May 05, 2008

West Brom clinch Championship and promotion.: They will be joined by Stoke, and one more team to be determined by playoffs between Hull, Bristol City, Crystal Palace and Watford.

posted by worldcup2002 to soccer at 12:59 PM - 15 comments

Congratulations to the Baggies and the Potters and whichever of the other four sneak up at Wembley. A good day for Salmacis, to no doubt be followed by another tough year loitering around the lower reaches of the Premiership, as seems to be the routine for most promoted clubs these days. The Championship has been insane this year though. Over 46 games, there's 18 points difference between being relegated and making the playoffs. The disparity between our form at home, (best in the division), and away, (23rd best in the division), killed my lot (Ipswich). If we had played all our games at home, we'd have 104 points. If we'd played all our games away from home, we'd have 34 points. I'd like to see Hull or Bristol City go up, just to see a new name in the Premiership. But I fear for them and a possible disaster, like Derby's season has been.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:39 PM on May 05, 2008

Agreed Bismark, I think I would much rather see some new blood in the Prem then the rehashing of some other top division washout like Palace or Watford. As far as one of these teams becoming the next Derby, even before the season started, most commentators said that Derby really were not ready for the Prem and predicted a disaster season. I don't follow the Championship (god I hate calling it that) that closely, so from your view, are any of these teams really in the similar position to where Derby was last year?

posted by Chargdres at 02:48 PM on May 05, 2008

Screw the top of the league, what about the bottom? I'm pleased my Saints are staying up, but dear god I felt bad for Leicester. Seeing the rollercoaster their fans were on during the match was heartbreaking. So any Leicester fans reading this, this is a Saints saying I feel very bad for you guys, and really wish we could have BOTH stayed up. Chargdres: All the league names are retarded now IMO.

posted by Drood at 03:30 PM on May 05, 2008

What I would like to know is how Bristol City finished fourth with a goal differential of +1, winning 8 games more than they lost in the process. I guess a couple of crooked score lines (e.g., a few lopsided losses) could affect that, but it just seems incongruous.

posted by holden at 04:31 PM on May 05, 2008

Congrats to the Baggies and salmacis gets his revenge on me for last year :-). I think they are better prepared for life in the Prem than Derby was. As we discussed a year ago, Derby were only really in it for the 50 million quid parachute payment. The evenness of the Championship was exemplified by the match between Stoke and Leicester on Sunday. It finished 0-0, but one went up and the other down.

posted by owlhouse at 05:17 PM on May 05, 2008

I was hoping Wolves might go up again. A good mate of mine supports them and took me to see them play Watford in 2001, my first English football match.

posted by scully at 05:34 PM on May 05, 2008

Although this comes from a scum fan's blog, but it does show how the last day of a season pans out for teams at the top and bottom. League One Final Day. See if you can keep track of all the ups and downs.

posted by owlhouse at 05:42 PM on May 05, 2008

Having followed the Championship the last few weeks, I gotta say I enjoy the football far more, and the competition is much tighter. Too bad I have to rely on torrents for any sort of coverage over this side of the Atlantic.

posted by Drood at 05:53 PM on May 05, 2008

Guys, can you tell me anything about Stoke's reputation within English football? I understand they're a bit of a hit and hope team but I'm just curious about the general feeling of the team---what are their fans like? Are they considered a dirty team? Who's their derby team(s)? Phil Rawlins, the owner of Stoke, has also started a team here in Austin called the Aztex. They're playing in the Premier Development League of the USL and will go division one next season. The club---ticket sales, marketing, community outreach, etc.---is essentially being run by Phil's wife Kay. We're bringing about 40 people (about 25 kids) to their home opener this Saturday and I was on the phone with Kay yesterday working out the details. You could hear the joy and amazement of being promoted in her voice and she couldn't be a nicer person. We're really looking forward to having a team to support locally. I'm just curious as to what the parent club is all about.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:26 PM on May 07, 2008

