There are sides today that are playing in divisions that they, and their supporters believe, are a level lower than they should be playing in. These sides are often referred to as “Sleeping Giants” and they have for some reason have experienced a run of results has seen them relegated from the top flight into a lower division.
In England the Championship is littered with teams who have either won the Premier League, or the Football League Title, when it was the top tier of domestic football. There are in fact 12 of them and each club dreams of someday returning to what they believe is their rightful place, the highest league. Leeds United were the last club to win the old First Division in 1992 before the Premier League was formed in the 1992/1993 season. During their illustrious history the club has won the League Title on three occasions, both the FA Cup and the League Cup once, and in 1975 they reached the final of the European Cup where they lost to Bayern Munich.
During the 1970s they were at the time, under manager Don Revie, the strongest club side in the country. They play their home games at Elland Road and this season the side are lying eleventh in the table having recently sacked Thomas Christiansen. The appointment of Paul Heckinbottom makes him the 13th manager the club has had in the last 11 years, and despite this turmoil the club this season are averaging home crowds of over 32,000 spectators.
In terms of average attendances another side who lie just behind Leeds in the Championship are Aston Villa who so far in the current season have average home crowds of over 31,000. Their home stadium, Villa Park lies in Birmingham and the club boasts a proud record.
They have won the League Title on 7 occasions, the FA cup 7 times the League Cup 5 times and in 1982 they won the European Cup. The ground is one of the largest stadiums in England and has hosted FA cup semi-finals 55 times and has hosted 16 full international matches. Birmingham is the country’s second largest city yet has struggled to produce a side that has been successful in the Premier League.
Another side that has won the European Cup but languishes in the Championship are Nottingham Forest. The side has won the FA cup twice, the Football League title once in 1978, and they have won the European Cup both in 1979 and 1980.
They are only the second English team, after Liverpool, who have retained the European Cup. During Brian Clough’s time as the club’s manager they became the first team to spend a million UK pounds on a player, when they bought Trevor Francis from Birmingham City in 1979.
The club now lie 17th in the division and sadly for their supports they are closer to the relegation zone than they are to the promotion places. The championship at the current time is led by another Midlands side, Wolverhampton Wanderers. In their golden era of the 1950s the club won the League Title on three occasions and in their history they have won the FA cup on four occasions. During the 1950s the club was skippered by the England captain Billy Wright and they were responsible for organizing other European sides into creating the different European competitions.
The side’s kit of all gold is one of football’s most famous strips and if their current form continues it is likely to once again appear in the Premier League, at their famous ground Molyneux, for the 2017/2018 season.
Wolves’ aspirations are a lot closer to being achieved than Blackburn Rovers. The last time that Blackburn were champions of England was back in 1995 when they became the Premier Leagues first champions. They have in fact won the League championship on three occasions the FA Cup six time and the Football League Cup once.
Recent years has seen them fall on hard times and at the end of the 2016/2017 season they were relegated into League one. They now lie at the top of the table with average home attendances of over 11,000 which indicates how far the side needs to progress it ever wishes to return to its former glories.