SETTING THE SCENE: The key facts and figures from the last 20 years of England’s second tier

Widely regarded as one of the most challenging leagues in world sport, the Championship, offers some of the best value for money in football entertainment. With the winner guaranteed spoils of over £120 million and promotion to the Premier League, one thing is clear, achieving success in England’s second tier offers greater rewards than perhaps any other sporting competition in the world.

Ahead of the Championship 2022/23 SeasonBETDAQ has taken a look at some of the key facts and figures the league has produced over the years to get us in the mood for another year of unrivalled edge-of-your-seat drama, heartbreak, and euphoria.

Deserving of the very first mention, the greatest squad to ever grace the Championship is Reading, who in their title-winning 2005/06 campaign gathered 106 points to claim the highest ever points finish in the league’s history. This record has stood largely unchallenged ever since.

Based on their current Premier League prowess, it isn’t surprising to see Manchester City as holders of one of the Championship records and even less surprising to hear that it is for the most goals scored by a team in a single season. Scoring 108 goals in 2001/02, Man City hold a record that probably only the Citizens themselves could beat.

Another record that City played a part in is the most expensive player ever sold by a Championship club. Upon their relegation to the second tier, Bournemouth were forced to surrender some of their first-team players and none caught the attention more than Nathan Aké who was purchased by the Manchester giants for £41 million.

The record for the greatest margin of victory in the Championship is held by Wigan Athletic, who beat relegation-threatened Hull city a whopping 8-0 in 2019/20 to put themselves 12 points clear of the relegation zone. Extraordinarily though, a cruel twist in fortunes saw a 12-point deduction relegate Wigan alongside the team they had beaten 8-0 with just two games to play.

Perhaps the most impressive record on this list, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s stunning 43-goal season in 2021/22, saw the Serbian claim the record for most goals scored by a player in a single Championship season. His incredible goal-scoring helped Fulham breeze to promotion and put The Cottagers in with another chance at Premier League survival.

The Reading squad that blitzed the league in 2005/06, claiming the highest points tally ever in the Championship, didn’t just take one record. In fact, if I mentioned all of them, I would run out of page quite quickly, so I have settled for the most impressive – the stat that all top teams chase and base their success on, the unbeaten run. The Reading team of 2005/06 managed to go through the season losing just two games. Even more remarkably, after losing their opening fixture at the start of the season, Reading put together a streak of 33 matches unbeaten, a record that is unlikely to come under too much threat any time soon.