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The second tier of English football, The Championship, kicks off this week and in this post we take a look at which teams we think will be involved in the promotion race or the relegation battle. To help you understand this reading there is a vocabulary list containing the words in bold at the foot of this post
Which teams do you think will be promoted from the Championship? Vote here.
The English football season gets underway again this weekend with 24 teams from the Championship battling it out over the next nine months. With the Premier League often facing accusations of being boring thanks to the dominance of the top four, the Championship is always a much more open affair. Games come thick and fast and reputations often count for nothing. The league is always tight and one good run can see a team break into the play-off spots but conversely a bad run can drag you down to the relegation zone.
This year sees some big clubs in the division and a host of new managers, in fact seven of them will be making their debuts this week with their new clubs. But Newcastle are without doubt the biggest story in the division and not just because they will have the most support. Off the field they are a shambles waiting for someone, anyone, to buy the club. This will allow them to find finances to buy new players and more importantly, to appoint a full-time manager. Newcastle’s confidence is low and some have even suggested that, like Leeds and Charlton in recent years, they will ‘enjoy’ consecutive relegations and drop into League One. I disagree, I think they have enough good players to see them through and predict they will go up as champions.
The two other teams that went down last season, Middlesbrough and West Brom, are also looking to bounce straight back but history suggests it will be difficult for them – in the past five years only three teams have gone up to the Premiership after being relegated the previous season. West Brom have a new manager in Roberto Di Matteo – famous for scoring the fastest goal in an FA Cup final – who had some success in the lower leagues with MK Dons but I am not convinced he is the right man for the job. Neither ‘The Baggies’ nor Middlesbrough will be playing in the top flight next season.
Last season, Cardiff City and Sheffield United were unlucky not to gain promotion but this year I think they will go one better and make it to the top flight with Cardiff finishing second and ‘The Blades’ going up via the play-offs. Other teams that will come close this year include Roy Keane’s Ipswich town, as well as local rivals Derby County and Nottingham Forest. Both of these clubs have invested in lots of new players and will be hoping to have a better start than last season which saw them escaping relegation only toward the end of the campaign. Nigel Clough may have the higher profile at Derby but I am tipping Forest as my dark horses and to make the play-offs.
Who is going down? Well, many people feel that Blackpool and Scunthorpe will struggle this year while I reckon that Coventry, Bristol City, Doncaster and Swansea will also find it hard. Predicting is never an easy game and making a prediction for this year’s Championship could be described as foolhardy but here goes anyway.
1. Newcastle United
2. Cardiff City
3. Sheffield United
22. Coventry City
thick and fast: Lots of games in a short period of time
a host of: Lots of; many
to bounce straight back : To be promoted immediately after a relegation; to come back
the right man for the job: A suitable or very good candidate for a job
‘The Baggies’: The nickname for West Bromich Albion (WBA)
will go one better: The team will be promoted
the top flight : The Premier League
‘The Blades’: Nickname of Sheffield United
via the play-offs: A set of matches at the end of the season to decide which team should get the third promotion spot.
have invested in: Have spent money on
I am tipping: I am predicting
dark horses: A team that is not among the favourites to do well but may surprise
going down: To be relegated
foolhardy: Crazy, stupid