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SBD Global/May 21, 2013/Franchises

Emotional Swing For Relegated Wigan, Which Could Lose $150M Despite Winning FA Cup

Wigan's Ali Al-Habsi celebrates winning the FA Cup over Man City on May 11.
EPL Wigan Athletic "stunned" the football world by winning the FA Cup final against Man City on May 11, capturing the club’s first major trophy in its 81-year existence, according to Sam Borden of the N.Y. TIMES. Men "wept" and children "shrieked." Just 72 hours after its shocker at Wembley, though, Wigan "lost to Arsenal in a league game on a chilly Tuesday night," a defeat that "ensured the club would finish 18th in the 20-team Premier League." In England’s promotion-and-relegation system, that meant Wigan "had become the first team" in the FA Cup’s 142-year history to win the world’s oldest knockout tournament and also be relegated from the top division in the same season. Fan Ceri Cahill said, "Is it a roller coaster? That might not be descriptive enough. The up was simply and truly glorious, and the down was absolutely, completely, totally brutal." Other fans "offered more colorful -- but less printable -- descriptions of the emotional swing." With such a division in place among the fans, questions "understandably abounded, and debates at DW Stadium ranged from the monumental (was the season a success or failure?) to the hypothetical (would you trade the Cup win for staying up?) to the philosophical (is it better to succeed or simply not to fail?)." Although those factors made Wigan "a charming Cup champion, the lucre of the Premier League was seen as more critical to many fans." Dropping out of the Premier League means "missing out" on as much as $150M in revenue, "a crucial infusion for smaller clubs like Wigan." Playing in the more-modest second tier "will also lead to an even tighter budget -- the club’s staff is especially worried about potential cuts -- as well as an inevitable decline in exposure" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/19).
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