How have City's drop partners managed?

PUBLISHED: 10:46 04 October 2007 | UPDATED: 10:36 14 September 2010

In light of Neil Doncaster's revealing breakdown of the club's current financial situation, EDP Sport turns the spotlight on Crystal Palace and Southampton - the two other Premiership sides relegated alongside the Canaries in the 2004/05 campaign.

In light of Neil Doncaster's revealing breakdown of the club's current financial situation, EDP Sport turns the spotlight on Crystal Palace and Southampton - the two other Premiership sides relegated alongside the Canaries in the 2004/05 campaign.

Even armed with two years of parachute payments all three relegated clubs were soon forced to sell their best talent. Robert Green and Dean Ashton had left Carrow Road for West Ham by the end of City's first season back in the Championship. Crystal Palace's prized asset Andy Johnson left for Everton in an £8.6m deal after the Eagles failed to soar back at the first attempt. Southampton's precocious youngster Theo Walcott had already departed for Arsenal six months into Southampton's first season outside the top flight since 1978.

Doncaster's admission City's player trading activity this summer after a second failed promotion push reaped a £2.6m profit with the departures of Robert Earnshaw, Dickson Etuhu and Youssef Safri pales in comparison with Southampton's squad makeover.

George Burley was forced to offload Gareth Bale, Chris Baird and Kenwyne Jones to bring a reported £19m into the South Coast coffers.

Safri's arrival for an undisclosed fee was notable among an influx of free transfers as the Saints struggle to service a debt that stood at £21.4m in their published accounts to June 2006.

Burley was forced to sell to keep the club alive after a multi-million pound gamble ended with play-off failure last season against newly promoted Derby.

“After the first Championship season there was a change in the boardroom,” said Adam Leitch, a reporter on the Southampton Echo. “They handed manager George Burley a £7m transfer kitty with the idea being that they could afford to do this as they would be able to find investment from outside to cover the spending. It didn't pay off and the investment never came, meaning they had to sell off a number of assets.

“The real question next summer is where they are going to make up this shortfall from the Premiership parachute payments once again. You cannot sell a Gareth Bale every summer and there really aren't that many other assets for the Saints to sell off.”

Palace under flamboyant self-made millionaire businessman Simon Jordan have not had to asset strip on Southampton's scale, but under-pressure boss Peter Taylor still sold Jobi McAnuff to Watford for £1.75m and released six other players in a Selhurst Park summer clearout.

“The loss of parachute payments has had a massive effect on Peter Taylor's spending power,” said Sam Mokbel from the Croydon Guardian. “The club also had to make a number of cutbacks, particularly on the playing side. He wanted to keep Gary Borrowdale and McAnuff but, at the end of the day, they had to be sold to balance the books. He does not have to sell any more players for the moment and is actually looking at bringing players in - but its only ever going to be on loan.”

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