Step up in class from League 1

MillerWhale

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I've always monitored the other board (TFF), but now there's a free board, I'm.... errrr/ onboard.

I thought I'd provide a perspective on my experience of this season's Championship from what I've seen so far, for those that can be bothered to read it, or are interested.

Supporting Rotherham United has been nothing, if not a fascinating journey. I genuinely believe all supporters of lower league clubs (and to be fair, 'proper' fans of Premier League clubs) will also be able to write with such demonstrable fondness and excitability. And that's the beauty, right?

More importantly, Rotherham as a town with a long, colourful history is back in its own town and with its own ground. That sounds a modest wish list, but since falling from the Championship last time round, we snowballed into near extinction, with some astounding things happen along the way. Two administrations, CVAs and a combined 37 points deducted only scratched the surface. A temporary move to neighbouring Sheffield to play at Don Valley Athletics stadium to watch Drewe Broughton lead the line on his own should act as a shuddering idea to any football fan. We lost our identity, we lost our respect in the football world and we even fought among ourselves. To think back, I can't believe how great and rapid the resurgence has been. Of course, true to form, RUFC appointed a much maligned character in big Steve Evans.

Since the last time we embarked upon the second tier (roughly 9/10 seasons before this, but I'm far too lazy to check), things have changed. Yes, you still had fallen Premiership giants such as Manchester City and Leeds United, big clubs such as Wolves, Wednesday and Sunderland striving to return to the top flight, but more crucially, there were still a good four or five smaller clubs punching above their proverbial weight.

Again, a lack of bothering to check will make the validity of this post somewhat questionable, but in the seasons we were there, similar sized clubs (certainly at that time) such as Walsall, Stockport, Grimsby, Barnsley were all there yet backed by a modest budget. Since our heavy fall from grace, smaller clubs than these and ourselves such as Donny, Scunthorpe and Yeovil have all embarked on a similar journney, albeit with moderate success.

Now, there is ourselves, Blackpool, Wigan, Brentford, Bournemouth, Huddersfield and Fulham which you'd traditionally class as the smaller clubs in the division (depending on how near or far you want to go back through time, you could adjust for Fulham, Wigan and Blackpool). But what has changed is the might of the smaller clubs. Bournemouth and Brentford backed by wealthy benefactors? Who'd have thought it?

So this huge financial backing of the perceived smaller clubs has obviously made it a more level playing field. I mean even the most optimistic Bournemouth and Brentford fan couldn't have imagined a season so fruitful, surely? That's not to say success is secured by any means, but even so, they've raced a good race whatever happens thereon in. From what I've seen of both, I think they could both challenge. Even Blackpool seemingly in a spiral of destruction can attract decent players of old such as O'Hara or Davis; the latter injury-riddled rather than a has-been.

So based on all of the above, the competition is much tougher than it was 9/10 years ago. The influx of foreign players into the top flight has no doubt impacted the standard in the second tier, making it much superior to that of 9/10 years ago.

Pace seems the invaluable attribute. Players that stood out for us last season have struggled to do so this year. A better quality player, perhaps, but the grit, snappiness and pace the opposition close the ball/space down make it extremely hard for slower ball players to impose themselves on the game (unless they're really, really good).

The Millers? We've struggled. Even when I think we've played well, opposition fans and the media have described us as ordinary and "we should be beating teams like that."

I think we'll go very close, but hoping we have enough to inch out of it. Blackpool have too much to do I would think, Charlton looked dire, as did Wigan. Not seen Millwall, but they've added well and have put two good results together, and you'd think Olly would at least have them going down fighting. Brighton have enough quality to pull away, as do Leeds and Bolton.

You could argue anyone up to 12th could be dragged into it, but my instinct is that Blackpool will go, and then two from ourselves, Millwall, Charlton, Huddersfield and Wigan will go.

I hope it isn't us, but it's full of local derbies if we go down. Looking on the bright side is part and parcel of supporting a club like RUFC.

I'm looking forward to exchanging jibes with proper football fans of all clubs great and small.
 

SeasideKurt

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Fantastic post.

But reference us. Our only two or three players of Championship quality are O Hara Davies and Lewis. Lewis is "ill" for this weekend. And O Hara and Davies are surrounded by dribble of which I am of a better quality. Unfortunately, we're down. Oyston Out.
 

MillerWhale

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It's a sorry state of affairs over there, Kurt. I like Blackpool (though I like Norwich as well, something about 'peacocking' kits I think) and it was a sorry state of affairs when I visited in December. We were passed an 'Oyston Out' banner in the working men's club type place to unfold during the game, but the mod-handed stewards sought it out of us and confiscated it before even getting through the turnstiles.

I've read about an outspoken fan being (allegedly) roughed up by Oyston's bodyguards and followed round etc. I hope, somehow, a resolution occurs sooner rather than later. Sadly, Oyston doesn't seem the sort to be pressured out.

Incidentally, despite Blackpool's frailties at the back in both games, I don't think they were the worst team I've seen. In the second half at Bloomfield Road you came out with real purpose and after a thoroghly dominant first half, we were probably lucky to get the point in the end.

The worst team I've seen were Forest at NYS.
 

AFCB_Mark

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There was a bit of a shock when we first came up from League One, we got battered by 5 and 6 by Huddersfield and Watford and generally looked out of our depth in most away games for a little while (although we were just about doing enough at home).

