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Congratulations to West Bromwich Albion


Math has never been my strong point, at least not since 6th grade. Once I started taking pre-algebra the next year, I just knew I was in trouble for the rest of my school days.

I believe, however, that my math is correct in this scenario. If West Brom, currently on top of the Coca-Cola Championship with 77 points after 44 games, gains two or more points in their last two games, or if third-place Hull City fails to win both of their remaining games, the Baggies will be assured of automatic promotion to the Premier League for next season.

Realistically, West Brom only needs one more point to move up to England’s top flight. That one point would give them 78, and even if Hull City was to win their last two games (which would put them on 78 as well), W.B.A. would have a far superior goal differential and that’s the first tiebreaker in England.

If you’re wondering, West Brom’s final two matches are against 21st place Southampton (at home), and at QPR, who are in 14th, so their chances to pick up a point or two are obviously pretty good.

Stoke City, in second place, has 75 points right now. The Potters’ position isn’t quite as secure but is still strong; their goal differential is five goals worse than that of Hull, but they do have a three point advantage and games against two teams in 20th place or lower. They seem like a good bet to join West Brom in the Premiership next year.

The playoff spots are still up for grabs and will go down to the last day of the season. We have an idea of who the four teams competing for that one last berth to the Premiership will be — Hull City, Bristol City (who was on top of the Championship only a couple weeks ago), Watford, and Crystal Palace — but a victory for Wolverhampton over Cardiff City today would complicate things. Only four points separate teams 3-6 and obviously, you want to finish in either 3rd or 4th to gain the “home-field advantage” in the two-leg playoff semifinals.

I did a post about the Championship recently, talking about the parity in the league and how exciting and heart-pounding it was for fans. While I don’t think any of the teams who come up to the Premiership next season will be able to stay up, you still have to give them a lot of credit for making it out of this league this season. Every game is a fight, every game is a battle for three points and every point you can get is so valuable. That’s not the case in the Premiership, where some teams basically packed it in for the season in February. I’ve enjoyed this race in the Championship, and wish more people in the mainstream media would pay attention to it.

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  1. AngleseyBaggie

    April 23, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    The fact that you mention Albion and Stoke City in the same breath leads me to believe that you haven’t watched any of the games. The concept of a USAian commenting on English grammar and spelling really amuses me. TOTALLY!

  2. Michael

    April 23, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    I’m not denying that what WBA, and for that matter, Stoke City, has done is an achievement. I think making it out of the Championship is a terrific accomplishment given the relative equality and parity in the league.

    I just don’t think any of the three promoted teams will survive next year. Just my opinion, and I’ll wait until I hear someone else other than a West Brom fan make a convincing argument for me to reconsider it.

  3. eplnfl

    April 23, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Well done by WBA for sure. It’s an achievement no matter what your views are of the quality of the Championship. Is it a forgone conclusion that they must go down. No! lets face it a 15th place finish in the Prem is completely within reach, not to mention 16th. The lower level clubs in the Prem have nothing to be really excited about, lets face it they barely have hung on this year. We should not forget the race in the Prem this year was for what 2 teams would go down, since Derby gave up any hope the day they got promoted to stay up.

    The real issue seems to be has the quality of the championship declined to such an extent that only one club can hope to stay up. That I think has to be answered in the affirmative.

  4. Michael

    April 23, 2008 at 11:19 am

    No, your previous comment was irrelevant to the subject matter of my post.

    Apparently you Brits have no understanding WHATSOEVER of spelling and grammar. COMPLETELY.

  5. no1baggiesfan

    April 23, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Its completey relevant Michael, you Americans have no understanding whatso-ever of proper football, all your sports games are based on stats, have you ever watched a game of football properly, I doubt it.
    Please try and gain some competence in your subject of discussion before you blindly stumble through your articles.

  6. smethwick end.

    April 23, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Well said Ian. I worry all this talk of where we’ll finish next year has potential to look very embarrassing if the highly unlikely outcome comes true!

  7. ian james

    April 23, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Could all this just wait until we ARE actually up?

    It’s not done and dusted yet!

  8. baggymayhem

    April 23, 2008 at 6:27 am

    this is all getting a bit argumentative isn’t it?
    i think the one thing the baggies really have going for them is a brilliant manager in Tony Mowbray. this is the guy who put together a great team at hibs on a tiny budget and beat the likes of rangers 3-0 at ibrox on a number of occasions.
    if the baggies are to stay up (which i think they will), it will be down to the tactical know-how of TM, who is streets ahead of the likes of southgate, bruce etc.

  9. Telford Baggie

    April 23, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Michael, your comments and references to statistics contradict your original prose.

    Statistically, as your original piece suggests, the Championship has become more competative in recent years, i.e. the teams competing have become more even, with the emphasis being that the league has become stronger than ever. This is demonstrated by looking at the points spread between 1st and 10th placing.

