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

Dummy Hoy

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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.
Little wonder that the report concludes: “...Championship clubs with parachute payments are twice as likely to be promoted to the EPL compared to clubs without and considerably less likely to suffer further relegation to League One compared with other clubs in the League.”

The team’s research has led to Wilson to believe that parachute payments are worth five points on every other team in the league.
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.
 

Dummy Hoy

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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.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Here are two charts that give an idea of the disparity that PP cause.

C6C14603-17C1-46C3-8671-F40ADF85B2B9.jpeg

A073D520-89AF-4CC9-ADE1-5CF3EAA8C920.jpeg

The first shows a league with some weath disparity- there are big clubs and smaller clubs. It’s the way of football. That second image...
 

americantrotter

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Well without them Bolton doesn’t exist anymore. It was tenuous enough with them. I’m no fan of the money in the game, but there’s not a lot of support fan wise to checking the imbalances.
 

Titans Bastard

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It's no longer the Championship, but I was checking in on Sunderland & Lynden Gooch and the club has a player named Max Power. Amazing.

 

Jimy Hendrix

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A league where Pulis and Bielsa are jockeying for pole position is a pretty fun league indeed.
 

Royal Reader

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Yes .. presumably they are meant to cover the team’s PL payroll .. which seems moot as most relegated teams sell off any high salaried stars they have. Shaqiri being exhibit A.
Except that anyone who gets interest from other prem or big continental clubs usually begs out/tries everything in their power to force a move, then you're left with precisely the players who are on huge wages but aren't actually good -
the Jamie O'Haras and Jack Rodwells of the world on top half of the prem pay packets who are barely even passable in the Championship. Or guys who are good but injured. Parachute payments are necessary or else literally every team coming down would have to have a firesale. Getting relegated usually means the team's not great to begin with, and nearly all get worse after relegation. For comparison, the seventeeth placed finisher in the EPL in 2016/7 made £107 million in TV revenue alone, while Leeds' entire turnover (used as the example as they're a big club at that level but weren't receiving payments) that year was thirty million. Oh, and Leeds lost nine million that year. Even with flex-down clauses, how many enterprises could cope with a sudden loss of over two-thirds of their revenue in one year? How would it be possible to comply with FFP without every single club going into administration?


Nine out of thirty teams relegated over the last decade have gone straight back up. Seven of those teams have gone down again (not necessarily immediately). Last year none of the relegated teams went back up and only one made the playoffs, after sacking their manager midseason. This really seems to be a canard trotted out by fans of the handful of bigger clubs (Forest/Derby/Wendies/Ipswich) who've been in the division forever, rather than a meaningful statement about the actual balance of power in the division.

(Things I learned fact checking myself here - Newcastle ran an operating loss of £90m in 2016/17, more than their entire turnover. They would have been at least Sunderland-level fucked had they not gone back up that year).
 

Dummy Hoy

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I don't disagree at all that parachute payments are needed- that wasn't my issue. My issue was with the huge imbalance that is created...teams in the same division are operating on entirely different rules that have nothing to do with the current season of football. Some teams, with a massive influx of cash they generally did nothing to earn, can also stay within regulations with losses significantly higher than other teams who didn't go around having a shambles of a season. Look at the Newcastle situation you gave- Mike Ashley was allowed to drive a fucking clown car, while owners in the same division had to be significantly restricted in their contributions.

I assume you read the article I posted above and saw the part where the study written in the Journal of Global Sport Management showed “...Championship clubs with parachute payments are twice as likely to be promoted to the EPL compared to clubs without and considerably less likely to suffer further relegation to League One compared with other clubs in the League.”

I think the issue is a systemic one- there should be incentive for good management, not golden handshakes for running a fiscal goat rodeo. A lot of times the teams coming down are coming down for a reason- they probably shouldn't have been in the top flight to begin with and/or are horribly run. There are cycles for the majority of clubs, and some clubs do have less rope to play with than others. I'm not sure the sheer amount of artificial assistance from the PL is the way to do this- it allows some clubs to yo-yo around and fill the coffers of asshole owners (hello Hull City).

