Affectionately know as ‘the drop’ the three teams with the fewest points when the season concludes in May will see their position in the Premier League come to an end and the following season(s) they will spend their time playing in the lower leagues of English soccer.
The drop normally co insides not only with a huge loss of advertising, commercial revenue (up to $50m), but can spell disaster for the club in general. They can no longer attract the top players, many of the current players in the team leave the club to play elsewhere, the attendance of the much needed fan base and the revenue from the tickets/season ticket sales declines severely, and a club which once found themselves comfortably in the black, can soon find themselves in the red and struggling for financial survival.
Many clubs who have been relegated and had hoped for a quick return to the Premiership have found themselves languishing in the lower divisions for years; some have gone into administration while some have never recovered – professionally or financially.
So how do teams avoid the drop?
Make sure the team has more than 40 points by the end of the season. It has long been the belief that teams who can accrue 40 points or more during the season are safe, and since the Premier League started in 1992, this has generally been the case. But there have been seasons when 34 points were enough, as well as seasons when teams needed 44 points to survive.
Try and avoid being bottom at Christmas – the ‘Curse of Christmas’ refers to a trend where the team at the bottom at Christmas has been relegated – this has happened every year except one (2004/5 West Bromwich Albion) since the league started in 1992. Their survival lead to the term ‘the great escape’ which is now given to a team, who, it was thought, had no chance of staying up, and yet manages to survive.
Don’t do a Swindon Town – in the 1993/94 season, Swindon won five games out of forty two and conceded 100 goals (still a Premier League Record). They were relegated and have never made it back to the Premier League.
Try and do better than Sunderland – Sunderland hold the record for the ‘Worst Ever Premier League Club’, during the 2005/6 season they managed just three wins and only got fifteen points – there were relegated.
Hire Harry Redknapp as the manager – having engineered the ‘great escape’ for Portsmouth from what seemed like an impossible survival position in 2006, Redknapp is currently trying to perform the same feet with his current team Queens Park Rangers (and yes they were bottom at Christmas).
Sadly there is no magic formula to avoid ‘the drop, it all comes down to hard work, sheer belief, and luck. Along with having your no.1 striker hit top form in the last few months of the season, having the opportunity to sell the teams dodgy goal keeper in the January transfer window, hoping that all the teams around you start to loose more games than you do, and above all, making sure you are not bottom of the league at Christmas. Good luck Queens Park Rangers!