There are few greater feelings than winning promotion. That makes the Championship a great division to start off in FIFA 19’s Career Mode, as you look to hone your skills and then step up into the Premier League. But who will you choose? RealSport runs through all 24 Championship clubs so you can decide which one’s for you.
3.5 stars – Attack 74 – Midfield 73 – Defence 72
Best players: Jack Grealish (OVR 76), Yannick Bolasie (OVR 76), Jonathan Kodjia (OVR 75)
Ones to watch: James Bree (OVR 65 – POT 80), John McGinn (OVR 71 – POT 78), Keinan Davis (OVR 65 – POT 76)
Aston Villa transfer budget: £4.69 million
Aston Villa wage budget: £43,000 a week
Aston Villa had never suffered relegation from the Premier League before 2016, but here we are two-and-a-half years later and they are still stuck in the Championship. The departure of Steve Bruce is another backward step for a club that has the capability to get back to the top flight where they belong.
3 stars – Attack 70 – Midfield 69 – Defence 70
Best players: Jota (OVR 72), Che Adams (OVR 71), Maxime Colin (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Odin Bailey (OVR 58 – POT 80), Wesley Harding (OVR 66 – POT 78), Charlie Lakin (OVR 62 – POT 78)
Birmingham transfer budget: £2.97 million
Birmingham wage budget: £42,000 a week
Villa’s city rivals Birmingham have been in the Championship since 2011 and have come close to slipping into League One. The club has a mid-table feel about it now, but anything can happen in the division, with a five game-run able to push a club towards promotion.
3 stars – Attack 68 – Midfield 69 – Defence 68
Best players: Bradley Dack (OVR 74), Charlie Mulgrew (OVR 72), Kasey Palmer (OVR 70)
Ones to watch: Adam Armstrong (OVR 68 – POT 80), Jacob Davenport (OVR 63 – POT 79), Ryan Nyambe (OVR 66 – POT 78)
Blackburn transfer budget: £3.43 million
Blackburn wage budget: £52,000 a week
A massive club, but it has not been fun for Blackburn fans since the glory days of the 90s. Rovers won the third ever Premier League title (or Premiership as it was back then), but suffered a painful relegation in 2012. The cub has not returned to the top-flight since and after five Championship seasons they fell into League One, but won back promotion last year.
3 stars – Attack 68 – Midfield 69 – Defence 70
Best players: Sammy Ameobi (OVR 71), Pawel Olkowski (OVR 71), Mark Beevers (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Stephen Duke-McKenna (OVR 58 – POT 74), Jack Earing (OVR 55 – POT 70), Joe Muscatt (OVR 59 – POT 69)
Bolton transfer budget: £2.02 million
Bolton wage budget: £23,000 a week
Another side who were a force in the Premier League, Bolton even touched on Europe in 2008, getting to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. After the Sam Allardyce days the club floundered, suffering relegation from the top tier in 2012 and serious debt issues three years later. In 2016 they too found themselves down in League One, but returned at the first attempt.
3 stars – Attack 71 – Midfield 69 – Defence 70
Best players: Ollie Watkins (OVR 74), Neal Maupay (OVR 73), Julian Jeanvier (OVR 72)
Ones to watch: Chris Mepham (OVR 70 – POT 80), Ezri Konsa OVR 68 – POT 79), Rico Henry (OVR 67 – POT 77)
Brentford transfer budget: £6.22 million
Brentford wage budget: £54,000 a week
One of the best footballing teams in the division and a relatively small club, can this be the campaign in which the Bees step out of Fulham’s shadow? After winning promotion to the Championship in 2014, Brentford are now set to target top-flight status with a young squad in West London.
3 stars – Attack 72 – Midfield 70 – Defence 70
Best players: Famara Diedhiou (OVR 73), Adam Webster (OVR 72), Tomas Kalas (OVR 72)
Ones to watch: Lloyd Kelly (OVR 67 – POT 83), Jay Dasilva (OVR 65 – POT 81), Josh Brownhill (OVR 71 – POT 79)
Bristol City transfer budget: £7.66 million
Bristol City wage budget: £65,000 a week
Bristol City seem to always start the Championship season well, but their knack of fading off has come at the cost of losing their top players this year. A rebuild at Ashton Gate is in order, but this club has the following worth of a trip into the top-flight.
