English Premier League: A Look Back At the Teams From the Inaugural Season
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This year marks the 20th season of the English Premier League. Back in 1992, the football clubs that made up the then First Division joined forces to leave the Football League and form what has since been known as the Premier League.
In its early years, the EPL was comprised of 22 clubs. However, following the 1994-1995 season, 4 teams were relegated while only two were promoted. The Premier League has consisted of twenty teams ever since.
While a total of 45 clubs from the various English football divisions have competed in the EPL over the past 20 season, only seven have remained in England's top flight since the league was launched. They include:
- Aston Villa
- Manchester United
Manchester United won the first official EPL title. Here's a look back at the rest of the original 22 teams from the EPL's inaugural season in the order that they finished:
Aston Villa are EPL mainstays
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Aston Villa's best finish ever in the EPL came in the league's first season when they ended up second to Manchester United.
They have never been relegated.
They have had seven managers during the EPL era including Ron Atkinson, Brian Little, John Gregory, Graham Taylor, David O'Leary, Martin O'Neill, Gerard Houllier and current manager Alex McLeish.
Over the last 20 years Aston Villa won the League Cup in 1994 and 1996 as well as the 2001 Intertoto Cup.
The Canaries are back in the top flight this season
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Norwich City were a part of the Premier League for its first three years.
They were relegated in May of 1995 and then spent nine seasons in Division One.
Norwich topped the Division One table in the 2003-2004 season to make it back to the top flight.
The Canaries' one season back in the EPL resulted in relegation back to what was now known as The Championship for four consecutive campaigns.
Over the last three seasons, Norwich City has done the improbable. In 2009 they were relegated to Division One from the Championship.
The very next season they won promotion back to the Championship by finishing first in Division One.
Norwich City then followed that achievement by finishing second in the Championship last season and gaining promotion back up to the Premier League.
Alan Shearer was a major force with Blackburn
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Blackburn Rovers were a part of the original Premier League lineup and are one of just four clubs to have ever won an EPL title. Rovers topped the table in 1994-1995 led by striker Alan Shearer.
The team's success was short lived as Rovers were unable to match their achievement and were relegated in 1999 to Division One.
Blackburn didn't remain down too long as they won promotion back to the top flight in 2001 with a second place finish in Division One.
In 2002 Blackburn won the League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at the Millennium Stadium.
Blackburn have remained in the EPL since 2001 with a series of managers including Graeme Souness, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince, Sam Allardyce and current under pressure manager Steve Kean.
Queens Park Rangers
QPR are back in the top flight
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QPR were in the top half of the table for the first three seasons of the Premier League.
In 1996, however, Rangers dropped to 19th and were relegated to Division One.
Rangers remained in Division One for five years until they were further relegated to Division Two following a 23rd place finish for the 2000-2001 season.
Over the next three campaigns QPR finished 8th, 4th and then 2nd in 2004 which saw the team move back up to what was now called the Championship.
Last year, after seven seasons in England's second tier of football, QPR led by Neil Warnock ran away with the Championship title and secured their return to the EPL.
With the signings of name players such as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand and bad boy Joey Barton, QPR are hoping to make their Premier League stay last.
Suarez and Carroll are part of the new look Liverpool
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Liverpool are one of the most successful English teams of all time and one of the seven teams that have been members of the Premier League every season.
Liverpool have finished within the top four 12 times in the EPL era and have never finished lower than eighth.
Despite their excellent record, the Reds have yet to win a Premier League title.
They finished second to Arsenal in 2001-2002 and to Manchester United in 2008-2009.
Under head coach Rafael Benitez, Liverpool pulled off an amazing comeback to win the 2004-2005 Champions League trophy in Istanbul. Down 3-0 to AC Milan at half time, Steven Gerrard led his team back to tie the game at 3. They then went on to win in a penalty shootout.
Other Liverpool honors over the past 20 years include:
- 2 FA Cup trophies in 2001 and 2006.
- 2 League Cups in 2001 and 2003.
- 2 Community Shield trophies in 2001 and 2006.
- The UEFA Cup in 2001.
- The UEFA Super Cup in 2001 and 2005.
Trevor Francis led Sheffield Wednesday to 7th in '92-'93
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Sheffield Wednesday are England's fourth oldest club and are currently playing in League One.
The Owls were regulars in the Premier League for its first eight seasons, but a 19th place finish in the 1999-2000 campaign relegated them to Division One.
They have not returned to the EPL since.
Things only got worse for Wednesday as the team's form continued to drop.
They were relegated three years later to Division Two (which was later renamed League One at the start of the 2004-2005 season).
