Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Good luck Hull... you'll need it

I hope that many of you caught Sky Sports' wonderful coverage of the climax to the Championship season on Saturday.

The twists and turns of fortune were worthy of a Hollywood screenplay and I applaud Hull's return to the Premier League and hope their stay is longer this time.

Sadly, I doubt it. I savour the intense drama of a division that, at the final reckoning, saw only nine points separate those sides scrapping for a play-off place and those scrambling to avoid being relegated, but the quality just isn't that good.

I can only see Cardiff, Hull and whoever emerges from the play-offs having the hardest of times in the upper echelon.

And there's the irony.

That play-off final to come at Wembley is lauded, probably rightly, as the richest game in football.

Whoever gets up from Watford, Brighton, Palace or Leicester will also win the absurd 'parachute payment' – a minimum £45m, perhaps as high as £60m – even if they don't manage a single point in the Premier League and are immediately relegated.

That's can't be right and only widens the division between the top league, those with 'parachutes' and the rest of football.