by Matt Iles
Despite the season not reaching it’s first half way point in the SkyBet Championship, The Championship as always is surprising us.
Some teams have massively underachieved, overachieved and exceeded all expectations at this stage of this crazy league.
The league looks one of the best in years, with the so called “Surprising teams” doing well.
Which begs the question, is the Championship changing?
This season alone, Cardiff, Bristol City, Sheffield United, Ipswich and Nottingham Forest are in top ten of the league with many people predicting a season of mediocrity or even tipped for the drop for some of these sides.
All five of those teams in the list just above have recruited superbly with some teams funds tighter than others.
Ipswich are the league’s current longest serving side and had one of the worst budgets with their most expensive signings coming from Rangers, striking duo Joe Garner and Martyn Waghorn who cost a £1million a piece.
Another team who have had shrewd recruitment is Sheffield United.
Wilder is a manager that looks for something different in the market and even though some of his signings didn’t jump off the page they have done him a credible job so far.
Notable mentions to very experienced managers in Neil Warnock and Mick McCarthy. Both men, Warnock, 68 and managing Cardiff. McCarthy, 58, is managing Ipswich. They are two managers who have won the leagues with clubs in this division and also got two teams up.
Those teams will have been inspired by Huddersfield and Brighton of last season and hope they can the old cliche: “The team of the season” in the Championship.
And Prem clubs in Hull City, Sunderland and Middlesbrough are not setting the world alight and performing.
The last few seasons have seen teams relegated from the Premier League and having a massive transfer war chest which comes down to parachute payments.
It is an unfair advantage for those teams that get relegated. Last season Reading boss Jaap Stam commented on the parachute payments:
“It is going to be a hard game.
“Newcastle have got a lot of quality within their squad.
“Rafa Benitez has about 50 players but that’s what happens if you are working at a big club with the funds to make a good team.
“We are going to work very hard to get a result, as we want to work hard for the fans and to stay up towards the top of the table.
The parachute payments have come in very handy for teams in the past too like Newcastle, Hull,West Ham, Norwich and QPR.
Sunderland are still in a crisis from last season. They are bottom and managerless and may go down again. Hull are sitting 18th in the table.
It may be hard for the clubs at the top to maintain their form, but if they do hats off to them.