Sheffield United: Premier League are pointing the right way

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“THE clubs understand that if people break the limit, we will be looking for the top-end ultimate sanction range. Points deduction.”

I’m not sure the Premier League’s lavish spenders, nor their well re numerated accountants with sharp eyes for a loophole, will be quaking in their expensive, hand-crafted boots. Nevertheless, it was nice to hear Richard Scudamore, the competition’s chief executive, warning new financial measures will be rigorously enforced.

After all, they play for points. Points are football’s most precious commodity. So why shouldn’t teams lose them if they break the rules?

Yes, some harbour grave concerns about the effect adopting these proposals will have upon quality and aspiration in the top-flight. But it’s a start. A first step along the long road to prudence and sensibility.

Plus, in League One, similar legislation in the shape of Salary Cost Management Protocol, has not proven detrimental to the supposed minnows. You’ve only got to look at the table, where Walsall and Orient are jostling for places in the play-offs, to see that.

Sheffield United’s own board of directors are understood to have backed the decision to implement SCMP when it was initially raised two years ago. The prospect of enjoying some long term gain despite the immediate pain of slashing a seven figure wage bill persuaded them to throw their hat into the ring.

Danny Wilson, United’s manager, has frequently spoken of the sport’s need to become more frugal with its cash. Not that it makes his job any easier of course. Indeed, given the turnover of players SCMP has prompted at Bramall Lane, it is impossible to over-state how well the former Northern Ireland international, his assistant Frank Barlow and head of football John Stephenson have done to ensure United have remained competitive.

Such restraints make it doubly difficult to construct a stable squad. If someone comes in, if circumstances dictate an emergency purchase, then someone else must go out.

As we saw this week when Dominic Poleon’s arrival heralded Chris Porter’s departure on loan.

The striker, it is fair to say, has not been flavour of the month with a section of United’s support this term.

But, having joined Shrewsbury Town on loan, they should be wishing him well given that fellow promotion contenders Tranmere Rovers face Graham Turner’s side tonight.

Unfortunately, generous FAPL parachute payments mean any advantage United might gain from their revenue raising powers will be diluted should they return to the Championship. SCMP, of course, will shortly be rolled-out across England’s second tier.

But at least United, relegated from the top-flight in 2007 when West Ham were fined following the Carlos Tevez Affair, can console themselves with the knowledge that Scudamore’s organisation think the ultimate sanction for rule-breaking is deducting points.

What a novel idea. Who’d have thought it eh?