This time last year I had a small accumulator bet on who would be crowned champions of the English football Premier League, Championship, League One & League Two; and following a nail-biting last weekend to the season, successfully collected my winnings as Manchester United, QPR, Brighton & Chesterfield held on to their mid-season poll positions to be crowned champions.
But midway through the 2011/12 season and it isn’t too clear who will be the eventual winners. Although Tottenham are having a great season, and by winning their game in-hand will only be four points off the lead, I can’t see the title going anywhere else than Manchester. The problem is whether to choose Manchester United who have a habit of being stronger in the second half of the season, or Manchester City who remained unstoppable and unbeaten until they a late penalty against Chelsea earlier this month.
The Championship is almost as tight with Southampton three points clear of West Ham & a rejuvenated Middlesbrough.
League One has been dominated by Charlton who are currently seven points clear of the chasing pack after almost completely changing their squad last summer. Sheffield United & Sheffield Wednesday are both showing good form with MK Dons & Huddersfield Town a further two points adrift.
Finally, Crawley Town are leading the way in League Two in their first season and look likely to continue their ascension from non-League football, though they are only three points clear of Cheltenham and four ahead of Southend, who have a game in hand.
So last weekend, unsure of the outcome of all four leagues I decided on Manchester City, Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday & Crawley only to see Man City held by West Brom to a 0-0 draw while Man Utd thumped five passed Wigan, and Crawley Town lose at home to Gillingham.
My initial choice, and one I would have stuck to if it wasn’t offering such a poor return was Manchester United, West Ham, Charlton & Crawley. Here’s hoping my bet is still alive come next May.