Saturday, August 8, 2009

Has the football league ever had it so good?

The new football league season kicks off today and fan of the teams in the lower divisions of English football must be licking their lips at the opponents they will face.

In the Championship, Newcastle and Middlesborough will be the big scalps of the season. Teams like Peterborough and Blackpool must be so pleased to be able to say that they are in the same division as these massive football clubs. It is only a few years since Kevin Keegan’s famous, ‘I would love it if we beat them rant’ at Alex Ferguson, when it looked as if Newcastle United would be Premier League champions. Middlesborough themselves were playing in Europe only a handful of seasons ago.

A league including other big clubs such as with Leicester, Nottingham Forest, Derby, Bristol City, West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday is sure to rouse the fans. Clubs that could all make a case for deserving to be in the Premiership for the size of their fan bases, will be sure to throw up a lot of interesting match-ups and fierce rivalries in the coming weeks. It looks like it could be one of the best Championship seasons in years.

Yet it is not just the Championship that now has all the big non-Premier League teams. League One can now boast an wonderful line up of once great clubs. Playing in the third tier of English football this season are most notably, Leeds United, Norwich City, Southampton and Charlton. All of whom have played in the Premier League within the last five years. Leeds United of course made the semi final of the Champions League in 2001 but since then have infamously collapsed into relative obscurity in League One.

Even League Two has hit the headlines in recent weeks. Although not boasting the same array of big clubs, the oldest club in the world Notts County have just signed up Sven Goran Eriksson as director of football. Eriksson is one of the highest profile managers in the world and arguably one of the best. With new rich Arab owners Notts County could be a club to watch in the next few seasons as they look to climb from the fourth league to the top.

Whatever happens it looks as if it will be a very exciting season this year.

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