For football clubs, whether you’re talking about the bog-end of League Two or upper echelons of the game, there is always the taunting vision on the horizon — something better, something brighter — that fuels their desire to move on up. To get promoted you need luck, endurance (the Championship campaign is 46 games long), and more luck. Money usually helps, but teams have to make sure they actually have that money and can find more of it if they don’t get promoted.
Here’s where the trouble comes in: Spending money you don’t have to try and correct a free-fall through the leagues is called "doing a Leeds." You don’t want to do that.
The Pittsburgh Pirates/Kansas City Royals model of sitting back, losing a lot, telling your fan base you’re rebuilding and cashing checks from the league does not exist. You do that and the next thing you know you’re playing on a community park pitch in the Ryman Isthmian Football League against a bunch of guys who are supplementing their careers in debt collection with a weekend kick-about. The Pirates have been a losing team for most of my adult lifetime, but they still get to play the Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, and Mets. Imagine if they were buried somewhere, playing the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.
I am not a big fan of ESPN this week but I have been really impressed with the quality of writing and writers over at Grantland. Bill Simmons has done a great job with it, even if the name wasn’t his idea.