The advent of parachute payments has made life somewhat easier for former Premier League clubs that have tasted relegation – around $38 million easier, to be exact. That fund is designed to make the transition from the top flight to the second tier easier to manage for those involved while having the unwitting advantage of handing relegated sides a clear financial edge over existing Championship clubs, which many are run on a shoestring budget.
So Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United are rightly amongst the favourites to be promoted from the Championship in 2023/24, given their recently relegated status, but there’s a cautionary tale to be heard too. In the past five seasons, only five of the fifteen relegated Premier League teams have enjoyed instant promotion, while Bournemouth and Sheffield United took two seasons to return. It also means that 8/15 are yet to return to the top flight at all.
Foxes to Show Their Teeth
The Championship betting odds make Leicester the +125 favorites to secure promotion this season, ahead of Leeds (+188), Southampton (+260) and Middlesbrough (+320).
Ironically, the Foxes have faced more upheaval than any of the other relegated vintage of 2022/23, with a handful of key players – including England international James Maddison and midfield schemer Youri Tielemans – departing for pastures new.
They have also appointed a relative managerial novice, Enzo Maresca, to guide them through the choppy waters of the second tier. His only spell as a head coach, aside from a stint with Manchester City’s juniors, was at Italian club Parma, where he was sacked after just 14 games.
The good news for Maresca is that he has been supported in the transfer window, bringing in proven Premier League performers in Conor Coady and Harry Winks, while the likes of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho – amongst the favourites to be the division’s top goalscorer – have also stuck around.
Saints Go Marching On
Swansea City won seven of their last nine games in the Championship at the end of the last campaign, scoring a rather handsome 19 goals along the way.
Southampton’s answer to their relegation has been to poach the Swans’ head coach, Russell Martin, in a bid to oversee their promotion push.
Martin prefers to adopt a patient, passing game, and he should enjoy plenty of success on that front with a young and technically-proficient Saints squad.
They were, however, out of their depth in the Premier League last term, and you wonder how a relatively inexperienced team will fare in the chaotic world of the Championship.
It’s almost a certainty that Southampton will finish the summer transfer window weaker than they started it, so the jury’s out on whether the Saints will march back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Safe Pair of Hands
Leeds, meanwhile, have turned to a man who’s no stranger to Championship promotion. Daniel Farke twice won the Championship title with Norwich City, and while things did not go so well with Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany, he has returned to what has previously been a happy hunting ground.
The German inherits a squad that matches experience with youthful exuberance, with Jack Harrison – who enjoyed 12 goal involvements in the Premier League last season, Dan James and Patrick Bamford just three of those that can thrive at the lower grade.
Can Farke make it a hat-trick of Championship titles? And will Leicester or Southampton buck the trend of first-season struggles in the second tier for relegated teams?