After 45 rounds of games it has come down to tonight to decide who goes up and who goes down in the Championship.
Leeds United are the champions, but that is the only thing that has been decided heading into tonight’s final 12 fixtures.
The definite outcome is still shrouded in some uncertainty, however, with Wigan’s relegation coming because of a 12-point deduction which is now subject to an appeal. If overturned, Barnsley would drop back into the relegation zone, with Paul Cook’s side safe.
There’s also uncertainty around a current legal battle between the EFL and Sheffield Wednesday which is due to be heard by an independent panel. It regards allegations that they breached Profitability and Sustainability regulations and could result in a points deduction, though it’s not yet confirmed if that will apply to this season or next.
While we await such clarity though, a quick look at the table when the Championship resumed on June 20 is a clear indication of why the EFL’s points per game ratio model that was used to determine League One is so unjust.
That model resulted in Sunderland missing out on a play-off place despite being just three points behind Rotherham United, who went up automatically in second place.
As football got back under way, Cook’s side were bottom of the Championship table, ten points adrift of safety. And despite their off-field troubles, the Latics have performed admirably since the restart and ended climbing the table to put themselves ten points clear of the drop zone.
Sadly, their 12-point deduction, pending appeal, sees them currently back in the drop zone, despite the swing of 20 points they managed to make up in their final nine games – losing just the once in that period.
On top of that, both Barnley and Luton have managed to turn things around and survive.
What it highlights is just how quickly football can change, as does Sunderland’s season themselves.
Despite being the second-best team in League One in the calendar year, they failed to win any of what became their final four games. Had they just won two of those games their PPG would have actually seen them promoted automatically at the expense of Rotherham.
It just shows what we all know anyway, form is temporary and can very easily change