So after 46 games, the 2011/12 season is done and dusted in the Championship. For some, it represented a great year, while others will be disappointed with their efforts. Here is the Coin Toss’s team by team season review:

Reading
Position: 1st
442’s August Prediction: 4th
Top Scorer: Adam Le Fondre (11)

What can you say about Brian McDermott’s men. They started the season with a playoff final hangover after their defeat to Swansea, indeed after 7 games they were 23rd in the table. However the Royals improved considerably and collected 46 points from 51 as they rose to the top of the table, sneaking past West Ham and Southampton. Jason Roberts turned out to be an inspired loan signing, while the club now has new owners after Anton Zingarevich staged a takeover. A 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest sealed their success and they can now look forward to building for next season. Nothing short of sensational.

Season Rating: 10/10

Southampton
Position: 2nd
442’s August Prediction: 10th
Top Scorer: Rickie Lambert (31)

For Reading, also reed Southampton. Nigel Adkins has inspired his side to back-to-back promotions in fantastic fashion, indeed the side have been in the Top Two essentially all season. They left it late in the end, only sealing promotion on the final day after a couple of poor results, but no one at the St Marys stadium will care about that now. The majority of the players that starred in League One starred again this year, Rickie Lambert continued his reputation as a fearsome goal getter, while Adam Lallana and Guly Do Prado have also been excellent. Links with Norwich are inevitable given the similarity of their rises, but Southampton would love to emulate Paul Lambert’s team. Don’t rule it out either, the Saints have a fantastic setup and good team spirit and should go well in the Premier League.

Season Rating: 10/10

 

West Ham
Position: 3rd
442’s August Prediction: 1st
Top Scorer: Carlton Cole: (14)

The Hammers’ inability to win games at home has cost them dear as they missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the season. 8 draws and 4 defeats has ensured Upton Park is not the fortress the fans expected and the atmosphere at recent games has been rather frosty with manager Sam Allardyce coming in for a lot of stick for his tactics. The squad assembled in East London was certainly enough to seal an immediate return to the Premiership, especially as it still contained England internationals Rob Green and Carlton Cole. Signings like Kevin Nolan and Matty Taylor only served to increase the expectation levels at the club and if West Ham don’t go up via the playoffs, the summer could be interesting.

Season Rating: 5/10

 

Birmingham
Position: 4th
442’s August Prediction: 5th
Top Scorer: Marlon King (18)

Changes were rife at St Andrews after the Blues’s shock relegation from the Premier League. Alex McLeish left for bitter rivals Villa, while a number of key players departed the club, including influential centre backs Roger Johnson and Scott Dann. Chris Hughton was the man once again entrusted with a Championship rebuilding mission and he built an efficient squad minus the egotistical feel that West Ham’s has. Birmingham have been in and around the playoffs all year without ever threatening the automatic places, but the Blues will fancy their chances of a Wembley victory. They have a decent front line with King, Zigic and Adam Rooney all capable of fireworks, while youngster Nathan Redmond has attracted admiring Premier League glances. Promotion would be a huge bonus for the supporters, but if they fail, Birmingham look well placed for next year.

Season Rating: 8/10

 

Blackpool
Position: 5th
442’s August Prediction: 13th
Top Scorer: Kevin Phillips (17)

After their terrific year in the limelight dazzling the Premiership’s big boys off the park, it was back to earth with a bump for Blackpool, after losing key players for their Championship campaign. Ian Holloway found stars like Charlie Adam, DJ Campbell and David Vaughan impossible to replace, but he made a number of astute signings like Barry Ferguson and Kevin Phillips instead. ‘King Kev’ has really impressed, defying his ageing years to notch 17 goals, while winger Matt Phillips has provided the ammunition from out wide. Another playoff success would be an even bigger achievement for the Tangerines and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see Blackpool back on Match of the Day, just to hear Ollie’s post match interviews.

Season Rating: 9/10

 

Cardiff 
Position: 6th
442’s August Prediction: 11th
Top Scorer: Peter Whittingham (13)

After yet more playoff heartache, the Cardiff board decided changes were necessary, replacing Dave Jones with Scottish tyro Malky Mackay. He lost star forwards Jay Bothroyd and Craig Bellamy immediately, but new strikers Kenny Miller and Joe Mason have stepped up to the plate to replace them. The League Cup final defeat to Liverpool threatened to derail their season as the Bluebirds slipped out of the playoffs in March, but they recovered to bag their place on the final day. They will relish the opportunity of going into the season’s finale as underdogs for once and supporters will quietly fancy their chances of joining rivals Swansea in the Premier League. Job well done by Mackay and his boys.

