The Football League Paper - - NEWS -

SO much for the Premier League TV deal ush­er­ing in a golden new era of milk and honey. As far as I can de­duce, all it’s re­ally done is shaft the Foot­ball League.

No­body is get­ting richer. The new TV rights pack­age, worth £5.136bn over the next three years, rep­re­sents a 71 per cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous deal.

Mean­while, this sum­mer’s record-break­ing £1.2bn trans­fer spend was a 37 per cent rise on last sum­mer’s to­tal.

On pa­per, that looks like a healthy bal­ance sheet. But last sum­mer’s cash was splashed in the knowl­edge that a big in­crease was round the cor­ner, a tac­tic widely known as ‘a Rids­dale’.

For a more com­pa­ra­ble fig­ure, you have to go back to 2013, the first year of the pre­vi­ous rights deal.

Back then, Premier League clubs spent £630m, a whop­ping 90 per cent less than the 2016 out­lay. Fac­tor in ris­ing wage costs and what you cur­rently have are 20 clubs col­lec­tively spend­ing twice what they used to on just three-quar­ters more in­come.

His­tory sug­gests they will spend more again next year. And it’s not like they can even claim to be as­set rich. Their play­ers were bought at such a grotesquely in­flated pre­mium that no­body out­side the Premier League could pos­si­bly af­ford them.

The Premier League of­fers rel­e­gated clubs para­chute pay­ments worth £87m. Thus cush­ioned, we have al­ready seen As­ton Villa and New­cas­tle ac­count for all but one of the five most ex­pen­sive sign­ings in Cham­pi­onship his­tory.

Even a rel­a­tively af­flu­ent club like Brighton were com­pre­hen­sively out­bid by Nor­wich for Alex Pritchard.

Right now, we are still in a po­si­tion where Hud­der­s­field can top the ta­ble. Two years down the line, it is dif­fi­cult to see how a club of their stature will stand a chance.

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