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The Championship 2018-19: More interesting than the Premier League

Discussion in 'Breakfast with Gazza (with Sachmoneious Bullcrap)' started by Dummy Hoy, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Dummy Hoy

    Dummy Hoy Angry Pissbum SoSH Member

    I meant to start this thread a while ago, certainly before the games started. I was in the woods all last week and have had a hard time figuring out what to write here regardless.

    There are some fascinating story lines as always, but I thought I'd kind of use Sheffield Wednesday's plight as an example of what it is like in this division and the challenges that these teams face when trying to get to the 'promised land' of the Premier League. Forgive me if some of my numbers are rough or things are a bit complicated...I'm not always sure I get it myself, so bear with me.

    3 years ago Wednesday was bought by Dejphon Chansiri, the heir to the world's largest producer of canned tuna. He came into Wednesday and revitalized the club, buying up all its debt and giving an influx of cash, allowing it to buy players of a higher quality than it had seen in years (Westwood, Bannan, Forestieri, Wallace, Hooper, etc.). With a new coach and an inspired line-up, Wednesday made it all the way to the playoff final at Wembley, losing 1-0 to freshly relegated Hull. That Wednesday team had a team player value of ~15m, or about 9m less than Hull received that season for a parachute payment (64m over all).

    Wednesday operated at a roughly 9m loss that season- not good, but not crushing to Chansiri. Wednesday came back the following season and made another push for promotion- acquiring Steven Fletcher, Almen Abdi, Adam Reach and others to try to take that final step. The biggest expenditure was getting Jordan Rhodes on loan in January with a commitment to buy. Wednesday finished 4th that season and probably should have won the playoffs if not for some untimely injuries and poor tactical management.

    Quick interlude to the narrative to bring up FFP, which is the issue at hand long term. FFP regulations (the newish "Profits and Sustainability") limit a club to a certain percentage of losses over a 3 year period. Clubs violating this can be fined. Brounemouth just got fined ~5m for overspending on the way to the premier league, and QPR just paid 40m for their brazen disregard. Problem is, those numbers are a joke compared to what you get in the premier league. And now, the rules have changed so that the EFL can now do more than just fine teams- they can hand out transfer bans, take away points, even remove teams from competitions if they feel it warranted. Every year the EFL now looks at teams budgets and spending over the previous 3 seasons, and uses those calculations. So, with this in mind, back to Wednesday.

    Having failed to get up twice and having a large wage bill, Wednesday entered the third season of their cycle needing to go up before their debts over a 3 year period broke the standard (assessed on a percentage I believe, not a hard number). Unfortunately Carvahal's 'player friendly' management style led to a whole bunch of guys not training and getting hurt...at one point last season every single member of the projected XI was out. Carvahal was fired, Jos Luhukay was brought in, and Wednesday finished relatively strong. But now the trouble is in.

    The EFL hit Wednesday (and Birmingham City and maybe another) with a transfer embargo starting in April of this year, and Wednesday has to go to the EFL with future budgeted plans to show they've got things under control before the embargo will be lifted. They've sold off a few players, got some others out on loan, but still need to sell more.
    *side note- I'd sell Westwood in a heartbeat because I think Joe Wildsmith is a future top flight keeper. Rumors are that Forestieri will leave, which I would hate, but it will bring some real cash and won't be as bad as everyone thinks*

    So this kind of illustrates one of the main challenges to get out of the league. You can spend your way out, but you better get up fast, otherwise you've got to enter the cycle of selling off and fighting off relegation. Wolves succeeded last season, but it's not always easy to do. This year Forest is the team going for it, but they better not miss. Here's the top 5 teams in net spending so far:

    Forest £24.39m
    Boro £9.63m
    Stoke £8.69m
    Birmingham £2.25m
    Hull £2.16m

    If they don't get up in the next two seasons, they'll have to tear down and start again. With that kind of spending that should be okay, but not with the second issue in the league- Parachute Payments.
    This year teams that were just relegated will receive payments of ~90m over the next three seasons, with the bulk of it up front (it's 55% then 45% then 20% of your final PL earnings). Last season Hull, Sunderland, and Boro all got ~40m before the season. compare that to the numbers I was talking about with Wednesday (who were relatively large spenders) and you'll see how insane the system is.
    This is a solid read on a study about how unfair the parachute payments are.
    Now I don't write this just to complain- it's easy to say that Wednesday made some mistakes signing older players and not developing younger players to sell on, no doubt. And some teams have gone up by developing from within and slowly building to it (Brighton did a masterful job of playing the long game to get up). But I do think it's horseshit that in a game dominated by big money and spending, that some teams can't just spend to get better, while some teams can. It's also bullshit that a team like Cardiff, one of the least impressive auto promotion teams I've seen, will come back to the Championship next season (having already bought rival's players), with close to 100m to spend over the next 3 seasons. But that is life in the league that very few people in the US give the slightest shit about. Well, I do, and it sounds like I will for a few more years.
  2. Dummy Hoy

    Dummy Hoy Angry Pissbum SoSH Member

    Of note in the first week-

    Bielsa led Leeds crushed preseason favorites Stoke 3-1, Pigs are 0-2 and got pummeled by Boro, giving up 3 in the first 25, free spending Forest could only manage two draws to start the year, Brentford dropped a 5 spot on returnee Rotherham, and of course Wednesday lost 2-3 at newly promoted Wigan.

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