3.5 stars – Attack 71 – Midfield 71 – Defence 71
Best players: Curtis Davies (OVR 76), Mason Mount (OVR 75), Tom Lawrence (OVR 73)
Ones to watch: Jayden Bogle (OVR 62 – POT 80), Fikayo Tomori (OVR 68 – POT 78), Mason Bennett (OVR 66 – POT 77)
Derby transfer budget: £12.32 million
Derby wage budget: £64,000 a week
Smiles have returned to Derby with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard breathing a new lease of life into club. There’s a blend of youth and experience at Pride Park, and after defeating Manchester United early in the season, belief has been restored for the Rams.
3 stars – Attack 69 – Midfield 69 – Defence 70
Best players: Kamil Grosicki (OVR 74), Jordy de Wijs (OVR 72), Jackson Irvine (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Jarrod Bowen (OVR 70 – POT 81), Daniel Batty (OVR 62 – POT 76), Reece Burke (OVR 66 – POT 76)
Hull transfer budget: £6.08 million
Hull wage budget: £40,000 a week
It’s been a topsy-turvy number of years for Hull with new owners managing to lift the club to the cusp of Europa League football, but then falling to the Championship the same season. The Tigers do look in trouble, rock bottom of the division, and a big rebuild is in order to see them roar once more.
3 stars – Attack 68 – Midfield 79 – Defence 68
Best players: Bartosz Bialkowski (OVR 75), Jonathan Walters (OVR 72), Jonas Knudsen (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Trevoh Chalobah (OVR 65 – POT 81), Andre Dozzell (OVR 64 – POT 80), Flynn Downes (OVR 64 – POT 80)
Ipswich transfer budget: £2.72 million
Ipswich wage budget: £17,000 a week
Ipswich enjoyed stability under Mick McCarthy for close to six years, but with the club treading water, the risky decision to let him go has backfired. The Tractor Boys are battling survival in the Championship and with little quality available, it will be some turn around to get them back into the top half.
3.5 stars – Attack 71 – Midfield 72 – Defence 73
Best players: Pontus Jansson (OVR 76), Samu Saiz (OVR 75), Barry Douglas (OVR 75)
Ones to watch: Tyler Roberts (OVR 66 – POT 82), Isaiah Brown (OVR 70 – POT 80), Kalvin Phillips (OVR 72 – POT 79)
Leeds transfer budget: £9.26 million
Leeds wage budget: £59,000 a week
Leeds were once a Champions League club, but a pure fall from grace saw the Whites fall to League one and surrounded by financial trouble. A succession of poor ownership looks to end with new manager Marcelo Bielsa changing the fortunes at Elland Road. If they can just be a bit more clinical in the final third, they can return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004.
3.5 stars – Attack 72 – Midfield 72 – Defence 73
Best players: Martin Braithwaite (OVR 76), Aden Flint (OVR 75), Muhamed Besic (OVR 74)
Ones to watch: Dael Fry (OVR 70 – POT 83), Harry Chapman (OVR 65 – POT 82), Marcus Tavernier (OVR 64 – POT 82)
Middlesbrough transfer budget: £18.63 million
Middlesbrough wage budget: £77,000 a week
Middlesbrough clearly have the pedigree to reach and survive in the top-flight, but they need to change their attitude. The Wearsiders scored just 27 goals the last time they were in the Premier League, and with Tony Pulis currently in charge, they will never be an attacking side. They have a strong starting lineup that could get them promoted, but depth is required to see them stay there.
3 stars – Attack 69 – Midfield 70 – Defence 70
Best players: Shaun Hutchinson (OVR 73), Shaun Williams (OVR 72), Jake Cooper (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Mahlon Romeo (OVR 69 – POT 77), Jesse Debrah (OVR 57 – POT 70), Lewis White (OVR 57 – POT 70)
Millwall transfer budget: £2.53 million
Millwall wage budget: £30,000 a week
The Lions have a faithful following, but have never graced the Premier League. Promotions, Cup final appearances and trips into Europe are now a long time ago for Millwall, with the South East London club thankful to be settled in the second-tier. An eighth-place finish last season is something to build on, but they still look short of a play-off shot.
