Clubs can bridge the financial gap
BUT WE NEED PARACHUTE PAYMENTS
One point separated Wolves, Huddersfield and Blackburn Rovers in 20th-22nd spots in the Championship as the weekend began. I was prompted to discover that by a debate on talkSPORT about the fairness of Premier League payments to relegated clubs. The question of fairness in the Championship was being raised. How can clubs possibly bridge the gap between League One and the Championship when the divisions are so vastly different in their finances?
The truth is it’s all an exciting mixture. Bolton are pushing for promotion.Wolves and Blackburn could easily get relegated. Both automatically promoted clubs from League One are sitting in mid-table while Huddersfield are in danger.
But even so, I believe the money available to clubs relegated from the Premier League is essential. Otherwise, relegation could send clubs bust because of the top flight player contracts they carry. Bridging the divide isn’t easy, but it is possible.
Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday prove that. The fact is that the Premier League give their clubs enough money to attract top players from around the globe. That creates a great entertainment product that people want to watch.
If no relegation payments were made, clubs would have to more prudent. Fewer top players would be here. Football quality would reduce. The Premier League would attract smaller viewing audiences. TV monies would shrink. It would be a vicious circle.
Of course clubs lower down the ladder will always want a bigger slice of the action. And of course those at the top will seek to retain the bulk.
But none of us can afford to ignore the simple fact that the top class football attracts the audiences and the bulk of the reward will always stay there.
It is how it is and the key is to build a footballing momentum that means you can win despite the disadvantages. That is part of the challenge. That is the opportunity.
I have always fought for more opportunity for hard working smaller clubs. That is the biggest area of inequality in football, in my opinion. It always seems crazy to see four clubs move between League One and League Two each year but only three clubs moving between League One and the Championship, and just two between League Two and the Conference.
I think it would really liven up competition if four clubs moved between all leagues each year. There would be far more focus and concentration throughout all leagues then. The dangers would be so much more real and the opportunities so much greater.
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