Every season Championship teams begin the long and winding road towards the promised land of the Premier League.
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that is the top flight and all of its TV riches remains an attractive proposition for owners, but the financial mismanagement of many clubs who have enjoyed a taste of Premiership life is wrecking their long-term futures.
Only this week it has been revealed that the 2009/10 Premiership’s bottom club Portsmouth now find themselves £135M in debt after going into administration earlier this year.
While a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) remains in the offing to the creditors of the Fratton Park club, the future of the club looks bleak with minimal income and players on extortionate Premier League wages that are unsustainable in the Championship.
Remarkably, Portsmouth can still take something positive out of this season as they look forward to their impending FA Cup final with Premiership title winners Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Pompey boss, Avram Grant’s stock has risen this season, taking charge in adversity and creating a unity and strong team spirit that the supporters hope will continue into next season.
The situation for another relegated Premiership outfit, Hull City looks similarly bleak with the Tigers reportedly teetering on the brink of administration.
Despite turnover sky-rocketing from £15M to £52M in the top flight, the club find themselves £35M in debt with their wage bill a staggering £38.9M – 80 percent of their overall turnover.
It is scary yet understandable why teams gamble heavily on forking out big money on seasoned Premier League campaigners, as they can often prove the difference in the big games against the teams in and around the foot of the table.
Nevertheless, consider the financial position and long-term future of Burnley. The Lancashire outfit have spent a meagre amount this season, choosing to stick with the majority of the squad that earned them promotion via the playoffs last season.
Despite relegation the club find themselves in a healthy state off the field and with the increased parachute payments coming into play the Clarets will be in a position to maintain key players and add to their squad in readiness for an instant return to the top division.
It is a skill that West Bromwich Albion have been renowned for in recent years with the Baggies becoming the archetypal ‘yo-yo’ club between the first and second tiers.
The big question is – is it worth significant short-term outlays for potential long-term financial disaster? Ask Leeds United supporters and see how they felt about their club’s crippling debts dragging them down to the depths of League One. No matter how big the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no club in the current financial climate should spend beyond its means in pursuit of glory. As we all know, football has evolved into big business, but only the successful few at the pinnacle of the sport can truly make a profit.!