While the standard of football isn’t always the highest, it is hard to contest the notion that the English Championship isn’t one of the most entertaining competitions in the world.
The last day of the 2019/20 campaign brought incredible tension and a series of jaw-dropping results at both ends of the table.
In the end, West Brom were promoted despite drawing with QPR – had the Hoops found a late winner, then Brentford would have been promoted on goal difference.
Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest dropped out of the play-off places – they have occupied the top six for much of the campaign – at the final moment, losing 1-4 at home to Stoke to be usurped by Cardiff City and Swansea City, who both won comfortably.
At the bottom end of the table, a late winner for Barnsley saw them leap out of the relegation zone for the first time since September – Charlton were the unfortunate outfit they swapped places with.
And then there’s poor old Wigan Athletic, who technically finished thirteenth in the table based on performances alone, but who have been deducted 12 points for entering administration. That loss was enough to see them relegated to the third tier alongside Charlton and Hull City.
|Leeds United (C)||Brentford||Charlton Athletic|
|Cardiff City||Hull City|
It was a hugely frustrating day for all involved in the club, and manager Paul Cook said he was ‘physically sick’ at the turn of events.
“We’ve just got to keep hold of our dignity at the minute because it’s painful.
“The support staff around the stadium who’ve kept coming in and working and keeping us going – I feel physically sick for everyone.”
Hope On the Horizon for the Latics?
The cause of Wigan’s demise has not been their on-field performances – they have been one of the best sides in the Championship since Christmas – but boardroom turmoil. Isn’t that often the way!?
The circumstances that surround their takeover in June remain sketchy, with the former owners – the vaguely-named Hong Kong consortium International Entertainment Corporation – selling their share to the Next Leader Fund, another Middle Eastern entity.
But in barely a month of NLF’s ownership, the Latics had been placed into administration, forcing redundancies upon 75 staff, pay cuts for players and coaches and that crippling 12-point deduction.
The most frustrating part, and this is a loophole that must be looked at, is that if Wigan plan on appealing the deduction they will have to pay both theirs and the EFL’s legal fees – rumoured to be around £500,000.
On a slightly brighter note, it would seem that a buyer for the club has been found, with the administrators confirming that an unnamed bidder had agreed to clear the club’s football debts and give £1.5 million to satisfying the Lancashire outfit’s non-football creditors, who are said to be owed £6 million.
It means that Wigan should be in good shape for the start of the 2020/21 campaign – be it in League One or otherwise, and having finished this season on a run of form of W10 D6 L2 they will surely take some stopping next term.