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Promoted Teams Need Careful Business Strategies

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Getting promoted to the Premiership can seem like a bonanza, but getting relegated can bring a cold dose of reality. Once the parachute payments run out, life becomes very difficult, as clubs like Leicester and Southampton have found. Recently we reported in depth on the prudent strategy being followed by Hull City. But what of the other two newly promoted teams? For Stoke City it's a long awaited return to the top flight, but West Bromwich Albion have the reputation of being a yo-yo team. Therefore it's not surprising to find their finance director Mark Jenkins telling FC Business, 'We never look at a one-year budget. We operate on a three-tear plan, it's the only way to work so that the decisions we make today, we know what the effect will be in three years' time. West Brom also make a point of investing in their academy and their scouting system. Jenkins commented, 'If you don't have the huge resources of the teams in the top half, you must make the money you do have go as far as you can.'

The trade magazine for the football industry also voted Stoke City, which after a 23-year absence is now back in the top flight, as a debt free club. There is a marked contrast between the very traditional Victoria Ground and the Britannia Stadium. Chairman Peter Coates has been able to finance the club thanks to his business, Bet365. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, the business is only six years old but is already one of the biggest online betting and gaming operations in the world. He has recently acquired a training ground for the club and is seeking to make it a first class facility. A planning application has been submitted to build a permanent structure and once completed it will become the club's new headquarters. Club director Phil Rawlins has recently purchased the franchise to an American soccer team, the Austin Aztex. Based in the Texas state capital, the team will act as a feeder club for Potters and will also be used to try and build up a global fan base for Stoke with pre-season tours in the States already planned.