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Worrying trend in race for promotion to the Premier League

The Championship is a notoriously competitive division, and it is difficult for any side – regardless of history and ambition – to predict with any kind of certainty what each passing season will have in store for them.

The second tier of English football epitomises the old adage that ‘everybody can beat anybody on their day’. That looks like it is ringing particularly true when it comes to the battle for promotion in 2023-24.

Some big teams – ones with global fan bases and Premier League titles to their name – tumbled through a top-flight trapdoor at the end of last season.


Their intention is to pull off the perfect yo-yo trick by bouncing back into the big time at the first time of asking. That, though, will be easier said than done.

As it stands, English Championship football betting has Leicester City – with memories of their remarkable title triumph from 2015-16 still fresh in plenty of memories – priced as 5/4 favourites to top a 23-club pile that is loaded with potential and talent.

Leeds United are not far behind at 15/8, while Southampton come in at 13/5, as all three of the relegated clubs from 2022-23 are backed to make their time spent on the second rung of the English League ladder as short as possible.

There is a chance that the aforementioned trio could all return from whence they came, but that should be considered unlikely.

Never before have all three sides that tumbled out of the Premier League in any given season all been able to book return tickets to the Promised Land some 12 months later. For that to happen in 2024, the history books are going to have to be rewritten.

There are of course enough places up for grabs that Leicester, Leeds and Southampton can split title, automatic promotion and playoff-winning glory between them. There will be belief from Elland Road to St Mary’s that such a final outcome is possible.

The Foxes, Whites and Saints should, however, be slightly concerned that a long-running trend is very much against them. There have been occasions in the past in which two teams recovered quickly enough from the heartache of relegation in order to respond with immediate promotion.

Such achievements are an exception to the rule, though, and only 19 sides since the turn of the Millennium – from 69 relegations – have kept an unwanted spell in the Championship down to the one-season minimum.


When it comes to separating contenders from pretenders in 2023-24, plenty of emphasis will be placed on getting off to a positive start. If Leeds, Leicester and Southampton – with all three seeing their ranks depleted in part during the summer transfer window – suffer a lasting hangover, then the going will get tough very quickly.

There will be prized scalps for those punching above their weight in the Championship, while barely a week goes by at that level without a surprise of sorts being sprung.

Records are, of course, there to be broken and it would come as no great surprise if three teams boasting rich top-flight histories were to make light work of clearing a hurdle that many before them have tripped over. But things may not be playing out that way.