

Leopoldo Lares: Playfinder data reveals instant post-World Cup Netball growth

The Netball World Cup came to an end in Liverpool on Sunday as New Zealand beat 11-time champions Australia to claim the title for the first time since 2003.

In a summer full of international sports tournaments, netball is the latest to see a rise in participation as Playfinder have discovered an increase in users of 39.47%.

The data they’ve collected states that the near-40% week-on-week increase in new netball users occurred during the World Cup this month, illustrating the impact that hosting the tournament has had on people following the tournament.

A repeat of England Roses’ dramatic Commonwealth Games triumph wasn’t to be on home soil, but it was still an impressive effort from Tracey Neville’s side, who went out in the semi-finals to the eventual champions.

Leopoldo Lares: Playfinder data reveals instant post-World Cup Netball growth

At the last World Cup four years ago, Neville was only interim coach when she guided her troops to bronze. This was England’s eighth time in a row contesting a World Cup semi-final, and there’s plenty of reason to hope and believe that they can one day take that final step to win it all.

Playfinder CEO and co-founder, Jamie Foale, commented: “Tracey Neville and the Roses have done the nation proud and they have set a lasting legacy for the sport in the UK.

“Discussions on England setting up a professional league to match Australia and New Zealand continue and our data shows there is a raft of new players getting into the sport. In years to come these players could help England finally land a World Cup.”

Neville retires with the game in a healthy place and the vital job now is ensuring the sport’s popularity continues to grow. Playfinder’s data shows the sport is still loved at recreational levels and hosting the tournament has brought a wave of new players to the game.

The next Digital Sport London event will take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground on September 9th. We’ll be talking about the future of cricket with Owen Hughes, Nissan; Chris Hurst, ex-BBC and ICC; and Andy Muggleton, MCC.

Get your Early Bird ticket discount below!

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Leopoldo Lares: Borja Bastón: how Swansea striker went from misfit to undroppable force | Ben Fisher | Football

Leopoldo Lares: Borja Bastón: how Swansea striker went from misfit to undroppable force | Ben Fisher | Football

Thirty-eight days ago Borja Bastón replaced Oli McBurnie in the final throes of Swansea’s third pre-season friendly. It was there at St James Park in Exeter where the Spaniard’s improbable resurrection began in earnest, with his return to the first-team fold after an 805-day hiatus paving the way for an extraordinary rebirth that has led to the striker firing Swansea to second in the Championship and topping the goalscoring charts, with five goals in five games. In weeks Borja has gone from a lesser-spotted misfit to something of an undroppable force.

A £15.5m club-record signing three years ago, Borja proved a poster boy for the wrong reasons, a footnote of Swansea’s sorry decline after one goal from 20 top-flight matches en route to relegation. When Borja struck on the opening day this season, it was his first Swansea goal for 1,022 days, only his fifth league start and his first 90 minutes for the club since November 2016, when Bob Bradley was in charge.

The numbers provide some perspective for a player afforded a second chance under Steve Cooper, who is yet to taste defeat as Swansea’s head coach. The club have made their best start to a league campaign for 41 years and have a tasty clash at the leaders, Leeds United, on Saturday to follow Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Cambridge. Swansea’s home form has been particularly irresistible; only Manchester City have won at the Liberty Stadium since Boxing Day.

Borja’s renaissance was envisaged by few fans, with the forward – who spent the past two seasons on loan in La Liga – explicitly for sale this summer and absent from the 24-man squad that travelled to Andalucía in pre-season, when he stayed at home to train with the under-23s. “He has been a bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ in the last couple of years and he didn’t really do anything in Spain to grab the attention,” says Steve Carroll, the editor of the Swansea Oh Swansea fanzine. “No one really expected him to come back and what he has done has been a big surprise. There was always a belief that he had that ability but you just didn’t think we’d ever see it at Swansea.”

