Written by David Robinson
I think the Championship is the best league in England. As a Watford fan I have experienced both the Championship and the Premier League and I can certainly say that the Premier League can’t compete, mainly because you can’t compete. Football is now so money ridden particularly at the top of the tree, that the likes of Leicester City winning the league will be a one off and will be emphasised by the likes of SkySports as a miracle. This more illustrates that the league is predictable in comparison to the Football League and while football will always be unpredictable, the Premier League offers little hope for clubs like mine to achieve greatness. A 13th place finish for Watford this season with all factors considered is a good achievement but this should not be celebrated with great satisfaction. The reality is this is that I have to be happy with this because I know financially we cannot reach the top 6.
This is where the Championship differs. A league that is regularly more competitive with 8 more games of twists and turns. Stadiums with passionate fans and more of an element of hope in every single game for most teams. This is however where I feel the Championship is unfortunately following the Premier League. This season we have seen the likes of Middlesbrough and Burnley gain promotion having spent £10+ million on strikers. Where as Rotherham survived with a great escape, mainly full of free transfers. In my opinion the Millers story is one of the most successful of the season. They have little right to compete. Financially the clubs are growing apart. That feeling of walking into the stadium having an uncertainty of what the result could be is slowly eroding. Derby vs Rotherham for example should now be a foregone conclusion with the money both clubs have spent. Somehow the league still produces upsets and still has the competitive streak but the way the trend is going it won’t be too long before money takes over the Championship too.
Financial Fair Play Rules have punished certain big spenders with Nottingham Forest and Fulham particular culprits but these rules can only go so far. In fact the whole rule seems pointless when both Leicester and Bournemouth broke FFP rules to reach the Premier League and therefore reaped the rewards. The media lead the nation into believing that Bournemouth’s story was a ‘fairytale’. However despite how small the club is and despite its impressive rise through the leagues, this is what a ‘fairytale’ now has become. A small club funded by a Russian Billionaire who broke the rules in order to reach the top.
Brighton are an example that fortunes can change quickly and that tactics, signings and a change of form are still key qualities but its no coincidence that all of the top 6 are big spenders. With Premier League money increasing like never before its only enticed Championship clubs to go with the risk and reward approach. As understandable as that is to an extent, in my opinion it will slowly take away all the qualities that makes the Championship the best league in England.
credit Gareth Williams
Championship fans, do you share this view? Are your team struggling to compete? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Gareth Williams