What changed was Howe abandoning the promotion winning formation/style of play and becoming very conservative for a while. 4-5-1, nick a goal, 1-1 draws and the odd tight win etc. It seemed to teach our players the importance of touch and ball retention, and moving the ball around the pitch as opposed to just running forward. And then we slowly let the reigns go a bit to see if the players wised up, which luckily they did. It's a culture shock, that's for sure. And as MW mentions, pace is crucial.

I also appreciate that, at the moment, we have the massive advantage of being able to spend some money in an area where we might be deficient. The players who we brought up here with us and taught to play at this level, we've been able to add too with a bit of prior experience or some raw talent.

That said over our many, many years in League One I think it gradually became better in quality and I'd imagine that's only continued. You don't get many pub teams these days.

This is one thing that really impressed me about Brentford actually. They came up here and were immediately bloody good.
 
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Madejski

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#7
So based on all of the above, the competition is much tougher than it was 9/10 years ago. The influx of foreign players into the top flight has no doubt impacted the standard in the second tier, making it much superior to that of 9/10 years ago.
Interesting, I would say the level of the league now is similar to 10 years ago, but in between that period, and in particular 2008-2012 the league was very high quality, especially at the top. This year has been a step up on the past couple, but last year the top of the league was at an all time low IMO, teams were finishing in the play-offs just for being semi-consistent, without too much quality - There was about six teams who in no normal season should be anywhere near the playoffs still in with a chance on the last day. These changes may not always extend back down to the bottom of the league, but I think the league has dropped off in quality a bit.

Also your comment about pace was intriguing. Never knew that it was that big a difference between League One and Championship for pace. You very rarely see a team at the bottom of the Championship with say two quick wingers and a quick striker, and I know in the past we're relied heavily on pace/fast counter attacks. But go up to the Prem and then pace isn't as important, in the fact that as long as you aren't snails pace it doesn't make a difference, as teams are much better at dealing with the pace of the opposition than maybe the defences in the Championship.
 

Bobbin'

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but last year the top of the league was at an all time low IMO
I'm not sure, the year before was appalling, Cardiff and Hull finished as the top 2 and they really were quite poor sides. The sides that were relegated had a high number of points too if I remember rightly, Peterborough had 50 odd I think, just shows that there wasn't a huge difference in class from top to bottom.
 

Muzzle

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Pie Eaters and Donkey Lashers are down, and going off form, it would be Millwall I suspect
 
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So who would you expect to come up with you?
It's hard to tell at the moment, Us, Bristol City and MK keep interchanging in the top 2, whilst its possible for someone of the likes of Sheff United to go on a run and gatecrash the top 2. If I had to name my 3, I would go for Us, MK and Chesterfield via playoffs.
 

TTOCS

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In reality we've been top all season except for on GD when Swindon played more games than us. I have no doubt we'll be in the Championship next year.

The poor teams in League One are dreadful but our Championship relegation team wasn't much better. As seen lately though the better teams in League One can often have a go at the play offs upon promotion.
 

Spire1866

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It's hard to tell at the moment, Us, Bristol City and MK keep interchanging in the top 2, whilst its possible for someone of the likes of Sheff United to go on a run and gatecrash the top 2. If I had to name my 3, I would go for Us, MK and Chesterfield via playoffs.
The thought of that boggles my mind and excites me a little.

Pints on me if you are right.
 

Westbars_Spireite

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It's hard to tell at the moment, Us, Bristol City and MK keep interchanging in the top 2, whilst its possible for someone of the likes of Sheff United to go on a run and gatecrash the top 2. If I had to name my 3, I would go for Us, MK and Chesterfield via playoffs.
Yes please.
 

D B Disco

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It's hard to tell at the moment, Us, Bristol City and MK keep interchanging in the top 2, whilst its possible for someone of the likes of Sheff United to go on a run and gatecrash the top 2. If I had to name my 3, I would go for Us, MK and Chesterfield via playoffs.
What a load of bollocks.

You were only top due to playing more games than us. Based on games played, we've been top practically all season.

God, I really do hope Swindon don't make it this year.
 

This Charming Mike

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#19
What a load of bollocks.

You were only top due to playing more games than us. Based on games played, we've been top practically all season.

God, I really do hope Swindon don't make it this year.
I forgot being top doesn't count if a team has played more games than another.

Moron.
 

AFCB_Mark

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It just matters who is top, and second, when the music stops come May. Bristol City look good for it at the moment, but I seem to remember they aren't adverse to blowing up in a promotion push from the third tier in the past.

As for Swindon, I'd be far happier for Swindon to manage it compared to back under Di Canio, with all the constant saber rattling and endless random players coming and going under him.
 

D B Disco

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I forgot being top doesn't count if a team has played more games than another.

Moron.
So if Swindon were 1 point clear at the top, but had played 10 more games than anyone else, you would be gloating yes?

(.......................................) This space is reserved to make a point about not resorting to making personal insults.
 
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This Charming Mike

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So if Swindon were 1 point clear at the top, but had played 10 more games than anyone else, you would be gloating yes?

(.......................................) This space is reserved to make a point about not resorting to making personal insults.
I didn't gloat when we were top and I'm not gloating now. You bizarrely took offence to Di Phelpsio rightly stating that City, Swindon and MK had been swapping positions for a few weeks and then proceeded to wrongly claim that you had in fact been top all season.

I full expect City to win the league given your squad and budget. That we are still within reach of you at this stage of the season is an achievement in itself.
 

Indian Dan

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#24
It is a bit of an anomaly that the teams that win L1 do less well in the Championship than the runner-up.

Donny won - Bmuff 2nd

Wolves won - Brentford 2nd

Brighton won - Southampton 2nd

Luton winning in 2004 is a warning to all!
 

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