Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWhat Survival Sunday means financially - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough What Survival Sunday means financially - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

What Survival Sunday means financially

Survival Sunday ™; five teams battling to avoid two relegation places. Ninety minutes that will decide where who from Blackburn, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan will be joining West Ham in the Championship next season. Cue crying fans, broken heaps of players, managers putting a brave face on things and owners frantically phoning up the accountants.

For some clubs more than others, the threat relegation poses is far more dangerous than others; clubs such as Blackburn who have new owners who promised the world but have so far offered Steve Kean and will be able to offer a lot less than that on a Championship budget.

Wigan who are reliant on a combination of Dave Whelan’s millions and the Premier League TV broadcasting money to stay afloat. The loss of the latter will mean the former has to put in an awful lot more to cover the shortfall, even accounting for parachute payments.

Birmingham who, as reported on before on this blog, have serious financial concerns as it stands (they still need to find £17.15 million despite their latest share issue) and these problems would be compounded were relegation to occur.

For others, relegation would not be the end of the world, financially speaking. Wolves, who made a £9m profit (the most unheard world in English football) last season and have no debt whatsoever, do have a large wage bill but also had the foresight to have wages cut in the event of relegation built into their players contracts.

Likewise Blackpool who expenditure on playing staff and wages did not grow massively this year (just looking at the type of players on their books tells you this) so the dangerous wage to turnover percentage (144%) in their promotion year, was offset by the huge income from the Premier League, thus leaving the club safe whatever the results today.

One can see from these clubs two different types of model emerge with Wigan (as will become clear) as something of an anomaly due to the unique sentimental position of their owner. The top brass at Wolves and Blackpool are both unashamedly clear that their aim is survival, but a fiscally sound type of survival that does not gamble with the future of the club; they will be safe come what may.

On the flip side, the owners of Blackburn and Birmingham, who took over in the last 18 months or so, have promised big, spent slightly more (both in signing and wages for loan players) than their counterparts but with no improved results, apart from Birmingham’s Carling Cup triumphant which in retrospect has caused more problems than it was worth, notwithstanding the joy of a day out at Wembley for the fans.

If there is a lesson to be learnt for current and potential football club owners from this season’s relegation battle, it might well be this. If you come in on your white horse, promising the world and all its riches (and European football) without realising the cost, the outcomes will be all the more punishing at both boardroom and, more importantly, at terrace level.

The fans of Wolves, Blackpool and Wigan know their limitations and know what they are aiming for and, speaking as an outsider here, probably respect their boards more for being straight with them (though there probably are, like any club, a vocal section of the support who wants more and more investment). On the other hand, supporters of Birmingham and Blackburn are left wandering where the promised sustained success is coming from. The answer may well be in the nPower Championship.

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