    Since 2001/02 season this has typically been 30points with the exception of 2005 season when the run-away leaders created a gap of 45.

    Seasons 06/07 and (as it stands today) 07/08 the gap shortens to 19 and 16 points respectively.

    The fact that Derby and Sunderland finished on higher points last year compared to those holding their relative places this year is simply not testament to how the promoted teams will perform next season.

    There are endless other considerations, more applicable than any statistician could apply that will determine a promotion winning teams fate.

    Style of play being a major influence, when WBA got promoted in 2002, with a points tally of 89, their style of play was very defensive. This style of football has helped many a team conquer the Championship, but has barely been successful in the top flight.

    This season WBA have played, for the majority of games, fluent passing football more adept to that performed in the Premier. They have scored goals from all positions amassing 85 league goals alone, (in 2002 WBA scored 61) this will keep them in good stead next season.

    A financially stable club (which could not be said of at least 10 Premier Clubs) that continues to invest in its infrastructure, West Bromwich Albion have been working towards a sustained period in the Top division for some years.

    Expect to see further investment in players during the close season, together with the young talent that Tony Mowbray (Manager) has already put together and I feel WBA will be a competative team in the Premier.

    Of course they have yet to get there, and if they do this year, I have no expectations of finishing any higher than mid table, fourth bottom will do for year one.

    Your comments are unwise and totally without foundation. The Championship has had an excellent season, with more twists and turns than ever before, it is good that you have taken time to reflect on it. It’s just a pitty you didnt do more research firstly.

  10. Sir Jack

    April 23, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Michael, youre article says nothing, makes no sense and is basically utter drivel.
    I think you would have lost most discerning readers after the 1st paragraph due to the fact that your summing up of who needs what to be certain to go up was completely wrong.
    Stick to whatever it is you do best and don`t give up your day job

  11. The Insider

    April 23, 2008 at 12:37 am


    Your logic falls most heavily if you consider what happened to a team called Ipswich when they were promoted about seven years ago. They didn’t win the Championship by a mile, yet took the Premier League by storm and finished fifth in their first season, playing flowing attacking football similar in style to that played by West Bromwich this year. Oh and I nearly forgot, a certain Tony Mowbray (now team manager of West Brom) was on their books at the time.

  12. Jeff Hash

    April 22, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    The honest truth right now is, it’s hard to tell if WBA is going to stay up or not. The summer transfer window could bring any number of positive or negative changes, and then players go through good and bad spells on top of that.

    I know fans love to go into constant chatter modes about team futures and such, but the honest truth is that, until we see who comes and who goes, it’s all throwing darts in the dark.

  13. Michael

    April 22, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I’ll tell YOU something, AngleseyBaggie, no team coming up from the Championship will stay up after next season. West Brom is fun to watch, I’ll grant you that, but they’re playing against much weaker competition than what they’ll see in the Premiership. It’s one thing to beat the likes of Cardiff and QPR, and another to beat mediocre Premiership teams like West Ham and Blackburn.

    Either way, we’ll see after next season. Come back to me then. If you’re right, I’ll man up and admit I was mistaken, and you’ll look like a genius.

  14. fsquid

    April 22, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    WBA will stay up. Usually 2 teams stay up each year anyways.

    The sad thing is my Wednesday. We are going down!

  15. AngleseyBaggie

    April 22, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    “I couldn’t care less about the style you play in the Championship because the reality is, you can’t do that and succeed in the Premiership.”

    Thereby showing your total ignorance of the game, go play Yankee rounders, oh basebollocks isn’t it?

  16. AngleseyBaggie

    April 22, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Oh and Michael, what do you know about the ‘quality’ of our players? I assume as they didn’t cost zillions of bucks they must be rubbish. I’ll tell you something, watch and learn.

  17. AngleseyBaggie

    April 22, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Oh dear. Our cousins the other side of the pond just don’t understand soccerball do they? You seem to base your argument on statistics, we actually watch the game and are well aware that a team that keeps the ball can finish mid table in the EPL. The bottom teams play the ‘long ball’ giving possession away, Albion are top of a league that plays big rough defenders that kick you all over the park. We are far more suited to the Premiership where the referees will give a free kick for a swipe with a hanky.

  18. Michael

    April 22, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    OK, that’s nice that you’re the best team in your league, that you score a lot of goals, and you play attractive soccer.

    I don’t really care.

    You do those things in the Championship, which is a world apart from the Premiership in terms of a quality.

    Sunderland won the league last year with 88 points, and will finish very near the relegation zone. Derby finished third and won the playoffs with 84 points, and are the worst team in Premiership history. Your team, WBA, has 78 points right now, and would need to win their last two games just to match Derby. I’m not saying the same thing would happen to your team next year, but they have no chance of finishing in the top 15 in the Premiership. Reading won the league with over 100 points three seasons ago, and look where they are now.