This really seems to be a canard trotted out by fans of the handful of bigger clubs (Forest/Derby/Wendies/Ipswich) who've been in the division forever, rather than a meaningful statement about the actual balance of power in the division.
There is certainly some truth in this, although those teams you listed have different circumstances- Ipswich hasn't tried to do a thing for 16 years for example. Maybe I'm just salty because Wednesday didn't get any when they last went down (or at least it was a pittance). And for the record (leaving aside the mildly sexist insult that I've only heard from a couple of knuckle dragging fan bases), Wednesday have not been in the division forever- we were horribly mismanaged into league one twice, and it was just over 8 years ago we received winding up orders over a .5m pound debt...almost lost the club over what amounts to a few drops in the bucket that the PL gave the Venkys to ruin Blackburn.

I do not want to see any club go through this, but teams should not be rewarded for shitty management, while at the same time you punish small clubs or limit the ambitions of other clubs.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I actually watched the game with a good friend who had gone to university in Reading and was a big fan. He was fairly matter of fact about things, although it is looking pretty dire right now. I thought Reading played decent for most of the field, but there was no ability to finish in the final third...a lack of individual skill or bodies to put on the balls that were crossed in. I hope things turn around before too long.
 

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That's cool when was your buddy there? I was at Reading (at University) for one year from September 1991- June 1992 on a junior year abroad program from my college here in the States. I was there towards the end of the Elm Park era and enjoyed the smallness of it all. Sadly I haven't yet been to the Mad Stad although I do still get a small thrill seeing Shaka Hislop on TV every now and again as he was pivotal to some excellent Reading teams that didn't quite get to the top.
 

Dummy Hoy

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That's cool when was your buddy there? I was at Reading (at University) for one year from September 1991- June 1992 on a junior year abroad program from my college here in the States. I was there towards the end of the Elm Park era and enjoyed the smallness of it all. Sadly I haven't yet been to the Mad Stad although I do still get a small thrill seeing Shaka Hislop on TV every now and again as he was pivotal to some excellent Reading teams that didn't quite get to the top.
Probably around that time...Kieron calls himself a plastic paddy- his folks are Irish but he grew up in London. His old man wasn’t really a fan of any particular team and he never felt an affinity. Then when he went to University and could go stand on the terraces for $5, he was hooked.
I met him when I was at UMass in the mid to late 90s and he was in grad school there. We bonded over the hockey team and didn’t really talk much footy then- my Wednesday fandom was a bit dormant at that point.
 

SoxFanInCali

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This league is bananas this year.

Steel City Derby tomorrow on Sky/ESPN+ 2:45. I’m at the landing if anyone wants a pint while they watch me eat my own hands.
From what I saw, Wednesday must have been happy getting out of there with a point.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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This league is bananas this year.

Steel City Derby tomorrow on Sky/ESPN+ 2:45. I’m at the landing if anyone wants a pint while they watch me eat my own hands.
Onomah an unused sub, after playing in most games lately. Tactical or something else (quality?)?
 

Dummy Hoy

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From what I saw, Wednesday must have been happy getting out of there with a point.
Transition season, 4 straight losses including a 4-0 loss to Norwich last weekend, Pigs top 3, game at Bramall Lane...I was thrilled with the point.

Onomah an unused sub, after playing in most games lately. Tactical or something else (quality?)?
Looked poor the last couple after a strong start, but Wednesday was going to bunker down regardless, so Onomah not a great fit this game regardless of form.
 

Royal Reader

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So this weekend saw Norwich lead 2-1 with ten minutes left, concede two to trail 3-2 at 90 minutes, then score twice in injury time to go top.

Derby, who've looked like the class of the league the last month, lost 3-0 at home to Villa. And dirty Leeds got gubbed 4-1 at West Brom, who had taken one point from four games before that.

