Last weekend saw the confirmation of who will be relegated from the Premiership meaning we can begin to get to work this summer knowing who the majority of the opposition will be. Hull City’s failure to beat Crystal Palace meant that they will join Middlesborough and Sunderland in the Championship next season.
If Huddersfield Town gains promotion via the playoff’s, then of the 23 teams who know they will be playing in the league next term*, there are 17 who have previously played in the Premiership. (*Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers will be promoted from League One while the last playoff winner is yet to be decided).
With so many old and traditional names in the second division of English football, it really is a grave for fallen giants. The Championship arguably boasts more big club’s from yesteryear than today’s current crop. Fans and the owner, however, care more about the here and now and being in the top league is all that matters if the club is to have a chance of returning to those successful days of the past.
Although we’re favourites for promotion among bookmaker reviews, the task of promotion will not be an easy one. First Roberto Di Matteo and now Steve Bruce are finding out just how hard life can be in this league. With Newcastle United being promoted, Norwich City, and Villa remain the most recent teams to have tasted Premiership football (ignoring this season’s three relegated teams from the Premiership). There are signs that other teams will be seizing the opportunity to give promotion a serious go next term including the old enemy across the city.
The signs are that Wolverhampton Wanderers are moving for the former Middlesborough manager Aitor Karanka and will hand him funds to try and gain promotion. Across the city, Harry Redknapp has signed a one-year deal and been promised funds too. The three relegated teams also bring with them experience at this level and strong hopes of a quick return to the top table.
It just enhances the importance of Aston Villa getting things right next season. Changing the manager would do the club no favours. Steve Bruce has the experience of getting things right at this level and knows what it takes to get clubs out of this league. This summer could be one of the most important in recent memory. As discussed on various other posts recently that it is vital that the manager gets the team gelled and playing as a team.