By Alex Owen
In the last decade West Brom have been relegated three times and promoted four times. Due to this the Baggies have become known as the official yo-yo team but we’re certainly not alone in experiencing such a bittersweet ride; clubs like Birmingham and Sunderland have also tasted both the champagne and the tears in recent years.
There are advantages of going up and down; your club still receives parachute payments which means – in the short-term at least – there is usually still decent quality on the pitch whilst the cheaper ticket prices means it’s more affordable to watch them.
West Brom have often done kids for a quid for mid-week games and for matches that are been televised. This has then increased the attendance by quite a considerable amount which improves the atmosphere at the Hawthorns. But the main reason why being in the Championship can have an upside is quite simply this – you tend to win a lot more games.
These lads feel that within a year or two they could easily be fulfilling their dream of playing in the Premiership.
It’s also possible to attract a good standard of player from the lower leagues when you’re known for being a yo-yo club and rebuild quickly because these lads feel that within a year or two they could easily be fulfilling their dream of playing in the Premiership.
The negative aspect is of course the competitive nature of the Championship which is increasingly hard to get out of. There are no guarentees anymore even if you plan sensibly, keep within your budget and get things going again on the pitch. Behemoths such as Newcastle recently and West Ham this term are incredibly difficult to overcome and there is the temptation to over-spend beyond your limitations and suffer the consequences. We’ve seen this with Leeds and the likes of Leicester, Notts Forest, and Coventry who have all spent more money than what they should have done and are now paying the price. Then there are the perceived ‘smaller’ clubs with low budgets such as Scunthorpe and Doncaster who survive at that level with admirable dogged persistence and are always capable of turning anyone over.
So on reflection, although our days of boing boing had – appropriately – its ups and downs, I’m more than content with how things are at present; into our third consecutive season in the top flight and, hopefully, shedding our yo-yo image once and for all.