Middlesbrough are probably going to win the league because they're the only side able to produce any semblance of consistency.
 

thehitcat

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My 4-4 and 9 Royals have managed to snatch 4 points out of the last two matches to pull them to 16 points on the season and 20th in the table tied all the way back to 23rd but ahead even with a negative goal diff. This is not a good team but I am hopeful they can scrape enough goals and points to avoid the drop.
 

Cellar-Door

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So I was reading about Leeds because Bielsa..
Apparently he was the 4th choice. They left him a voicemail when he didn't answer a call. He calls back the next morning and starts talking about the 7 matches he watched the night before.
Leeds president and managing director fly to Argentina and he has hung up drawings of their training grounds with the changes he wants.

www.skysports.com/amp/football/news/11715/11460540/knowing-marcelo-bielsa-what-will-he-bring-to-leeds-united


He's going to be so much fun in the premier league next year.... Also I'm still pissed USSF didn't just write him a blank check
 

Dummy Hoy

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I'd love to see him in the premier league (obviously not with L**ds, but whatever), but I wouldn't consider anything a given.
1. Bielsa's teams have a habit of burning out
2. The Championship is just such a grind and we're not at the halfway point until the end of this week. A lot can still happen and I see probably 8 teams that could win a playoffs, so it's going to be a burner down the stretch.

I think top 6 is pretty much assured barring catastrophe though.
 

Stanley Steamer

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Leeds riding their luck to the top of the table, now 3 points up on Norwich in 2nd, and 6 above West Brom in 3rd.
They came from 2-nil down at Villa, winning in stoppage time on Saturday, and today fell behind Blackburn late at home, only for Kemar Roofe to score two goals after ninety minutes to win again. That's seven in a row.
I am happy and hopeful, but agree with you DH that nothing has been settled. It's not like they are ever winning by a wide margin, and the league is beyond competitive.
Norwich managed to come from 3 down to tie at home today, but it's West Brom that strikes me as the best team in the division. The rest of the chasing pack are all solid. I'm not sure I rate Sheffield United to vie for the top, and Middlesbrough can't seem to score, so it may give the likes of Villa, Brum and Stoke a chance to get in the playoffs. I would take 2nd in a heartbeat!
Looks like Wednesday has righted the ship, but it's been a frustrating year for them for sure.
So, is this the year LUFC finally claw their way back to the top flight, or just a big tease?
 

Dummy Hoy

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Lol...whole thing is a farce. Club just released a statement that neither Fessi, the club, or the lawyers knew about the court date, and that a new date has been set.

Given United’s repeated fan issues the last few years, I think we know who the real pus stain of Yorkshire is.

Leeds is still scum tho
 

Stanley Steamer

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Lol...whole thing is a farce. Club just released a statement that neither Fessi, the club, or the lawyers knew about the court date, and that a new date has been set.

Given United’s repeated fan issues the last few years, I think we know who the real pus stain of Yorkshire is.

Leeds is still scum tho
Just lobbed that one in for you. ;)
 

Stanley Steamer

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I'm not really in the know. Peacock-Farrell is young, and has been getting most of the games. I'll be curious to see how active they are in January.
If Bamford can't remain fit, I'd think a second striker might be a need.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Have read great things about it. Not watched yet.
Met a Sunderland fan yesterday, first time ever. He saw my Spurs hat and struck up conversation.

edit: (in SF, CA for context)
 

Dummy Hoy

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https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/46840353
Sound familiar, Pats fans?
Leeds manager Bielsa admits to sending a "spy" to watch Derby practice.
Super Frank is not impressed.
Leeds ahead 1-0 midway through the first half.
Typical.

Edit: that’s a big win though...form had been a bit wobbly recently, but FLDC is a solid squad. I still expect a bit of a collapse, but if you bank enough points before that, there isn’t 2 teams that are going to take over. Rumor was you were looking at getting a goalie from Madrid.
 

