The Price of Victory for EFL Championship teams

The Price of Victory for EFL Championship teams
Championship play off final 2017 Jameboy, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

With the dust now settled on the regular phase of this season’s EFL Championship campaign, it is time to look at the stories throughout nine months of arduous action and although promotion and relegation are always the main chapters, there are also plenty of other subplots.

Because with 46 matches being played by each of the 24 teams in the division, it gives analysts and number crunchers the opportunity to dive into the statistics and make sense of what has just concluded.

While for those who are regular readers of our website, you may be aware of a recent analysis piece that we undertook and with the price of a Premier League victory now being calculated, we can also do the same for England’s second tier.

Not only that, but with the history books now denoting Fulham as the champions and the other 23 positions also secured before the lottery of the play-offs, we can also provide a further level of context to our findings.

This means without further delay, here is what we have first uncovered when it comes to the pursuit of Championship glory:

Team Transfer Value Wins Cost Per Victory
Luton £0 21 £0
Huddersfield £630,000 23 £27,391
Blackpool £1,800,000 16 £112,500
Coventry £3,160,000 17 £185,882
Hull City £3,220,000 14 £230,000
Millwall £4,590,000 18 £255,000
QPR £6,080,000 19 £320,000
Preston £5,740,000 16 £358,750
Peterborough £5,410,000 9 £601,111
Barnsley £3,670,000 6 £611,667
Reading £8,370,000 13 £643,846
Swansea £11,000,000 16 £687,500
Blackburn £16,250,000 19 £855,263
Derby £13,000,000 14 £928,571
Cardiff £15,170,000 15 £1,011,333
Nottm Forest £23,280,000 23 £1,012,174
Middlesbrough £22,710,000 20 £1,135,500
Stoke City £27,540,000 17 £1,620,000
Birmingham £21,550,000 11 £1,959,091
Bristol City £32,160,000 15 £2,144,000
Fulham £93,380,000 27 £3,458,519
Sheff Utd £75,870,000 21 £3,612,857
West Brom £66,400,000 18 £3,688,889
Bournemouth £116,540,000 25 £4,661,600

Looking at the table above, there is already something of an anomaly and this comes in the shape of Luton. Because when looking at the data, their current squad has nothing in the way of the transfer value. 

That is not to say that the Kenilworth Road outfit are not collectively worth anything to any other suitors, it is just that any member of their current crop was captured with nothing in the way of expenditure.

This means if Luton is the outlier in all of this, it is actually Huddersfield who have picked up the purest value for money when it comes to wins and with a largely successful campaign, their 23 wins cost just £27k each.

Such was the magnitude of their value, that this is 75% less than that of the next team in the table and with Blackpool having a transfer value of £1.8m, this equates to £112,500 per Championship victory this season.

Of course, where there is value for money, there is also largesse and with the pursuit of Premier League riches being so cutthroat, sometimes the only way to get your way out of the division is by spending big.

While Bournemouth is the biggest example of this and although each of their Championship wins cost £4.6m this season, it can be considered incredibly worthwhile when their promotion to the top tier is taken into consideration.

Then again, champions Fulham will also be grateful that success has been delivered and although it cost Marco Silva’s men £3.45m for each Championship win, it can only be considered as money that was well spent. 

TOP TO BOTTOM

While with both Fulham and Bournemouth in mind, we can look at the price of victory table in a different order and if we were to stack the number of wins from highest to lowest, here is what that same data sample would look like.

Team Transfer Value Wins Cost Per Victory
Fulham £93,380,000 27 £3,458,519
Bournemouth £116,540,000 25 £4,661,600
Huddersfield £630,000 23 £27,391
Nottm Forest £23,280,000 23 £1,012,174
Luton £0 21 £0
Sheff Utd £75,870,000 21 £3,612,857
Middlesbrough £22,710,000 20 £1,135,500
QPR £6,080,000 19 £320,000
Blackburn £16,250,000 19 £855,263
Millwall £4,590,000 18 £255,000
West Brom £66,400,000 18 £3,688,889
Coventry £3,160,000 17 £185,882
Stoke City £27,540,000 17 £1,620,000
Blackpool £1,800,000 16 £112,500
Preston £5,740,000 16 £358,750
Swansea £11,000,000 16 £687,500
Cardiff £15,170,000 15 £1,011,333
Bristol City £32,160,000 15 £2,144,000
Hull City £3,220,000 14 £230,000
Derby £13,000,000 14 £928,571
Reading £8,370,000 13 £643,846
Birmingham £21,550,000 11 £1,959,091
Peterborough £5,410,000 9 £601,111
Barnsley £3,670,000 6 £611,667

Because here we can start to see more of a natural order to proceedings and with Fulham and Bournemouth both earning the two automatic promotion berths, it stands to reason that they would also have the most wins.

