Last week I talked about the prospects next season for the three clubs newly promoted. Based on previous years’ experience of club newly promoted to the Premier League I’m afraid I didn’t hold out too much hope for them all being success enough to even stay for a second season.
Now we turn to a different scenario with the three clubs which have been relegated to the Championship. Looking back at the records of the last 28 seasons….I say 28 because that’s when play-offs were introduced, giving more teams a chance to vault into the top flight.
I’ve looked at the records of all the teams that had just been relegated from the Premier League and also when it was still the First Division.
While many fans, and even some managers and players frequently proclaim confidently: “We will bounce back at the first attempt”, the historic facts say otherwise and in fact only a fifth of teams, that’s just 17 out of 85, achieved automatic promotion the season after being relegated. Admittedly another 21 made it into the play-off positions, but only three of those were actually promoted as a result.
This means that out of those 85 relegated teams, 20 of them managed to get back up into the top tier at the first attempt. Of those that failed to do so, 63 of them remained in the division, while a doubly unfortunate two – Swindon in 1995 and Wolves in 2013 – suffering a second consecutive relegation.
Because of the financial might of the Premier League and the massive parachute payments you would think it’s easier to bounce straight back now than it used to be, but it’s not really. You would think that now Premier League parachute payments have increased from £32 million to £48 million to over £60 million in the space of just four years – teams that are relegated have a greater in-built advantage when it comes to getting promoted again.
When I first thought about having a look at what relegation is likely to mean, I first of all thought surely it’s easier to bounce straight back now than it used to be. But, In fact, of the last 12 teams to be relegated from the Premier League, only West Ham have gone straight back up. All this means that if a club is relegated to the Championship, there’s a very strong chance they won’t be getting out of it straightaway. Looking at these records it is pretty clear to me that if a team is relegated, there’s a very strong chance they’re not getting back up straight away.
So, once the fierce determination to go back up immediately has abated and a team doesn’t go up straight away. What then? This is the question I believe two out of the three relegated clubs will be asking a year on from now.
Previously clubs have tended to announce they are to take it as an opportunity to regroup and consolidate…..this in addition to probably changing their manager a couple of times and they justify this by explaining they still have the parachute money coming in and they want a new man to use it wisely to the Club’s best advantage. The reality is that things are more likely to get a bit worse as it’s getting harder. Teams that didn’t go up in their first season dropped an average of 12 places in their second season. Three of those – Portsmouth in 2012, Charlton in 2009 and Manchester City in 1998 – ended up getting relegated for the second time in three years.
With all this in mind, I’ve been considering how Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull are likely to buck the pretty daunting odds against them. I’m a bit disappointed to see Hull in this situation who at one stage, after they changed their manager, looked to be overcoming their early season problems to the extent that at a time towards the end of the season it looked as though Marco Silva, the recently appointed manager, was turning around the pretty desperate situation he inherited. However, I feel they brought much of it upon themselves by selling key, influential players. In January they surprisingly sold Jake Livermore to West Bromwich Albion for a reported fee of £10 million and Robert Snodgrass to West Ham for £10.2 million.
These moves provoked serious questioning whether the club’s owners were taking advantage of the parachute payments for reasons other than what was best for the Club!
Now, Hull has another manager and the hope must be that their experience of winning promotion from the Championship so recently can stand them in good stead for the new season. Frankly I suspect this may well be a misguided and forlorn hope.
As for Sunderland, I suspect that since the club has been in the process of steadily increasing failure in recent seasons, a spell in the less pressurised Championship may be good for them in the longer term. With responsible ownership, sensible management and good decision making, particular in the business of buying and selling players, it may provide a strong basis to regroup and rebuild. Certainly the Club has a massive fan base which should see a winning team in the Championship attract huge, cash-generating attendances.
Of course, in the short term it is nothing short of a disaster as far as the fans are concerned, particularly as near neighbours and fierce rivals, Newcastle United, have just won their place back in the Premier League, a situation clearly difficult for Sunderland fans to accept. They have recently sold promising young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton for £30 million which should mean that, coupled with the generous parachute payment, Sunderland are in a position to invest significantly in a number of new players who, if the buying process is efficient and well-researched, could provide the basis of a promotion challenging team. That is a big IF though.
A key factor for Sunderland will probably be how they start the season. Early, stylish victories will ignite the fans and encourage big attendances which could lift the team to exciting achievements. The players they bring in are the key to this.
As far as Middlesbrough are concerned, I expect them to be challenging at, or near, the top of the table from the start. They have two vital factors in their favour. Firstly they have in owner, Steve Gibson, a totally committed, life-long fan of the Club. Secondly they have in newly appointed manager, Garry Monk, an excellent young and well experienced operator who achieved considerable success at Swansea before he was unexpectedly, and many thought unreasonably, sacked and then almost led Leeds United back to the Premier League last season by turning around a pretty dysfunctional group of players and moulding them into a very good team.
Strangely perhaps, he decided not to remain at Leeds, in spite of the Club trying hard to persuade him to stay, and moved to Middlesbrough. With the Club’s experience of winning promotion so recent and with Monk’s steady hand to guide them plus, of course Gibson’s unfailing support and finance, together with the parachute payment money, I’m pretty sure Middlesbrough will be knocking on the Premier League door next season.
The Confederations cup in Russia has kicked off, and up to now there has been no real upsets, now if you were tuned in to World Sports betting show on Telly track on Saturday you would have seen my tips for the weekend, my four timer included wins for RUSSIA, GERMANY, CHILE, and a draw with PORTUGAL and MEXICO,so we were of to a flying start.,In the mid week games I think Portugal will beat Russia and Mexico to beat A poor looking New Zealand team.Later in the week I am going for two draws between Cameroon and Australia, and Germany and Chile.