It was great to see the Grant McCann-inspired improvement in Peterborough United in recent weeks. Well until Bury rolled up at the ABAX Stadium.
This season’s League One looks pretty poor compared to the 2014-15 vintage so it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise to see Posh eventually challenge for a play-off place.
But do Posh really want to go up to the Championship? Would there really be any point?
The short answer to both questions is ‘yes’ because of the financial boost mixing with the likes of Derby County and Nottingham Forest delivers. It would also be lovely to see George Boyd back in action at the ABAX Stadium. I miss him along with Craig Mackail-Smith and Lee Tomlin.
But Posh would surely be going up to come straight back down. The financial gulf between those in League One and those in the Championship is too vast to encourage proper competition. And it’s only going to get bigger when next season’s huge TV payments kick off in the Premier League. Payments that will filter down to the Championship and leave Posh and their 4-6,000 gates at a massive disadvantage from the start.
I fully expected MK Dons to struggle from the start in the Championship this season following their promotion from League One.
Their stadium is Championship class, but nothing else about them is. They played superb football last season (they ensured Darren Ferguson’s Posh departure after ripping his team to shreds), but they don’t have a structure that allows them to compete with Leeds United or Wolves.
Loan players helped them win promotion. They’ve moved on, in Will Grigg’s case to League One Wigan, who (armed with those unfair parachute payments) offered him a better wage.
But I thought Bristol City and Preston would cope with the rise in class. They are biggish clubs, but they currently sit in the bottom three below MK Dons.
City were quite brilliant at times in League One. Preston were ruthlessly efficient, but both labour at Championship level, and not just because they both employ bosses who have historically struggled in the second tier of English football.
What would Posh fans rather have next season? The ability to enjoy the thrill of winning more often than losing, or the opportunity to visit big clubs with excellent facilities, but with the prospect of a good hiding?
I’d prefer the latter in the hope that chairman Darragh MacAnthony’s finances remain robust and we can somehow locate the next Dwight Gayle and this time hang on to him for longer than six months.
But it’s a long shot. The imbalance in finances is going to make promotion and relegation too predictable for the foreseeable future. Unless you get lucky and one of the richest men in the world takes a fancy to your little club.
Sadly Bournemouth have cornered that market, and they might still be relegated from the Premier League.