It’s fair to say that no English soccer team wants to get relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season. To do so means a club no longer has access to the trappings of wealth that go alongside the world’s richest soccer league. However, from a fan’s perspective, seeing your team in the EFL Championship ain’t half bad. Here are 10 reasons why that’s true:
1. Fan support
The Championship is one of the most attended leagues in Europe, regularly beating average attendances for match days than La Liga and Serie A. This season, half the clubs pull in more than 20,000 fans on average per match. Impressive for a second-tier league.
The lead at the top of the Championship has changed several times so far this season. Current table-toppers, Norwich City, are given odds of 5/1 by William Hill to win the league, but the similar odds of Leeds (9/2), Middlesbrough (4/1) and West Brom (5/1) show it’s going to be a close race. That unpredictability means you should always check the latest EFL Championship betting predictions 2018 before you bet.
3. Historical Teams
Leeds United, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, and Derby County could put their respective histories proudly up for comparison against any European heavyweights. In fact, that quartet boasts two European Cup winners, Forest (1979, 1980) and Villa (1982). Big clubs like PSG and Arsenal have yet to win one.
4. A chance for the underdog
Whereas in the Premier League the money means the cream rises to the top, the slog of the Championship means the big names might struggle. Aston Villa (16/1), Swansea (33/1) and Stoke City (40/1, odds from Bet365) have all been given a rude awakening this season and are now longs odds to win the Championship, despite having squads with lots of former Premier League players.
5. The first ever champions are there
There have been 130 years of Association Football in England. Long before we ever heard of Manchester United or terms like Financial Fair Play, Preston North End were winning the first ever English football title in 1888/89 season. They sit 18th in the Championship today.
6. A chance to make a name in management
The Championship has always been regarded as tough, so there is a chance for young managers to make a name in that league. One such candidate is Frank Lampard, former Chelsea, and England star. He is currently finding his feet at the helm of Derby County. A bright future on the touchline could await.
7. Birmingham: the Derby city
Three West-Midlands clubs are now in the Championship: Aston Villa, Birmingham City, and West Brom. That makes for six feisty cross-city derbies each season.
8. Genuine quality
Players currently plying their trade in the Championship include Jack Grealish, Yannick Bolasie, Dwight Gayle, Kemar Roofe, Tammy Abraham, and Jack Butland. All have either been involved in big money moves or have been tipped as future England players.
9. The Playoffs
Four teams will enter the Playoffs at the end of the season, with the Final, dubbed the richest game in football, determining a slot in the Premier League. That all or nothing scenario leads to one of the most unmissable games in football.
10. Leeds United
Leeds has always been one of the biggest clubs in England and were the last club to win the top flight before it became the Premier League. The club has struggled in the last decade but seems to be turning things around. Watch them on the road to redemption.