They've both been there before​, but despite minor successes for the pair, neither really managed to consolidate themselves as a Premier League side.


It is a waste of time claiming the Championship is a better league than the Premier League, however, the sheer quantity of drama and exhilarating moments from the top down in the division makes a strong case for it being more exciting and unpredictable.

Such a league naturally coughs up a few sides who have what it takes to not only finish top of the pile, but build on their success and get the pan hot, ready to fry some much bigger fish.


The remarkable seasons both clubs have had this campaign indicate that there is no set-in-stone winning formula on how to achieve promotion from the ​​Championship, with both clubs opting for a different approach that ultimately yielded success. Just as with ​Wolves' and ​Fulham's vastly differing plights in the top-flight this year, it also demonstrates there is no such recipe for Premier League survival.


The Canaries' decision to appoint Daniel Farke totally eclipses that of Sheffield United's to hire Chris Wilder. Yet, both clubs defied the odds and secured automatic promotion.

Daniel Farke

Norwich proved that the answer is not always close to home. When Farke joined the club at the beginning of last season, eyebrows were raised when he could only lead to club to a 14th place finish with frustrations mounting over an unappealing style of play. They stuck with their man, however, and have been the standout performers in the second tier this season by a country mile. 


After maintaining their place in the Championship, Farke changed styles drastically, landing the players he needed to implement his attacking philosophy. They scored fewer goals last season than Sunderland (49) and the majority of the team’s threat came through the centre - much due to an over-reliance on James Maddison. Since he left to join ​Leicester, their play is almost entirely down the flanks through new signing Emiliano Buendía, with the Argentine netting eight times and registering 12 assists this term.

Norwich City v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship

Their devastating, swashbuckling style of football has yielded an unsurprisingly league high 91 goals - more than achieved by Wolves last year. While the willingness of Farke's fullbacks to stream forward and overlap is reminiscent of his countryman Jurgen Klopp's style. 


Akin to that of Wolves, astute overseas recruitment and promotion from the academy has been their philosophy, which was highlighted when free transfer Teemu Pukki was voted Player of the Season and teenager Max Aarons was given the young player award.


While it would be some stretch to imagine Norwich could produce a similarly glittering season to that of Nuno Espirito Santo's side, the like-minded direction the club is taking could definitely rattle a few cages in the ​Premier League. They've demonstrated that hiring a manager with Championship experience isn't the be all and end all, while faith in the man in the hotseat (who knew?) can actually breed results.

Bringing us onto the Blades, who have gone down an entirely different route to secure their promotion. A route that is the result of sentimental appointments coupled with tactical astuteness.


Chris Wilder. Born in Stocksbridge just ten miles north of Sheffield and brought up a United fan. The definition of 'one of our own'. 


Wilder has performed miracles with his club after years of anguish for the red half of the steel city. Having been snapped up from Northampton Town to take the reins in 2016, he guided the club out of League One in his first season and led them to a history-making 100 point haul to finish as league winners.

Upon return to the Championship they spent a meagre £5m as they comfortably consolidated their league status with a mightily impressive tenth place finish. After losing star player David Brooks to ​Bournemouth before a ball was kicked this season, Wilder made some shrewd signings in every department, parting with just £6m this time around.


Throughout the entirety of the this season, Wilder has implemented a 3-5-2 formation that has been criminally overlooked as tactical genius and resulted in an unheralded renaissance, bamboozling opposing sides all season. 

His ball-playing outside centre halves Jack O’Connell and Chris Basham are given license to bomb forward, overlapping the wing-backs while the team of the season player Oliver Norwood retains the ball in midfield in a controlled possession-based setup.


John Egan's signing from Brentford has been pivotal, though. The central defender is Sheffield's Franz Beckenbauer, performing the sweeping role while equally adept at finding the strikers with precision long balls. It's a system unfamiliar to the Premier League, and a refreshing change that may well cause plenty of upsets.


What has been key for the Yorkshire club this season, however, and what stands them in good stead to stay up next season is Wilder's philosophy. It is built around an unbreakable team spirit, full of passion, something only heightened by the manager's personal endearment to the club. Furthermore, leading goalscorer BIlly Sharp is a Blades fan too, and his commitment to the cause reverberates throughout the squad.

Look at ​Fulham. A club that unquestionably had team spirit as they won promotion, was rocked by the multi-million pound signings of foreign exports who usurped key members of the squad, damaging the mood in the changing room along the way. Sure, that's only speculation but it may well have played a role in their immediate relegation.


You can can be sure whatever faces make their way through the Bramall Lane doors in the summer won't be introverted players, that doesn't fit Wilder's team. Similarly, they won't cost shedloads, mostly because the club don't have that money anyway, but primarily as it's going to be the morale of the squad which will be Sheffield's biggest weapon next season.

Both clubs operate in glaringly dissimilar ways, yet could pose equal quantities of danger to the Premier League when it all kicks off again on Saturday 10 August.