Relegation can be one of the toughest things for a club and its fans to deal with.
Everyone wants to see their team do well, and when a team is relegated it can be a bitter pill to swallow.
While its definitely not the end of the world, as teams being able to bounce from it is more than doable.
There are a few things that happen when a football team does get relegated, that isn’t great.
So in this post, I will talk to you about what relegation is and what happens when a football team is relegated.
What Is Relegation?
Relegation in football is when a team goes down a division, due to finishing in the bottom places of the league.
To ensure that the football pyramid is maintained, teams need to go down in order to make way for others moving up.
It is an important aspect of the game, as it keeps it competitive for all clubs in a league as there is no room for complacency.
While it depends on the league and its rules, typically you will have a few teams between 2/4 getting relegated.
As a result, the same amount of teams will move up from the division below, effectively switching places.
1. A Decrease In Revenue
The first thing to talk about is the decrease in revenue that affects a club when they are relegated.
When a club moves down a division the amount of money from sponsorships goes down, because getting or maintaining deals becomes harder.
Now the higher up a club is the more likely it will affect them, as the jump in revenue between especially the top leagues in a country tends to be huge.
In the UK with the Premier League, there is so much money in the league to the point where its not even close to the Championship below them.
This is why for many teams when the campaign starts the main focus is to simply stay in it.
From the TV revenue, ticket sales, sponsorships to even merchandise, it all does well in the top league, since they are considered among 20 best teams in the country.
So when a team gets relegated from this league, all of the above goes down, meaning a huge loss in revenue.
Now while a parachute plan, where clubs will receive payments for the next few seasons, will help against a club having serious financial difficulties.
It will have a big effect on the club as there bringing much less revenue now playing in a low division.
When we’re talking about sponsorships, the ones they were able to attain will become harder.
Filling out stadiums due to no longer playing the best teams becomes tough.
As for TV revenue, well since all the eyes are on the Premier League, if a team drops out, they will no longer get a share of that.
2. Reputation Goes Down
The second thing that happens when a football team is relegated is the reputation goes down.
When a big team especially gets relegated it can seriously dampen their reputation, especially if they are a club that is seen too good to be going down.
We have seen it with clubs like Portsmouth and Bolton, teams that established themselves as top clubs in the Premier League.
However because of relegation not only did their reputation suffer but they struggled to rebound and get themselves back up.
This can be due to other reasons I am mentioning in this post.
A good example would be Bolton and their form in the mid-2000s which saw them touch base in Europe.
They were consistently hitting the top eight of the premier league, making them one of the better sides of the division.
However ever since administration issues with Bolton in 2012 which have stayed present, they started to struggle.
Because of that they aren’t talked about or prasied as high, due to them now being in League One.
This is why relegation can be so tough, because your reputation does take a hit.
3. Interest Lessens
While the support for a team will always be there from its supporters, one thing that will happen naturally after relegation is a decrease in interest.
As when a team drops a division it becomes harder to sell out a stadium at the current ticket prices.
With the quality of football lessening due to a drop of divisions, selling out a stadium is going to be a difficult task.
Not only that but the amount a football club charges for their tickets will likely have to come down too.
So all in all, clubs will suffer from relegation because the interest won’t be quite what it was before.
For instance, let’s say a team like Liverpool or Manchester United played against a lesser team, the stadium is likely going to sell out.
This is not only due to the fact all the home fans want to see their team play against the best.
But they also want to see star players that they normally wouldn’t get a chance to see in the flesh.
A club can charge good money for their tickets due to the demand, and will therefore make a lot from games like this.
However, if that team is no longer in the Premier League for example and finds itself in the Championship.
Then they will be playing teams of lower quality and with players of low interest.
4. Harder To Attract Players
A goal for any footballer is to play for the best teams at the highest level.
So when a team is relegated it may defer a player from joining.
Due to playing at too low a level, that the player would consider it a backstep in his career.
As if let’s say a player wanted to play in the Premier League however the club enquiring is now in the Championship.
They are more likely to wait out or listen to offers from higher-tier clubs.
For instance, if let’s say West Brom of the Championship wanted to buy a player who Manchester United had on their radar too.
Then it would become very difficult to sign them, as if the player wants to play top-level, they will obviously want to go to Manchester United instead.
Now in the scenario that a high-level player did consider joining a team that was relegated, then even making that move will become tricky.
With less revenue and leway when going about transfers, it will become difficult to sign them to a contract that they want.
Its for this reason, that when a team does drop, they stick to players either in their league or fringe players not getting any first-team football from above them.
5. Most Of The Team Is Split Up
One of the most difficult tasks of going down is keeping your star players with you.
Its a big reason why many football clubs will get relegated and then struggle to get themselves back.
As the squad they had before, is much changed, with many players exiting the door.
Now weirdly, while a club never wants to lose the majority of their team, most of the time they will be forced to.
If funds in a club are low, then its in the best interest of the club to sell them elsewhere to teams that are prepared to pay their wages.
Before it may not have been an issue, however with relegation and less money, it may become one, especially if certain players have bumper contracts.
Along with this players will leave because they’re no longer playing at the level they want to be at.
Whether that be because of relegation clauses that have been put into their contract to allow them to go for a cheap price.
Or because a higher-level club has come in for them, promising a better level of football and potentially a bigger contract.
A good but also unfortunate example of a team that was torn apart was Schalke 04 towards the end of the 2020/21 season.
The club that was in severe debt ended up losing more than 10 players as they were relegated to the second tier of German football.
As you can, what happens when a football team gets relegated is far from an ideal situation.
Loss of money, interest, as well as other factors listed above, can make it hard to get back to where you used to be.
So while every club has ambitions of being successful, the main goal for teams at the top of the footballing pyramid is to not take a back step.
If you are interested in learning more about football clubs, then I do recommend this post where I talk about 6 Vital Ways Football Clubs Make Money.