The line-up for the 2020/21 Championship is now complete, and sees familiar returning foes as well as new arrivals to the division.
Three teams make the leap from League One after a season like no other.
An Extraordinary General Meeting with the EFL brought their campaign to a premature halt back in June, ruling that the final table be decided on a points-per-game basis.
That crowned Coventry City as Champions, restoring the club to the second tier after an eight-year absence which also saw the Sky Blues spend a single season in League Two. Having moved away from their former home, the Ricoh Arena, City once ground-shared with Northampton Town and are now temporary tenants at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s, although in July the club confirmed future plans with the University of Warwick for a new stadium.
Runners-up Rotherham United also return to the Championship, at the first attempt. Our last match against The Millers was the final day of the 2018/19 season and Tony Pulis’ last in charge, a 2-1 victory for Boro over the already-relegated hosts not enough to snatch a Play-Off place.
While the regular League One season was cut short by COVID-19, the Play-Offs remained to decide the final promotion slot - and it was Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers who profited after victories over first Fleetwood Town, then Oxford United.
Wycombe are at this level for the first time in their 133-year history, and Boro’s matches with The Chairboys this season will be our first ever league meetings. There have been four competitive matches between the sides in the past, though - Wanderers took Jack Charlton’s Teessiders to an FA Cup replay in 1975, while Boro won a two-legged League Cup tie 3-1 in 1998.
Heading in the opposite direction to the trio of promoted clubs are Hull City, Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic, the latter by virtue of a confirmed 12-point deduction for entering administration.
The three teams returning to the second tier after top flight relegation are the three that pipped Boro to promotion in 2014/15; Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City. The Cherries were the Champions that season, while Watford went up as runners up and Norwich beat us in the Play-Off final at Wembley.
Our promotion the following season meant we met both Watford and Bournemouth in the Premier League in the 2016/17 campaign, while we also made the trip to Vitality Stadium in the Carabao Cup in 2017.
We’ve played Norwich four times since meeting under the arch, most recently in March 2019.
Replacing those sides in the Premier League are Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Play-Off winners Fulham.
Elsewhere in terms of new destinations for Boro, beaten Play-Off finalists Brentford are making a short move across West London. The Bees beat Swansea in the Play-Off semi-finals to give Griffin Park a fitting send-off, but after losing to neighbours Fulham at Wembley, the first season at the new Brentford Community Stadium will be in the Championship.