Note: Unless something newsworthy happens, chances are that we will not be talking about The Championship or any other division beneath the Premier League, though as the season progresses and we approach promotion/relegation that may change. This piece is a brief look at where the Championship teams finished last year, some important players, and who might be fighting for promotion/relegation at the end of the season. Plus, since these teams will be competing in the EFL and FA Cups in England, it might be nice to know if they’ll have any chance when competing against their Premier League brethren.
This is the first of four posts about the 24 teams that will be competing for the Championship this season. Teams are listed in alphabetical order, and will feature a bit about the teams history, as well as simple expectations for this season.
Nickname: The Lions
Team Colors: Claret/Blue
Kit Manufacturer: Luke Sports
Kit Sponsor: 32Red
Ground: Villa Park (1897-Present)
Manager: Steve Bruce (since 2016)
2017-18 Season: 4th in Championship (lost promotion play-off to Fulham)
Seasons in Premier League: 24, last in 2015-2016
The Lions came as close as any team last year of getting promoted to the Premier League, losing to Fulham in the Championship Playoff 1-0. They finished fourth overall in the Championship, five points behind Fulham and seven points away from automatic promotion. They reached as high as second in the table after seven match win streak in the middle of the season, sitting with 17 wins, eight draws, and only six losses after 31 matches. However, they finished the season on a but of a slide, winning only seven more times over their final 15 games – as well as three more draws and five losses – which led to their finish in the playoffs. Though the team beat the teams it was supposed to based on table position, a loss to 21st-place finisher (one spot out of relegation) Bolton Wanderers saved the Wanderers season while probably dooming the Lions to the playoffs.
As the current leader in Premier League seasons among current Championship teams, as well as a team that has only spent 13 seasons at Tier 2, Aston Villa hopes that with all the teams above them last season now in the Premier League that they can climb to the top of the table this season and earn an automatic promotion as champions.
Team Colors: Blue/White
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas
Kit Sponsor: 888sport
Ground: St. Andrew’s (1906-Present)
Manager: Garry Monk (since 2018)
2017-18 Season: 19th of 24 in Championship
Seasons in Premier League: Seven, last in 2010-2011
Of the 24 teams currently in the Championship, only Hull City has spent more total seasons at Tier 2 than the Blues, who have spent a total of 55 seasons in the tier. Those seven seasons in the Premier League haven’t featured much success either, with a best finish of 9th place (in 2009-2010) and an average finish around 14th. While I don’t think they will complete for the title – especially considering that Birmingham City is currently under a transfer embargo after “having failed to convince the Championship’s governing body that they were working within Financial Fair Play guidelines” – chances are that they avoid relegation, but early season struggles could indicate otherwise. It will be worth keeping an eye on the team to see if the embargo truly has an effect.