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Relegation: What is it good for?

Wednesday 15th February 2017
What does relegation actually mean for football clubs in the modern game? It used to be the worst possible end to a season in years gone by but how many clubs would actually prefer to step down a tier these days? Why do so many clubs willingly embrace the drop? 

So, Relegation: What is It Good For?

Thankfully, considerably more than absolutely nothing, otherwise there wouldn't be too much content to this piece!


The term ‘Parachute Payments' is often mentioned when clubs are relegated but what are they actually receiving when they drop down a league? Well, relegation from the Premier League to the Championship will see at least £64 million distributed between the (usually) three clubs across the course of three years.

The payments are, of course, intended to be used to pay the club's more expensive player wages for the following three years should they fail to secure promotion but this isn't always the case. Clubs like Newcastle took the money they were given and immediately invested it in players in the hopes of securing promotion just a single season after being relegated.

Part of me hopes they remain in the Championship for another season with an enormous wage bill, a Financial Fair Play sanction and some serious player unrest – that'll teach them.

Contract Clauses

Many clubs will use the Parachute Payments appropriately but still find it difficult to cover all of their players wages due to reckless contract negotiations during their time in the league above. However, within these contract negotiations will be a release or wage cut clause (most of the time) meaning the clubs can offload the expensive players if need be, at no fee to them, or the players remain contracted for a substantially lowered wage sum.

Relegation clauses are very common in modern football but promotion clauses tend not to be offered – if you've convinced one of your highest earners to stay for less money and you get promoted right away; you don't want to put him back on the big bucks immediately!


Here, I'll be dragging you down to the depths of the Football League: League Two and Doncaster Rovers.

Darren Ferguson was appointed at Donny last season but couldn't keep the Vikings in League One despite some very impressive performances in the last few games of the season – down to the bottom tier of professional football with a lot of experienced, expensive players who just aren't up to standard.

Ferguson took the opportunity to clear his squad of the wasteful, arrogant players he no longer required and has built a team with a much younger average age, much lower wages but far more talent and, between James Coppinger and John Marquis predominantly, Doncaster are well on their way back into League One with a new outlook, new squad and renewed belief.


So what does relegation get you these days? Well, a fair old sum of money to be used appropriately or inappropriately depending on your levels of intelligence, the chance to move some costly players on at no cost or healthy returns and a chance to take a long, hard look at yourselves and get back on track.

See Claudio, it might not be so bad after all!
Kristian Webb
A Manchester United fan who actually knows where Manchester is; I'm the chief writer for AccumulatorTips, ForzaSwansea and a contributor to WhatCulture's video game section. I'm a professional proofreader, content author and SEO Expert but that doesn't mean there won't be the odd grammatical error!

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