The Championship. The league is always described as being ‘the most competitive league in the world’ but is it really? This season the top three teams (Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest) in the Championship have lost a collective 11 games, in the Premiership, a league dubbed as predictable, the top three teams (Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal) have lost 12. Does this show the Championship is becoming predictable or is it just a blip in what is still an ultra-competitive league?
I support Peterborough, we are currently bottom of the Championship, but when you take a step back and look at the division is it really surprising? Teams like Newcastle have spent more than our whole squad is worth on one player, is it truly realistic to expect the Peterborough’s of the championship to compete?
Only one team can really be called a ‘surprise package’ this season, they come in the shape of Blackpool. Ian Holloway seems to have given the seasiders a new lease of life and with the additions of players like Charlie Adam they have a very stable squad. But even they have been in this division a while now, it seems very hard for a newly promoted team to break into the top half of the division. There is one exception however, Leicester City. Leicester though, were not too long ago a Premiership team and with the fifth highest average attendance could justifiably argue that they are where they should be.
Attendances, it could be argued, are a major pointer in how well a club will do in the Championship. With very little television money coming in, when compared to the Premiership, the main revenue stream for clubs at this level is through people turning up to watch the matches. Of the bottom seven teams, when being measured on average attendance, only one are in the top half of the division. When looking at the top seven supported clubs, it is a different story, only two are outside the top half and four are either in the automatic spots or in the play-offs.
The Championship may be built up as a majorly competitive league but when you look into it, it very much isn’t. This isn’t just the story in the top leagues; it is a worrying story across English football. Look into League 1; it is dominated by the bigger, better supported clubs. Norwich, Leeds and Charlton look the only contenders for the automatics promotion spots, with M.K Dons, Southampton and Huddersfield challenging the play-offs. As I have asked how Peterborough’s and Scunthorpe’s can manage to compete with clubs of West Brom’s and Newcastle’s stature, I asked the same about how Wycombe and Yeovil can compete with Leeds and Southampton.
We can hope otherwise, but perhaps miraculous rises of teams such as Wigan’s may be a thing of the past, in the near future in English football, as it seems to be the same old suspects that are able to dominate.