2014/15: Sky Bet Championship Review – March 2015
This will be my penultimate Championship Review as this time next month it will be as they say ‘all over’. With a fist full of games remaining the only certainty is Blackpool have been put out of their misery and returned from where they emerged a few years ago after a calamitous season on and off the pitch.
The bottom three has included Wigan and Millwall for long periods and they remain favourites to join The Tangerines in League One, but I suspect Fulham, Rotherham and even Reading might still become involved. The fixtures between these sides become unbearable for the watching spectators with relief the overriding emotion at the final whistle.
With Blackpool and probably Wigan both recently dumped from the Premier League and heading for the third tier of English football could Fulham make it a trio? Personally, my opinion of promotion and relegation is swayed by simple geography, so Millwall and Reading can go for me. However, it looks like Wigan will depart the division as The Latics can’t buy a win at home. Still with events at the DW Stadium it was also interesting to see that Whelan Junior has acted to sack McKay to show Grandad who the boss is now!
Board room decisions are never far from my thoughts – Leeds rewarding a successful period of results and stability by sacking the under-performing coach, apparently removing the Sporting Director and asking Neil Redfearn to put the cones out and make the tea. Little wonder the worst results since Christmas followed as chaos returned to Elland Road. I could fill the remainder of this article with stories of film star takeovers, Fan Ownership and tax evasion Court Cases, but will leave that for next month.
The race for the TV millions is well and truly congested and I boldly predicted back in December 2014 that Norwich would fill one of the automatic spots when well off the pace, so I’m going to pat myself on the back because nobody else will! I actually had Derby to join them with Bournemouth, Middlesbrough, Watford and Blackburn making up the play-off spots, so five out of six isn’t too bad. Once again, the travelling miles sway my choice of who goes up, so The Canaries, The Cherries and The Hornets can happily fly, pluck and buzz off for me and I believe they will.
Eddie Howe’s team continue to score goals a plenty and show no sign of faltering, Norwich have the best squad and experience and Watford take chances with a flamboyant attacking philosophy that makes them dangerous opponents. Derby and Boro’ can be brittle under pressure and expectancy might be too much for them, which could allow Wolves or Brentford to make a Wembley appearance.
Brave attempts by Forest, Blackburn and even Charlton Athletic to join the play-off hopefuls were always destined to fail such was the gap, but plenty of promise for next season. Sheffield Wednesday have had the middle of the table to themselves virtually all year without ever flirting with top or bottom in a rather dull season. You could add Cardiff to that list and latterly Birmingham who extracted themselves from a perilous position and have free wheeled since.
For those still involved in the business end of the season, enjoy or endure and this time next month all will have been revealed.