Is the Championship the best league in the World?

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Ask any English football fan and no doubt they’ll argue the Premier League is amongst the best leagues in Europe. But whilst the prize for the World’s greatest league now firmly swings towards both Spain and Germany, it’s worth remembering that England’s second-tiered league just might be a surprising contender too.

Surely this will divide opinion and many will claim I’m plugging the Championship to cement my own beliefs that it’s a competitive alternative to the Premier League or Ligue 1. But having experienced the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Championship, I make no mistake when I say; it’s the most competitive of the three.

Most competitive league in Europe

Whilst my days spent with Newcastle in the Championship was one of both sadness and joy – initially, if was difficult for a club of Newcastle’s stature to comprehend a season away from the Premier League – but our ruthless winning mentality enabled us to gel as a team. During this period, I gained respect for a league most Premier League players don’t really have any affiliation to. No game was easy and unlike the Premier League whereby the top four are rarely beaten, anyone could beat their opponent on the day.

Although I believe Newcastle were a recent anomaly to this – losing only four games all season – comparable to last season, with recently promoted Cardiff City losing nine and Hull City 15.

Losing streak

The sheer number of losses helps build a better picture on how competitive the league is compared to the Premier League. The top four in the Championship totaled 48 losses between them last season, with the Premier League equally just 25. And there’s good reason for this. The financial stability of clubs such as Man United, Man City and Chelsea, are able to attract the World’s elite, subsequently winning the majority of matches. With the exception of QPR and Cardiff recently, there’s been little financial backing from outsiders, but this could all soon change. Nottingham Forest, a club currently topping the league with two others, and ourselves has undergone modest financial backing since last season and could well be a promotion contender come May. But if last season’s anything to go by, then predicting the final standing is an almost impossible task.

Anything can happen

With three games remaining last season, any team ninth downward was theoretically in a relegation scrap and 13 teams by the same logic could’ve made the final playoff spot – this Sky Sports montage encapsulating all the drama from the final of the day season.

Sky sports finall day

 

Furthermore, the table below puts into context just how tight things really were. With the exception of Cardiff City and Bristol City whose fate was determined prior to the final game of the season, many of the other teams had plenty to play for and comparing form helps us understand the fine margins between success and failure.

Hull City, who miraculously won automated promotion, lost 15 games during their campaign, compare this to Blackburn who lost just once more and finished in 17th. Obviously, Hull won significantly more games, but had Blackburn’s defensive performances improved slightly, then a large proportion of those draws could’ve been wins and their story could’ve been much different. This is obviously just one example of how a number of events could’ve unfolded.

Championship 2012:13 table

 

It’s this unpredictability that helps add to league’s excitement. Unlike the Premier League that sees only three new teams in August, the Championship accumulates the three best from League 1 and the three worst the Premier League, further adding to its irregularity – as teams are required to adapt season on season. And the fans absolutely love it too, during the 2011/12 season (apologies, but these are the latest figures I could find) total attendance for the league was the fourth highest in Europe [http://comparetheleagues.com/], whether this indicates a love for the league or just football in general, it’s a great sign for football away from the top tier.

Is it really the best league in the World?

Whilst some may judge the title misleading, this depends on your personal interpretations. The overall quality of the Championship is lesser than the other top leagues in Europe, individual displays may not be up there with the likes of Man United and Chelsea, but if you’re willing to see pass that, you’ll learn to love a league built on hard-work, in which players fight till their death. For that reason, a league that once was a place for players to see-out their playing days and collect final pay-cheques, could well be the most competitive in the World, and for me, that makes the Championship a league worth indulging in.

Regardless of who you support, I want to hear your thoughts on the Championship.

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Comments

8 comments
VisuTS
VisuTS

Championship-Hard work;Premier league-Money!!!!

caig1
caig1

hey smart pants, here is the poor brazilan from the favela, wondering whats happened with you opinion about neymar, you were so you with your ignorant knowelege that he is just another poor thing from brazil, making the word smile!!! why you didn't stay in marcele, is your image better in uk, did you went there just to people forget the things you been doing here????

grow up and believe when your career finish you wont have the power of speech, even friends, that you just have coz of your money

orevoaaaaa!!!!

GaxZE
GaxZE

As a QPR fan - I am a huge fan of the championship over the premiership for the one fact you've already mentioned - when i go to a game on a saturday i have no real idea what could happen. You rarely get that in the premiership. Playing liverpool away you know you're coming away 95% of the time with a loss.. Now people may think oh thats because QPR haven't dont well in the prem but even if we was winning week in week out like city or utd then eventually the 'buzz' would go.. especially from the league matches only european competitions would provide that excitement as when you play bayern, milan, madrid or barcelona.. you never know the outcome.

CHUPACABRA
CHUPACABRA

Brazilian league is the best in the world no doubt about, EPL is just better organised, better money,  that's all. When is 11 vs 11 .. I bet Chelsea MU would struggle with a hungry 2nd team division in Bra or any SA league. 

AntifaSean
AntifaSean

As a Celtic fan in Glasgow, I've always appreciated the Championship and the Drama that surrounds it year upon year. There certainly isn't another league in the world that rivals how wide-open it is, or the competitiveness of it. Additionally, the whole structure of the promotion system makes it arguably one of the most exciting leagues around in my opinion. Well written piece as always. Ps. was gutted you never came across the picture of our 6th year common room I tweeted you on your birthday there, haha!

TomFromGermany
TomFromGermany

I'm from Germany and I don't know much about englands leagues. So I just want to ask a bunch of questions:

The tickets to matches from Chelsea or ManU are very expensive. What are the prises at other premiership contenders and what are the prises compared to the championship clubs?

I heard of the atmosphere there was in the stadiums years ago. Now, in the  premiership it is mostly gone. Is it different in a championship stadium?

rebeccalythgoe
rebeccalythgoe

I'm not sure if its the best to be honest. However, i think its among the best. In the premiership you get small clubs like Wigan who survive by the skin of their teeth every year,with the exception of last season. But when you get these clubs facing the likes of Chelsea, Man City and United. They very rarely have a chance of winning. Which is completely different to being in the Championship. You can have Barnsley playing against Burnley (who are doing very well this season  so far) and still have a chance off winning!!All teams in the championship are quite similar and they can all put up a good fight. But in the Premier league money comes in to it.And the team with the most money is the one most likely to win the match and the league.

Matt9298
Matt9298

Although I'm not sure if you could call it the best league in the world, but it certainly is the most even. No one has 10s of millions to throw around, and teams facing off against each other, regardless of position have an equal chance of winning. Too often can a team in the bottom half get a result against a top 6 side. I also don't see it as a league that requires just a quality side to be promoted from, teams need to have the right mindset and the willingness to dig deep and see out games with hard work and effort.

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