Sunday, 7 August 2011
The Championship - The season to come
The Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in the world and has got a reputation that is higher than a lot of top leagues across Europe. At the end of the season the prize for gaining promotion into the Premier League is the richest one of all! They say it is worth around £60 million for a club that is promoted, which makes it one of the richest prizes in football.
The league now consists of some fantastic managers, including 2 former England managers in Steve Mcclaren and Sven Goran Eriksson, and a lot of Premier League experienced managers including Chris Hughton and Sam allardyce. This shows the importance of this league now, as does the players that are now playing in this division. Last season we saw a player of the quality of Craig Bellamy playing at Cardiff, this season Kevin Nolan tops the list of some very talented footballers gracing the Championship grounds.
I thought I would give my thoughts on the Championships and a bit of a prediction to who I think will be sitting at the top of the tree and these teams who may be struggling to stay in the division.
West Ham, Leicester City, Blackpool, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town and Brighton.
These are my predictions for the teams I believe are going to be competing at the end of the season.
West Ham have done well to keep a lot of their team that were relegated from the Premier League last term, including Scott Parker and Carlton Cole and also have improved their squad with the great signings of Nolan and Matty Taylor in particular. The experience of these players and the influence of a very good quality manager in Sam Allardyce should stand the Hammers in good stead.
Leicester City have been busy in the transfer market and with Eriksson's first full season in charge, I have no doubt the Foxes are going to be a difficult team to beat this term.
Blackpool, although having sold a lot of their stars from last season, including Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell, have brought in a lot of players and experience, including the likes of Kevin Phillips and Barry Ferguson. I believe they certainly could make a big charge on the playoffs this year and with Ian Holloway in Charge, you just never know.
Nottingham Forest could really build well with an experienced manager in the hot seat in Steve Mcclaren looking to bring the glory days back to the City Ground and this season could be one to watch.
Ipswich Town have made a couple of promising signings in ex Arsenal player Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Michael Chopra and Lee Bowyer, and look to push on with a good manager leading the way in Paul Jewell.
Brighton are my outside shot for the playoffs after coming up from League 1 last year. A new stadium and an enthusiastic talented young manager in Gus Poyet could surprise a lot this year.
The bottom of the table could be as close as the playoff positions this year and I'm sure there will be a couple of surprises hanging round the bottom of the table this year. Sheffield United we lost last year and this year maybe the same, but some teams hanging round the bottom last season maybe there again this year.
Crystal Palace, Peterborough United, Doncaster Rovers, Coventry City and Barnsley are my predictions to be struggling this season. Unfortunately all these teams look set for a long struggle this season, some with big financial problems like Crystal Palace and others may just struggle with the demands of the Championship, such as Doncaster and Peterborough. Coventry have a lot of work to do this term as well.
As with any Championship season, it is very difficult to predict the eventual positions, and who will go down. We have had so many surprises in recent years, notably Blackpool reaching the playoffs and winning them in 2010. But the league is guaranteed to excite us all this forthcoming season.