I had always known there were clear differences between the two divisions – such as the range of raw talent, the quality and smoothness of play, the bigger foreign stars that the Premier League was able to attract, and of course, the vast amounts of money spent in the Championship was always beaten by the lucrative gold mine that was the division above.
However, when the team I support got relegated to the Championship, I began to feel as though there was another difference between the two leagues, one which was ultimately underrated. When we got relegated I began to feel that, dare I say it, the Championship was far more exciting than the Premier League.
This was due to my belief that it was more unpredictable, at one point during my first season in the Championship, only seven points kept the team at the top of the relegation zone from the bottom of the play offs. I thought it was unbelievable – how could so many teams be winning so many points?
As we spent another season down there, I was surprised at how much the table had changed – despite the obvious relegation's and promotions giving the Championship six new teams, I was shocked at the possibility for a team who had finished 19th last season, to be right up there in the play offs.
I felt that the top flight was never so unpredictable; it was always the same top six teams, and always the same teams in mid-table, and always the same teams scrapping at the bottom.
However, this season I may have to eat a slice of humble pie as finally the Premier League represents the kind of division I always wanted it to be. While it isn't necessarily unpredictable, the divide between the top and mid table is slightly closer than normal years.
When I looked at the league before, despite knowing that it was bursting with talent and classy football, I couldn't help slightly resenting the fact that even if my team managed to be promoted, we wouldn't really get anywhere. While it would be great to play against the “big” teams, and see our pitch graced with effortlessly beautiful football, and to not have to stay up ridiculously late to watch the Football League show, I also felt like I just wanted to see my team playing well, and not have to watch them struggling to compete.
But this year, Southampton are right up there – the underdogs who faced a lot of speculative comments as to whether they would be able to hold their ground in the league after selling a number of quality players, are now fighting right at the top for a place in the Champions League.
I would really like Southampton to have a successful year; they deserve it. Their fans deserve it, and the players deserve it too.
Seeing Southampton up in the mix has given me a lifeline to cling onto, I find myself latching on to the idea that maybe that could be us, we could defy all the odds and establish ourselves in the league, and find ourselves competing for places in Europe. Of course, we need to get ourselves out of the Championship first – and it is a notoriously difficult league to get of due to the competitiveness of it, but Southampton’s success has enabled me to feel more positive about a potential return to the best league in the world.