Woo hoo! Back to the greed league! Owlhouse, I don't get any pleasure from seeing Derby struggle so much this year. The enemy are the likes of Chelsea and Man U, who are ruining football for everyone else. Stoke are dead on certs to "do a Derby" next year. The football is very similar to how Derby got promoted last year - and for that matter, West Brom under Gary Megson. That style of football simply doesn't work at a higher level. Premier League teams will just keep possession, and Stoke will never get a sniff. Of the playoff teams, I don't think any of them have a chance of avoiding relegation, but if I had to put money on one, it would be Crystal Palace. If it hadn't been for the poor start under Peter Taylor, they'd have been candidates for automatic promotion. So that's two relegation spots sorted then. All we need to survive is to be better than one of Fulham/Birmingham/Reading/Wigan and Sunderland... :-)

posted by salmacis at 12:45 PM on May 07, 2008

Come on salmacis, if Cheslea and Man U are "ruining football" then you also have to include Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSV, Juve, Inter, AC Milan, Lyon, Olympiacos, Fenerbace and so on... Every top flight league has a few dominant teams who win year in year out, thats just how football works. The great thing about the sport is that a team like Stoke gets the chance to stand toe to toe with the billion dollar teams, and as is the way the sport often goes, the little guy can succeed. You don't see the Toledo Mud Hens ever take on the Red Sox. Maybe Stoke will not challenge for the title, but there are multiple races going on in the league: the championship, CL places, UEFA places, relegation. And it certainly does not seem as if English fans are "bored" of the game with the big 4. As many or more fans than ever come out to the games, for teams of all levels and sizes. Football is awash in money, get used to it. It is a business, whether or not English fans bristle at the term "franchise". The product in the Prem is as good as it has ever been, as evidenced by the European successes. Balance is fine, but personally I am more interested in quality.

posted by Chargdres at 02:08 PM on May 07, 2008

Guys, can you tell me anything about Stoke's reputation within English football? I understand they're a bit of a hit and hope team but I'm just curious about the general feeling of the team---what are their fans like? Are they considered a dirty team? Who's their derby team(s)? Stoke used to have a good team in the early to mid 70s, top flight football, League Cup Winners, and a team containing England World Cup winners Geoff Hurst and Gordon Banks in the twilight of their careers, and they provided a home for Alan Hudson, a gifted but wayward playmaker, before that term was popular. They once toured Australia in the off season, and as a 12 year old, managed to sneak onto the team bus at the old Sydney Sports Ground and got everyone's autograph, including Hurst's and Banks'. So I have a soft spot for Stoke City. They don'y have any Premiership local derbies, the closest club (Walsall) are perenially stuck in the lower divisions. Any midlands club will probably have to do - Villa, Birmingham, West Brom. Let's hope the promoted teams all put up a better showing than Derby, eh?

posted by owlhouse at 04:09 PM on May 07, 2008

Er, the closest club to Stoke are their city rivals, Port Vale! Stoke's biggest rivalry these days might well be with West Brom. We've spent a lot of time in the same division over the last 25 years. Chargdres, as an American, you might not be aware of how the Champions League money has distorted football as a whole. It's distorted English football more than most, because Champions League prize money is related to the income from each national TV company, and Sky/ITV pay more than most. It's become a self-perpetuating cycle of the rich getting richer. There's no reason why any national league should have a few top teams. It wasn't the case historically in English football, when there was no TV money, very little merchandising, and gate receipts were shared. In 1978, Nottingham Forest won their one and only league title a year after promotion. Want to take a bet on West Brom or Stoke doing that next year? It shouldn't be the case that the same four teams finish in the top four places year after year. The NFL is awash with money as well, but it's the most competitive league in the world, thanks to revenue sharing and a strict salary cap. In England, rugby union and rugby league both have salary caps, and both are much more competitive leagues than the Premiership.

posted by salmacis at 06:29 PM on May 07, 2008

Er, sorry, I was actually visualising Port Vale when I wrote Walsall. I think my mind was distracted by old memories of Hugh Johns in a sheepskin coat.

posted by owlhouse at 06:41 PM on May 07, 2008

In 1978, Nottingham Forest won their one and only league title a year after promotion. You had to bring The Scum up, didn't you? However, that F****t team had Brian Clough in charge, and several members of the league winning Derby teams of the same decade*. It's a bit like if Jose Mourinho took over at Charlton, say, and built his team around a group of Chelsea's disaffected players, or those with a loyalty to him. They'd probably come up and do very well in the Premiership. Unlikely to happen of course, but not impossible, especially as there are no salary caps in the Championship either. Charlton would, however, need a generous backer. I still think clubs outside the "Big Four" can challenge for honours, but these days money, rather than a genius for a manager, is probably the determining factor. *I have spent most of a lifetime wondering if that League title and those European Cups should have been ours, if it hadn't been for the idiot Chairman who got rid of Clough.

posted by owlhouse at 07:12 PM on May 07, 2008

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