The Premier League Old Boys Club
Posted by John Beech on April 9, 2010
This is the mixed bag of clubs who face the drop from the Premier League. Likely contenders for membership this year include of course Portsmouth, Hull City and West Ham, all of whom have been hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons with regard to their financial performance as much their on-the-pitch performance. It’s not a club that you have to pay any membership subscription to belong to; on the contrary, it’s an elite club in receipt of handouts – parachute payments. And in the case of the aforementioned clubs, the money will come in handy to tackle their existing debt mountains.
Latest development is the proposal to not only increase the payments, which will in any case rise from £12m to £16m per year, to a four-year period rather than the current two years, so each of the dropping clubs would receive up to £64m gratis (1).
However, facing them on the pitch next season will be clubs that include those promoted this summer from League 1, the likes of possibly Millwall and Huddersfield. And what bonus will they have to compete in the transfer market with given that they are having to ratchet up a gear financially? Well, precisely nothing, because, while we increasingly reward failure with parachute payments, the clubs that rise the pyramid without recourse to financial doping, do not receive any reward for their success. Dysfunctional or what? As regular readers will know, I have long been an advocate of rocket payments rather parachute payments.
To add to the insanity of this, it is worth remembering that the Premier League that is so impressed by its own generosity in paying roughly £30m per year to the Football League in what it calls, without any apparent sense of irony, Solidarity Payments (2). Will we see any rise in this figure, given that the three failed Premier League members will be benefitting to the tune of £48m a year? I’m not holding my breath. It seems to have become a way of life in football to reward failure rather success.