Billy Grant discusses the Championship Bloggers’ League predictions made before the start of the 2016/17 season and tries to predict how accurate he thinks these predictions will be come May
In anticipation of the start of the season, Beesotted released a series of interviews with bloggers who gave us their thoughts on how they felt their team would perform in the Championship this season (Aston Villa to Brighton , Bristol City to Huddersfield , Ipswich to Preston , QPR to Wolves)
As opposed to Ian Holloway who’s predictions on Sky Sports caused much controversy – mainly for being completely out of touch with reality – the bloggers we spoke to were a little more measured in their predictions for the season.
So in typical Sky Sports stylee, we thought it would be interesting (and for a bit of fun I emphasise) to compile the fans’ OWN finishing predictions (so these are the positions each clubs fans predicted they would finish in) and pit them against each other to create a Blogger Championship League Table (note – where two bloggers predicted their team would end up in the same position, we have noted their place in the final Bloggers Table as a JOINT position).
As you can see from the table above, Newcastle (@NUFC_Index) and Brighton (@RalphWJBrown) are proudly holding the self-appointed top two spots. With, Derby County (@DerbyCountyPodcast) Ipswich (@HarryFromBath), Sheffield Wednesday (@OwlsOnline) and Norwich (@EdLakeCousins) occupying the playoff places – predicting that they would finish anywhere between 2nd and 6th.
At the other end of the table – Aston Villa, Rotherham (@AxholmeMiller) and Burton (@AdamBAFCDrew) occupy the relegation spots – Burton actually predicted they would miss the drop but no-one other than Rotherham and Villa produced a position lower than theirs so they ended up in the drop-zone – with Barnsley (@WestWideBogs), Blackburn (@MikeyDelap) and Birmingham finishing just above the drop-zone.
I did like the balls of Huddersfield and Wigan – predicting a 7th and 8th place finish respectively – putting them in the upper echelons of the table above the likes of Leeds, QPR, Brentford, Fulham and Nottingham Forest – in 7th and 9th place respectively in our bloggers table.
With an array of questions fired at them, the answers were interesting and in some cases humorous.
When asked how last season went for them and how they thought they would fare this coming season, some of the fans were pretty frank.
Aston Villa fan Colin Abbot – who predicted his team to finish 24th this season – described their relegation season as:
“… abysmal, tedious and totally embarrassing and I for one couldn’t wait for it to end to put us out of our misery”
When asked what was his biggest disappointment, his reply was:
“Wow, how many pages can I have?”
Newcastle unilaterally got the bloggers’ vote for taking the top spot. However, there were a few brave souls who went non-obvious and plumped for Brighton as their promotion favourite.
The team that bloggers almost unilaterally were prepared to lump £100 on for relegation was Rotherham. Burton did also feature on a number of bloggers lists it has to be said – unsurprisingly considering the rapidity of their meteoric rise to fame.
However, it was when traditional lower-league powerhouses the likes of Nottingham Forest (@DannyDPWetton) and Bristol City (@TheExiledRobin) were mentioned that my eyebrows started to raise.
The ‘surprise packet’ was an interesting section. Leeds was the team which featured most heavily with the bloggers as the team that could cause the most problems. Impressed by the appointment of Gary Monk and also United’s summer recruitment fans felt – as long as Cellino kept his nose out of the football business – Leeds could be knocking on the door of the playoff zone.
Burton and Barnsley (@WestSideBogs) were two teams that a number of bloggers felt would defy their critics. Fulham and Brentford also got a few mentions in this section as did Bristol City and Wigan (@LaticsSpeyk) – but only if Will Grigg is still on fire (of course)
Sheffield Wednesday fans got plenty of props from ‘rival’ fans for turning up in numbers, being very vocal .. and also being a friendly bunch.
I did like Birmingham’s (@OftenPartisan) description of a pre-season match against Hibs –
“A lovely weekend in Edinburgh spoiled by 90 minutes of turgid football”
as it sums up so many away-days that football fans would have experienced over the years”
I also like Rotherham’s (@AxholmeMiller) description of the Derby manager celebrating too soon at the back end of the season – being 3-0 up with 10 minutes to go:
“Darren Wassall spent most of the game running up and down the touchline in his fake Armani suit – juggling the ball and gesturing to the fans at every opportunity.
We scored three goals in those final ten minutes and had the game gone on a little longer, we would have won. Afterwards he blamed the players, the officials and indeed anybody but himself”
The biggest gripe amongst the fans was the level of refereeing. Money was a big issue with sensible ticket prices for The Championship mentioned a few times as well as the need for football clubs to start operating at ‘normal’ levels.
Sheffield Wednesday (@Owlsonline)
“£40m+ fees, £100k a week wages. Stop it. It’s going to get to NFL wage levels where the ‘working man’ becomes an after-thought when the costs are passed down the line”
Things that p!ssed fans off .. Leeds (@jamesjamesbrown) didn’t have too many kind words to say about Cellino.
Bristol City (@TheExiledRobin) were less than impressed by false transfer agent twitter accounts, monosyllabic footballers and Robbie Savage.
Whereas Derby (@DerbyCountyBlog) was equally as unimpressed with Darren Wassall as the Rotherham Fan.
There were too many comments to mention here. What I can say is (and of course I’m biased), overall it was a really interesting read.
Personally, I believe that – against all the odds – Newcastle (2nd) will be pipped to the title .. probably by Brighton (1st) … that Ipswich (11th) will finish nowhere near the playoff places … that Huddersfield (12th) will find it’s vast array of new players will find longer to gel than anticipated … that Leeds (6th) will surprise people .. but then Cellino will stick his oar in again after getting over-excited and it will go horribly wrong in the playoffs … Bristol City (14th) and Burton (19th) will do better than anticipated .. and Forest (21st) and Blackburn (20th) will be the surprise strugglers of the season.
But hey what do I know?
What will be even more interesting to see where each team ends up at the end of the season – in comparison to it’s own fans’ predictions.
Watch this space.
You can catch up with all the bloggers Championship previews right here here:
Do you think these fan predictions are accurate? Leave your comments in the comment fields below.
We discussed the Championship blogger previews in our Season Opener Podcast