Move to scrap relegation will kill game in England:ex-player
Dubai: One of the most relegated players in English football league history, believes the suggestion by foreign owners on Monday to scrap relegation and promotion would "kill the game".
Carlton Palmer, now a teacher at Dubai's Repton School, went down five times with five different clubs: West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday, Nottingham Forest, Coventry City and Stockport County. But he still thinks the emotional rollercoaster of relegation is part and parcel of the game.
The League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive Richard Bevan warned Monday, that foreign owners in English Premier League (EPL) clubs wanted to scrap "the drop" — adding that if five more clubs were bought out by foreign investors the vote would pass.
Nine of the 20 clubs are currently already under foreign ownership with one other majority owned by an overseas investor.
Palmer said: "To take the chance of promotion away from a Championship club like Wednesday or Leeds would be wrong. The likes of Norwich and Swansea are only in it now because of [recent] financial clout, good management and lady luck but why should they stay in it? Where do you draw the line? What would the incentive be for smaller clubs?"
"You'd kill all the fairytale stories in the game. People like to see the underdogs do well, they like the excitement at the end of a season. It's a non-starter — an absurd idea, I'm dead against it," Palmer said.
"Obviously the rich foreign owner is guaranteed £30 million (Dh173.4 million) if their club stays up. It guards against that revenue being lost. It works for them but how does it work for the other 72 clubs in English football? When I was playing, owners bought clubs for the love of football not to make money. But Venky's have only bought Blackburn to further their European contacts through the club," he said.
"At £44 million it's a no-lose situation — it's advertising. They've enhanced their worldwide brand and can float Rovers on the open market and get back what they paid tomorrow. Scrapping relegation means guaranteed profit for them — but this move would increase the divide between football's haves and have nots."
Palmer, now aged 45, represented England on 18 occasions and played for West Brom, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, Watford, Stockport County, Dublin and Mansfield in a 21-year career.
He was a finalist with Sheffield Wednesday in the 1993 League and FA Cup and with Leeds United in the 1996 League Cup.