You’d be forgiven for thinking that Premier League football is exciting, enthralling and unpredictable. Invest £40 of your student loan in a ticket to see Manchester United against Chelsea and this is exactly what you might see. However, for less money, you could be watching high quality football with a unique and British feel and truly capricious results.
Football is money. Over the last ten years, billions of pounds have been pumped into the Premier League, the price of players has become ridiculously inflated and costs of running the clubs have been handed down to the fans. According to the BBC’s price of football survey, the cheapest match day at Anfield would cost the fans £46.95. The average cheapest match day price for Premier League football is £31.80. In the Championship, West Ham is the most expensive team to watch, charging £40.30 for a ticket, programme, pie and a cup of tea. The average match day cost for Championship fans is just £28.13. The championship offers better value and a better atmosphere than the Premier League.
When the fixture list is announced, Premier League clubs start to count up their points. The top clubs can predict that they will get three points against Blackburn, Wigan, Norwich, Swansea and West Brom. Those clubs which have less money in the Premier League are certain to struggle. In the Championship, any team can beat any other team. Southampton are already five points clear at the top of the Championship, having only been promoted last season and having lost their key creative talent in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Leicester, the team with by far the highest transfer budget and until recently, Sven Goran Erikson at the helm, are struggling in 12th place, behind all three clubs who were promoted from League 1 last year.
The players in the Championship care for their club. Take Billy Sharp for example: His courage and desire to play for bottom club Doncaster just days after the death of his baby son shows dedication and a sheer love for football. This is not so evident with Premier League football players. Carlos Tevez made back page headlines when he refused to warm up for Manchester City, preferring to earn £200,000 whilst sitting on the bench. Despite such a gap in wages and media coverage between the two leagues, the players are more devoted and committed to their clubs in the Championship than they are in the Premier League.
Managers are a vital part of football today. In the Premier League, Alan Pardew has worked wonders with his Newcastle United squad, lifting them to third place in the league. However, he was not awarded the manager of the month award, with the decision going to Roberto Macini, manager of top of the table Manchester City, who spent over £100 million on improving his squad over the summer. The Championship is the right environment for managers. Due to a much more even playing field in terms of spending money, tactical ability and man management is far more important in the Championship. Steve McClaren’s failure at Nottingham Forest shows how difficult the world’s most reputable managers find life in the championship. Steve Cotterill’s revival of the struggling club has shown that the Championship table can change in an instant.
The fans in the Championship are the best in the world. They sing, they dance and they know every aspect of their club inside out. They support young talents and do not pressure the managers as soon as their club gets knocked out of the Carling Cup. With 46 league games in the season, the Championship offers its magnificent fans better football, cheaper pies and more passionate players than the Premier League.