The Premier League season has concluded, revealing the teams that will compete in the Premier League and the EFL Championship next season. In this journal, we explore the question: Is there a curse associated with Premier League relegation? We delve into the financial implications and the challenges faced by relegated clubs, both in their quest to return to the top flight and to stay there.
The Impact of Relegation
Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against newly promoted clubs in their battle to stay in the Premier League. Despite the immediate financial blow of relegation, the real challenge lies in regaining and retaining their status in the most prestigious league in the world. Let’s examine the financial consequences of relegation and delve into some statistical analysis of club positions.
Following the recent fixtures, Everton managed to survive the drop, while Leeds, Leicester, and Southampton will be relegated. Among these four clubs, Everton is a founding member of the Premier League and has maintained its status since the league’s inception in the 1992-93 season. Out of the original founding members, only six remain that haven’t been relegated: Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool. Brighton and Brentford, as non-founding members, defy the trend of relegation that often plagues newly promoted clubs.
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Manchester City is the sole founding member to have experienced relegation and subsequent promotion, eventually winning the league. Conversely, Leicester City, a non-founding member, was promoted, won the Premier League, and was later relegated. In the 30-year history of the Premier League, only two clubs have been promoted and subsequently won the title, with Manchester City being one of them.
Once relegated and subsequently promoted, the odds of facing relegation again are stacked against a club. Analysing the period from 2012-13 to 2022, the cumulative proportion of promoted clubs facing relegation steadily increases from 47% in the first year to 93% by the tenth year following promotion. Only two clubs, Fulham and Aston Villa, have managed to survive longer than 10 years in the Premier League since 2012-13. The remaining 28 clubs relegated over that period spent fewer than 10 years in the top flight. It’s rare for all three relegated clubs to not include at least one newly promoted teams during this period, which has only occurred once in 10 years, until now. Southampton has spent 11 years, Leicester nine, and Leeds three in the Premier League, defying the trend of newly promoted clubs facing immediate relegation.
The Challenge for Promoted Clubs
Luton, Burnley, and Sheffield United are the promoted clubs for this season, with Luton being the only team without any previous Premier League experience. Although the statistics may appear daunting, recent trends have shown newly promoted clubs avoiding relegation. Luton will need to invest in their stadium, potentially upgrading Kenilworth Road, and strengthen their squad to compete at the Premier League level. The proposed new stadium at Power Court will require significant investment, exceeding the £10 million needed to improve Kenilworth Road to Premier League standards. The advantage for Luton is that such infrastructure spending will not impact Financial Fair Play calculations, given the more lenient regulations in the Premier League compared to the EFL. However, smart spending on the squad will be crucial to increasing their chances of survival. For example, Nottingham Forest spent over £200 million last season to bolster their squad and managed to remain in the Premier League.
Newly promoted clubs face a real challenge in retaining their Premier League status. However, with strategic investments in infrastructure and squad improvement, these clubs can defy the odds and secure their place in the top flight. The battle for survival is not solely fought on the pitch but also in the boardrooms, where financial decisions play a significant role.
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