Championship madness

2004–current

Image via Wikipedia

For those of you who are bored of watching the most expensively assembled team in Premiership history play out another goalless draw at home, you can do far worse than tune in to the BBC ‘s Championship coverage on a Saturday night. Granted that does mean that you will have to put up with the increasingly confused tone in Steve Claridge’s voice whilst marvelling at his improbably long fringe, which appears to start somewhere around the back of his head.

The arrivals of Bellamy at Cardiff, Sven at Leicester and more recently Bothroyd on the international scene have  certainly raised the profile of the Championship. This naturally suggests a step up in quality but it is the unpredictability of the league that really makes for great entertainment. You get the sense that every side in the league is capable of beating any other.

Whilst not comparable to that on display in the Premiership, there is undoubted quality in the Championship these days. Exciting young players, such as Scott Sinclair and Adel Tarrabt, unable to break through at the top level are getting their opportunity to make a mark. Not to mention proven international calibre players such as Craig Bellamy and er… Darius Vassell.

Those who managed to stay awake through Match of the Day’s grandstand finish of 3 goalless draws on Saturday were rewarded for their commitment by the Football League show. The show opened with highlights from Readings 3-3 draw with Norwich, followed by Cardiff’s 4-2 win at Scunthorpe, Doncaster’s 3-2 win at Portsmouth and then Burnley’s 3-2 win over Watford. The fate of the 3 points on offer was far from certain throughout each of these matches. Matches like these are fairly common in the 2nd tier of English football where very few teams appear to go in to matches with the sole intention of not losing. In fact, the exception to the rule seems to be 2nd placed QPR, arguably the Championship equivalent of Manchester City. The richest club in the league but with 8 draws from 17 games and only 7 goals conceded, Neil Warnock’s team might be benefiting from a cautiousness rarely seen outside of Loftus Road.

Of course, my argument about the unique unpredictability of the Championship has been somewhat undermined by Sunderland’s comfortable win at the home of the Premiership champions on Sunday. I stand by point nevertheless. If you are willing to compromise on quality for the sake of entertainment, the Championship might be the place for you.

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