Everyone is used to hearing the Premiership being called the best league in the world, I disagree, I don’t even think it’s the best in its own country!
At the beginning of the season you can be pretty sure of predicting the top four in the Premiership, and usually it’s a two horse race for the title; this is where the Championship comes into its own, the Champions from the previous season aren’t there anymore so it’s a very open competition. A perfect example of the openness is Bristol City last season; their aim was to stay up and they came tantalisingly close to having consecutive promotions. Can you imagine Stoke spending most of their first season in the Premiership in second place? Obviously the teams coming down from the top flight have an advantage in as much as they have at least £50 million more than the other teams (including parachute payments), but the atmosphere on the pitch is completely different. The Premiership is hugely more physical than the European leagues, but for Premiership teams coming down into a lower league the physicality level is upped again. It takes valuable time for the relegated teams to adjust, and whilst they are doing so they won’t play to their full potential, which gives other clubs an opportunity.
The physicality gives another advantage to the Championship; less diving. The level of ‘simulation’ in the Premiership is a disgrace, it is blatantly cheating to try and fool the referee. The virtual absence of diving in the Championship makes the beautiful game more pleasant to watch. Also you don’t get the referee being mobbed in the same way that happens in the Premiership; the saying ‘the referee is always right, even when he’s wrong’ still applies.
Every game in the Championship is competitive. In the Premiership Chelsea will beat Stoke, no doubt about it, but when Reading play Coventry there are no such certainties.
The fact that Championship players get paid less also helps; the ordinary man on the street will have more chance of relating to a player who earns three times his annual salary per year, than a player who earns three times his annual salary per week.
In lower league football there isn’t the same problem with executive boxes; whenever the top four play in the Premiership the boxes are empty for 15 minutes after half-time, and this leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of those who have had to work hard for a ticket to see their favourite team play.
There has been a very interesting and competitive start to the best league in England, with only one team taking the full nine points available to them, let’s hope it continues this way!
If you want to read my blog again I will be posting on Championship Talk every Monday.