For years, we have spoken about how Championship teams who are promoted to the Premier League are going to struggle to bridge the gap when they move up to the top league. However, in a complete U-turn, the question now is to ask if there is a gap between the leagues?
Of course, this doesn’t involve the top teams from the Premier League or the bottom from the Championship but the rest can all be included. If a new league was created involving the bottom ten clubs from the Premier League and the top ten from the Championship, who would win, and would we see any trends that pointed towards Premier League dominance?
When Huddersfield Town were promoted to the Premier League last season, they were immediately installed as favourites for relegation. Brighton were installed as second favourites – they were also promoted – and the third team to step up, Newcastle, only survived being third favourites due to their reputation.
However, as you can see from the latest Premier League table, every one of these clubs are currently out-performing their predicted positions. Of course, this may not last all season but the signs are pointing to them doing well and at least two of them beating the drop; all three of them doing it is a possibility.
The current Premier League betting odds on relegation show that, for the first time since last May, the favourite for relegation is not one of these three clubs. It has taken a while but the bookmakers seem to be taking notice of the new clubs and respecting their chances more than they have done before.
The biggest reason for these two leagues coming closer has been the increase in spending in the Championship, making it an extremely tough league. Many call it one of the toughest and most competitive football leagues in the world and it is easy to see why. At the start of each season, up to 10 teams will fancy their chances of promotion and there are several good clubs in the Championship that simply can’t find a way out of the league.
The clubs that do make it are tough; they have already been in a battle so they are fully ready for the challenges the Premier League is going to throw at them. They’ve also had to spend money too because getting out of the Championship is an expensive endeavour, which means they don’t have to sign a lot of new players for the Premier League. This helps with morale and bonding and again makes their chances of survival much better.
The gap between the top two English leagues has been closing for some time, and now there may not be a gap. As we continue to see clubs move up from the Championship and perform well in the Premier League, we may get to the stage where the top of the Championship is actually better than the bottom of the Premier League. The bottleneck caused by promotion is holding teams up and preventing them from reaching the Premier League but it is not preventing them from being top quality football teams.
By: Elliot Ramsden