Joe Owens

Sunderland AFC are a club that is seen as undesirable, boring and worthless to a lot of neutrals; probably something to do with the fact they have a historic record of toying between the top of the EFL Championship and the bottom of the Premier League.

However, at the end of the 2016-17 season Sunderland will complete their tenth term in the land of English’s elite – and maybe their last for a while.

Which poses the question – would relegation be such a bad thing?

As a Sunderland fan it is great seeing your beloved team playing against world-class players such as Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eden Hazard.

However, is it so great walking away from the Stadium of Light dragging your knuckles in the dust along the banks of the River Wear after another defeat?

You would think financially the club would be extremely better off by being part of the Premier League.

In the 2015-16 season, Sunderland earned a very impressive £71.7 million.

Broken down, the Black Cats gained £55.5m from the equal share of oversees TV rights, £11.3m UK TV rights and £4.9m for finishing the season in 17th place.

But does that really make the club better off?

The richest game in football is not the Premier League decider or even the Champions League final but the Championship play-off final.

According to Sky Sports, 2015-16 winners Hull City, including the forgoing of parachute payments from their relegation the season before, came away with an estimated £110m – more than enough to cover the celebratory champagne costs.

Now I may not be a maths whizz but I know that’s more than Sunderland gained from staying in the ‘richest league in the world’ – £38.3m more in fact.

Adding that to the fact that in the second tier Sunderland may actually win more than once in every blue moon, the Championship may not be all that bad.

Of course it would mean playing ‘lesser’ sides, the attendances would lower and you might not be able to be an armchair season ticket holder with scarce Sky Sports coverage, but it would put the enjoyment back into a Saturday afternoon…and a Tuesday night.

Surely watching your side win, playing well and giving you the buzz that they are meant to is worth more than any collective prize money?

Head of the mouse.


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