The 2014 Sky Bet Championship may be just three fixtures old, but already it has thrown up countless surprises. Stuart Connolly is here to tell us why we love this competitive division.
The Sky Bet Championship, to many, is thought of as one of the most competitive divisions in the football world. That could be down to how much promotion to the Premier League is worth, with last season’s Play-Off Final rumoured to be worth £100 million to winners Queen’s Park Ranger.
With that kind of prize money, it’s not that surprising to understand how challenging it is to get out of the division in the right direction.
England’s second tier is fiercely fought for each season, which can make it a real nightmare for those who frequent their local bookmakers to put on the odd accumulator.
The new season is only three games in and unsurprisingly there are no indications of possible winners or teams that may flirt with the relegation zone. But even the early positions of some of the teams in the league shows how hard the division can be for clubs of all sizes.
Fulham FC, who were one of the favourites for the top spot, have yet to win a game, and Charlton Athletic, a mid-table team to many, are joint top and unbeaten in their first three.
A select group of fans in this tough division are realists, who know their team will not make a push for promotion and are content with finishing above the bottom three. A lot of fans know their respective teams will finish in and around the top six or because their team have done so consistently the past few seasons.
Take Derby County for example and newly-relegated Cardiff City. A majority of the fans are very optimistic with their teams, hoping that this season may be theirs.
Starting the season on good form is always a big help towards finishing in the top positions of the league as it can give a team some room for error in the latter stages of the long season. But as Reading FC fans will tell you, form in any time of the season can be the difference between mid-table and first.
Stuart Connolly, Pundit Arena.