WSC contributor predictions
28 July ~ "I remain optimistic that common sense will prevail and that the controversial red kit will be scrapped," said Cardiff City fan Scott Johnson wrote before the start of the 2012-13 season. His optimism was misplaced as new owner Vincent Tan went ahead with his plan to change the club's traditional colours. In return they won the Championship and will play in the top flight for the first time since 1962 but fans remain split on the switch to red. The rest of the division showed a remarkable lack of consistency.
Only 14 points separated sixth and 22nd in the final table. Runners-up were Hull, who entered the season reeling from the departures of Nick Barmby and Adam Pearson. "Steve Bruce's appointment might be calamitous or brilliant," wrote Matthew Rudd. It was brilliant, as they edged out Watford ("With new owners, manager and players coming in there is some cautious optimism," said Hornets fan Kevin Wright, before predicting the play-offs) on the final day.
If the rest of the division were surprised to see Hull and Watford battling for promotion – they had both been predicted to finish in mid-table – then Crystal Palace were a complete shock. Tipped to be battling relegation by outsiders, even fan Matthew Barker wasn't optimistic: "It's time for progress but this division doesn't get any easier so I can't see us finishing in the top half." Having lost manager Dougie Freedman to Bolton (who were favourites for the title with our contributors), Palace appointed Ian Holloway and forced their way into the play-offs, where they defeated Watford in the final at Wembley.
At the wrong end of the table Bristol City were expected to be relegated by most, including their supporter Mo Davies: "It is difficult to pick sides who would be weaker than us. After a couple of narrow escapes, this could be the year we go down." He was right as City finished 14 points short of safety.
Above them the battle to avoid relegation went down to the final game, when any two of six teams could still mathematically go down. In the end Wolves – predicted to finish third – suffered the indignity of successive relegations. It came as a shock to Adam Bate, too: "Much depends on new boss Stale Solbakken but I think Wolves can win promotion. We are financially stable and have lots of quality Championship players." Solbakken was sacked in January and Dean Saunders couldn't halt the slide.
Joining Wolves and Bristol City in League One next season will be Peterborough, widely expected to finish rock bottom before the season began. "Staying up is always the first objective," Andy Mills said. A final-day defeat at Crystal Palace sealed their fate, leaving Barnsley and Huddersfield to play out a draw in the final few minutes of their own game.
The WSC 2013-14 Season Guide will be in shops on August 1