It might be the lesser celebrated of the league’s three divisions but DoDi rarely fails to entertain. Whether it’s for the right or wrong reasons, it’s a division that gave us Liam Stokes Massey’s last day collapse that sparked Michael Davies’ improbable rise to the top of the game; it gave us DTA’s equally improbable first trophy; Northern Borras’ maiden title; we’ve watched Jon Jolley’s fall from grace (and DoWo) be completed as he dropped to FT B; and we’ve grown up with The Westicles improving year-on-year. Whatever the narrative, DoDi is the definitive testing ground: a swirl of chaos and calamity where established managers don’t want to be but it can also be a springboard for greatness for those new managers entering the league, all wide-eyed and idealistic. The ending isn’t always a happy one but the journey is unlike anywhere else.
DOUGIE TOWN ATHLETIC
DoDi is Stephen Davies and DTA’s spiritual home. It’s the place they’re happiest, unencumbered and uninhibited by the pressure of trying to be competitive or pretending to be any good. One of the league’s original yo-yo sides, they’ve dabbled with promotion and DoWo (winning the DoDi title in the 2015/16 season) but never really found their feet anywhere else but the bottom division. And while relegation out of the league has ever been a possibility, promotion rarely looks like one either.
Summary: It all might have been different had Cambiasso not scored on the fateful final day.
COLONEL GETAFE IV
It was an odd debut season for Dewi Rhys Jones and his Colonel Getafe side. Arriving in the league with a high-scoring reputation, few accepted that promotion might not be a formality but no-one predicted just how much Jones’ side would struggle. Instead of looking down at the chasing pack, for much of the season Colonel Getafe found themselves at the opposite end of the table. For a season that promised so much, Jones’ struggles were a disappointment. This season, then, is a chance for redemption—and a chance to dictate the division.
Summary: Expect the Colonel to overcome second syndrome and claim promotion.
The less said about Wes Evans’ time in DoWo, the better. But the fact it’s been three miserable seasons of inexplicable decline makes it difficult. After a dominant DoDi campaign in 2015/16, many had Evans tipped as one to watch. So we did…we watched Mellberg’s Beard slide down back down to DoDi with a whimper from 3rd to 4th to 5th—and one of the worst campaigns in league history. Back in 2015/16, Evans proved he had the quality. Now with the younger, better Evans carrying the family name, the incentive for redemption has never been greater.
Summary: Despite his DoWo failures, the big Evans is too good for the division. But the problem he faces is that the division has gotten better.
As every neutral’s favourite team, Daniel Paul Huxley’s side carry a certain pressure every time they play. They’re not the strongest side, but nor are they the worst— a far cry from the 2014 amateurs who would spend most of their careers marooned to the bottom of the league. The seasons are brighter and more hopeful for The Westicles faithful these days with Huxley’s side spending more time flirting with the promotion chase than the relegation battle. But with the quality in the division this season, we could be saying goodbye to one of the league’s best-loved clubs unless they find form early.
Summary: Promotion will be a step too far this season but The Westicles won’t care.
XTAL THA PULSEWIDTH
Is this the end of David Twigg and Xtal Tha Pulsewidth? It certainly feels like it. The former DoBo side have endured a difficult run in recent seasons, and while they’ve never finished bottom of the division, the malaise is there for all to see. An ill-fated decision to join DSoE resulted in last season’s inevitable relegation and, on current form, it’s hard to see where that decline ends for Twigg’s side. In a division loaded with the second most successful club in the league, two former DoDi title winners, and two other tricky opponents, there’s no obvious relegation candidate. Xtal fans will look around and see the same—if you can’t see the weakest link, the odds are that it’s you.
Summary: David Twigg needs to find a way to stop the rot before Xtal find themselves with Jon Jolley in FT B.
It feels a long time since Cacos were demoted to FT B for financial irregularities but here they are, taking the next step in rebuilding the club from the ground up. Last year’s successful campaign saw them earn promotion at the first time of asking, enjoy a long SaKo campaign and add the inaugural DiKo to their well-established list of titles. DoDi, then, shouldn’t hold too many concerns for one of the league’s most successful clubs as they take aim at returning to the top.
Summary: With Cacos’ trophy-laden history, the pressure is on Reef Younis to go up as champions. He should deliver.