CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Promotion to the Premier League is worth £170 million

02 July, 2019

Promotion to the Premier League is worth £170 million these days and that ensures a ferocious battle each season among the best teams in the Championship. Last season Norwich, Sheff Utd and Aston Villa all secured a ticket to the top flight and their reward is glamorous away trips to The Emirates, Old Trafford and Liverpool. Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield were relegated and they will go into the mix in the Championship in 2019/20. These are the teams most likely to take the Championship by storm this coming season:

Leeds United

Leeds looked like the best team in the division for much of the 2018/19 campaign and it was surprising to see their promotion bid falter. They ultimately finished just outside the automatic playoff places and then slumped to a shock second leg defeat in their playoff semi-final defeat against Derby. However, the bookmakers expect them to bounce back in style, as the top sportsbooks online make them the 5/1 favourites to secure promotion next season. Legendary coach Marcelo Bielsa remains at the club and he will be tasked with improving confidence levels among his players after that disappointing end to last season. Jack Clarke and Pontus Jansson have left, and there is work to be done in the transfer market to replace them, while they could really do with a new striker to lead the line.

Fulham

Many pundits were tipping the Cottagers for a top half finish in the Premier League last season after they splashed out more than £100 million on players like Jean Michael Seri, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Alfie Mawson. However, their season unravelled in spectacular fashion, and Slavisa Jokanovic was sacked. His replacement, Claudio Ranieri, quickly bit the dust too, leaving former midfielder Scott Parker to oversee the sinking ship as it sailed back to the Championship. However, they remembered how to win in the final weeks of the campaign, and that bodes well for life in the second tier of English football next season. Ryan Babel has already left for Galatasaray, while Andre Schurrle returned to Borussia Dortmund, but there have been no other departures of note. If Parker can keep hold of a number of players from last year’s campaign, they might just stand a chance of yo-yoing straight back up to the Premier League.

Cardiff

The Bluebirds were extremely plucky under Neil Warnock last season and they were ultimately unlucky to finish 18th in the top flight. Some bad refereeing decisions cost them towards the end of the campaign, but they can hold their heads high after exceeding expectations. They barely spent any money last summer, and they will not have to sell anyone to balance the books this time around, so they could realistically expect to keep the bulk of the team together and make few key acquisitions. The bookies make Warnock’s men third favourites to go up next season.

West Brom

The Baggies have lost Craig Dawson and Jay Rodriguez to Premier League clubs this season, while Salomon Rondon is sure to request a move, but they still have a strong group of players. The likes of Jake Livermore, Kieran Gibbs, Matt Phillips and Chris Brunt were all decent Premier League stars, and new manager Slaven Bilic should be able to build a good team around them. They finished fourth last season and they could improve upon that next time around.

The Rest

The Championship is exciting because it is so open. Last season, the likes of Stoke and Swansea were favourites to win the title, but they struggled, while Norwich and Sheff Utd surprised everyone with their brilliance. Middlesbrough, Stoke, Brentford, Derby, Huddersfield, Sheff Wed, Bristol City and Swansea will all fancy their chances of enjoying a strong season, and it is therefore shaping up to be another exciting year in this fiercely competitive division.

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