3.5 stars – Attack 72 – Midfield 71 – Defence 69
Best players: Timm Klose (OVR 74), Moritz Leitner (OVR 73), Nelson Oliveira (OVR 73)
Ones to watch: Adam Idah (OVR 62 – POT 83), Jamal Lewis (OVR 68 – POT 81), Max Aarons (OVR 64 – POT 81)
Norwich transfer budget: £7.62 million
Norwich wage budget: £51,000 a week
Norwich just can’t get settled. The Canaries fell to League One in 2009 but back-to-back promotion saw them return to the Premier League in a flash. They have yo-yoed between the top flight and Championship since, but after selling their top talent, the squad still has depth but lacks quality.
3.5 stars – Attack 74 – Midfield 72 – Defence 70
Best players: Hillal Soudani (OVR 77), Gil Dias (OVR 76), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (OVR 74)
Ones to watch: Joao Carvalho (OVR 73 – POT 82), Matty Cash (OVR 69 – POT 81), Arvin Appiah (OVR 58 – POT 81)
Nottingham Forest transfer budget: £18.30 million
Nottingham Forest wage budget: £76,000 a week
One of the biggest clubs in the country, Nottingham Forest have two European Cups to their name, which were secured back-to-back in 1979/80. Plenty of their fans weren’t even born during the glory days, with Forest only last in the Premier League in 1999. The current squad looks solid, and are probably only a couple of signings away from a promotion push.
Preston North End
3 stars – Attack 70 – Midfield 71 – Defence 69
Best players: Ben Pearson (OVR 75), Alan Browne (OVR 72), Sean Maguire (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Lukas Nmecha (OVR 66 – POT 83), Ben Davies (OVR 70 – POT 79), Callum Robinson (OVR 70 – POT 79)
Preston transfer budget: £2.77 million
Preston wage budget: £25,000 a week
Back in the 80s, Preston were the club of English football. The North Enders won the inaugural league championship in 1989, going undefeated, and completing the Double with the FA Cup (where they didn’t concede a single goal). Finishing seventh in the Championship suggests they have put recent struggles behind them, but more needs to be done to reach the Premier League for the first time.
Queens Park Rangers
3 stars – Attack 70 – Midfield 71 – Defence 70
Best players: Massimo Luongo (OVR 74), Luke Freeman (OVR 74), Toni Leistner (OVR 73)
Ones to watch: Eberechi Eze (OVR 67 – POT 81), Sean Goss (OVR 67 – POT 75), Paul Smyth (OVR 61 – POT 75),
QPR transfer budget: £3.34 million
QPR wage budget: £20,000 a week
QPR thought they had the blueprint to reach the Premier League, but the West London club have found throwing money around doesn’t always work. The Rs had names such as Djibril Cisse, Bobby Zamora, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Loic Remy, Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar and Park Ji-sung on their books, but never looked settled in the top flight. The club have gone back to basics as they try to get settled in the Championship.
3 stars – Attack 69 – Midfield 68 – Defence 70
Best players: Liam Moore (OVR 75), Modou Barrow (OVR 72), Jordan Obita (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Danny Loader (OVR 59 – POT 82), Saeid Ezatolahi (OVR 68 – POT 79), Omar Richards (OVR 64 – POT 79)
Reading transfer budget: £4.98 million
Reading wage budget: £48,000 a week
Reading could never quite hold on to a spot in the top-flight, despite making a fantastic start to life in the Premier League. In 2007, they finished eighth in the top-tier, but have never lasted longer than one season with the big boys since, with the current crop highly unlikely to buck that trend.
2.5 stars – Attack 66 – Midfield 67 – Defence 66
Best players: Will Vaulks (OVR 69), Matthew Palmer (OVR 68), Richard Wood (OVR 68)
Ones to watch: Ben Wiles (OVR 58 – POT 71), Alex Bray (OVR 62 – POT 68), Emmanuel Onariase (OVR 60 – POT 68)
Rotherham transfer budget: £2.04 million
Rotherham wage budget: £36,000 a week
The minnows of the Championship, Rotherham United won promotion via the play-offs last season. The Millers have never been higher than the second-tier of English football and have never got past the fifth round of the FA Cup. If you are looking to cause a shock, seek survival with the Yorkshire club and then scale the table.
