Why Leicester City have to be promoted this season

Leicester City are under massive pressure to get promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

The financial situation at Leicester is not ideal but it’s a little way off from being disastrous. The club has successfully reduced its wage bill but is still held back by debt which may only get worse if the club can’t go up.

Leicester have just sneaked into the play-off places with a 3-2 win over rivals Bolton Wanderers. They have as good a chance as any of the other teams around them in the table.

It was a very welcome result for Leicester who, before last night, had only won one league game in 10 matches which threatened their chances of even securing a play-off birth and the chance to go up this season, when at one stage it had appeared a given.

The problem they face is that the financial controls which will apply to English football for the 2013/2014 season require Leicester to further cut back financially if they don’t want to get hit with points deductions which could see them quickly becoming the next Portsmouth of English football.

Premier League promotion would solve all problems, as it would in any similar situation, because it’s worth tens of millions of pounds paid over a gradual process which would allow the club to clear its current debt.

If that doesn’t happen then Leicester will be set back. It shouldn’t be as bad as what’s happened with Portsmouth but the immediate ambitions of the club would hold the side back from mounting another serious push to go up for at least another two to three years.

That may not be a bad thing for the long term future of the club because the high earners would be forced to leave, with the manager having to work carefully to bring in low cost, high quality signings that embody the typical positive values of football such as determination and a great work ethic.

The club is also very fortunate to have a manager in Nigel Pearson who has always been very shrewd in a financial sense and doesn’t seem like the sort of boss who will go and spend cash which he doesn’t realistically have.

Pearson is already in the process of developing the team he feels will take the club into the Premier League, the only problem is the current debt means he’ll be short of chances to improve the team this summer.

If Leicester don’t go up, they won’t have access to the cash which follows that which means the people at the very top of the chain have to be very sensible and prevent reckless spending until Leicester are in a more stable situation.

The club is also very fortunate in the respect that the new cost control measures coming in to the game, won’t mean harsh sanctions on any side until the 2014/2015 season because all clubs, effectively businesses, need a period of transition to adjust.

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Leicester could get their heads down, work hard, play great football and get promoted over the course of the 2013/2014 season but their current financial restrictions will make that more difficult, as they won’t be able to attract a certain quality of player this summer.

Can Leicester pull it off? Can they graft it out for promotion next season?

image: © lefty1007

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