The Football League Championship is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division in the English football league pyramid. It was introduced for the 2004-05 season and is one of Europe`s most lucrative leagues outside the top flight.


The Championship began life in 1892 as the Football League Second Division, following the merger of the Football League with the rival Football Alliance. The existing League clubs, along with the 3 strongest Alliance sides formed the First Division, with the Second Division consisting of the remaining 12 Alliance teams, namely Ardwick, Bootle, Burton Swifts, Crew Alexandra, Darwen, Grimsby Town, Lincoln City, Northwich Victoria, Port Vale, Sheffield United, Small Heath and Walsall. 1898 saw the introduction of automatic promotion for the top two Second Division clubs, replacing the bottom two First Division finishers. The Second Division expanded over the years, reaching its current quota of 24 clubs in 1988.The formation of the Premier League in 1992 led to a reorganisation of the Football League, with the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions being renamed First, Second and Third Divisions respectively. The divisions were renamed again, for commercial reasons, prior to the start of the 2004-05 season, becoming the Championship, League One and League Two.

Introduction of Playoffs

The playoff system was introduced in 1987, to determine the final promotion place to the top flight. The fundamental idea was to give more teams a chance of promotion and thus maintain fans` interest towards the end of the season. The original format involved the club finishing immediately above the relegation places in the top flight and the three clubs finishing immediately below the promotion places in the second flight. The format was changed in 1989, with the 4 teams below the second flight promotion places contesting the playoffs. Since 1990, the four teams contest two-legged semi-finals, at home and away, followed by a one-off Wembley final, with the winners gaining promotion. Since its inception, the playoff system has been a cause of considerable controversy, as the team proving itself third-best in the Championship, over a season of 46 games, has to play a further 3 matches to win promotion.


From 1983 onwards, the (now) Championship has received beneficial sponsorship deals from several sources and has carried the name of the sponsor:

1983-1986: Canon
1986-1987: Today newspaper
1987-1993: Barclays Bank
1993-1996: Endsleigh Insurance
1996-2004: Nationwide Building Society
2004-2009: Coca-Cola

Championship Betting Tips

A great deal of enjoyment can be derived from betting on the Football League Championship. Obviously, if betting is profitable, it is more enjoyable. The following seeks to provide some pointers to enjoyable and hopefully, profitable, betting on the Championship.

Money Management

For any punter, regardless of how they arrive at selections, a sensible money management strategy is essential for long-term profits. It is advisable to set aside a betting bank, solely for football betting. Staking more than about 3-5% of the bank on any selection is a recipe for disaster. Far too many football punters back a few winners, then immediately increase their stakes through overconfidence and exhaust their betting bank very quickly. The long losing run is inevitable in any form of betting, but can be withstood with sound money management.

Value Bets

Value is another important consideration, and need not involve selections at huge prices. Whenever the odds on offer are greater than the backer`s assessment of a team winning, the bet represents value. If a punter considers a teams winning chance to be, say, 50%, then any price greater than Evens is a value bet. Odds comparison sites such as “” are valuable tools in locating the best prices on offer.

Don’t Pay for Tips

Numerous websites offer allegedly “hot” insider information and / or “foolproof” systems that will make fortunes from football betting. If ever contemplating parting with cash for such information, bear one important point in mind. If the information is so good, why go to the time and trouble of attempting to sell it. Surely it would be better just to “fill your boots” at the best price available. Any punter involved in Coca Cola Championship betting will undoubtedly find their own successful selections far more satisfying.