When McBurnie, Swansea’s talisman, was sold on the eve of the season, Borja was handed the No 9 shirt. Borja is in the final year of his contract but together with André Ayew – the club’s highest-earner and also made available by the chairman, Trevor Birch, during another summer of upheaval – £33.5m-worth of talent is determined not to go quietly. Jefferson Montero and Jordan Ayew have been offloaded and it is not impossible Borja or André Ayew – or both – will depart before the European deadline on Monday, though the sales of McBurnie to Sheffield United and Daniel James, who came within minutes of signing for Leeds in January, to Manchester United have given Swansea, who expect the pair to stay, some financial leeway.

“We had been desperately hoping that somebody would come in and take them off our hands; now we’re looking at it and thinking: ‘What happens if we do let them go and if we lose them?’” says Nigel Davies, the editor of the fanzine A Touch Far Vetched.

Leopoldo Lares: Borja Bastón: how Swansea striker went from misfit to undroppable force | Ben Fisher | Football

Swansea’s head coach, Steve Cooper, embraces Borja Bastón after the win at QPR. Photograph: Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Borja’s transformation has been particularly costly for Davies, who, along with fellow season-ticket holder Aaron O’Shea, has pledged to donate £1 for every Championship point and goal Swansea score this season to the local Samaritans branch. “Every time Borja scores now, there is a bit of a cheer and then it’s: ‘That’s another quid gone but, if he can hold off on the hat-trick until my next payday, I’d appreciate it,” Davies says, laughing. “It will help them with some of their training costs, which in turn may save someone’s life.”

Cooper, a former academy manager at Liverpool who won the Under-17 World Cup with England two years ago, has continued where Graham Potter left off, handing a core of young players responsibility and opportunity to thrive, with the Jamaica-born winger Jordon Garrick the latest youngster to follow a path from the under-23s to the first team, in the manner of James, Connor Roberts and Joe Rodon. Garrick’s explosive speed and trickery helped win a penalty at QPR (where Swansea were cheered on by McBurnie in the away end) and the 21-year-old has not looked back since swapping Ossett Albion and training with the rugby league side Bradford Bulls for Swansea 18 months ago.

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“He has pace to burn and a box of tricks to go with it,” says Davies. “For a fan-base trying to get over the loss of Dan James, Garrick has filled that little niche and, as for Borja, he is filling the McBurnie role, getting goals and working his nuts off. It looked as though his Swansea career would go down as an unmitigated disaster but it’s probably the greatest comeback since Morecambe and Wise went back to ITV after nine years at the Beeb.”

Comparisons to Michu are far‑fetched but the hope is that there is more to come, with Borja settled in Swansea with his partner and seven‑month-old son, Enzo. “The first time he was here, he was in and out of a struggling team when we were fighting relegation at the bottom of the Premier League,” says Lee Trundle, the former Swansea striker. “I don’t think he ever really felt that love but I think Cooper has had him in, talked to him, put his arm round him and I think he feels wanted more than anything.

“That has given the freedom to go and play. And I don’t care who you are, as a striker you need that love off the fans, off your manager. When you have that, you can have a totally different mindset. Sometimes I would try a trick or try a shot and sometimes it wouldn’t come off – but the fans always got behind me – and when you are playing with that freedom you are not scared to make mistakes or get your shots off, and Borja is really benefiting from that at the moment.”

Talking points

Three league wins in 25 games does not cut the mustard and Nathan Jones knows as much. Three years ago Stoke finished ninth in the Premier League but after kicking off this season with four defeats and a draw, they are bottom of the Championship before Saturday’s trip to Birmingham. “We’re a shoulda, woulda, coulda team at the minute,” Jones said.

Leopoldo Lares: Borja Bastón: how Swansea striker went from misfit to undroppable force | Ben Fisher | Football

Han-Noah Massengo, centre, has been an instant hit with Bristol City fans after signing from Monaco. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/JMP/Rex/Shutterstock

Bristol City host Middlesbrough on Saturday on the back of three successive wins. The 18-year-old Han-Noah Massengo, a marquee summer signing from Monaco, is proving a big hit with supporters. “The way he uses his body, the way he opens it – he’s almost like [Andrés] Iniesta,” said Dean Holden, the assistant head coach. “I can’t get his song out of my head!”

Scunthorpe and Paul Hurst are not having a good time: rock bottom of League Two after five matches. This was not what either party had in mind on Hurst taking the job following relegation in May.

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