There are few better days in the life of a supporter than the day that promotion from the Championship to the Premier League takes place. Some clubs spent decades trying to escape football’s version of Alcatraz only to be left stranded at the end. For the lucky few, liberation from the Championship often means a new prosperous dawn for the club you support. So, with that said and the crucial Easter landmark now past, who will successfully make the long walk to freedom in late May?
It looks for all the money in the world that Norwich will claim the first automatic position and, in all likelihood, also win the league whilst doing so. That is at least what the latest Championship odds point to with the Canaries having been priced at 1/25 to claim the title.
Norwich seem to be turning into the proverbial yo-yo club having only just been relegated the season before, but such tags won’t bother their supporters. They are primed to win the league and receive £170 million, so it is very much party time in Norfolk.
Joining Norwich in the Premier League should be Watford barring any late stumble on the home stretch. The Hornets are at 1/12 to be promoted and like Norwich, they should go up at the first time of asking after also being relegated last season. The story of both club’s instant bounce back to the top-flight makes a strong case for the astonishing benefits of the exorbitant parachute payments that relegated clubs receive. Indeed, promotion is so lucrative that even if a club goes down, they still have the extraordinary financial power to get back up.
Now, there is only one promotion spot left via the playoffs, who will take it and join Norwich and Watford in the Premier League? Well, as it turns out, it seems as if everybody behind the Championship leaders is doing their best not to go up.
Brentford, who lie in third, have drawn their last four games whilst Swansea in fifth have lost their last four games. These two clubs are in the midst of a catastrophic choke now that the bright lights of the Premier League are in sight. But their position in the playoff places looks to be assured with Brentford the favorites to advance under the Wembley arch at odds of 13/10.
With that being the case, the Bees know how to get to Wembley but don’t necessarily know how to win there, after having lost the 2019/2020 play-off final to Fulham last season.
Manager Thomas Frank will be urging his side not to dwell on past disappointments experienced at the home of football as their date with destiny surely approaches again.
As far as the wild card goes, it will be one of the footballing stories of the season should fifth-placed Barnsley go up. The Tykes are at 4/1 to complete a fairytale season and it’s hard to believe that they only managed to avoid relegation from the Championship with what was the in essence the last kick of the 2019/2020 season. Now more than ever is the time for cool heads and unshakeable composure as the untold riches of the Premier League dangle in front of a pack of chasing clubs.