The Premiership can be a cruel mistress when it comes to exposing the lack of quality in a side that has just gained promotion from the Championship.
Last season both Burnley and QPR looked like they found it easy to negotiate the challenges of gaining promotion – especially the Clarets, who came up automatically via a second place finish. The gulf in quality between the two leagues can be quite an eye opener at times, especially with teams that find it too much of a struggle in the top flight and tend to go straight back down. West Brom struggled with it for a long time, while Cardiff proved a perfect example after their long awaited debut in the top league ended with a massive crash back down to the Championship last term. There are many more teams that fall into this category, despite a few of them defying logic and fending well for themselves like, like Stoke City and Swansea.
But for the likes of Burnley and QPR, is there much more to hope for than just the one season of glory, pitting themselves against the big teams and gaining some extra revenue before tumbling back to where they came from? Can they ever set their heights any higher? Some do and fail. Look at Portsmouth, for example. They enjoyed a speedy promotion in their title winning season under Harry Redknapp, followed by a few years in the big time and an FA Cup triumph. But time soon caught up with them and they find themselves competing in the lower echelons of English football once more.
It seems that there are certain clubs that, with respect, simply do not belong in the top tier of football. This is through no wrong doing of their own, though. It is more to do with the financial side of the game. Newcastle and West Ham, two teams that were recently relegated but came back up and have stayed up ever since, are established and well financed football clubs. They have big enough stadiums to generate a big enough revenue to be financially sound enough to get things right in the top-flight, which is what a lot of clubs that play in the lower leagues simply do not have.
When a smaller club tries to invest heavily and above their means on players after a promotion, it tends to come back and bite them. QPR themselves came back up once already and went back down, despite heavy investment in the transfer market. They have repeated this approach this time around at the risk of breaching serious FFP regulations and getting in serious trouble. And for what? They are struggling big time so far this season and despite the fact it is still early days, they look set to be in a relegation scrap throughout the entire campaign.
Burnley have not spent as much money, but that in itself has also proved to be a negative thing. They have a fantastic squad of players who are capable of dominating the Championship and playing a brand of football that was quite entertaining last season. However, the same squad of players find themselves completely swamped and out of their depths in the Premiership, which was highlighted all too painfully by their capitulation at the hands of fellow struggler’s West Brom.
There is not much anyone at Burnley has done wrong. They simply are not a big enough club to compete in the Premier League and it isn’t a reflection on anything other than they are just one of those teams that do well from playing in the lower leagues.
Out of QPR and Burnley, the latter look the more likely to face the trap door in May, but both sides’ chances of surviving the drop this season. It looks like six games in, it may already be too late for them both.
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