Leicester City's Conor Coady in action during a pre-season friendly match at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton. Picture date: Saturday July 15, 2023.

Ranking every Championship club by their wagebill in 2023-24: Leeds 3rd…

Leicester City boast a higher wage bill than more than a quarter of the other clubs in the Championship combined. 

The massive gap in resources and revenue between the Premier League and the second tier is a major headache for the chairmen of recently-relegated clubs, and is the carrot at the end of the stick for Championship mainstays.

Recent years have seen clubs like Burnley, Sheffield United, Bournemouth and Norwich City successfully use the greater resources at their disposal to make a successful push of getting back up within a season or two. They’re the template for Leicester, Leeds and Southampton to follow.

However, there are also recent examples of clubs like Stoke City, Sunderland and Cardiff who returned to the Championship with a thud and have struggled to make a convincing go of promotion.

It’s often the cash that the money spent on wages is directly proportional to success on the pitch, but that’s not always the case – as last season’s play-off finalists Luton and Coventry proved.

“From a wages point of view, this is now the fifth year in a row that the wage-to-revenue ratio is above 100 per cent for the Championship, which is quite concerning,” Zal Udwadia, assistant director in Deloitte’s sports business group, told i News following their recently-published annual review.

“If you look at what UEFA are trying to implement from a regulation, sustainability and governance point of view, their limit for next season’s financial sustainability regulations is about 70 per cent so it’s really a big gap to fill.”

Leicester are the division’s top spenders on player wages for the season, with an annual wage bill at a colossal £60million. Southampton aren’t too far behind, spending £40million a year on wages, while Leeds sit third on £39million.

That recently-relegated trio spend more than twice as much on wages on any other side in the division, with West Brom (£23million), Watford (£14million) and Norwich (£24million) among closest competitors on that front from the sides that were in the division last term – all of whom are suffering something of a hangover from their recent Premier League stints.

At the other end of the scale, newly-promoted Plymouth Argyle have an annual wagebill of just £6million – over £54million less than Leicester. Rotherham United, Blackburn and Sunderland are also at the lesser end of the scale, while League One play-off winners Sheffield Wednesday surprisingly have a top-half wage bill, eclipsing more established second-tier clubs like Millwall and Bristol City.

Here’s how the Championship annual wages for the upcoming break down for the upcoming 2023-24 campaign. The numbers are via Capology and are only estimates.

1. Leicester City – £60,190,000
2. Southampton – £40,014,000
3. Leeds United – £39,513,000
4. Norwich City – £24,196,000
5. West Bromwich Albion – £23,060,000
6. Cardiff City – £19,444,000
7. Stoke City – £18,340,000
8. Watford – £14,952,000
9. Sheffield Wednesday – £14,584,000
10. Middlesbrough – £13,582,000
11. Birmingham City – £13,228,000
12. Bristol City – £12,894,000
13. Hull City – £12,333,200
14. Swansea City – £12,276,000
15. Queens Park Rangers – £12,020,000
16. Ipswich Town – £11,378,000
17. Preston North End – £10,942,200
18. Coventry City – £10,008,000
19. Millwall – £9,856,000
20. Huddersfield Town – £9,258,000
21. Sunderland – £9,150,000
22. Blackburn Rovers – £7,678,000
23. Rotherham United – £6,674,000
24. Plymouth Argyle – £6,060,000

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