With the Championship kick off just a month away, fans of the 24 clubs ready to battle are preparing themselves for another 9 months of heartbreak and ecstasy, and for most that first tear shed often comes when a star player moves to the Premier League.
But this summer, things are a little different, and for fans of the Championship, the league’s staying power is becoming clear.
In summer transfer windows gone by the Premier League big boys have swooped on the Championship’s most talented: Joleon Lescott, Fabian Delph and Wilfried Zaha are examples of those who had moved up a level after an impressive season.
And after a great 2013-2014 Championship campaign, there were a number of stand out performers which were tipped to join one of England’s top flight this summer but thankfully those who looked odds on to depart have stayed in The Championship.
And this should excite every fan of The Championship.
Strikers are always in demand and yet ten of the 15 league’s top goal scorers from last season look set to remain in the second tier, impressive when you consider how many were being linked with Premier League football in January and in the early weeks of the summer.
Top goal scorer Ross McCormack has joined relegated Fulham for an eye-watering £11m, while Jordan Rhodes and Craig Bryson have signed new long term contracts with their respective teams. And while the league have lost the Burnley duo Sam Vokes and Danny Ings as-well as QPR’s and Leicester City’s goal getters Charlie Austin, David Nugent and Jamie Vardy, managing to persuade the likes of Rhodes and co to say in The Championship is massive sign of just how well the league is doing.
With Will Hughes also turning down advances from the Premier League to stay at Derby County, the suggestion that the Premier League isn’t always greener, has never been clearer. Top players are preferring to stick with the Championship and achieve promotion with their current team instead of going out on a limb with a big money move to a Premier League team. Call it a lack of ambition but to many it’s a statement of how fast the Championship is growing into one of the best leagues in the world.
With the likelihood that those teams relegated from the Premier League will be keeping most of their stars: Scott Parker, Hugo Rodallega, Gary Hooper, Leroy Fer, and Fabio should all be gracing the turf of Championship clubs this season, meaning there are going to be even more big names to keep an eye out for.
Of course rumours will continue to circulate right up until the transfer window slams shut but with most of the league’s most exciting and talented players committed, more and more potential stars rising through youth systems and the handful of inevitable Premier League loanees to come in, this season could be the most exciting Championship yet.