Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome to the Championship, Newcastle!

And Middlesbrough, of course.

After years of visiting grounds like Old Trafford, Highbury/The Emirates, Anfield, Goodison Park, White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge, with their huge capacities, now it's their turn to visit grounds that look like Craven Cottage or Fratton Park.

Every week.

Barnsley, Blackpool, Bristol City (it has plants growing in the steps!), Watford, Palace and the wooden seats! I bet our new arrivals cannot wait to go to Loftus Road! Leicester, Peterborough and Scunthorpe all await them as well. August just can't come around quickly enough!

Joking aside, I can't wait for when Ipswich play Newcastle, both home and away. For most of the clubs in the Championship, it will probably be the sell out fixture. It'll be interesting to see what the attendances of the away fans are at St James' Park next season, especially when Plymouth make the incredibly, incredibly long journey up there.

For Newcastle and Middlesbrough fans, a word of warning. Don't think it's going to be an easy ride. Just look at what has happened to teams like Leicester City, Leeds United and the three who have been relegated this season, Southampton, Charlton and Norwich! All of these clubs have graced the Premiership in the past 10 years, now they're all in League One (or have been in League One). The Championship is most probably the best second tier division in Europe, and on it's day, anyone can beat anyone. None of the teams who got promoted from League One got relegated last season, Swansea even came close to the play-offs. Birmingham City may have got promoted straight back to the Promised Land, but Reading finished in the play-off places and went crashing out to Burnley, a team who have been in the Championship for all eternity (congratulations on being promoted, it must be nice to be out of here!), and Derby. Well, they started out where they left off and looked likely to keep falling for a while. Newcastle and Boro fans will be in for an interesting summer. Especially Newcastle fans, considering the club's finances.

I'm counting down the days until next season's fixture list comes out, I'm already planning my 09/10 tour! It's my last season before I go to university, so I want to make a memorable one. I hope my beloved team do the same...

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