The money available for teams in the Premier League, through sponsorships, gate receipts and – above all – TV revenue is absolutely staggering. The last revenue stream alone amounts to several tens of millions of pounds per season – even for teams who end up near the bottom of the table.
All this money, means that there is more to gain by winning promotion from the Championship than ever. And more to lose by getting relegated, of course. This means that some clubs gamble, big time. They choose to spend in the hope of staying in the top flight. This can mean stretching their budgets to the limit, taking major risks. Much like someone stacking their chips on the roulette table. If their numbers come up, they cash in a big, fat profit. If they don’t, it’s time to count your losses, and make the long way back home to the Championship with empty pockets.
As the 2019 season nears its end, we can see that the three clubs that were promoted last season, Fulham, Cardiff City and Wolverhampton face very different outcomes.
Fulham were the biggest gamblers of all. They went up through the play-offs. Nobody had expected them to gain promotion to the Premier League. That might explain why the club felt the need to invest – heavily – in order to stay up once there. They placed a series of very heavy bets, hoping to recruit the players needed to make an impact in the top flight. Four of their new recruits cost over £20 million each, with André-Frank Zambo Anguissa signed from Marseille for a cool £30 million! The club’s total outlay was well north of £100 million!
To say the gamble didn’t pay off is an understatement. Fulham were relegated at the end of March, having already fired two managers. The new, expensive recruits can all be put in the flops bracket!
At the moment, Cardiff City have not still been relegated. The Welsh team are still fighting for survival, but are in a very difficult situation. It would be a surprise if they manage to cling on. But Cardiff, perhaps wise from wild, failed gambling in the transfer market last time they were in the Premier League, did not make any massive bets this time. They signed several players, but didn’t even spend £30 million in total. If they are to go down, they will still have plenty of chips left to play with in the summer in order to recruit a squad capable of mounting another promotion push.
Which leaves us with Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club is in the FA Cup-semi-final, and set for a top-10 finish. They did gamble on new recruits to the tune of £65 million in the summer, and have just completed the permanent signing of on-loan striker Raul Jimenez for 30 million pounds. Unlike Fulham, they placed their bets wisely; unlike Cardiff, they chose to take big risks - and won the jackpot of one more lucrative season in the Premier League!