3 stars – Attack 71 – Midfield 72 – Defence 70
Best players: Jack O’Connell (OVR 73), John Fleck (OVR 73), Oliver Norwood (OVR 73)
Ones to watch: Kean Bryan (OVR 64 – POT 77), Stephen Mallon (OVR 56 – POT 73), Jordan Doherty (OVR 53 – POT 73)
Sheffield United transfer budget: £3.83 million
Sheffield United wage budget: £27,000 a week
Plenty of history surrounds Sheffield United, having won the old First Division in 1898 and the FA Cup four times, but the Blades just can’t get settled. They haven’t tasted the Premier League since 2007, and spent the last six seasons in League One. A blistering start to the new campaign gives them a fantastic platform to record back-to-back promotions and return to the top-flight.
3.5 stars – Attack 72 – Midfield 71 – Defence 67
Best players: Fernando Forestieri (OVR 74), Gary Hooper (OVR 74), Keiren Westwood (OVR 74)
Ones to watch: Jordan Thorniley (OVR 65 – POT 79), Matt Penney (OVR 63 – POT 79), Adam Reach (OVR 73 – POT 78)
Sheffield Wednesday transfer budget: £6.97 million
Sheffield Wednesday wage budget: £52,000 a week
Sheffield rivals Wednesday are also supported by history, with three FA Cups to their name, but just like United, they have bounced around between the Championship and League One. The club have reached the play-offs in recent years, but just need a bit more quality to get over the line.
3.5 stars – Attack 72 – Midfield 74 – Defence 73
Best players: Jack Butland (OVR 80), Joe Allen (OVR 76), Bojan (OVR 75)
Ones to watch: Oghenekaro Etebo (OVR 74 – POT 84), Tom Edwards (OVR 65 – POT 82), Tyrese Campbell (OVR 64 – POT 82)
Stoke transfer budget: £29.80 million
Stoke wage budget: £79,000 a week
It was criminal for Stoke to suffer relegation from the Premier League last season given the players they had. The Potters had achieved three consecutive ninth-place finishes in the top-flight, but there was an undeniable sense the club couldn’t go any further. Having kept much of their squad from last season, nothing but promotion will do this year.
3.5 stars – Attack 71 – Midfield 72 – Defence 71
Best players: Jefferson Montero (OVR 76), Wilfried Bony (OVR 76), Leroy Fer (OVR 75)
Ones to watch: Bersant Celina (OVR 71 – POT 81), Joel Asoro (OVR 66 – POT 81), Oliver McBurnie (OVR 71 – POT 80)
Swansea transfer budget: £13.38 million
Swansea wage budget: £43,000 a week
The Swans also tumbled out of the Premier League in similar fashion, suffering relegation for the first time from the division. The Welsh club had been flirting with the drop for a few seasons, but this was a side that had won the League Cup and reached the Europa League knockout stage across 2013/14. Quality is needed to get Swansea up once again, but more is needed to keep them there.
West Bromwich Albion
3.5 stars – Attack 76 – Midfield 72 – Defence 75
Best players: Jay Rodriguez (OVR 77), Kieran Gibbs (OVR 77), Ahmed Hegazi (OVR 76)
Ones to watch: Jonathan Leko (OVR 66 – POT 83), Sam Field (OVR 67 – POT 82), Nathan Ferguson (OVR 60 – POT 82)
West Brom transfer budget: £18.04 million
West Brom wage budget: £54,000 a week
West Brom makes it three from three from the Premier League’s relegated clubs last year. The Midlands club earned a reputation for being a tough nut to crack, but that disappeared last season with a lack of goals proving their downfall. The Baggies have kept much of their top-flight quality and are just a few signings short of a mid-table PL side.
3 stars – Attack 70 – Midfield 70 – Defence 69
Best players: Josh Windass (OVR 72), Nick Powell (OVR 72), Dan Burn (OVR 71)
Ones to watch: Reece James (OVR 67 – POT 84), Leonardo Da Silva Lopes (OVR 67 – POT 79), Cedric Kipre (OVR 69 – POT 78)
Wigan transfer budget: £3.78 million
Wigan wage budget: £79,000 a week
Surprisingly, Wigan found themselves in League One last season, but with the help of promotion specialist Paul Cook they returned to the Championship at the first time of asking. It still won’t be enough for Latics fans, as they won the FA Cup in 2013 – suffering relegation the same season. They could eye the top-flight in a few years’ time.