Looking at things objectively, last weekend in the Championship was tinged with a feeling of anti-climax given the events that preceded it. Since August last year the race for promotion has been entirely unpredictable with the lead changing hand on a weekly basis. It looked a dead cert that the automatic promotion spots would be decided by a four-way final day test of nerves.
And then it was suddenly over. Watford were up and Bournemouth followed shortly afterwards (subjectively, this was fucking magnificent, the Watford bit I mean ). However, the disappointment that there won’t be an epic last day battle does not mean this hasn’t been a brilliant season.
The Championship has provided the sort of contest you would want from any league. The relentless, 46 game bastard of a season is not without fault, but often the criticisms are misplaced or fail to understand the romantic appeal of a league that breathes life into the otherwise turgid existence of many clubs. This piece raises questions about the growing divide between the second tier and the Premier League. It’s a familiar refrain and one that’s been heard pretty every year since Sky got involved. But, has there ever been a halycon era for the second division? It is, by definition, the second best that English football has to offer. How good does anyone really expect it to be?
When people talk about it being a great league, they are not referring to the kind of football that leaves you breathless the way Socrates and Zico did in ’82. But, that’s not the point of it. It’s not a league for neutrals, and that’s a good thing, because neutrality is dull.
Have you ever watched a Football League match involving two teams you don’t support? It’s a desperate way to spend your time. A few months after my daughter was born, worn out by sleep deprivation, I found myself watching a mid-table clash live from The Riverside. I had the lights and sound off to avoid disturbing the baby. Sat in silent darkness watching Boro v Someone. Never again.