Championship preview

by Ashleigh Rose

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Normal service resumes this Saturday when finally the new football league season kicks-off! No more Saturdays wondering round Bluewater or at some random friends BBQ, cos ladies and gents football is back! And what an interesting season the Championship throws up this campaign, with quite possibly the most evenly matched league there’s ever been. Which makes it almost impossible to predict yet again, but I’ll give it a go.

One thing is for sure, the three teams that came down from the Premier League will not get an easy ride. Of the three Middlesbrough looked best equipped to bounce back at the first attempt, but its imperative that Gareth Southagte gets off to a good start or the boo boys will be quickly on his back. It’s all change at the Hawthrons, with Tony Mowbray gone and replaced by Roberto Di Matteo. The former Chelsea star enjoyed a successful first season in management last season with MK Dons, but will have to adapt quickly to the Championship to get the Baggies bouncing again. Then there’s Newcastle who are in all sorts of trouble, without a manger, with a squad full of over-paid stars, and a club that can’t seem to come out from under the dark cloud. This league is going to be a big culture shock for those at St James Park, and is why I really fear for them yet again. The Toon Army could well be looking alarmingly at the bottom six for most of the season rather then the top.

So who’s going to run out winners then? Well I think Boro, provided they keep the bulk of their squad could nab an automatic place but my pick for Championship winners is Sheffield United. I’ll be honest they aren’t my fave team to watch and Neil Warknock has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth towards the Blades ever since the Tevez shenanigans. But Kevin Blackwell has assembled a good squad that will be desperate to bounce back following on from last season’s play-off final defeat. He has also made an excellent signing in Ched Evans, who judging by his last spell in this league with Norwich will be a big, big threat. Below them I see the play-off places going to West Brom, Cardiff, Preston and Nottingham Forest – who I think will surprise a lot of people this season. But there’s a whole cluster of clubs that are just a capable of making the top six.

At the other end, I expect it to be as tight as it will be up the top but think we could be saying goodbye to Scunthorpe, Barnsley and Doncaster, with Blackpool and Plymouth surviving by the skin of their teeth. The biggest flop though, I think will be from Portman Road, as good as motivator as Roy Keane is it cant guarantee a squad of mediocre Championship players a play-off spot so expect a mid-table finish for them.

As for my own club QPR, expectations are sufficiently lower then they were a year ago, mainly down to the appointment of Jim Magilton and the lack of genuine out and out goal-scorer. With arguably one the best defences in the division, if we can get a full season out of Buzsacky, Vine and Rowlands and new boy Faurlin beds in ok, we could make the play-offs but if I’m honest I can us just coming up short once again. I just hope we have same manager come November – stability is the key!

Now bring it on!

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  • Tef1on

    Newcastle to go strait down or be midtable. I don’t think the Geordies will come back up!

  • Michael Cheeseman

    The Championship is a crazy league, i bet the bookies love it.

    I think that Newcastle will struggle till January and then have a resurgence. Might make the playoffs. There’s still time for some transfer activity and it will be interesting to see if any can get a couple of good loans from the top 4.

    What are Derby’s chances like?

  • Iain

    Ipswich town and Leicester city to surprise a few people. Not sure what the surprise will be though.

    Gotta love Ipswich.

  • Jay

    Sheff United, finished the season very well, tough to beat. If Boro can keep hold of that squad then I see Alves scoring at least 25. Yo yo Brom will also have a say too

    Looks like it could be the toughest Championship yet!

  • Darren

    Leicester have the quickest Mascot, so I’ve heard, Freddy Fox was the last person to beat Usain Bolt. That’s the surprise!

  • Jackie emu juice

    The league starts Friday!?!

    C’Mon Boro title here we come.

    oh dear

  • Jackie emu juice

    who is this WarKnock you talk about? And how dare he complain about the London media darlings West Ham cheating…I mean how can a team from up north still be upset about playing by the rules and ultimately getting relegated because a team including a world class player stayed up by default
    I know for a fact if it was the other way round the hammers would still be bitter and complaining…but no one ever sees both sides.

  • Ash

    You were relegated cos you lost to Wigan on the last day and didnt get enough points overall. Case closed, now get over it 🙂

  • Jackie emu juice

    i’m not a sheff u fan…

    so tevez didn’t contribute to any of the other games? That is a poor argument…saying it was down to one game…didn’t get enough points over the whole season there would have been plenty to spare but for tevez’s massive contribution, without him west ham would be poorer by about 10 points…stick that in your pipe.

    quacker factory

  • Ash

    Think we’ve been here before…


  • Jay

    Jackie, why are you going over old ground? What have you got against London clubs? Anyone would think you’re some sort of stone age farmer or something!

  • Jackie emu juice

    Until it sinks in…until West Ham fans admit to being cheats and stop slagging Sheffield United off…

    Stone age farmers are the way forward…we farm in our slippers and praise the fuzzy beard.

  • Jackie emu juice

    I have to admit my points on the other thread you’ve flagged up are very articulte and thought out…
    I win the argument hands down…

    farmers for justice.

  • Ash


    “Hello, oh it’s Yesterday’s News? And you want to talk to to Jakie Emu Juice? I’m sorry she’s already talking to the Get with the Times, maybe give call back later”

  • Jackie emu juice

    Jackie Emu says…’hello I will take your call….yes the truth hurts…brush it inder the carpet but jackie emu will carry on the crusade’

    I really don’t see how you can disagree with me…then we move on and wear bingo shoes.

  • Jay

    Can I have some of Jackie Emu’s juice please?

    farmers for justice, grow your beard and milk that cow, moooooooooooooo!

  • Jackie emu juice

    And Shffield United fans everywhere can breath easy…

    everyone blow your cow horn in celebration and sing sing parp…

    Anyway I’m a boro fan standing up for the blades…

    it’s not a bottomless plastic bag of a debate it will rear it’s ugly farmery head again… so save both threads for the future…

    Prediction for friday when the real football begins …Boro 7 Blades 5 (no cheats allowed)

  • darren

    welcome Jackie Emu, we’ve missed you! Make sure you hang around this time!

  • jackie emu

    speaking in the third person says jackie emu will return even with corn in his ears…

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