2014-15 Championship Review

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The final day of the Championship summed the division up. Excitement, despair and results you do not expect. This season saw the closest promotion race ever, with eight teams still in contention to go up automatically with just a month of the season to go.

In the end, champions AFC Bournemouth reached the Premier League for the first time in their history, with Watford also earning automatic promotion – congratulations to both. They will be joined by one of Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brentford or Ipswich, who will compete in the play-offs over the coming weeks. At the other end of the table, commiserations to Millwall, Wigan Athletic and Blackpool who were unfortunately relegated to League One.

Final League Table

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You may notice that Blackpool and Huddersfield have only played 45 games. This is because the match between the two on the final day of the season was abandoned due to a Blackpool fans protest. The Football League are currently deciding what will happen.

*Rotherham United deducted 3 points for Fielding Ineligible Player 

Team of the Season

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Player of the Season

Troy Deeney – Watford

Watford v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship

Two years ago, Troy Deeney’s heroics nearly earned Watford promotion to the top-flight, and many thought he would leave when this was not achieved. But the striker stayed at Vicarage Road, and has spearheaded this season’s charge to the Premier League, which this time has been successful. The Hornets scored 91 goals on their way up, 21 of which were Deeney’s placing him second in the division’s goalscoring charts. The only Watford player included in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, the 26 year old also managed to get eight assists to his name, meaning he contributed to nearly a third of the club’s goal tally this season. Deeney was named captain at Vicarage Road at the start of the season, and has taken on the role and responsibilities in his stride, and will be left disappointed that he didn’t get to lift the league title.

2nd – Patrick Bamford (Middlesbrough)

3rd – Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth)

Manager of the Season

Eddie Howe – Bournemouth

RJ Bournemouth Plymouth

When Eddie Howe first joined Bournemouth six years ago, they were 23rd in League Two and in huge danger of dropping out of the Football League. Via a spell in charge at Burnley, Howe guided the Cherries to the second tier in 2013, and has now achieved the seemingly impossible by earning promotion to the Premier League for the first time in Bournemouth’s 125 year history. They lost just eight games all season, and their 98 goals meant that they were one goal away from equally the most in a Championship season. This is down to the fast, free flowing football that Eddie Howe who has got them playing, and tactics that won them the league title on the final day. It’s an incredible story, and Howe, who was named Football League manager of the decade (2005-2015), must take a huge amount of credit. It’s even more amazing considering the former defender is the Football League’s seventh youngest boss at just 37 years old.

2nd – Mark Warburton (Brentford)

3rd – Mick McCarthy (Ipswich Town)

Goal of the Season

Yann Kermorgant v Ipswich Town

 

2nd – Gary Gardner vs Reading

3rd – Giles Coke vs Brighton

Game of the Season

Blackpool 4-4 Nottingham Forest

Gary Gardner

David Ferguson’s late header earned Blackpool a point and denied Nottingham Forest a third consecutive win under Dougie Freedman after an astonishing game that saw seven second-half goals. Gary Madine swept the hosts in front and Andrea Orlandi’s shot made it 2-0. Strikes by Dexter Blackstock and Gary Gardner drew Forest level, only for Steve Davies to hook Blackpool ahead. Henri Lansbury’s penalty, after Tom Aldred saw red, and Chris Burke’s shot made it 4-3 before Ferguson headed in. By the time substitute Ferguson glanced home his 97th-minute equaliser, Blackpool were down to nine men following the dismissal of debutant Aldred and a late injury to Darren O’Dea. Read the full report here.

2nd – Fulham 4-3 Middlesbrough

Read the full report here.

3rd – Watford 7-2 Blackpool

Read the full report here.

Club-by-club Player of the Season

Bournemouth: Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie Bournemouth

Birmingham City: Demarai Gray

Blackburn Rovers: Jordan Rhodes

Blackpool: Andrea Orlandi

Bolton Wanderers: Darren Pratley

Brentford: Alex Pritchard

Brighton & Hove Albion: Lewis Dunk

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Cardiff City: Bruno Ecuele Manga

Charlton Athletic: Johan Gudmundsson

Derby County: Chris Martin

Fulham: Ross McCormack

Huddersfield Town: Sean Scannell

Ipswich Town: Daryl Murphy

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Leeds United: Lewis Cook

Middlesbrough: Patrick Bamford

Millwall: Sid Nelson

Norwich City: Nathan Redmond

Nottingham Forest: Michail Antonio

Reading: Adam Federici

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Rotherham United: Matt Derbyshire

Sheffield Wednesday: Kieren Westwood

Watford: Troy Deeney

Wigan Athletic: James Perch

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Bakary Sako

The 2015-16 Sky Bet Championship campaign starts on 8th August. If you disagree with any of the awards, please feel free to let me know who you think deserved a mention in the comments below!

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