A Championship Season In Review

Newcastle United (C) –

Position – 1st

Expenditures: £54.74m,

Income: £85.72m,

Transfer results: £30.98m

Stadium: St James’ Park (52,354)

Performance – Excellent. Given the amount of cash the Magpies threw around in the transfer window and their premier league pedigree, it is unsurprising that Newcastle repeated what they achieved in the 2009-10 season. Finishing top seemed nailed on at the start of the season and despite some shaky moments they were able to beet Brighton to top spot… just.

Norwich City – 

Position – 8th

Expenditures: £22.48m,

Income: £31.20m,

Transfer results: £8.71m

Stadium: Carrow Road (27,220)

Performance – Average. Although spending wisely, many predicted Norwich would at least make the playoffs. Although they were close, they didn’t quite make it and a another year without premier league revenue may prove costly. Although performing well, it wasn’t the performance many expected like when we saw them promoted last time.

Aston Villa –

Position – 13th

Expenditures: £71.91m,

Income: £39.02m,

Transfer results: £-32.90m

Stadium: Villa Park (42,790)

Performance – Dire. It has been a difficult two seasons for Aston Villa fans. After the abysmal 2015-16 season that saw they unceremoniously dumped out of the premier league after one of the worst seasons in living memory, some people saw this as a possible renaissance for a club that’s been struggling for a while. However, with a hefty chunk of their money going up in smoke by the way of distinctly average and sub-par signings, Aston Villa now linger in the championship mid-table. In a season where it was thought they might get promoted it’s beginning to look like they may be trapped in the snake pit that is the championship for the rest of time.

Brighton and Hove Albion (P) –

Position – 2nd

Expenditures: £7.44m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-7.44m

Stadium: AMEX Stadium (30,280)

Performance – Excellent. The 2015-16 season was though for Brighton as they just missed out on promotion. However, throughout that season they were considered one of the best and this season they took that up another gear. They looked set to win the title before Newcastle foiled them and with minimal costs (£7.44m is virtually nothing nowadays) they can look forward to hard earned and deserved stint in the Premier League.

Derby County –

Position – 9th

Expenditures: £14.67m,

Income: £13.52m,

Transfer results: £-1.16m

Stadium: Pride Park Stadium (33,600)

Performance – Average. Another season in the championship and another season without promotion. Year after year Derby are thrown in to contention for promotion and they never quite deliver. Although not the worst team in the championship, they are becoming more and more mediocre the longer they spend not quite making the playoffs. The appointment of Steve McClaren as manager is never a good start and although the reliable Gary Rowett has taken the reigns, I can’t see Derby getting promoted without some real investment.

Sheffield Wednesday –

Position – 4th

Expenditures: £9.26m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-9.26m

Stadium: Hillsborough (39,812)

Performance – Good. Although it is yet to be seen if the Owls are promoted in the playoffs, it is undeniable that they’ve had a good consistent season. They seem to have been in the playoffs since game one and have barley been dislodged since. Posing as a bogey team for sides like Newcastle United, beating them on two occasions, it’s yet to be seen if they make it to the premier league.

Ipswich Town –

Position – 16th

Expenditures: £1.42m,

Income: £2.98m,

Transfer results: £1.56m

Stadium: Portman Road (30,300)

Performance – Poor. Although little was really expected from Ipswich this season, 16th is still a poor result. The lower mid table isn’t where most fans really expected Ipswich to end up and maybe it’s time for people to question the manager, Mick McCarthy. Although making a profit, maybe Ipswich should have invested more in talent. By trying to save a few pennies, they seem to have fared worse than expected.

Cardiff City –

Position – 12th

Expenditures: £3.66m,

Income: £5.93m,

Transfer results: £2.28m

Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium (33,300)

Performance – Average. An average finish for an average team. Cardiff have faded in to the background of the championship after their relegation from the premier league and it’s unlikely that they will see the bright lights of the top tier for a while.  Steady as expected.

Brentford –

Position – 10th

Expenditures: £4.38m,

Income: £12.24m,

Transfer results: £7.86m

Stadium: Griffin Park (12,760)

Performance – Average. Another team that fulfilled what was perhaps expected of them but only marginally pushed the boundaries. After their daring breakout season two years ago, Brentford have settled down in their comfortable position in the championship. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a break for the playoffs again in a couple of seasons.

Birmingham City –

Position – 19th

Expenditures: £7.78m,

Income: £170k,

Transfer results: £-7.61m

Stadium: St Andrew’s (30,020)

Performance – Dire. The only question I have to pose to Birmingham City is what was wrong with Gary Rowett? Although the club may not have been performing as well as hoped at that point, Birmingham sacked their stable and consistent managed in favour for Gianfranco Zola. An unreliable manager, it’s no wonder Birmingham plummeted. It didn’t help when Rowett’s Derby returned the favour won either. A bad season for a team normally pushing the playoffs.

Preston North End –

Position – 11th

Expenditures: £255k,

Income: £1.47m,

Transfer results: £1.22m

Stadium: Deepdale (23,408)

Performance – Good. Perhaps not the best performance, it is important to remember that they were only playing in league one two seasons ago. Preston have consistently defied expectation as most wouldn’t have placed them in the top half of the table at the start of the season, especially with their thrifty attitude to spending. A good consistent performance from a team that might be challenging for the playoffs in a couple of seasons.

Queens Park Rangers –

Position – 18th

Expenditures: £10.94m,

Income: £14.35m,

Transfer results: £3.41m

Stadium: Loftus Road (18,360)

Performance – Poor. Although it wasn’t long since QPR resided in the premier league, they seem to have dropped dramatically since re-joining the championship. Many would have expected QPR to at least reach mid table but instead they narrowly avoid relegation by 3 points. A poor season for a team that should be doing better considering their funding.

