With the current state of English International football coming under scrutiny, coupled with the omnipresent debate of the Premier League’s affluence, particularly following prosperous developments of the Bundesliga and La Liga, this is the perfect opportunity to focus on the future of English football – The Championship.
A league that is defined by its unpredictability, undeniable competitiveness and unfathomable tradition, the second-tier of English football is often overlooked as respectable by those who watch the Premier League week-in, week-out. But, the Championship has reasons in abundance why it is one of the best leagues in the world, potentially more so than the English Premier League. Over the next few weeks I will tell you why I think the Championship deserves more credit, starting with the competition…
Come May, when the thought of spending months away from the game becomes unbearable, the excitement of the Championship thrives on. After an arduous season, four of the best teams in the league battle it out in a knockout tournament with the winner gaining promotion to the Premier League – a prize worth in excess of £90million. Where else can you watch a game, sport-related or not, where the prize is that financially flattering? The play-offs are an arena where anything can happen; each team has a strong chance of winning and every player has the opportunity to become a club hero. Players get their heads down and get the job done, allowing the competition to sort itself out with no fuss, ultimately showing British sport at it’s best.
‘The talent on show is nothing like that of the Premier League’, I can almost see your fingers itch to type already. Undeniably, I cannot be ignorant to the fact that the quality of football in the Championship is not that of the top flight. But, it is not the world class quality that excites me about the Championship, it is the unpredictability. As thrilling as it is to see some of the world’s best players run riot every weekend in the Premiership, we know that the big teams will get results. In fact, we can take an educated guess at who the league title will be between at the end of the season.
The splendor of the Championship as a league is that no two games are ever the same, arguably making it one of the most exciting leagues in the world. On the rare occasion a team manages three wins in-a-row they can go from being in threat of relegation to promotion candidates, and, at the start of the season, practically half of the league is expected to lift the trophy. Contrasting to the top tier of English football that gains just three new teams each season, the Championship accumulates the three best teams from League 1 and the three worst from the league above, supplementing the teams irregularity and forcing clubs and players to adapt year-on-year.
The competition in the Championship is ardent and vibrant, the first reason why I think this league deserves more credit and respect than it currently receives. Of course, the Premier League should be the ultimate goal for teams, but for a fan and a lover of football, the Championship should warrant more of our attention.
Picture provided by Paul Wright.//