Stanley Steamer

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Typical.

Edit: that’s a big win though...form had been a bit wobbly recently, but FLDC is a solid squad. I still expect a bit of a collapse, but if you bank enough points before that, there isn’t 2 teams that are going to take over. Rumor was you were looking at getting a goalie from Madrid.
Agreed-- proving that you, more than anyone else on SOSH, has his finger on the pulse of Yorkshire football.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Agreed-- proving that you, more than anyone else on SOSH, has his finger on the pulse of Yorkshire football.
Is there another kind of football that matters?

Edit: and if/when you get promoted this year, i will root for immediate relegation, but I will be glad to have Yorkshire representing in the Premiership. No offense to Huddersfield, but this was always going to be a temporary stay. Leeds is a proper club, scum infested though it may be, and the English top flight needs more of that.
 
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Cellar-Door

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Hahaha Bielsa called a press conference today. Press thought he wad going to resign for hurting poor Frankie Lampard's feelings. Instead he did a looong presentation on how his coaching team prepare for matches. It was basically a breakdown of all of derby's tactics and players, at the end of which he said... "thank you for listening" and walked out.

I love him so much I can't wait for him to be in the premier league
 

Dummy Hoy

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Let me again reiterate that Leeds is awful and their fans are a stain on the sport (Mr. Steamer obviously excluded). That said, here's the link to the transcript of his press conference.
a) It's the mirror, which while not the sun, is a shitty paper. So keep that in mind if it bothers you
b) The website sucks...ads and videos and all sorts of crap.

That said, it's a completely brilliant piece of work. The man is a legend.

Some choice quotes (spoilered for size):

I have called this because tomorrow we have the classic press briefing before playing Stoke City and I thought the spy matter would take up time I want to dedicate to the game.

My goal regarding this situation, of which I am the only one responsible - I wouldn’t like to mix it with the games and the play.

And if you allow me I would like to make a summary of what happened.
Of each opponent we watched all of the games form the 2017-18 season. The 51 games of Derby County. We watched them. The analysis of each game takes four hours of work.

Why did we do that? Because we think this is professional behaviour. We try not to be ignorant of the competition we play in.

Tell me any game, point to any game.

*19 SAYS A JOURNALIST*

This is the analysis of that game. Both starting teams. ALl the data of the game, taking into the account the tactical scheme of the opponent.

Would you like to see another game?

*NUMBER 12, MAN UNITED VS DERBY SAYS ANOTHER*

I’m trying to convince you what I said is true. This is the same analysis. We watch the players in the 51 games, those who are still playing for Derby County.

The other thing we do is point out the chances to score, the half chances to score and which team dominates every five minutes. That’s why it takes four hours to analyse each game. This is not very useful.

It doesn’t put you in better conditions to win a game. But the way to respect the way football receives you is to make the effort to know the players and the teams.

I can’t speak English, but I can speak about the 24 teams of the Championship.
We gather information for the systems, we analyse to see which player goes in which system. I don’t need to watch a training session to know where they play.

So, why do I go?

Because it’s not forbidden, I didn’t know it would create such a reaction and even though going and watching an opponent is not useful, it allows me to keep my anxiety low.
 

Stanley Steamer

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Thanks for that, DH.
I am starting to understand the hype behind Bielsa. He has Belichick-like qualities. I hope he gets the club promoted.
Glad to see you're softening on LUFC. You'll be a fanboi in 2 years, tops.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Thanks for that, DH.
I am starting to understand the hype behind Bielsa. He has Belichick-like qualities. I hope he gets the club promoted.
Glad to see you're softening on LUFC. You'll be a fanboi in 2 years, tops.
You misunderstand me friend. Always liked Bielsa since hearing Vickery and Wilson tell stories. Never been a Leeds fan.

BTW- both Sheffield clubs refused to join the "punish Beilsa" crowd...I'm impressed the Pigs showed some integrity as they're usually the first to complain they got screwed.
 
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