Are Parachute Payments Rewarding Premier League Failure?
Fulham and West Brom have enjoyed strong starts to the Championship season, leading the way at the top of the standings after a mere month of the campaign. The two clubs were relegated from the Premier League last season, but it hasn’t deterred them from attempting to make an immediate return to the top flight.
Both sides have changed managers and retooled their respective squads in the second tier, capitalising on the parachute payments to great effect. Given the quality at their disposal, it’s no surprise to see the two clubs backed as the leading contenders, with Fulham staked at 8/15 and West Brom with odds of 4/6 in the EFL Championship odds from Betfair to win promotion to the Premier League. The other relegated club, Sheffield United, is also in the running and could be a strong shout in the Championship betting tips for a surge up the table to also make a return to the top flight.
Yo-yo-ing between divisions: it’s developing into a trend but was originally started by Fulham when they initially won promotion to the Premier League after a four-year exodus in 2018, before moving up and down between the two divisions in 2020 and 2021. With Marco Silva at the helm, the trend looks set to continue with another drive for the Premier League well underway.
The Cottagers have stacks of quality in their ranks as the parachute payments have allowed them to retain the majority of their Premier League-calibre players. The same can be said for West Brom, who have made a habit of bouncing between the top and second tier of English football since 2002. No club has been relegated and promoted more than the Baggies during that time span. There’s a litany of teams that appear to be too good for the Championship, but not good enough to force themselves into becoming established Premier League outfits.
Norwich and Watford were relegated in 2020 but returned at the first attempt using more or less the same players. Although it’s very early days in the Premier League season, both teams appear to be on the trajectory back towards the Championship. It’s damaging for the brand of the two divisions and the clubs themselves. The parachute payments are designed to aid teams to prevent financial disasters after relegation.
However, the discrepancy between the television deals in the Premier League and Championship is handing even those weak sides that are relegated a huge advantage over clubs in the second tier. It’s evident in the case of West Brom, who were able to lure Valerian Ismael away from Barnsley along with club captain Alex Mowatt, despite the Tykes finishing in the playoffs in the second tier last season.
Fulham were able to sign Harry Wilson for a £12 million fee from Liverpool, bolstering their attacking prowess that already included the likes of Aleksandar Mitrović, Bobby Decordova-Reid, Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro, who have all starred in the second tier at one time or another.
Only Brentford managed to prevent the three clubs that were relegated from the Premier League in the 2019/2020 season from returning to the top flight a year later after overcoming Bournemouth in the playoffs. Unfortunately, a trend is well underway in the Championship with the financial muscle of those once top-flight outfits, halting the charge of the teams that aspire to reach the pinnacle of English football.