Crystal Palace
Palace won promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs last season.

You would be forgiven for uttering the most cringeworthy of clichés as the Football League starts its 125th year of existence. The Championship, nor Leagues One and Two can avoid the tag of being the most open in years.

The second tier no longer experiences parachute payment dominance, with the relegated trio of Queens Park Rangers, Wigan Athletic and Reading anything but guaranteed promotion at the first attempt.

League One is this year perhaps suffering from the enormous sides to have graced the division in seasons gone by, with an inauspicious line-up in 2013/14. The future of Coventry City and Kenny Jackett's spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers will likely provide the substance.

In the bottom tier, you could quite easily be suckered into being convinced that as many as ten teams could finish top of the tree come early May. Phil Brown's attempts to crack the code at Southend United and Portsmouth's rise from the dead represent the highest profile issues of the season but there is equally sufficient subtext to feast upon.

The Championship

As certainties go, don't expect the terms 'Queens Park Rangers' and 'immediate return to the Premier League' to crop up too often this season. Harry Redknapp (with a sword of Damocles aka Steve McLaren hanging over him) has bought woefully in the transfer window. Karl Henry and Danny Simpson are the highlights while Charlie Austin, who failed a medical at Hull City last week, is the most recent addition.

Fellow relegated sides Wigan and Reading are in better shape having kept hold of much of the squad which fought valiantly in the Premier League and in The Latics' case, won the FA Cup. Owen Coyle, cut from the same cloth as Roberto Martinez, is a due a Championship promotion however.

Elsewhere, if you use the back end of last season as a barometer for the start of this term, both Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest are carrying sufficient momentum. Leeds United have recruited well under Brian McDermott this summer and Charlton Athletic have swapped Bradley Wright-Phillips with Marvin Sordell.

At the bottom, Yeovil Town will have faced some of the sides which come before them this term previously which while it can work as an encouragement given their regular capacity to surprise in League One, can work both ways. They're slowly losing their innocent guise.

Both Barnsley and Huddersfield Town were fortunate to avoid the drop on the final day and will both be in trouble this season as might goal-shy Sheffield Wednesday. Doncaster Rovers' decision to go with Paul Dickov appears foolhardy at best and should ensure a swift return to the third tier.

Championship Prediction

Champions: Bolton Wanderers

Promotion: Ipswich Town

Play-offs: Leeds United, Nottingham Forest, Reading, Wigan Athletic

Relegated: Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers, Yeovil Town

Top scorer: Marvin Sordell - Charlton Athletic

League One

Few better chances will arrive for clubs to get out of League One. If the promotion of Bournemouth, Doncaster and Yeovil didn't already confirm it, then this season's line up suggests the days of the sleeping giants occupying League One are truly over.

It says much about it that the uncertainty surrounding Coventry City, one of the football league's oldest members, is the primary issue going into the season. Holding company in liquidation and a substantial point penalty pending, the dark clouds are forming over the Sky Blues.

Footballing wise, how David Weir, interviewed for the vacant position at Everton, gets on at Sheffield United will be intriguing. Well respected within the game, he'll be allowed few excuses in his opening season in charge, with The Blades' spell in League One becoming an unwelcome relationship.

Brentford and Bristol City can share the prize so far for the best dealings in the window; Will Grigg joining Uwe Rosler's men and the Championship's bottom side from last term adding Aden Flint among others.

Flint is not the only departure from Swindon in a summer where Kevin McDonald has left the club after five months. Such are the changes at the County Ground, Town are threatening to go from the play-offs to relegation once again.

Also at the bottom end, the pyramid's oldest club Notts County are struggling to convince they can avoid the ignominy of the drop. Chris Kiwonya won just five of his 17 games in charge last term and with Jeff Hughes, Alan Judge and protégé Krystian Pearce all departed, it could be a long season.

League One Prediction:

Champions: Brentford

Promotion: Preston North End

Play-offs: Bradford City, Bristol City, Sheffield United, Peterborough United

Relegated: Oldham Athletic, Notts County, Shrewsbury Town, Swindon Town

Top scorer: Will Grigg - Brentford

League Two

Resuscitated and revitalised, Portsmouth face the daunting task of returning to their former standing starting in the most difficult league of them all. Guy Whittingham will be conscious of how long Bradford took to get it right and promotion at the first time of asking is vital. The additions of Tom Craddock and Simon Ferry should help an otherwise wafer-thin squad.

Elsewhere, many of the protagonists from last year's play-off campaign can expect to be involved once again. Burton Albion have improve on their squad with Rory Delap and Rene Howe and Cheltenham Town can also reflect on a good summer; Jamie Cureton the most impressive addition.

Oxford United have also gone with experience in the form of Dave Kitson, who will form a physical partnership with James Constable while Fleetwood Town's resources suggest last season's stability will be followed by a play-off push.

The slide of Morecambe is enough to convince they will struggle under the smouldering watch of Jim Bentley and York City's shrewd additions shouldn't mask their alarming form during the second half of the season.

Not starting a season under John Still for the first time since 2004 will send shudders down the spines at Dagenham and Redbridge and should a run which included two wins in 12 after he left continue, the Essex-based side face another relegation scrap likely to be alongside AFC Wimbledon.

League Two Predictions

Champions: Cheltenham Town

Promotion: Burton Albion, Chesterfield

Play-offs: Fleetwood Town, Oxford United, Portsmouth, Scunthorpe United

Relegated: AFC Wimbledon, Dagenham and Redbridge

Top scorer: Chris Iwelumo - Scunthorpe United