Like most conversations that I have with my wife, it’s best to start with an apology.
Back in August, the MFW team laid out our predictions for the season in our annual tipster competition and extended the challenge to our readers.
Shortly afterwards, we moved the site to its revamped platform which resulted in all the comments containing readers’ predictions being wiped.
Sorry about that.
On the plus side, we have no means to either verify or counter any claims that you nailed it and smashed our scores.
But before crowning this year’s champion, it’s worth a reminder of the rules and some reflection on the final Championship table.
Predictions were made on the top six and bottom three with ‘penalty points’ awarded for the difference in the final standings, with the fewest overall points the better. For example, Gary G’s faith in Chris Coleman guiding Sunderland into the play-offs with a 6th place finish, carried a whopping 18-point penalty with the Mackems propping up the division in 24th.
[Spoiler alert – Gary didn’t win]
The Championship is a notoriously unpredictable league but there were a few ‘no-brainers’.
Looking at the play-offs, it’s no surprise to see Fulham, Villa, Boro and Derby set to fight it out. All four clubs began the season with short-odds to challenge for promotion; squads of experienced Championship players; managers who have ‘been there and done it’ and significant financial backing. Whilst money doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly helps.
Elsewhere, nobody will be surprised to see that Burton have ‘gone for a Burton’ or that our neighbours found themselves rooted in mid-table (although bearing in mind our own league position, there’s nothing to be gained from crowing about that).
So, many clubs finished broadly where you would have expected, but what of those who over or under performed?
In the original column, I wrote;
“In light of Huddersfield’s achievements last season, it will be interesting to see whether other ‘surprise packages’ emerge – Cardiff, Leeds, or Wolves perhaps?”
Under new ownership, Leeds were the form team in the early weeks of the season before normal service was resumed and they imploded, changing their badge, sacking their manager and changing their badge back again.
With hindsight, Wolves’ stroll to the title doesn’t seem like an upset. Far from being a ‘surprise package’, they were a class apart and worthy champions. Detractors may highlight the investigation surrounding the relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes but that would be a disservice to Nuno Espírito Santo and the football that his team have played.
And then there’s Colin’s Cardiff.
As polarising as Marmite, Warnock has performed wonders. Only Andy from the MFW team, gave Cardiff a sniff off the play-offs, whilst our Will had them nailed on for relegation. With limited funds, Warnock’s men upset the odds and plenty of others along the way with a crude yet effective game-plan.
Preston and Millwall deserve a mention for their 7th and 8th place finishes. Both teams were unfancied with many of us predicting the South Londoners would be battling against relegation. It will be interesting to see whether either club can build on their success, especially given Alex Neil’s experiences at Norwich.
For every yin, there’s a yang, so what of the under-achievers?
Having veered off the Premier League highway into the Championship ditch, the car crash that is Sunderland football club proceeded to roll and flip its way to League One. Of course, City’s relegation to the third tier proved to be the catalyst to a remarkable renaissance, so maybe there are happier times ahead for our ‘friends’ from the ‘Friendly Cup’. Then again, we weren’t paying Jack Rodwell 70 grand a week.
Hull briefly threatened to join the Wearsiders in notching up a double relegation and provided further evidence, that parachute payments won’t stop you plummeting downwards if your parachute is fundamentally holed.
Reading, having come within a penalty shoot-out of the Premier League last season, finished 3-points off the drop, whilst Sheffield Wednesday were another club who fell woefully short of their play-off aspirations.
It would of course be remiss not to mention Norwich City, what with this being MyFootballWriter.
I just don’t want to.
It was our lowest league position in almost a decade.
I’ll leave it there.
So, onto the ‘important’ part of crowning this season’s champion tipster. The scores have been calculated and independently verified (i.e. I got Mrs C to look at the spreadsheet) and the results are as follows;
|3rd||Gary F||41 points|
|7th||Gary G||54 points|
|9th tied||Connor||57 points|
|9th tied||Mick||57 points|
I’d like to be gracious and pass on the title to James in a manner that befits the spirit of this website.
But I can’t.
One point! ONE POINT!!
One point, robs me of retaining my title and it’s all down to bloody Millwall, who if they had any sense of decency and honour would have finished rock bottom like they were ‘supposed’ to, instead of finishing 8th and costing me victory.
I hate Millwall.
But congratulations to James, who will no doubt be arranging an open-top bus trip around Castle Meadow and apologies again to all those who submitted their own (undoubtedly more accurate) predictions.
Keep an eye out for next season’s competition sometime in August and we promise not to bin your selections this time.