May 03, 2013

As the season gets closer to a close, the npower Championship league has hit some turbulence: some, like Crystal Palace's Ian Holloway feel Watford's use of loan players from foreign teams their owners also control is unfair. Understandably, Watford fans do not and quickly try to change the subject to Cardiff City's crass purchase of promotion by a new owner who feels only the barest sense loyalty to the team's history.

posted by yerfatma to soccer at 10:45 AM - 10 comments

Holloway doesn't have much to say about Ipswich Town's use of a seeming army of loan players, I presume because we're not above him in the table.

At one point our starting eleven featured more loan players (six), than owned players and we could have played seven, because two were from outside the country.

We had nine loan players in the squad at one point and after a few went back to their clubs we borrowed others.

Having said this, NBC should give up on the Premiership and just show the Championship - it's vastly more interesting.

For obvious reasons someone new wins the pot every year and on top of that the type of team that wins also changes - it can be a the nouveau riche, riding a wave of money through the lower divisions, someone using parachute payments to outspend the entire division or the plucky outsider with moderate pockets who goes on a run after Christmas and vaults from bottom to top.

That potential vault is there because at mid-season it's entirely possible to be nine points off the relegation spots while also being nine points out of the promotion play-offs.

On top of this, Ipswich only confirmed they would avoid relegation this past week with a win over Birmingham that moved them to sixty points.

Meanwhile, beneath them are Wolves who fell out of the Premiership last year and could well be enjoying day trips to Stevenage next year in the third division.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:08 AM on May 03

Holloway doesn't have much to say about Ipswich Town's use of a seeming army of loan players

I think his complaint is about using teams in other leagues as farm teams for your "real" club(s), but given the financial set up of football leagues around Europe, what is the problem? That's the reality of it anyway and at least partially the point of loans even when teams aren't owned by the same person.

posted by yerfatma at 01:34 PM on May 03

On the note of NBC, I believe Al Jazeera's beIn picked up the Championship ... very smart move given (I believe) it's the fourth most attended league in the world.

In today's world, this is life; clubs will do what they believe is necessary to advance. Fleetwood Town spent obscene money for the Conference to promote into the Football League last season; with Watford's Italian connections, this is the route they felt was best.

As for Cardiff City, the owner did turn off many fans when he threw out history by changing the badge and colors simply on the idea that the club might become marketable in Asia. Now that they're there, let's see if he'll spend to keep them there or if he'll go the Blackpool route - cheapskates - and make a quick return.

posted by jjzucal at 04:18 PM on May 03

Nice to see in at least one league the last day of games had plenty of meaningful games, with playoff places and relegation spots determined. Any predictions on which team will win the playoff and be the third team coming to the top?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:36 AM on May 04

I'll go with Crystal Palace ... gotta get Ian back to the EPL. Always good for an interesting quote.

posted by jjzucal at 08:03 PM on May 04

Sally the Seagull needs Premier League exposure. And Brighton are a great example of how to run a football club properly, and on behalf of the fans and community.

That's my niece in there.

posted by owlhouse at 10:15 PM on May 04

Damn nice stadium. One thing to be said about these clubs: they're reasonable enough to not overbuild knowing a) promotion can be a longshot (see Darlington post-relegation from Football League, which became a disaster), b) they realize they won't get 40,000 for matches unless a really big name visits, and c) they tend to work within the physical landscape (whether urban/suburban/rural) of the community.

posted by jjzucal at 12:16 PM on May 05

NBC should give up on the Premiership and just show the Championship - it's vastly more interesting.

I'm pretty sure it's the most competitive league division in Europe, in part because the competition is so desperate. As Mr B notes, a couple of months of bad results can take you from the top to the drop.

Right now, it's better to spread your ownership across Europe and take advantage of the looser loan classification, and adjust your squads based upon who's best set at mid-season. But how long, I wonder, before league rules are changed so that Premier League club owners can also have stakes in lower-league teams and use them as de facto reserve sides?

posted by etagloh at 01:19 PM on May 06

The Guardian podcast pointed out yesterday that not only were the last promotion spot, last playoff spot and last relegation spot in the Championship decided in the 46th and final game, but they were also all decided with goals after the 88th minute.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:04 AM on May 07

@etagloh Why not just go direct for the Spanish model that lets Primera clubs have B sides in lower levels?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:46 AM on May 07

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