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When you think of football leagues with the best fans, the English Championship probably wouldn’t rank high on your list. But there is plenty to love about the supporters in England’s second tier.
When ranking the best fans, you must decide on the criteria. Does it mean the best behaved? The loudest? The biggest? Or the best ultras? Normally, we would look at the best ultras, but England lacks this kind of fan culture. So, we are going to look at fans who create a unique vibe, regardless of whether it is friendly or intimidating.
The friendly club
Down in London, one club that fits into the friendly category are champions Fulham. They were impressive throughout the season, winning the league and bouncing straight back to the Premier League for the 2022/23 season along with second-ranked AFC Bournemouth. Those two will be joined by Nottingham Forest or Huddersfield Town, who are currently priced at respective odds of 11/10 and 12/5, according to the latest outright markets for football bets. With both sides in good form, it'll be tough choice for those who bet on Championship online markets.
Fulham are very much a family club and has no organised ultras groups. The fans joke about scaring the opposition with the sound of their thermos flasks being opened, and singing “how are you?” instead of “who are you?” Their riverside location in an affluent neighbourhood has probably influenced their polite terrace culture.
Old school atmosphere
Luton Town surprised everyone this year by reaching the playoffs before falling at the semi-final stage. Their fans deserve a mention, however, for their sheer exuberance. Much of their atmosphere comes courtesy of their Kenilworth Road stadium. The club have been looking for a new home for over 60 years but there is no doubt the old-school intimacy of the Kenny makes for a unique atmosphere.
Obviously, it's the Hatters’ fans who ensure that the place is rocking. The atmosphere can be quite intimidating despite the small capacity. You also must consider their journey back from non-league and the brink of administration to where they are today.
Loyal to the end
Finally, at the top of the list is Birmingham City. The fans are among the loudest in the division and travel in good numbers regardless of how the team is performing. The club has a rich history with two League Cups to their name. They also finished runners-up in the FA Cup twice, the Inter-City Fairs Cup twice and the League Cup once.
Despite the notable success, the club have never quite lived up to their big-city status, but the fans have stayed loyal through thick and thin. The Second City derby with Aston Villa is one of the fiercest in English football, although they haven't met in the Premier League for 11 years. The Blues anthem "Keep Right On" is also one of the most iconic in the Championship and earns them bonus points.
💙🎶 A deafening rendition of Keep Right On rings around Wembley!— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) May 24, 2020
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Derby County gets an honourable mention for their vocal fans, who are among the loudest in the league. As do two-time former European champions Nottingham Forest, whose reworked version of “Mull of Kintyre” is one of the Championship’s most powerful chants. Will they be singing it in the Premier League next season?