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Saturday, May 01, 2010

The argument for League One

In the second of our arguments, Turls state the case as to why he believes you should vote for League One as the best division.

It's easy for everyone to say that the Championship is the best league in the Football League because it has the best teams and the best players and the best stadiums.

I can't argue with that. Newcastle are a damn sight better than Stockport and the Liberty Stadium makes Huish Park look like a local park with dollops of dog turd scattered across the pitch.

It's also easy for everyone to say that League Two is the best league in the Football League because it is simpler and more down to earth than the other leagues because they have a host of "family clubs" and ramshackle grounds.

Again, I can't argue with that given that Aldershot are in League Two and Leeds are in League One.

However, few people would say that League One is the best league in the Football League. Why? Because it isn't. It's the best league in the whole wide world!

Okay. I may have been over egging it a bit but League One is fantastic. It has consistently delivered quality football, drama and quality football drama - more exciting than "drama" and better than "quality football".

We've seen big fish get devoured by little fish in the shape of Nottingham Forest getting turned over by Yeovil. We've seen big teams storm the league - Leicester - and smaller clubs sink without putting up a fight - a few too many to mention.

We've seen endless campaigns be decided by the final 90 minutes of the season.

I could stand here and reel off a list of exciting events that have happened in League One, including the only third tier in European football to have a former European Cup winner in it's ranks.

I could tell you about the hugely exciting play-off finals in recent years. I could tell you about the faces of fans when they've realised that their club has avoided the drop, or missed out on promotion.

The quality is there to see in this season alone. Leeds United have beaten Manchester United in the FA Cup. Norwich have looked incredible. Southampton won the JPT and Carlisle got to the final.

Charlton — a former Premier League club shan't we forget — have never looked like winning the league this year. That is indicitive of how strong League One is.

Let's move on though. I don't want to dwell on the clubs. Instead, let's move on to the players.

A special mention to Kelvin Davies who turned down a chance to warm the bench in the Premier League so he could play first team football for Southampton. Has that happened in any other division?

Jermaine Beckford has grabbed all the headlines and could be joining a top-flight club in the summer - but he isn't even League One's best striker! That honour could go to Grant Holt or Rickie Lambert or even little Charlie Austin.

Ah... Charlie Austin. How you've grown. This time last season you were banging goals in for fun at Poole Town. Now you're banging them in for fun at Swindon Town.

Pork Scratchin Corner has even indicated that you could be on your way to Newcastle in the summer. League One made you. Thank them for it by taking her out and giving a right good rogering in the car park.

I could go on forever about the quality of the players. There is a real pool of talent in League One but at the same time, there are some players who only their mother's could call decent footballers.

I won't do them the injustice of naming them but there are top-notch footballing cloggers who operate at this level and it is another reason why League One rules the roost.

It's middle ground for fans who want to watch poetry in motion and ugly long-ball football.

The managers are a rare mix of bright youthful sparks. People like Paul Lambert are the future of football management.

In fact, having done a little bit of research, I discovered that only two managers in League One are over 40 years old - Chris Turner and Chris Hutchings.

That is some impressive stuff. It's a breeding ground for young managers to go and learn their trade. Paul Ince is deemed one for the future, Paul Lambert the same. Alan Pardew has returned to fine tune his managerial skills.

This is before I go on to mention the likes of Aidey Boothroyd. With many saying their is a real dearth of British managerial talent, I implore them to look to League One.

That's where an England manager is going to come from. I just hope it isn't Chris Hutchings.

I mentioned stadiums earlier. Now I'm not going to stand here and claim that League One grounds are the best. Why not? Well to start with, I'm sitting down.

Aside from that, the fact is that the Championship has the best grounds and League Two has the most grounds that are full of character.

You can probably see where I'm going with this but League One is the only league that offers both delightful dumps and shiny stadia. What other league has the glorious Elland Road alongside the rather dismal Withdean Stadium?

Brighton's ground has character and a glorious back story. Leeds' stadium looks fantastic and has plenty of stories.

When the season ends, you won't get many of these "TV" fans staying behind to cry because their team has been relegated. No self-respecting football fan does this.

They leave the stadium and utter the phrase: "We'll storm the league next season". League One fans are ever the optimist. None of this "my dad is bigger than your dad" nonsense.

They live in relative harmony with a mutual respect for all things good and proper. Except Leeds. No-one likes Leeds.

In case you haven't been paying full attention, what I'm trying to say is that League One is the best because it has the best of both worlds. It is a Jack of All Trades, Master of None, and for that, I love it. And so should you.

You can vote for which you think is the best division in the Football League in the poll on the right hand side.

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