Leeds United –

Position – 7th

Expenditures: £7.29m,

Income: £6.44m,

Transfer results: £-850k

Stadium: Elland Road (37,900)

Performance – Good. For a few it was a surprise to see Leeds make it as far as they did this season. Having shaky backing and multiple poor managers, Leeds finally found stability with Garry Monk as manager and it paid off with Leeds just missing out on the playoffs by their fingertips. Having spent the later part of the season in the playoffs, many wondered if they would finally see Leeds’s return to the premier league. Although they didn’t make it, it is hard to deny they had a good season, turning round a club that looked destined for bad things.

Wolverhampton Wanderers –

Position – 15th

Expenditures: £30.69m,

Income: £2.54m,

Transfer results: £-28.14m

Stadium: Molineux (31,700)

Performance – Poor. Given the amount that Wolves spent, it was expected that they would at least push for the playoffs. However, despite bring in some exciting players, Wolves barley managed to make mid table. It’s a poor season from a team that clearly has the capability to make it to the premier league.

Blackburn Rovers (R) –

Position – 22nd

Expenditures: 0,

Income: £11.26m,

Transfer results: £11.26m

Stadium: Ewood Park (31,370)

Performance – Dire. Blackburn Rovers have been a stalwart in the championship for some time now. However, it has been a dire season for a team that can’t really afford to take the drop in to league one. Having not bought a single player to refresh the squad, it is perhaps unsurprising that, with the loss of their key defender Grant Hanley, Blackburn were relegated, no matter by how narrow a margin.

Nottingham Forest –

Position – 21st

Expenditures: £3.79m,

Income: £15.64m,

Transfer results: £11.85m

Stadium: City Ground (30,576)

Performance – Dire. Forest have been comfortable in the championship for some time now but this season they took a drastic turn. Forest look set to be relegated if they carry on the way they’re going as they spent the majority of this season languishing towards the bottom of the table. Avoiding relegation by goal difference, Nottingham better step up their game if they want to stick around in the championship.

Reading –

Position – 3rd

Expenditures: £7.59m,

Income: £5.02m,

Transfer results: £-2.58m

Stadium: Madejski Stadium (24,200)

Performance – Good. Although Reading started the season in a rather average fashion, the end to their season saw them climb up the table. Hoping to return to the premier league, it is yet to be seen if Reading will prevail in the playoffs but their season has definitely been a success either way.

Bristol City –

Position – 17th

Expenditures: £10.63m,

Income: £12.00m,

Transfer results: £1.38m

Stadium: Ashton Gate (27,000)

Performance – Poor. Having lost the majority of their key players in the transfer window, it was safe to assume that Bristol might not fair as well this season. The loss of Johnathan Kodjia and his 19 goals a season hit Bristol pretty hard and thus they sit in the lower mid table. Unless some transfers are made to replace what they lost, Bristol won’t fare well in the coming seasons.

Huddersfield Town –

Position – 5th

Expenditures: £3.78m,

Income: £1.23m,

Transfer results: £-2.55m

Stadium: John Smith’s Stadium (24,500)

Performance – Amazing. At the end of last season, if you had said that for the majority of next season Huddersfield Town would be riding high in the championship and displacing Newcastle early on you would have been called mad. However, this season Huddersfield have knocked it out of the park. They may have fallen in to the playoffs towards the end but it is hard to deny the stark contrast between the Huddersfield of old and the Huddersfield of today.

Fulham –

Position – 6th

Expenditures: £21.72m,

Income: £20.21m,

Transfer results: £-1.50m

Stadium: Craven Cottage (25,680)

Performance – Good. After a few lower place seasons since they were dumped out of the premier league, Fulham have had a second wind and have done well to nab a playoff place in the closing stages of the season. Even if they hadn’t reached the playoffs it would have still been a good season, showing Fulham are no longer content with lower mid table obscurity.

Rotherham United (R) –

Position – 24th

Expenditures: £1.21m,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-1.21m

Stadium: New York Stadium (12,021)

Performance – Dire. What is there to say about Rotherham other than it’s been a torrid season for the Millers. Struggling throughout the season, Rotherham finished dead last and were the first to take the drop.  Rooted to the bottom of the table, it will be interesting to see how Rotherham fare in League One.

Wigan Athletic (R) –

Position – 23rd

Expenditures: £1.69m,

Income: £6.97m,

Transfer results: £5.28m

Stadium: DW Stadium (25,023)  

Performance – Poor. Having been promoted from League One, it was never going to be easy for Wigan. Although they managed a profit, it’s little consolation for a team that’s been relegated. If Wigan had brought in more players

Burton Albion –

Position – 20th

Expenditures: £304k,

Income: 0,

Transfer results: £-304k

Stadium: Pirelli Stadium (6,912)

Performance – Good. At the beginning of the season, not many gave Burton a chance. With a tiny ground, little money and league one players, Burton showed a survival instinct by managing to survive their first season in the championship. This was a good performance for them but it is unknown where they will go from hear.

Barnsley –

Position – 14th

Expenditures: £2.16m,

Income: £11.45m,

Transfer results: £9.29m

Stadium: Oakwell (23,009)

Performance – Good. When Bansley were promoted, not many gave them a chance. Having seen many of their best players like Conor Hourihane leave for other teams it’s understandable that some thought they might get relegated. However, Barnsley managed to prove doubters wrong as they rode high in the championship. Although they dropped down a bit after more of their top talent was pinched, Barnsley managed to show how a promotion to the championship is done. Wise investments, steady results and financial success.

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