Norwich City must do everything they can to avoid Premier League relegation – just ask fans of Nottingham Forest or Sheffield Wednesday
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With the threat of relegation again looming large for Norwich City, sports reporter David Freezer looks at what dropping down a division could mean for the future of the club.
Seasons outside the top flight
Coventry City – 13
Derby County – 6
Ipswich Town – 12
Leeds United – 10
Leicester City – 10
Middlesbrough – 5
Nottingham Forest – 15
Sheffield Wednesday – 14
Sheffield United – 7
Watford – 7
Norwich City supporters look set to experience a collective sense of déjà vu in the coming weeks.
History is repeating itself from one year ago, when all connected with the club were readying themselves for matches which would dramatically effect the future of the club.
Home matches against Reading, Aston Villa and West Brom all came with desperate pleas for unity from all connected to Norwich City, as the club’s Premier League future began to look more and more precarious.
Chris Hughton’s side rallied to end the season in 11th place but unfortunately now find themselves in another relegation battle 12 months on and are faced with a string of high-pressured matches.
But would relegation be so bad?
With £60million of parachute payments spread across four years for clubs relegated from the Premier League, a financially-stable club like Norwich City should have no problems in gaining promotion again, right?
Well, maybe not. Just look at last season’s three relegated teams, QPR, Reading and Wigan, all of whom are looking at a play-off place at best in the Championship this season – which would mean just one of them could be promoted.
And the Football League is littered with casualties of top-flight relegation, as City supporters know all too well.
After the Canaries were relegated from the top tier under Nigel Worthington’s stewardship in 2005, fans had to wait six seasons before a return to the spotlight of the Premier League.
Before that one season back in the top flight, it had been nine years of mixed fortunes in the second tier for the Canaries.
A quick glance at the current Championship table is also an ample reminder to all at Carrow Road that bigger and more successful clubs have endured even longer spells of yearning for a top-tier return.
Three-time First Division champions Leeds United are now in their 10th season outside of the top flight and two-time European Cup winners Nottingham Forest have not returned since relegation from the Premiership in the 1998/99 season.
Current runaway Championship leaders Leicester City are likely to return to the top flight after 10 seasons of trying but Sheffield Wednesday look set for a 15th season outside the top tier.
City also need look no further than their fiercest rivals Ipswich Town, who are now into their 12th season without the glamour and glitz of the Premier League.
All that potential frustration would be on top of missing out on the huge finances generated by the Premier League’s various television rights deals – which mean even the team finishing bottom of the table will receive over £60m.
It is an unbearable prospect after three years of rapid success under Paul Lambert saved the club from financial and sporting disaster.
But that is what lies in wait for the Canaries if the club’s current crop of players cannot haul themselves away from the relegation zone.
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