2014/15: Sky Bet Championship Review – February 2015
Beware the Ides of March – no I’ve no idea what it means either, but I do know that this is the time when supporters realise the remaining fixtures will end in single figures; pro option hopes are forlorn and relegation fears realised.
February included six games and as predicted Norwich are moving inexorably towards the summit, winning all of their games. The squad is by some distance the best in this division and the change of manager has galvanised a formidable Championship strike force. I still expect The Canaries to be at the top of the tree in May, a position that rankles having shared League One in recent memory.
However, an improved league position and performances find me in better but cautious spirit as Leeds claw themselves away from the bowels of the Division. However, should I be satisfied trailing Bournemouth and Brentford by twenty points? Like many other supporters of traditional ‘bigger’ clubs, expectations need to be downsized, realistic and measured. My single concern is to retain Championship status and I comfort myself with the knowledge that 46 points on average achieves that aim, but shudder at Peterborough’s relegation with 54 points in 2011/12.
If Norwich are to return to the Premier League there is a right old bun fight to see who will join them. Derby still must be haunted by the experience of last season and desperate for automatic promotion, but having seen Middlesborough and Watford at close quarters recently both appear impressive, the latter adopting a six man forward line on occasions. The other form teams are Forest and Wolves, bristling with confidence and scoring for fun and a reminder that appointing club heroes such as Stuart Pearce are not always the wisest move.
The top six appears to be an eight horse race unless Forest have a remarkable last furlong. I think they may fall over the final hurdle but reduce their odds next time out. Sheffield Wednesday and Blackburn are betwixt and between, cosy and safe without the angst of a promotion or relegation battle. A reminder of how many seasons used to end for many around March until Sky Sports took over the running of the game.
The trap door has been ajar for Blackpool since August, a brief rally around Christmas brought hope but for me they are ‘doomed’, as Private Fraser used to say (for those old enough to remember Dad’s Army). Wigan’s stay in this division might be brief but I give them hope possibly at the expense of Rotherham who had to endure the moronic Bermondsey sideshow last weekend.
A glut of clubs including Reading, Bolton, Brighton, Cardiff, Leeds and Fulham cross fingers and prey those beneath them prove incapable of catching them. All have experienced long periods without winning before jolting themselves in to action before promptly returning to slumber. The Championship truly is a weird division, teams dreaming of Premier League fortunes and League One oblivion in the same season – it really does mess with one’s mojo!
Didn’t mention Charlton, Huddersfield or Birmingham and why should I? To be fair Charlton sit seventh in the Form Table and are worthy of mention and the other two play in Blue – there you go everybody’s happy now.
Eighteen hours more football, plus injury time and it’s all over.
Who will be having kittens in the final hour still not knowing their fate?
As long as it isn’t me I don’t really care.