End of the Football League season: How have the Manchester teams done?
- 2018-19 League season has all but finished
- Manchester teams have won titles, been promoted, relegated and made playoffs
- What next season will look like in Greater Manchester
You may remember back in January, I did a review for how Greater Manchester’s football league teams were doing.
Well, as of today all leagues, except for the Premiership, have concluded with the playoffs taking place over the next few weeks. I’m going to extend my review to the sixth tier of English football as there have been some interesting developments involving 13 teams from the borough.
National League North
There are five teams from Greater Manchester in this division, or rather there were. FC United of Manchester and Ashton United were both relegated from the National League ten and nine points adrift of safety respectively.
Curzon Ashton finished two places above relegation, although that doesn’t reflect the 14 point difference between them and Ashton United. They were 16 points off the playoffs.
One team that did make the playoffs was Altrincham, but they were beaten on penalties in the semi-final by Chorley.
Finally, Stockport County will be playing in the fifth tier next season after winning the division outright.
One team Stockport could be playing next season is Salford City, although supporters of the latter will hope not. Salford City have reached the playoff final for the National League, where they meet AFC Fylde at Wembley on Saturday to determine who will be joining the Football League proper next season. If they win, it will be Salford’s first season in the Football League in their history.
Should Salford be promoted, they will be playing Oldham Athletic who have had a middling season in League Two. Oldham were founding members of the Premier League, so it seems bizarre that they could be playing against a team who were nine divisions below them at that point. Oldham finished 14th this season, but did at least have a memorable FA cup run, beating Premier League Fulham 2-1 in the third round
Bury will bounce straight back into League One, having been promoted in second place. They also made it to the semi-finals of the EFL Trophy (a cup competition for League One and Two teams, as well as some youth teams).
Rochdale had a rather uninspiring season in League One, and didn’t do particularly well in the cups either. They finished 16th and avoided the drop, and at least they have local derbies against Bury and Bolton to look forward to next season.
Bolton Wanderers had a woeful season in the Championship finishing 23rd out of 24, managing just 32 points and being convincingly relegated to League One. In the 2000s, they were in the Premier League and made the UEFA Cup a few times. If it’s any consolation, the last time they were relegated to League One, they bounced straight back up. With the gathering storm around the club not paying its players, though, don’t be surprised if Bolton reach terminal velocity and fall down the leagues.
Wigan Athletic were promoted from League One last season and managed to consolidate their place in the Championship by finishing 18th.
Manchester United had an incredibly rocky season, starting woefully under Jose Mourinho, but regaining some pride under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but the damage had already been done, and with one game remaining, United will have to make do with playing in the Europa League, rather than Champions League, next season. After a dramatic comeback against PSG in the Champions League Last 16, they were beaten 4-0 on aggregate by Barcelona.
Manchester City have already won one major trophy this season in the League Cup, in which they beat Chelsea on penalties after Chelsea’s goalkeeper remarkably refused to be subsitituted after an injury. City were dumped out of the Champions League by Spurs, ending their hopes of a quadruple, but a domestic double is still a possibility. The League is theirs to throw away on the final day of the season this Sunday, all they need to do is beat Brighton to make sure. The FA Cup final the following weekend will be against Watford.