Avoiding the Drop in the Premier League: Is the Championship So Bad?
As we begin the run in to the end of another season, and the potential for heartache grows among fans of the clubs who are struggling for points in the Premier League, it must be asked: What is so bad about dropping down and having a chance to rebuild and have another crack in a year or another few years?
As long as it doesn't all turn to custard and you drop a few divisions as opposed to one, it is not such a bad thing.
The football is still played at a good skill level, and the fans even seem to have more fun in the ground than the sterile band of wagon jumpers that permeate the grounds of the top sides in the Premier.
The players are generally more loyal, and it is not often that one will be seen holding a club to ransom in his own selfish interests.
The prestige, of course, is a huge thing; the "we are a top flight club" oneupmanship that goes on between sets of rival fans.
But the football is what counts, and already this season we have seen that on any given day a team from the second tier can outplay and outthink a side that many would expect to win easily even with a few of their normal starters rested.
Several clubs are being touted as relegation material, and it has become a lottery in some respects, as it comes down to who you play in the closing stages and what the ambitions of opposition to relegation strugglers are trying to achieve in the league.
The most wonderful thing that I have seen in respect of these teams that end up in the scrap at the foot of the table is the invigoration it gives fans, players, and managers alike.
The fire is in their eyes again—no mediocre, "we need a few draws to finish 10th" rubbish going on here; it's "we need at least two wins and a draw in our last six, commmeee onnnnnn!!!!"
These are the games that can decide a League title.
Any of the top sides chasing the league and Europe in the run in will have to face one or two of these sides that will not just roll over when they concede, but that will fight till the final whistle for the chance to stay up.
It adds something magical to the fixtures and also gives players who would not normally get the chance an experience of real pressure in the top flight that they might not get elsewhere.
The thing about this season is the number of teams that are going to end up fighting for a place amongst the fat cats. There will be blood (not a bad flick by the way).
But when is all is done and dusted and the end of year holidays are taken, the teams that go down have a choice to make.
Is that the end?
One only needs to look at the ambitious approach engaged by Reading to see that clearly it is not. They had a plan and have enacted it by first of all keeping Steve Coppell and also not losing the edge that made them able to make Europe on their first outing in the Premier.
So they went down on goal difference. That was harsh. They have decided they wanted to go straight back up and have gone about trying to do it—an admirable attitude.
The funny thing we have seen in the case of Manchester City and Chelsea is that, in the lottery that is investment capital, it could be any old club that ends up being picked up by money these days, not just those with a famous and prestigious tradition.
Here's to the relegation strugglers. If you don't make the cut, it's definitely not the end of the world; only a new season, with new goals and a chance again for the euphoria of promotion and another chance at taking a bite at the big dogs.
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