By James Fletcher
Derby County and their fanbase will be hoping or expecting a quick return to the Championship following their relegation to League 1. But if they think League 1 will be easy, then they are in for a rude awakening as other big clubs who have fallen through the trap door will tell them that this division is far from easy.
Sunderland is the best example of a team that has struggled to get back into the Championship following their relegation back in 2018. They have been stuck in League 1 for 4 years, even though they have their sights set on a playoff place this season. Sunderland currently finds themselves sitting 7 th in the league level on points with Wycombe wanderers. Sunderland fans will be hoping this season they can end their exile from the Championship.
Another team that has found life in League 1 difficult is Ipswich Town. Following their relegation from the Championship in 2019 and set to spend another season in the third tier, they currently find themselves mid-table 10 points away from the playoff places with only two games to go.
Ex Derby County Defender Ian Evatt warns Derby County that it won’t be easy to bounce straight back, in an interview with the Manchester evening news he said: “They’re in League one now and this is a tough league and they’re just another big fish in a pond which seems to be getting bigger and bigger.”
What Evatt has said about League 1 is very true. This division is now beginning to be filled up by big fish. For example, you have teams such as Portsmouth, Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and now with the addition of Derby County this league is no easy ride.
Not only do they have competition from their fellow ex – Top-flight sides, but every smaller team who is not used to playing in big stadiums week in week out will see going to Pride Park as a chance to prove themselves as they would have done if they were drawn against each other in the FA Cup.
The biggest team to fall this far before was Leeds United back in 2007 and it took the former Premier League giants 3 years to reach the Championship once again. On average it has taken Sheffield Wednesday 2 years on two separate occasions to claw themselves out of this division. But they look set to break this trend as they’re hoping for a quick return to the Championship, which is rare in itself.
So, for any fan in Summer to start hash tagging and printing ‘League 1 tour’ then they must be aware that this tour could go on for a while.