THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Champ RESULTS 0312053 December ~ Steve Coppell's Reading lost their first match of the season, 2-1 at home to Plymouth, but were beaten only once more. Their final total of 106 points was a league record. In his first season after moving from Cork City, Kevin Doyle, who scored the third against Luton, was the team's top scorer with 18 of their 99 goals. Sheffield Utd were 16 points behind in second place which they held for almost the entire season, having also had a spell as leaders in the autumn. Alan Quinn got the only goal in this weekend's Sheffield derby.

In doing so Quinn became the only player to score for both teams in the Steel City Derby, having signed for United from Wednesday in 2004. United used an unusually large number of players for a successful side, 32 in total, with club legend Brian Deane (now 37 and in his third spell at Bramall Lane) making his final two appearances.

Marlon King, who scored Watford's goal in their draw with Brighton, finished as the division's top scorer with 21. His side finished third and clinched the final promotion place with a 3-0 defeat of Leeds in the play-off final. Leeds manager Kevin Blackwell left shortly after the start of the following season; his replacement Dennis Wise took them down.

Preston and Crystal Palace, beaten in the play-off semi-finals, both featured strikers who were called up by England. Palace's Andy Johnson, who was their top scorer with 15, had played twice the previous season and got another six caps after joining Everton in 2006. David Nugent became the first Preston player in 49 years to win an England cap when he came on as a substitute, and scored, against Andorra in March 2007. He didn’t get picked again.

Crewe's home defeat by Preston was part of a miserable run of 16 games without a win that lasted until mid-February. They revived with three wins in the final six matches but still went down in 22nd place, just ahead of Millwall who were in the drop zone all season. The Brighton side who drew 1-1 at Watford included a player who went on to feature at Euro 2008 – Anglo-Turkish striker Colin Kazim-Richards. Brighton lost their next game 6-1 at one of manager Mark McGhee's former clubs, Reading, and finished bottom.

Champ TABLE 031205

Results & table from statto.com

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