Another Championship season has seen clubs deducted points over financial matters. Both Reading and Derby County find themselves having to overcome the problems that such action takes.
Anyone Derby County supporter with a mobile phone must have ‘The Great Escape’ as their ringtone. Two sets of deductions have seen 21 points taken away from them. The mere fact that in mid-February they are only four points from safety is quite an achievement.
Just whether they can go on and avoid finishing in the bottom three is questionable, at least sportsbooks set the odds in favour of this to happen. Home form is strong but performances on the road are not so. Only two of their first 15 away league games have ended in victory. With three of the top four to play away from home, Derby may well need to just keep on winning at home.
It’s not quite the start to a management career that Wayne Rooney had expected. Derby have been a long way from being promotion candidates. It was a tough job keeping them in the Championship last season (more of which soon). Fighting a relegation battle with 21 points deducted must be a bit of a shock to the system.
Rooney is a controversial character, but you do have to admire the way he has behaved at Derby. There was the chance to speak to Everton about their recent management vacancy. Instead, he’s stayed at Derby looking to somehow get them out of trouble.
He finds himself in a position that does not make managing a club easy. There’s no going out and trying to sign the players that will get your club out of trouble. It’s been more a case of hoping some financial guarantees can come along to help retain the players you have.
All season there’s been talk of a possible takeover of the club. Newcastle fans are probably preparing emails to send to Derby fans if Mike Ashley becomes the new owner. Just how do Rooney and his players manage to keep their focus on getting results on the pitch?
If those points hadn’t been deducted, Derby would be looking at a strong finish to secure a promotion play-off position. Instead, it’s battling against the odds to avoid beginning next season in League One. Rooney believes that just like last season, the relegation battle may come down to the final day.
It’s the third season in a row that points deductions have had an influence on the Championship relegation zone. Last season, it was Sheffield Wednesday who had six points deducted and they ended up going down. If those points hadn’t been lost (and the initial deduction was a higher figure), then they would have stayed up and it’d have been Derby who were relegated.
The season before saw Wigan Athletic deducted 12 points. That caused them to slump down the table and despite a good fight, ended the season in 23rd place and back in League One. Without the points deduction, they’d have finished 13th.
It’s a hard life for the clubs that find themselves in this position. Seeing the financial situation deteriorate is bad enough. Then along comes the point deductions for going into administration that kick you when you’re down (short studs hopefully). That can and does lead to relegation (ask a Luton fan) and the financial situation just gets worse.
Reading have had six points deducted and are just managing to stay above the bottom three. It all makes for an interesting situation down at the bottom of the Championship.
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