Mega money does not guarantee Championship success, insists Norwich City boss Alex Neil
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Norwich City boss Alex Neil is braced for a bumpy ride in the toughest Championship season for many a year.
City kick-off the campaign on Saturday against Blackburn at Ewood Park with Neil looking to achieve a second consecutive promotion from the Championship. The Scot, however, does not subscribe to the popular theory Newcastle will prove unstoppable after an ambitious summer transfer splurge.
'Everyone was saying last year when they spent £80m or whatever it was they who would finish in the top half, and that didn't happen,' he said. 'You can't guarantee anything in football.
'I think there are bigger clubs this time around, in terms of Newcastle and (Aston) Villa coming down, than the last time we were in this division.
'You had clubs like Middlesbrough and Watford before who had been in the league for a few years. From that respect this season will be more challenging for us, but other clubs should be more worried about us. The start is important because what will happen is any lingering negativity surrounding last season will quickly go away if we win games and people are coming and being entertained and players are enjoying the football.'
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Neil is happy to leave the spotlight to the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa.
'I am quite comfortable if we are under the radar. It means I don't have to turn on Skysports and see my ugly mug,' he said. 'I always think at the start of the season it is difficult to predict. There will be teams who surprise you and do really well, teams who disappoint and not do as well as expected and always someone who comes out of the pack or a team who doesn't start as well and finish strongly.
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'That might have applied to us the last time in this division. We were sitting seventh or eighth at Christmas and we just managed to miss out on automatic. The three who come down always have an advantage because they have a lot of lads who have played in the Premier League. Normally they have more money, in terms of the parachute payments, however, a lot of Championship clubs have foreign owners who are ploughing it into their teams.'