Sheffield United set to bank £10m after promotion success

Sheffield United won the league last season
Sheffield United won the league last season
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Promotion to the Championship could see Sheffield United bank more than £10 million next season, according to a football finance expert.

Rob Wilson, a specialist lecturer in sport finances at Sheffield Hallam University, says the Blades will benefit from a larger slice of the £5billion TV deal introduced at the beginning of the 2016-7 season, from which all clubs Football League benefited.

Rob Wilson, football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University.

Rob Wilson, football finance expert at Sheffield Hallam University.

On top of this, the club will earn more in sponsorship, gate receipts and match-day spend, as well as finishing position prize money.

Additionally, the more games broadcast on TV next term, the more United will earn.

“All in all, a good Championship season could see them earn up to £10 million more than they did in League One.” Wilson said.

And after Sheffield Wednesday’s bid for promotion ended in a play-off semi-final shootout defeat to eventual winners Huddersfield, next season’s Steel City derbies could generate nearly £500,000 shared between both clubs.

This calculation is based on the likely scenario that both clashes would be televised sell-outs.

Any financial fair play restrictions, which may have previously held United back from spending big in the third tier, will also be eased in the Championship.

“They’ll have more revenue to spend and a larger budget,” Wilson added.

“FFP has an impact at each level so they will need to adhere to that, albeit with a little more freedom.”

However, a tougher task lies in competing with teams relegated from the Premier League who have larger budgets, according to Wilson.

“The bigger challenge is the clubs coming down from the EPL with ridiculous parachute payments,” he said.

“This distorts the competitive balance.”

With a host of former top flight sides competing in the division and transfer spend increasing year-on-year, United will need to spend to compete.

“To be competitive you need to spend both strongly and wisely,” says Rob.

“For Sheffield United there is a note of caution - don’t chase the older EPL players as they are too expensive.

“Use the loan system and scout the best value players. Invest in the academy to grow your own and become competitive over a three year cycle.”

Although Rob normally recommends clubs should spend up to £25 million to compete for Championship promotion - a figure likely to be revised upwards - United’s West Yorkshire neighbours Huddersfield have proven it’s possible to compete at the top end of the division on a tight budget.

David Wagner’s side qualified for the end of season play-offs, despite spending a fraction of their promotion rivals’ outlay, and will compete in the Premier League next season.

It isn’t impossible for newly promoted sides to make an impression at the top-end of the table, either.

Across the last decade, six teams promoted from the third tier to the Championship have since gone on to play in the Premier League.

Two of these sides – Norwich and Southampton – were even able to continue their momentum to achieve back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League.

However, no team has achieved this since Southampton did so back in 2012.

There are certainly no guarantees of success. Last season’s League One champions, Wigan Athletic, were relegated straight back down this year, while five other promoted sides over the last decade have suffered the same fate.

United have signed Ched Evans, Nathan Thomas, Enda Stevens and George Baldock since winning the title.