Season Rating: 8/10

 

Middlesbrough
Position: 7th
442’s August Prediction: 3rd
Top Scorer: Marvin Emnes (18)

After two disappointing Championship campaigns that saw the end of Gareth Southgate and Gordon Strachan, Tony Mowbray was hoping to lead his side back into the Premiership, having established a squad of his own. It hasn’t quite gone according to plan however, as Middlesbrough’s woeful form at the Riverside (they have won just 8 games) has cost them dear, while goalscoring has also been a problem (22 in 22 games in 2012). Crowds are falling and big decisions now need to be made at the club. Rather than promotion contenders, it could well be that Middlesbrough are well on their way to sealing an unfortunate status as an average Championship team, rather than genuine promotion contenders.

Season Rating: 5/10

 

Hull
Position: 8th
442’s August Prediction: 14th
Top Scorer: Matty Fryatt (16)

Another season of upheaval of the KC Stadium saw Hull lose manager Nigel Pearson to Leicester in November, before replacing him with home favourite Nick Barmby. Although Barmby has no guarantees over his long-term future, he has made a decent fist of his first job, leading Hull to a top half finish. If it wasn’t for five consecutive defeats over the Easter period, Barmby could have been celebrating a playoff finish, but it wasn’t to be. Additions will be needed for the Tigers in the summer though; the squad has looked a little light at times, while they also need to hang onto their top players. Interesting summer ahead.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

Leicester
Position: 9th
442’s August Prediction: 2nd
Top Scorer: David Nugent (16)

Leicester started as many people’s tip for promotion after Sven Goran Eriksson spent a fortune assembling a squad that looked one of the strongest on paper in the division. Signings like David Nugent, Jermaine Beckford and Paul Konchesky provided the squad with a touch of Premiership class, but the squad failed to gel and Sven got the chop in November. Nigel Pearson returned to the club, but was unable to mastermind a playoff run as the Foxes languished in mid-table for the whole season. It’s been a really disappointing year and the summer could bring about more woe as Leicester look to trim their squad to fall in line with the new Financial Fair Play rules that come in soon. Pearson will need to cultivate a squad with a bit of team spirit, as throwing money at the side hasn’t worked in the slightest.

Season Rating: 3/10

 

Brighton
Position: 10th
442’s August Prediction: 12th
Top Scorer: Ashley Barnes (13)

No one quite knew what to expect of Gus Poyet’s Brighton as they fought their way out of League One emphatically. However, spending power was limited in the summer, though they did bring Craig Mackail-Smith to the Amex Stadium, winning the race for his signature ahead of several high-profile clubs. Brighton’s form has been rather inconsistent; they got off to a flyer at the start of the season, fighting for the automatic places, before fading away at the end of the season. Poyet can still look back on the year as job well done though and he will look to make sensible signings this summer to make the Seagulls a force to be reckoned with in the division next year.

Season Rating: 7/10

 

Watford
Position: 11th
442’s August Prediction: 23rd
Top Scorer: Troy Deeney (12)

It was a difficult summer for the Hornets having lost manager Malky Mackay to Cardiff and star player Danny Graham to Swansea. Many pundits tipped Watford as one of their relegation choices, but new boss Sean Dyche has worked wonders in leading his side to a top half finish. Goals have sometimes been a problem, but Troy Deeney and Marvin Sordell have chipped in on important occasions this year to keep the team ticking over. A playoff push looked possible at one point, but four successive draws saw them stay in mid-table right at the end of the season. The fans can’t complain though and they will be looking forward to seeing if the side can continue to progress under Dyche for a second year.

Season Rating: 8/10


Continued on Page TWO

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  • John Ramsay
    2 years ago

    How can you possibly give Blackpool 9/10 and Birmingham only 8/10 and then give Watford and Cardiff also 8/10.. After all the turmoil the club has gone through, no money spent on the team, injuries galore and with the smallest squad of players that rating is a complete joke.They merit at least a 9/10

    Reply

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