While if we extend the hypotheses further, we can see that each of the four clubs that qualified for this season’s play-offs, make up each of the next quartet within the top six of and for Nottingham Forest, it cost them £1m per win to get a second chance at promotion.

Then again, what goes up must also see some clubs go down and when we look at the bottom three of this table, Peterborough and Barnsley also imitate their positions in the real-life Championship relegation zone.

Of course, there is another thing to remember when it comes to relegation and that is the ongoing tale of Derby, as even though they picked up 14 wins under Wayne Rooney, a points deduction would put paid to their status as a second-tier club.

Even though they were under a transfer embargo, their current squad still had a value of £13m overall and this meant that each of their 14 wins, came in at just under £1m each and not too far off local rivals Nottingham Forest either.

FINDING THE CORRELATION

Of course, the best way to add further context to all of this is by comparing the two tables and seeing what correlation can be found. To do this, we must rank the clubs in terms of victory cost and final league position.

Team Transfer Value Wins Cost Per Victory Cost Rank League Position Cost vs League
Bournemouth £116,540,000 25 £4,661,600 24 2 22
Fulham £93,380,000 27 £3,458,519 21 1 20
Sheff Utd £75,870,000 21 £3,612,857 22 5 17
West Brom £66,400,000 18 £3,688,889 23 10 13
Nottm Forest £23,280,000 23 £1,012,174 16 4 12
Middlesbrough £22,710,000 20 £1,135,500 17 7 10
Blackburn £16,250,000 19 £855,263 13 8 5
Stoke City £27,540,000 17 £1,620,000 18 14 4
Bristol City £32,160,000 15 £2,144,000 20 17 3
Huddersfield £630,000 23 £27,391 2 3 -1
Birmingham £21,550,000 11 £1,959,091 19 20 -1
Millwall £4,590,000 18 £255,000 6 9 -3
Swansea £11,000,000 16 £687,500 12 15 -3
Cardiff £15,170,000 15 £1,011,333 15 18 -3
QPR £6,080,000 19 £320,000 7 11 -4
Luton £0 21 £0 1 6 -5
Preston £5,740,000 16 £358,750 8 13 -5
Coventry £3,160,000 17 £185,882 4 12 -8
Derby £13,000,000 14 £928,571 14 23 -9
Reading £8,370,000 13 £643,846 11 21 -10
Blackpool £1,800,000 16 £112,500 3 16 -13
Peterborough £5,410,000 9 £601,111 9 22 -13
Hull City £3,220,000 14 £230,000 5 19 -14
Barnsley £3,670,000 6 £611,667 10 24 -14

Here we can see that value when it comes to wins is seemingly no issue and especially when it comes to the two teams that earned automatic promotion this season – even if there is a change of order this time.

That is because in this particular table, it is Bournemouth who have the widest disparity between one rank and the other and with their cost versus league ranking being a difference of 22, their spending of money has been rather justified.

The same can also be said for Fulham, as the Cottagers have a cost versus league ranking of 20 positions difference and once again, this proves that value is not a key indicator when it comes to chasing entry to the Premier League.

Then again, the same cannot be said for West Brom and although they were looking like a going concern when it comes to the play-offs, their decision to sack Valerien Ismael and replace him with Steve Bruce is looking all the more costly.

Especially when it cost the Baggies £3.68m for each of the 18 Championship wins they recorded and even though that sounds a decent enough tally, it was only good for a tenth-place finish at the end of the season. 

Which means the model club in all of this is arguably Huddersfield and especially if they end up winning the play-offs as well. Because with second in the cost per win table, they then backed this up with third in the division.

Admittedly there was not much disparity for Birmingham, but it arguably makes for much worse reading here as they finished sixth from bottom in the cost per win table and only fifth from bottom in the final overall standings. 

Which makes you wonder if they will be one of the three teams that dropped into League One in just over 12 months’ time and with Barnsley having the biggest negative disparity between the two metrics above, it is no surprise that they will soon be operating in the third tier themselves. 

Data correct as of 9th May 2022

Source: https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/championship

THE PRICE OF VICTORY IN THE EPL

How much has it cost each premier League Cup for a Win in the Premier League?

Find out here

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