English Championship Preview Part I B-C
English Championship Preview Part I B-C
Birmingham : Last season finish 10th with 63 points. 2014 income £24.2m – Payout - Wages £23m Debt £20m. Major deals in: Legzdins, Kuszczak and Maghoma – Major deals out: Doyle, Randolph and Zigic. Birmingham had their best finish in 4 years as they moved into the top half of the table after a strong finish. They have a top young manager in Gary Rowett also, a real calming influence on the team. They got rid of some deadwood from the squad and brought in a few international class players. Rowett is a class manager, employing modern game by game theory and isn’t afraid to change things around inplay. Another solid season for them and no danger of the drop. They have cut some of the expensive players off and had to do so as their turnover is very low compared to wages.
Prediction: 11th in Championship.
Blackburn: Last season finish 9th with 67 points. 2014 income £27m – Payout – Wages £37m Debt £36m. Major deals in: Raya– Major deals out: Cairney, King, Morris, O’Connell, Varney. Blackburns figures year on year get worse and they made a significant loss last season. They have been forced to act already and shown 7 players the door already. They have brought a bit of cash in and slashed the wage bill but have only brought one player in so far and he was from Conference. Last season was actually a decent finish for them after a few years in the doldrums. The major problem for Blackburn this season is leading scorer and main man Jordan Rhodes. The striker has scored 73 for Blackburn in 134 games which is a phenomninal return. He is wanted by Middlesbrough and I don’t see him returning to Ewood Park at the start of the season. With him they may struggle to match 9th, without him they are sliding down the table.
Prediction: 15th in Championship.
Bolton: Last season finish 18th with 51 points. 2014 Income £35m – Payout – Wages £37m Debt £163M. Major deals in: Madine, Osede and Twardzik. – Major outs: Baptiste, Beckford, Bogdan, Lee and Mills. Bolton are labouring under a ton of debt. A figure of £163 million is ridiculous and shows a serious level of mismanagement in the Premiership. They have attracted a top manager in Neil Lennon but are still struggling; They have a huge wage bill but it doesn’t make sense when you see the quality of players they have at their disposal. They have already moved to lower it and 6 players, all regulars have been shipped out. Lennon has moved to bring three in but you wouldn’t say the squad is improved. They had a terrible time last year with injuries and will hope to keep the sick bay clear this season.
Prediction: 19th in Championship.
Brentford: Last season finish 5th with 78 points. 2014 income £4m – Payout – Wages £7m Debt, Mulumbu £9m. Major ins: Bjelland, Hoffman, Vibe, Kerchbaumer and McEachran. Major outs: Proschwitz and Oyeleke. One of the success stories of last season, making the playoffs in their 1st ever season of the Championship. They lost to Middlesbrough in the semifinal but made their mark on the league for sure. One major downpoint was the “sacking” of manager Mark Warbuton with about 10 games to go. They were flying and the owners revealed they would not be keeping the coach on. Not a great way to go into the most important few months of the clubs career and was a sour note on an otherwise great year. Brentford have made some eyecathing buys over the summer with international class but with new manager Marinus Dijkhuzen a relative newcomer as a coach and the Championship in itself is very difficult for foreign managers to navigate. I think they will around the edges of the playoffs but a drop from last season.
Prediction: 9th in Championship.
Brighton: Last season finish 20th with 47 points. 2014 income £23.4m – Payout – Wages £21m Debt £51m. Major deals in: Harper, Akindayini, Hambo and Rosenior – Major deals out: Hughes. Brighton pulled off a major coup when they attracted the Real Madrid starlet Jack Harper to Falmer Stadium. Last year was a bad effort for a side capable of so much and 20 is pretty dire. They have a top manager in Chris Hughton and I expect a big improvement this season. They have a talented squad and should be midtable at the very least.
Prediction: 10th in Championship.
Bristol City: Last season finish 1st in League 1. 2014 income £8m – Payout – Wages £15m Debt £4m. Major deals in: none– Major deals out: Wynter. Bristol City romped League 1 after relegation from the Champs the year before. They have stabilised the club debt wise and have retained almost all players going into this season. Noone has came in as of yet but Bristol have been making 7 figure bids for a few players without success. Teams generally do well from League 1 as the transition is smooth and both divisions are quite evenly matched for quality. Bristol City have a good core base of players but at present don’t have a big enough squad to cope with the rigours of the championship. They need decent cover in and unless they sign a few Champ quality players they cant be expected to challenge the playoffs. I expect them to be strong at home but can see them struggling on the road.
Prediction: 16th in Championship.
Burnley: Last season finish 9th in Premiernship. 2014 Income £96m – Payout – Wages £16m Debt £O. Major deals in: Lowton, Vosse, Ulvestad. – Major deals out: Ings, Trippier and Shackell . With over £100 million into the club coffers you would have imagined that Burnley would have made some major moves into the transfer market but they have only really dipped their toes in so far. Three of their better players have left too so it’s a pretty underwhelming summer for Burnley fans. All this though points to a long period of stability for them and that has to be applauded. Manager Sean Dyche is known as the “ginger Mourinho” and he employs the same mental approach. Hes very hands on with his players and backs them to the hilt. They should do well this season with the drop in class but I would like to see them invest a bit in players.
Prediction: 5th in Championship.
Cardiff: Last season finish 11th with 62 points. 2014 income £17m – Payout – Wages £32m Debt £85m. Major ins: Ameobi, Doyle, Kennedy and O’Keefe. Major outs: Kim and Adeyemi. Cardiff again muddled through a season. Owner Vincent Tan doing his very best to alienate everyone inside and ouside the team. 2014 saw four managers in all and I have never seen the “chop and change” attitude to managers ever working. New man Russell Slade looked good at League 2 Orient but was always potential. He has his side working hard but last year they were very hit and miss. Their squad is huge and packed with class players, it really is a mystery why they are not performing. I think If they keep Slade at the helm and the off-field shenanigans cease they may have half a chance.
Prediction: 7th in Championship.