I was away last week and didn’t log on much, on account of having a temperamental handheld device (a tip – don’t drop your computer onto a tiled surface) and iffy connections courtesy of a not-so-local bar.
But log on I did, twice.
The first time, it was to find three quarters of our readers thought our chances of immediate promotion were scuppered.
On my second log-in Colin’s poll had closed and the number had dropped to 70%. That’s still quite a damning figure.
Me, I’m not so pessimistic.
I remember what happened ten years ago, when the right combination of people lifted us from the bottom of the Championship to the top, and that after an appalling start. Maybe we could do something similar this season. I think a lot of the bad things associated with Sunderland will be gone soon, that we will shortly begin to rebuild from top to bottom, and we could at least make the playoffs after recovering our fighting spirit.
So I’m going to widen the focus of Colin’s original theme with another poll. In this one you can pick your top six finishers, for reasons which should be obvious. You have the whole of the Championship to choose from and, as in previous years, you don’t have to vote for – or even support – Sunderland.
The poll is open to all. If you’re a chance reader from another club let your mates know we exist; the more partaking in the poll the better (we have had votes running into the thousands previously) and any comments you or they make will be welcome as long as they abide by the usual rules of decency, respect etc. Comments will be held for moderation but will go up in due course.
I’ll let the poll run for a while, bringing you updates from time to time, and towards the start of the season I’ll combine it with some more of my dodgy numbers* so we can keep an eye on events as the next few months unfold.
Alongside the poll you’ll find my thoughts on some of the clubs we’ll meet next season. Feel free to disagree. As well as selecting the clubs (up to six) which you think will finish in the top slots, you can tell me why I’m wrong, comment about these or any other clubs that take your fancy, give reasons for your choices, or just let us know your thoughts about the Championship.
And while we’re on the subject of commentary, if anyone fancies writing a prediction, match report or the like (SAFC fans) or taking part in a pre-game “who are you” (opposition fans) please get in touch. E-mail M Salut at email@example.com and we’ll take it from there.
|[polldaddy poll=9776454]|| Reading. Knocking at the door for so long. Will this be their season? They’re a well set up club and must fancy their chances. I think they’ll be there or thereabouts at Easter and involved up to the end.
Leeds. Maybe yes, maybe no. After looking like they might make the playoffs only to falter, how easy will it be easy for them to rebuild and then sustain momentum? I can’t see them regaining their former glory until they have a bit of solidity off the field, so the question is “Will those summertime changes give them it?”
Hull – in 2014 I said they might be destined to become another yo-yo club. So far, I’ve been proved right. Will they yo-yo back up, or will off-pitch troubles damage their chances? They have money on their side this time but I have a feeling their fans are becoming less forgiving.
Boro – Richer for last year’s escapade and with a new, Championship-savvy manager. Will they put those invaluable resources to good use or sink into the mediocrity which has so often consumed them? I think they have a good chance but they need a good start.
Norwich – which way will they go after a disappointing season? The same could be asked of Villa. Both clubs have to get a move on but I just can’t see it happening, although Norwich seems the better placed to mount a challenge. I think their fans will be expecting a top six finish, maybe better. Me, I’m not so sure. I’m wondering if they have found their level after failing at the Premiership.
Sheffield United. There are those who remember a club done down by dubious dealings and many, myself included, would no doubt like to see them back at the top. But, like us to some extent, they haven’t lived up to their history for some time. After promotion it has to be consolidation for the Blades, and why not?
Their neighbours Sheffield Wednesday may be a different prospect. They must be disappointed after last season but remain capable of mounting a challenge and I fancy them for another top six spot, though maybe in the bottom half.
Millwall – came up via the playoffs so you wouldn’t expect them to make a charge up the division. That said, Millwall have an intimidating home base and will pick up some points there. Will that be enough to carry the club? I don’t think so but I don’t think it will matter to the fans as long as they stay up, especially if they can stuff one of their London rivals in doing so.
Bolton – who doesn’t have a soft spot for Bolton Wanderers? I think, however, if I were a Bolton fan, that consolidation would be good enough for me. And while I’m on the subject of Bolton fans, if my season-ticket-holding former OU colleague Brian fancies the who are you slot (I can’t make Tuesdays so meeting up for a pre-match pint isn’t on) please get in touch.
Nottingham Forest. Having survived a tense end of season they have a chance to regroup. And that’s about all I can see them doing. Mid-table mediocrity beckons, which might all that some of their fans want this season.
Derby. Hmm, another one that gets me thinking. See Pete’s analysis for a team you could expect to be fired up for an opening game and a strong push for promotion
Birmingham. Fell too far, too fast to strike me as contenders this season. They are still a work in progress and I think they could be for a while.
*McCormick's Dodgy numbers: the arithmetic's correct, it's just the rest could be a bit wonky