IPSWICH TOWN: What would constitute success in the Premier League if the Blues were to be promoted?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
When Bill McGarry guided Ipswich Town to Division Two promotion in 1968, the Blues dared to dream they could emulate the team of six years earlier and win the top flight title.
In the ensuing years, under Sir Bobby Robson, they just missed out on winning Division One, but did lift the UEFA and FA Cups.
The club achieved promotion again in 1992 and 2000 but as history tells us, things didn’t go according to plan.
The Blues went out of the Premier League in 1995, before a fifth-placed finish in 2001 was followed by Europe and relegation in the same season and then administration, as Town chased the dream.
Should Ipswich be promoted this season, few fans would dream of achieving the success attained by McGarry and Robson or even George Burley, during his first season in the Premier League.
So what constitutes success?
To the Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal it’s all about making the top-four and Champions League and occasionally winning it.
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The Premier League is arguably less important, but the current £5.5bn TV deal (including around £2.2bn overseas revenue) ensures it’s still big business.
Most Town fans would surely swap a 17th-placed Premier League finish for glory in a cup but, for the balance sheet, staying with the big boys is as valuable as lifting a trophy.
Promotion is worth around £60m, while the Blues would be paid that again, over four years, if they went down, through parachute payments.
Meanwhile, the Premier League earns £6.5m for each game broadcast and last season, rock-bottom QPR, earned just shy of £40m in TV revenue, while champions, Manchester United pocketed £60.9m
Lecturer in Sport Business Management at Sheffield Hallam University, Daniel Plumley, said: “The distribution of TV money in the Premier League is one of the fairest around and last season, each club received £13.8m. Add to that facility fees and merit payments, based on final league positions, and you get a higher total.
“The bottom club is never far away in terms of TV money and that can represent a great chance to stabilise and re-build in the Championship.”
The £40m QPR earned will shoot up to about £65m this season, so the relegated clubs could have a big cushion to fall on.
The bubble isn’t likely to burst anytime soon, either.
Global expansion through the £2.2bn worldwide deal which sees the Premier League broadcast to over 200 countries, is opening new doors to outside investors and would be valuable to Town, nearly £80m in debt, according to their last financial report, and mainly reliant on owner Marcus Evans’ money.
“Promotion makes new areas available,” said Plumley.
“We’ve seen clubs go on tours of Asia and America and commercially, such moves are attractive.
“If you look at the Premier League, the commercial side has now overtaken matchday revenue.
“On average, 50% of clubs’ revenue is generated from TV, 27% is from commercial and 23% is from matchdays.”
Premier League clubs can report losses of up to £105m between 2013 and 2016, while Championship owners are restricted to a maximum of an £8m loss this season, according to the new Financial Fair Play rules.
“The gap is still there and the TV deals are likely to widen the gap again,” Plumley explained,
“There are still teams chasing the dream but lower down, clubs are being run more prudently.”
In McGarry and Robson’s days, success was judged by trophies. More than ever now though, it’s your bank balance, rather than trophies, which is important.