The Championship & Big Clubs

One of the most common and coincidentally annoying defence mechanisms in Championship fans’ repetoire is their persistence that they’re a ‘big club’. Whether it’s a Leeds, Derby or Blackpool fan, a high proportion of second tier fanatics will have some sort of superiority complex.

So, I took to the pages of Twitter and asked the fans of the Championship what criteria they took in to consideration when deciding upon who deserves ‘big club’ status in 2012. Typically, the most prominent responses were ‘history’ and ‘fanbase’. Secondary suggestions came in the form of most recent league finish and ‘potential’ i.e. their expectancy to achieve within the coming season.

Many football fans will be well aware that the room for debate in this subject is colossal so I’ve (attempted to) devised a set of criteria aiming to pinpoint the big guns of today’s second tier. Each team has been ranked in each category – 24 points to the top team and 1 to the worst. As history was such a popular suggestion, points are doubled in that category. Fanbase is measured by both last season’s home and away attendances, thus in effect doubling that category too.

Last season’s finish – Bolton Wanderers achieved the best finish of the Championship’s teams last season, finishing 18th in the Premier League. Huddersfield Town are awarded 1 point for finishing 4th and as eventual play-off winners in League One.

Going down… Bolton Wanderers were relegated from the Premier League.

Overall History – Blackburn Rovers have the ‘richest’ history of the 24 second tier teams. Peterborough United are the Championship’s minnows. (source: http://www.aboutaball.co.uk/aboutaball-historical-football-rankings/historical-ranking-of-english-football-clubs)

Historic… Blackburn Rovers won the 1994/95 Premier League.

Home attendance – Derby County possess the greatest home support in the league (*cough* free tickets *cough*). Whereas, Peterborough are once again last.

Packed… Derby County were the only club to achieve a sell-out last season.

Away attendance – ‘Dirty’ Leeds United are the Championship’s best travellers with Watford at the opposite end of the scale.

Marching on Together… Leeds away support is far superior.

Potential – Potential was measured by the club’s current winning odds for next season. Thus, Leicester City possess the most potential of the Championship’s clubs. Barnsley, this time are bottom. (source: http://www.oddschecker.com/football/english/championship)

Fox hunt… Leicester are the ‘most likely’ to achieve promotion.

When all the points are added the table of 2012/13 big clubs looks like this;

1.  Wolverhampton Wanderers – 123
2.  Blackburn Rovers – 122
3.  Bolton Wanderers – 119
4.  Leeds United – 113
5.  Leicester City – 112
6.  Birmingham City – 101
7.  Sheffield Wednesday – 99
8.  Derby County – 97
9.  Nottingham Forest – 95
10.  Middlesbrough – 90
11.  Blackpool – 81
12.  Cardiff City – 79
13.  Brighton & Hove Albion – 72
14=  Hull City – 65
14= Ipswich Town – 65
16.  Huddersfield Town – 60
17.  Burnley – 59
18=  Crystal Palace – 50
18=  Charlton Athletic – 50
20.  Watford – 33
21.  Barnsley – 30
22.  Bristol City – 29
23.  Millwall – 28
24.  Peterborough United – 20

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