At just under a month away, the start of the Championship season is drawing closer and as ever, it’s going to be a stormer.
As many will tell you, the excitement of the league lies in its unpredictability. Who will go up? Who will go down? Because you don’t get the financial chasms that you see in the Premier League each team is competitive, from those coming up to those coming down. It is a gamblers nightmare, but a treat for the purists.
Last season was a little different, before the August it seemed like Newcastle were going to be clinching the title, and so it proved. But there was still much to keep people interested. Who would have expected Blackpool to gain promotion? Who’d have thought that Ipswich and QPR would under perform and Leicester and Nottingham Forest over perform?
So, who is going to win it this year? Well, according to the bookies Middlesbrough, Forest and Burnley are the favourites, but QPR, Reading, Leicester and Cardiff will have something to say about that. Leeds and Norwich, two big names coming up are sure to be in the mix also. If you asked people to guess next years Premier League top three, I would wager they would be identical. Ask the same people to do the same with the Championship and they’ll all be different.
This year is also going to be interesting for Hull, Portsmouth and Burnley, the relegated three. Burnley have kept their finances in check, so perhaps look best suited to bouncing back, but it won’t be easy. You can get odds of 50/1 for all three to come straight back up, a bet that I certainly will not be backing.
The problem the Championship has is the distance that the Premier League has moved in the last 10 years. Because it is so financially dominant teams that go up struggle to compete, so it is seen as a lesser league, which is simply not true. If I were to put my money where my mouth is I’d take Boro, with the addition of Kris Boyd, to nick the title with Cardiff finishing second. The playoffs? Well, that’s anyones guess!
Written By Karl Sears