4406: Bolton may rue UEFA Cup qualif
by : Antony Melvin
Bolton Wanderers are all but guaranteed a UEFA Cup spot after a season spent hovering just below a true breakthrough into the top four. But the hidden cost of the UEFA Cup is severe. If you exclude the 'big four' then 73% of teams who compete in the UEFA Cup drop out of the top half of the Premiership - with some suffering relegation.
The statistics are truly startling if you strip out the influence of the big four - Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal (the latter two have no recent involvement in the UEFA Cup in any event) - as only two teams in the past six seasons have actually improved their league position in the same season as a UEFA Cup campaign.
If Bolton finish where they currently are (sixth) and then experience the average consequences, it makes grim reading. In an average resultant season they will reach the group stage of the UEFA Cup and finish in 11th place in the league; on an extremely negative note there is a 13% probability of a bottom three finish immediately and a 33% probability of a bottom three finish with three seasons.
For the revenue generated and the possibility of winning the competition qualification for the UEFA Cup is almost always bad news for anyone but the occasional 'big four' team..
English teams in the UEFA Cup 2000/1 to 2006/7
Blackburn (three times)
English teams in the UEFA Cup 2000/1 to 2006/7 change in league position
00/01 Leeds ( 4 - 5 ), Ipswich ( 5 - 18* ), Chelsea ( 6 - 6 )
01/02 Blackburn ( 10 - 6 ), Leeds ( 5 - 15 ), Chelsea ( 6 - 4 )
02/03 Southampton ( 8 - 12 ), Liverpool ( 5 - 4 ), Blackburn ( 6 - 15), Man City+ ( 9 - 16 )
03/04 Middlesbrough ( 11 - 7 ) Millwall ( 10** - 10** ), Newcastle ( 5 - 14 )
04/05 Liverpool ( 5 - 3 ), Bolton ( 6 - 8 ), Middlesbrough ( 7 - 14 )
05/06 West Ham ( 9 - 19^), Spurs ( 5 - 8^), Blackburn ( 6 - 13^), Newcastle++ ( 7 - 11^)
** Nationwide Division 1/Coca Cola Championship
^ Current position
+ Qualified via fair play
++ Qualified via Intertoto
Affect of UEFA Cup on league position:
Affect of UEFA Cup on league position (excluding top four teams):
Average league places dropped during a UEFA Cup season: 4
Average league places dropped (excluding top 4 sides) during a UEFA Cup season: 5
Percentage of UEFA Cup teams ending up outside the top 10: 55%
Percentage of UEFA Cup teams (excluding top 4 sides) ending up outside the top 10: 73%
15 April 2007