EPL Promotion and Relegation: The Good and the Bad
Of course, one victory does not represent a full season, but for newly promoted teams, getting that first win out of the way is a major boost to team confidence. In Cardiff’s case, this accomplishment came at the expense of one of the top clubs picked to challenge for the title.
The yearly battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League is watched almost as closely as the title race. Inevitably, the three promoted clubs are usually favorites to go straight back down to the Championship.
In addition to the extra prestige that comes from being a part of the Premier League, the financial benefits are substantial.
In an April 2013 article from the Daily Mail, Adam Bull, a senior consultant in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, explains the financial benefits for teams promoted to the Premier League:
The three Championship clubs which are promoted this season can expect a revenue increase of more than £60m in 2013/14.The vast majority of this uplift, approximately £55m, will be from broadcast income as the Premier League enters the first year of its greatly enhanced three-year TV deals.
In the 21-year history of the EPL, a total of 46 clubs have spent time in the league. Only seven of them have never experienced relegation from the top flight. This group includes Arsenal, Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton, and Liverpool.
For the rest of the teams, there have been some great success stories as well as some disasters.
Here’s a look at the top five triumphs and failures of newly promoted EPL clubs.
The Good: Blackburn Rovers 1992-93
Blackburn was promoted to the Premier League for its inaugural season. Rovers secured promotion as winners of the playoffs from the old Second Division. It marked an end to Blackburn’s 26-year absence from England’s top division.
Blackburn finished an impressive fourth in their first top-flight season.
One year later they did even better. Rovers were runners-up to Manchester United for the 1993-94 EPL title.
Blackburn’s rise continued, and they were crowned EPL champions for the 1994-95 season. In just their third year back in England’s top division, the club edged out the reigning champions by a margin of just one point.
The Good: Newcastle United 1993-94
Newcastle United won promotion to the Premier League after easily winning the 1992-93 Division One title. The team quickly established itself as a worthy member of the league. In their first four top-flight seasons, Newcastle finished third, sixth and runners-up to Manchester United in both the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons.
Newcastle has had up-and-down results since. The Magpies tasted relegation after finishing 18th in 2008-09. The club was immediately promoted right back up after easily winning the 2009-10 Championship crown with a total of 102 points.
Newcastle has been a part of the EPL for 21 of its 22 seasons.
The Good: Leicester City 1996-97
Leicester City won the 1995-96 Division One playoffs after a fourth-place finish. Most fans and journalists picked Leicester to go right back down. Instead, Leicester surprised all by finishing ninth with 47 points for the 1996-97 season.
Even better, the club won its first major trophy in 33 years. In April of 1997 the Foxes defeated Middlesbrough in the Coca Cola Cup at Wembley Stadium.
Leicester not only survived that season but remained in the EPL for six consecutive years.
The Good: Blackburn, Fulham, Bolton 2001-02
The 2001-02 Premier League season marked the first time that all three of the promoted clubs retained their top-flight status.
Blackburn had been in the relegation zone throughout most of the season. Their fortune changed, however, following their League Cup victory over Tottenham in late February 2002. The Rovers went on to finish the season in 10th position.
It had been 33 years since Fulham had played at the top level of English football. The club was in the lower half of the table throughout the season, but a 13th-place finish meant survival. Fulham have retained their Premier League status ever since.
Of the three promoted sides, Bolton got off to the quickest start. The club made a statement by winning its first three EPL matches. The team’s form later dipped, but Bolton finished 16th and avoided relegation.
The Good: Swansea City, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers 2011-12
The 2011-12 season was the second campaign in which the three newly promoted clubs avoided relegation.
Of the three, Swansea City was viewed as the most likely to be relegated. Instead, the club was the surprise of the season. The Swans gained a lot of respect with their play, which included victories over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City. They finished in 11th place and have remained a part of the top flight.
For Norwich City, the club’s promotion to the Premier League came just one year after the Canaries had been promoted to the Championship from League One. Norwich was the first team in over 10 years to achieve back-to-back promotions from English football’s third tier to the top division. Norwich retains its EPL status to this day.
Queens Park Rangers had finished at the top of the Championship in 2010-11 to win promotion to the Premier League. Life in the top flight proved difficult for QPR, but they held on and finished one point better than relegated Bolton.
The Bad: Swindon Town 1993-94
Swindon Town came to the Premier League after a 73-year absence from England’s top league.
Unfortunately, 1993-94 marked the club’s only season at that level.
Swindon won just five games and finished dead last with 30 points. Adding to their terrible season was the fact that the Robins had a minus-53-goal differential and set an unwanted record by conceding 100 goals.
The Bad: Leicester 1994-95
After two consecutive Division One playoff losses, Leicester City finally won promotion to the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Derby in the 1994 Division One playoff final. It had been seven years since Leicester had been in the top flight.
Their stay didn’t last too long. From November 1994 until the end of the season, the Foxes never got higher than second from the bottom of the table. With just six wins and 29 points, Leicester City was relegated.
The Bad: Bolton, Barnsley, Crystal Palace 1997-98
The 1997-98 season proved historic, as it was the first time that all three promoted teams ended up being relegated in their first EPL season.
Both Bolton and Everton finished the schedule with 40 points. Everton retained their Premier League status over Bolton solely on a superior goal differential of five.
Barnsley ended up second from bottom with 35 points. The club did experience some success in its only season in England’s top league. The Tykes defeated Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. They then went on to reach the quarter-finals.
Crystal Palace finished dead last with a total of 32 points and a minus-35-goal differential. The club won only two home matches all season
The Bad: Sunderland 2005-06
Sunderland set a dubious record during the 2005-06 season. With just three wins and 15 points, the Black Cats had the worst season of any club to have ever played in the Premier League. It was so bad that the league’s leading goalscorer, Thierry Henry, had more goals (27) than the entire Sunderland squad combined (26).
The Bad: Derby County 2007-08
Luckily for Sunderland, Derby County won promotion to the EPL for the 2007-08 season. The Rams easily topped the Black Cats as the worst squad to ever compete in the Premier League. Derby won only one match all season and then went on a run of 38 straight games without a victory. The club finished the entire campaign with just 11 points and a massive goal differential of minus-69.
Usually the relegation battles go down to the wire. For Derby, however, their fate was already sealed in March. This is still the earliest that any team has ever been relegated from the EPL.