Championship takes shape - who's favourite to bounce back?
So Hull City will join Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Championsip next season. Humberside joins the Wear-Tees flops as those relegated from the Premier League.
The Tigers were unceremoniously dumped out of the top-tier following successive defeats against Sunderland and Crystal Palace. Quite simply, Marco Silva's unlikely rescue bid just ran out of steam.
But such is the current faith that Silva will stay on Humberside and lead Hull back into the Premier League, bookies have already installed his side as favourites to bounce back at the first time of asking. The Tigers' boss is rated as a 1/3 chance of remaining in charge at the KCOM next season.
Bookmakers Ladbrokes have installed the Tigers as 10/3 favourites to be promoted from the Championship next season with Middlesbrough a little way behind at 4/1 and Sunderland presently at 5/1.
If you fancy a flutter on who will top the second-tier and win the Championship title, Hull are priced at 10/1, Middlesbrough at 12/1 and Sunderland at 16/1.
Statistically speaking the chances of a swift return look mediocre
So it looks like Sunderland are going to finish bottom of the Premier League. Grim, but how much worse could it get?
Since the Premier League began in the 1992-3 season, of the teams finishing at the foot of the top-tier:
- Thirty-five percent have managed to bounce straight back from the Championship the next season - so nearly two-thirds haven't;
- Nine percent have gone on to be relegated again with a drop into League One;
- The average finish of those teams relegated has been ninth in the table in their first season in the Championship.
But most alarmingly of all, only one team who has finished at the foot of the Premier League come the end of the campaign has ever been promoted within three years of relegation after failing to bounce straight back up the following season.
If it's any comfort, that team was Sunderland - promoted in 2004/5 following a bottom-placed end to a top-tier campaign two years prior.
The spiraling impact of relegation and not bouncing back
There is a reason most teams who do not bounce back straight away then linger in the second-tier for years to come.
The majority of relegated clubs tend to invest in the first season in which they drop. Maintaining some Premier League players and bouyed by parachute payments, most sides have a real go at getting back up at the first time of asking.
But of those sixty-five percent of teams who do not make it straight back up, a shift in mentality dawns and the belts begin to be tightened.
As the prospect of dwindling and soon-to-end parachute payments looms, and the restrictions imposed by Financial Fair Play Regulations begin to bite, other factors come into play such as a continued decline in sponsorship revenues and a downward spiral in gate receipts and merchandise sales.
Key players begin to drift away having given the Championship a shot for just a season and with a loss of those better footballers so the chances of promotion become even tougher.
And we need look no further to an old friend of ours to see this in action right now and warn us of the consequences of not returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The news that Steve Bruce will only have £1m to spend at Aston Villa this summer is probably good from a Sunderland perspective. As one of the bigger clubs down there and fellow front-runners for promotion, any hampering of the chances in the West Midlands is no bad thing. But the Villains' tale should act as a precautionary one for us Black Cats.
Having invested heavily in an attempt to get back up at the first attempt, having seemingly convinced themselves they had to try and keep pace with Newcastle, the West Midlands club then slumped to a mid-table Championship finish this season. And now with the noose of Financial Fair Play tightening around his neck, Steve Bruce is facing up to a negligible transfer budget this summer.
And we know better than most - as do Hull City for that matter - that Steve Bruce likes a little cash to spend.
Whilst Sunderland's financial state and present structural chaos makes predictions about the next few seasons difficult, Aston Villa's state could so easily be us a year from now.