The Premier League may grab the headlines around the globe but for the most authentic English football experience, you must try the Championship!
The Championship is widely considered the most exciting and unpredictable division in the country, and indeed it is bar far the strongest second tier in Europe. That’s why it attracts big crowds week in, week out – since 2017 it has averaged more than 20,000 fans per match, making it by far the most popular non-top flight football division in the world.
The race for promotion to reach the ‘promised land’ of the English Premier League, with all the riches and international profile it brings, is exhilarating. Clubs who were relegated from the EPL the season before have no guarantee of a swift return, as the pedigree of the clubs at this level is staggering.
Of the 24 clubs that make up the Championship, most have played in the Premier League before. They include former league champions and even former European Cup winners, all desperately striving to renew their status among the giants of the Premier League. Meanwhile there are some clubs who have made the Championship their home over recent decades, while every season a few smaller outfits may be promoted and hope to spring a surprise on more established names.
Part of the excitement for fans is just how unpredictable the league can be. You can try to guess the results each weekend but the chances are there will be several big shocks among them. It makes being a supporter of a Championship side an exciting, but painful, experience! The EFL attracts a more traditional supporter base than the Premier League and as a result the fans often produce a far more passionate atmosphere in some vintage grounds steeped in football heritage.
Championship play-off final
Every season the Championship champions and runners-up are promoted to the Premier League, while the next four teams are thrown into the lottery of the play-offs. The winners of two semi-finals meet in the final at Wembley at the end of May, and they compete in a match titled as ‘The richest game in world football’ – because of the huge financial rewards on offer to the promoted side. Indeed, it’s so lucrative that it’s now a tradition that the triumphant club ‘donate’ their prize money for winning the match to the loser!
The Championship is the ‘top’ division of the English Football League (EFL) that also includes Leagues One and Two. These 72 sides, together with the Premier League outfits, make up the famous ‘92’ clubs of English league football, a number that has remained constant for decades. The strength of competition stretches right down the pyramid with the 2021/22 season in League One featuring the likes of one-time UEFA Cup winners Ipswich Town, and former league champions Sunderland and Portsmouth.
See a Championship match live!
A Championship match can be the perfect addition to a weekend in the UK. There are always a clutch of clubs in the London region, easily reached from the centre of the capital. Meanwhile in northern England, in Lancashire and Yorkshire, there is a real diversity of clubs close to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds – for instance the Sheffield giants of Wednesday and United, the very first league winners in Preston North End, and 1990s Premiership champions Blackburn.
Match tickets are often available at decent prices, indeed, why not upgrade for a very affordable VIP experience? Nickes.Com can support you!