Relegated Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff face up to grim reality


Fulham manager Felix Magath reacts during their English Premier League soccer match against Stoke City at the Britannia stadium in Stoke, May 3, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

LONDON (Reuters) - After one of the tightest Premier League relegation battles for years the stark reality for Norwich City, Fulham and Cardiff City is that a difficult task awaits them on and off the pitch in their quest to get back to the top flight.

Such are the financial rewards for playing among the elite that a 2013 report by the Sports Business Group at Deloittes estimated promotion could be worth up to 120 million pounds, much of that from broadcast rights.

Despite the fact the relegated teams will each receive parachute payments of about 60 million pounds over four years, there is no guarantee that income will ensure a safe passage back to the promised land.

Wolverhampton Wanderers went down to the Championship in 2012 and a year later dropped into League One (third tier).

Fulham, whose relegation after a 13-year stay in the Premier League was confirmed with a 4-1 defeat at Stoke City last weekend, are already preparing for life in the second tier next season under former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath.

“Today was the start of the new season,” German Magath told reporters following Fulham's 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace at Craven Cottage on Sunday. “We work now for our comeback, we have a lot to do and we will do.

“The team I selected today has given you a sign that we change something in the future. We don’t rely on older players. We go on with younger players and I will take care of our youth players.

“We have to look at the money and we have to take care of the money. We take a step back and we are looking for young players.

“You have two ways to be successful: one way is to spend more money than anyone else, or you spend less and work harder - everybody knows which way I prefer.”

Norwich's relegation was confirmed on Sunday with a 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal but, despite returning to the second tier for the first time since 2011, interim manager Neil Adams is confident the Norfolk club can bounce back to the Premier League due to their financial position.

"The club is in good health going forward, they have cleared the debt and now the focus has to be on getting back in the Premier League,” Adams, who replaced the sacked Chris Hughton in April, told the BBC.

Basement side Cardiff, relegated after losing 3-0to Newcastle United last weekend, finished the season with a 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea.

But owner, Vincent Tan, who has faced criticism from fans this season, has vowed to get the club back to the promised land after their spell in the Premier League lasted just one season.

"I will not quit while we are in this situation. I am not a quitter, nor a loser. A quitter never wins; a winner never quits,” the 62-year-old businessman told the BBC.

"I won't walk away and let it go bust because if I want to walk away I must go and look for a new owner to take my place.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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