Hill sticks to story in face of private backlash

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KEITH HILL is standing firmly by his comments that parachute payments for relegated Premiership clubs should be scrapped – even if many members of his own family disagree.

The Barnsley boss hit out at the system for ‘rewarding failure’ after seeing Blackburn Rovers – able to invest millions thanks to hefty Premier League solidarity payments after going down last season – beat his Tykes side 2-1 on Tuesday.

Former Ewood Park defender Hill knows many Rovers supporters and fans of fellow relegated side Bolton Wanderers, his hometown club, but vehemently disagrees with the fact that both clubs and others relegated in recent seasons have what he sees as an unfair advantage over many other Championship rivals through the bumper payments.

Hill, whose side face a televised clash this evening at Birmingham – who receive £12m in parachute money this season as a second-year payment after relegation in 2010-11 – sees the system as discriminating against many second-tier sides.

Unsurprisingly, Hill’s counterpart Steve Kean disagreed with his comments following the midweek fixture which saw Jordan Rhodes – whose £8m fee represents more than Barnsley’s budget – find the net.

But Hill is unrepentant and believes parachute Premier League money should instead be distributed evenly across all Football League clubs.

He said: “You will get people who want to oppose everything I say.

“People in my own family have an argument for what Blackburn are doing.

“Without question, Rhodes is an astute signing. But Steve wouldn’t disagree with what I am saying if he was Barnsley manager. That I do know!

“I am not having a go at Blackburn. I just believe it is wrong to reward failure.

“And getting relegated from the Premier League is failure.

“I will continue to prophesise that payments for relegated clubs is an unfair advantage. If we get relegated from the Championship, we get our money taken off us; solidarity payments and TV rights. You can see what sort of effect that has on teams by looking at Coventry, Sheffield United and Doncaster for example.

“If we got relegated, which could be a possibility, we would seriously have to alter the finances of the football club.

“But when you get relegated from the Premier League, you get more than an equal opportunity to get promoted. It’s like us starting 200 metres behind the starting blocks in a 400m race. Give us some sort of parity. At least let us start 50 metres (behind).”

“I’ve got an opinion, but it doesn’t reflect away from what I am trying to do in a footballing sense. I am not trying to hide behind the money situation (at Barnsley). If I was at Blackburn, I would be spending in the same way that Steve is to protect his own future. I have not got any axe to grind personally, I just believe the rules are favoured somewhat for teams who get relegated.

“I have got a firm belief that footballing finance should be really sorted and there is a chance for those teams with parachute money to overspend and spend money they cannot really afford to.

“If I was manager of Manchester United, I would still expect good housekeeping and have these values in respect to money, because I have done in my own household.”

The rationale behind ‘solidarity’ parachute payments was that it would enable relegated clubs to cope with reduced income following relegation allied to the fact that many players would still be under contract on Premier League money.

Up until the end of the 2009-10 season, relegated clubs received £16m per year over two years, which from the beginning of the following season changed to £48m over a four-year period –equating to £12m a year.

But Hill insists the good housekeeping of budgets, something achieved over the years by the likes of West Bromwich, who have inserted relegation clauses into the deals of players in the event of relegation, has shown that relegated clubs can keep their books in order – which he feels kills the argument for parachute payments.

He added: “I think that the parachute money should be distributed equally among Football League clubs. In any other sport all over the world, you don’t get rewarded for relegation.

“We talk about a Financial Fair Play League which isn’t fair from the outset. What’s the point of promoting it?”

Barnsley have completed the signing of defender Tom Kennedy on a short-term contract.

Left-back Kennedy, who made almost 150 appearances under Barnsley boss Hill during his time with Rochdale, has been a free agent since his contract at Leicester was cancelled by mutual agreement last month.

He moves to Oakwell initially until January 2 but is targeting a longer stay.

The 27-year-old said: “It’s been a strange few years so I’m happy to be at Barnsley and enjoying my football. It’s been a stop-start few years. This is a chance for me to try to establish myself and do well for Barnsley Football Club.”

leon.wobschall@ypn.co.uk