2013/14 Championship Review
PROMOTED: LEICESTER, BURNLEY, QPR
RELEGATED: DONCASTER, BARNSLEY, YEOVIL
One should expect no less from the last month of the Football League Championship than drama, intensity and scenes of extreme elation, so it was no surprise that we witnessed all these characteristics of England’s second division in May.
Despite Champions Leicester and league runners-up Burnley securing promotion with weeks to spare, all eyes were on Wembley and the Play-off final clash between Derby and QPR for who would join them in the Premier League next season. QPR manager Harry Redknapp has stated that he would have probably retired if he didn’t lead his side back to the top-flight next season, and he wasn’t far away from calling it a day as a manager after Rangers were reduced to ten men when Gary O’Neil was sent off for a late challenge.
Rangers had to rely on the ability of Rob Green between the sticks to keep them in the game after the former England international produced several good saves to keep his side in the game. He continued to do so until the match looked as though it was heading into extra time before substitute Bobby Zamora pounced on Derby’s inability to clear their own area and coolly finished into the top corner. The goal sealed QPR’s promotion, broke hearts of Derby fans, and ensured we’ll be seeing a little bit more of Harry Redknapp, the manager.
As three teams go up, three teams must go down and we say goodbye to Doncaster Rovers, Barnsley and Yeovil Town. For Doncaster relegation will cut especially deep, as they seemed to be spending another year in the championship before Birmingham’s Paul Cadis’ injury time equaliser confirmed they would be placed ahead of Rovers on goal difference.
These six teams will be replaced by Norwich, Cardiff and Fulham from the Premier league, and Wolves, Brentford and Rotherham from League One.
Whether the Premier league sides will be able to retain the crux of their playing staff is hard to say, but we have already seen players such as Steven Caulker, Robert Snodgrass, Steve Sidwell and Keiran Richardson undergo transfers back to the Premier League. The Championship’s most fascinating piece of business over the summer so far has been the last season’s top scorer Ross McCormack’s £8m move from Leeds to Fulham, as the Cottagers dig deep to try and work their way back to the top flight.