Its half time in a disappointing Championship Playoff Final. Its 0-0. The winners will earn a minimum of £60,000,000 TV money next season.
All well and good. Except they’re competing at a level where every team will get that money. By arriving there a few weeks after everyone else they’ll already be looking round for players who won’t cost the Earth (read ‘aren’t good enough to have already been signed’) and find that they’re being charged far more for them, either in transfers, or in wages, than previously.
That £60,000,000 will diminish in the blink of an eye at Premier League level, on transfer fees, on wages, and to agents for bringing the two parties together.
Bill Edgar, rightly, pointed out in today’s Times that the two are likely to be fighting not for their extra money next year, when it will be too late to make a difference, and no more than any of their divisional rivals, but for the years after.
The Premier League is an exclusive club, and its a difficult one to stay in. The increase in parachute payments related to the new TV deal mean that, should you fail to stay up, the tables are tilted so far in your favour (ostensibly so your club can pay Premier League wages while not IN the Premier League) that you should be able to make a pretty nailed-on return, provided you haven’t been too profligate in the interim.
In some ways, both these teams are playing for that. Not for the Premier League money, which everybody gets. If you can assimilate into the group of PL clubs, great, but if not (which is likely) then to be the richest Championship clubs after relegation.
Anyway, the second half is starting. Time for me to play some ‘Won’t Make The Grade’ bingo.