Courtesy of the Football League's new sponsor, npower, I've now added the Football League Championship to my collection of intimate embraces.
It's the one Liverpool created so many great sides for and my own team, Aston Villa won it on seven occasions. Manchester United last won it in 1967 (ha, we've done it more recently, even City have!)
Aaah, the Victorian elegance of it!
When winters really were winters! When a win was worth just two points. When winning the title with 64 points probably would've clinched it most years .... and when finishing third guaranteed promotion to a higher division!
This cup might be awarded to the second tier of the English game these days, but you can't rewrite the majesty of history that surrounds this beautiful old piece of craftsmanship. I'm delighted the Football League still award it. Compared to the modern, nouveau riche lines of the Premier League trophy, this one more than any other personifies where football came from; that great Victorian era of invention and ideas.
End of lecture!