Avoiding relegation from the Premier League is estimated to be worth up to £200million. Lowly Swansea and Southampton met on Tuesday in one of the biggest matches in either’s modern history.
The stage was set for a stressful evening for anyone connected with Southampton or Swansea. For the neutral it was inevitably morbidly fascinating.
That, in the sense of watching a city club capitulate to relegation from their pinnacle is devastating yet captivating.
The Saints had more shots on target in a tightly contested game, and edged out 1-0 winners thanks to Manolo Gabbiadini.
Mark Hughes’ squad is too good for the Championship; if they recruit wisely during the summer they could finish mid-table next campaign. We now know which one of these sides will most likely evaporate from premiership status. Swansea need a miracle from Pep Guardiola.
Huddersfield drew with Chelsea on Wednesday night, meaning the Terriers are now safe. Southampton are three points, as well as 11 goals, ahead of Swansea in 17th place. A draw at the Liberty Stadium would have still favored Hughes’ side on goal difference. Swansea have an extremely improbable fighting chance.
Basically they have to hope Manchester City beat the Saints by five or six. Then they have to do the same to relegated Stoke during Sunday’s final game-week.
Stoke are already down since their weekend loss at home to Crystal Palace. Relegation has reared its ugly head once more; following Southampton’s result, West Bromwich Albion are also down.
All three clubs promoted from the Championship avoided relegation this season. Incredibly this has only happened three times in Premier League history.
More from Playing for 90
- Burnley 1-1 Arsenal: Draws are beginning to feel like losses
- Burnley 1-1 Arsenal: 3 things learned as VAR causes outrage at Turf Moor
- Who in the Premier League Finishes Top Five this Season?
- Manchester United set to offer Bruno Fernandes a deserved bumper contract
- Liga MX Power Rankings: Cementeros hold top spot
A mystery fit for a television show unraveled itself on Monday before the monumental fixture between the Swans and Saints. Hughes’ outfit was scheduled to stay at the Swansea Marriott hotel three miles from the ground.
Although a supposed virus broke out at the establishment. The entire squad along with their staff were told their 40 room booking was cancelled 24 hours prior. However, the plot thickens as the hotel remained open to other guests present and those about to check-in.
A Marriott Spokesperson argued that it was a choice by the club not to stay. Yet the hotel stayed suspiciously open for extra business after making a health report.
After the campaign-defining win in Wales, Southampton’s media team left a review. Not of the stadium or of the hotel they eventually stayed in. They reviewed the Marriott hotel that refused their occupancy. In a mock-TripAdvisor critique, the southern-England side say:
“Had been due to stay here for an extremely important business trip, only to have our reservation cancelled 24 hours before arrival, due to an apparent virus outbreak… Very disappointing, as other guests’ bookings seemed to be unaffected… Not planning to return any time soon.”
How much is premiership status worth to clubs?
It is said to be a staggering £200m to clubs attaining or retaining premiership status. According to the Examiner, Huddersfield expected £185m as a 2017 promoted side.
This season the Guardian estimates £200m as the rate. Amounts like these generally rise by a few percentages each year.
For established clubs like Swansea, you only have to glance at Leeds United’s fall from grace for insight. Following on and off the field problems, three years post top-flight relegation they fell to League One.
Is there any way back for Swansea?
A club run well like Swansea can always return. They do try to play an eye-pleasing passing style, even if wing-backs still hoof the ball now and then. If they can retain some players like the Ayew brothers, Lukasz Fabianski, Ki Sung-yueng and Alfie Mawson, then they can soon reinstate.
Manager Carlos Carvalhal is expected to leave the Swans at the end of the season. Mail report that Michael Laudrup is the board’s first choice successor. Carvalhal was a breath of fresh air in a similar vein to Claudio Ranieri in 2015 at Leicester City.
It will be a shame not to see his home-baked press conference cakes again. However, for the loyal Welsh support, zero wins in eight tries and a lack of goals is unacceptable.
Parachute payments could be a priceless aid in this instance. In their new Championship season beginning August, they will receive an estimated 55 per cent of around £100m TV revenue. £55m can go along way towards promotion.
And if they do not succeed in rejoining the Premier League, they get 45 per cent of the first amount the second year. Then 20 per cent the third.
Times football journalist Oliver Kay was near the away dressing room Tuesday. To explain what this achievement meant to the St. Mary’s team, he proclaimed, ‘Don’t think Southampton’s players can hear us, but we can certainly hear them. “Oh, Gabbiadini. Oh, Gabbiadini”‘.