    WBA doesn’t have enough money or enough quality players. The TV contract that kicks in for Premier League clubs, even the worst Premiership teams, exceeds what WBA will get for jumping up to the Premiership. I couldn’t care less about the style you play in the Championship because the reality is, you can’t do that and succeed in the Premiership.

  19. Cuzer

    April 22, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I’m afraid your comemnts about not stopping in the Premiership show you up for your complete lack of knowledge of the Championship

    We’ve been renowned all season as the best footballing team in the league, we do play football, we keep possession and we generally score goals

    I’m not saying for one minute we’ll finish in the top 6 but we have the ability and equally as important the manager with the right philosophy to stay in the Premier League, to think otherwise I’m afraid is a tad naive!


  20. deebee

    April 22, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    It’s good to see US folks picking up on WBA/the Prem/the Championship – my son and I are STH’s at Albion and I can’t say I have much of an idea about American Football but I know the Albion. After this season a lot of Baggies fans would n’t care if 2009/2010 sees us back in the Championship because this year’s been great and oing forward we’d have a load more dosh. The fact is though we are going up with a stronger squad, a 1st class manager, strong fan base, a better academy. There are 13 teams in the Prem that won’t be stronger than we are. We’re in a win – win – if you think about it.
    Here’s a new version of the okey-cokey …… from the Wolves games last week

    “You put your Gera in, your Gera out. In out, in out, he scores and makes yer shout.
    He gets the flamin’ winner and you’re top of the league.
    That’s what it’s all about!
    Oh unhappy dingles, Oh unhappy dingles ….
    Knees bent, arms up, boing boing boing.”

  21. WBAmatt

    April 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Its also fair to say though we could of made this championship look a lot easier we have won games in many different ways; coming back from a goal down, last minute winners and late one-nils. I’m sure ToMo will playing this amazing football (that has got us about 210 goals in two seasons but its winning games the ugly way that will be the difference in us staying up or going down. I think we’ve got a good chance with the minimum of 20-25 million being avaliable.

  22. williemecki

    April 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I do not think we will replicate to such an extent where we finish way up the league but the bottom half of the EPL are not much better or may be not as god as some of the teams at the top end of the championship, as a lot of championship sides showed in the F.A cup this season on their day they can give anyone a good game, this includes us with portsmouth it was not a case of us hanging on but out playing a top 6 EPL team for long periods and they have gone on to lose only one of their last four games plus the WBA team will bring in players to strengthen the side if/when we get promoted.

    For me i think we would probably finish in the bottom half butnot relegation with the type of football we play now rather than ten men behind the ball and maybe nick one one the break.

  23. TheScout

    April 22, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    I think West Brom will do quite well next season. They will probably not finish in the top 10 but I don’t think they will be relegated either. If they keep the core of their team and add a few they’ll be in good shape.

    Don’t forget they outplayed Portsmouth, a top 10 club, in the FA Cup and were unlucky to not advance. I’ll take the group of players that know what to do with the ball over the “lump it long” crowd any day.

  24. Michael

    April 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Nothing to do with anything, completely irrelevant. Nice try though, it just makes you look that more ignorant and childish.

  25. no1baggiesfan

    April 22, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    And thats why americans dont play football.

  26. Michael

    April 22, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I understand that, but do you really think a free-scoring Championship team will be able to replicate that success in the Premiership? I don’t; I think the only way they’ll be able to stay up is by being able to grind out results when necessary and sure, playing that free-flowing style when the opponent allows. You can’t just play up-tempo all the time as a team coming up from the Championship.

    I understand your argument about teams staying in the PL, but remember, most of them are teams that were head and shoulders above the rest in the Championship. With things as tight as they are this year, there’s not much to separate the three teams that eventually will go up. Derby finished third last season and will be the worst team in Premiership history, and while I’m not saying WBA would be at that level, I’ll say that they’d be closer to the Rams than they would be to, say, the 2005-2006 Reading team, which cruised in the Championship and then were very successful last season in the Prem, or even last year’s Sunderland team, who will stay up this year.

  27. West Bromwich Albion Will Stay Up This Time

    April 22, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    “While I don’t think any of the teams who come up to the Premiership next season will be able to stay up”

    This is clearly balderdash as 40 teams have filled the 20 EPL spots over the last 2 decades.

    It is hard to stay in the EPL but very much not impossible. We have tried it twice before with a “hard to break down” team. This time we are trying a ball playing free scoring team.

    Nothing ventured nothing gained.

  28. Michael

    April 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Baggie, yeah, that’s what I had said in the following paragraph. Realistically, you’re exactly right, I just wanted to go with the official formalities.

  29. CrackedLCD

    April 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    West Brom will stay up. They’re an excellent footballing side under Tony Mowbray, better suited to the Premiership then the Championship

    If Stoke go up watch them do a “Derby County”

  30. Baggie

    April 22, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Close but not close enough 😀

    Basically if Hull lose, or we gain 1 point we go up.

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