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A football over wet grass

Don’t know the Premier League from the Football League Championship? The First Division from the Second Division? Fear not bluffers, help is at hand in the shape of advice from one of the best football books around.

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup approaching, no doubt the conversation will turn to football, so you’ll be required to ‘keepie-uppie’ your side of the dialogue – and that also means knowing what the Championship is.

Right, we’re listening. What’s the Football League Championship?

Guide to the top 4 football players ever…

  1. Pelé This Brazilian legend scored 1,281 goals in a career that redefined footballing greatness.
  2. Diego Maradona Argentinian star whose breathtaking skills on the ball confounded entire defences, but whom England fans will associate with England’s exit from the 1986 World Cup.
  3. Zinedine Zidane (aka ‘Zizou’) The Frenchman who helped his country win the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship, best remembered for the final match of his career, the 2006 World Cup Final, in which he was sent off for headbutting an opponent in the chest.
  4. Lionel Messi Argentinian ‘little master’ who, in 2012, became the first player ever to score five goals in a Champions League match. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has said that Messi is so good he’s ‘like a PlayStation player’.

In 1992 the old First Division (then the game’s top flight) renamed itself the Premier League and the Second Division renamed itself the First Division; then, at the start of the 2004-5 season, the First Division (formerly the Second Division) renamed itself the Football League Championship. Wake up at the back please.

OK, so what does it mean for teams relegated to the Championship?

Dropping down from the Premier League to the Championship means you lose millions in TV rights, and all your temperamental Brazilian signings decide they don’t want to play in front of 5,000 people on a rainy Wednesday night in Huddersfield, so transfer to one of the teams who have been promoted from the Championship to take your place.

And what’s below the Championship?

Below the Championship are the divisions known as League One and League Two. Until 2004 these were known as the Second and Third Divisions, which before 1992 were known as the Third and Fourth Divisions. It is rumoured that football is also played in these divisions, although evidence of this in the modern media is hard to find – and this is not just because the press cannot remember which division is which.

Can you give us a recap on the Premier League?

Of course. In the Premier League, the top 20 teams in England and Wales play each other twice (home and away). You get three points for a win, one for a draw and none for losing. At the end of the season (which runs from August until May), the points from all 38 games are added together. The same few names always finish at the top. For more on the Premier League, click here.

And how should I refer to football competitions?

The trophies awarded in football competitions are nearly always known as ‘silverware’ when any British team is taking part. If you call them anything else you will reveal ignorance on a bluff-exposing scale. Footballers love using the term, and are prone to making profound observations such as: ‘No matter how much silverware you win, it is never enough.’ This is designed to give the impression that there’s already a handsome collection of silverware in a bulging trophy cabinet.

Happy Bluffing!

The Bluffer's Guide To Football


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