Sheffield Wednesday finished fifth in May of 2005 and won promotion to the Championship through the League One playoffs by defeating Hartlepool United 4-2 in Cardiff.
Unfortunately for the Owls, instead of moving back up to the EPL from the Championship, they were relegated at the end of 2010. Needing a win to stay in the Championship, Wednesday drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace and sealed their fate.
Sheffield Wednesday are currently in League One and are being manager by Gary Megson.
Tottenham have been a part of the EPL since the beginning
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Tottenham of North London are one of the seven teams to have been a part of the Premier League for its entire 20 year history.
The team's play has improved significantly over the last five years and Spurs achieved their highest league position in 2009-20010 with a fourth place finish.
Having earned their place in the Champions League Play-off round, Tottenham qualified for the group stage of the competition with a convincing 6-3 aggregate victory over Young Boys of Switzerland.
Spurs then went on to a very successful Champions League run after finishing first in their group.
They then defeated AC Milan in the round of 16 before being knocked out in the quarter-finals by Real Madrid.
Spurs won the League Cup in 1999 and 2008 and were runners up in 2002 and 2009.
Manchester City are flush with money and superstars
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The Manchester City of today barely resembles the team that came in 9th place in the EPL's inaugural season 0f 1992-1993.
Over the next three campaigns, the Citizens finished 16th, 17th and 18th which sealed their relegation to Division One.
Things only got worse from there as City were relegated again following a 22nd place finish in the 1997-1998 Division One season.
Over the next five years, Manchester City were a true yo yo team, moving up and down regularly.
- In May of 1999 City were promoted back to Division One with a third place finish in Division Two.
- In May of 2000 City were promoted to the Premier League with a second place Division One finish.
- In May of 2001 City were relegated from the Premier League with an 18th place finish.
- In May of 2002 City were promoted back to the EPL after finishing first in Division One.
Manchester City are now in their tenth consecutive season in the top flight.
In the summer of 2008 City's fortunes changed forever when the club was purchased by Sheikh Mansour. With unlimited resources, City have splashed the cash and assembled a team filled with multiple stars at every position.
Manchester City won their first major trophy in years last May defeating Stoke 1-0 at Wembley to take home the FA Cup.
Thierry Henry and Arsene Wenger enjoyed some great years together in the EPL
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Arsenal are one of England's most successful teams of all time.
They have won 13 top flight titles as well as ten FA Cups.
The Gunners also have the longest continuous stay in England's top league and are the only team to have ever finished a Premier League season without a loss.
Despite a tenth place finish in the first EPL campaign, Arsenal won both the FA Cup and League Cup in 1993.
They followed this with a fourth place finish and by winning the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup.
Arsene Wenger was appointed Arsenal's manager in 1996 and he has led the Gunners to a top four finish and a place in the Champions League for 15 straight seasons. Under Wenger, Arsenal has achieved the following:
- Four FA Cup trophies in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
- FA Cup runners-up in 2001.
- League Cup runners-up in 2007 and 2011.
- Four Community Shield/Charity Shield trophies in 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004.
- Two Community Shield runners-up positions in 2003 and 2005.
- UEFA Cup runners-up to Galatasary in 2000.
- Champions League runners-up to Barcelona in 2006.
- The Invincibles team that went 49 games unbeaten between 2003-2004.
Chelsea have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years
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Chelsea are another of the Premier League's mainstays, having spent every season in the top flight.
Since 1996 Chelsea have finished no lower than sixth place and have secured a top four finish for nine straight campaigns.
In 2003, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich purchased Chelsea and began investing heavily in the club. Success soon followed.
Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2004-2005, 2005-2006 and 2009-2010. They also finished runners-up in 2003-2004, 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2010-2011.
Other honors during the Premier League era include:
- Five FA Cup trophies in 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
- FA Cup runners-up in 1994 and 2002.
- Three League Cups in 1998, 2005 and 2007.
- League Cup runners-up in 2008.
- Three Community Shield trophies in 2000, 2005 and 2009.
- Community Shield runners-up in 1997, 2006, 2007 and 2010.
- UEFA Super Cup in 1998.
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1998.
- UEFA Champions League runners-up to Manchester United.
To this date, the Champions League trophy is still owner Roman Abramovich's number one priority.
Wimbledon back when the club existed
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Wimbledon Football Club was a longstanding member of the English Football League and an original member of the EPL.
They ceased to exist in 2004 when the club was relocated to Milton Keynes and became known as MK Dons.
Wimbledon were a regular part of the Premier League for its first eight seasons.
Following an 18th place finish in 2000, the team was relegated to Division One where they would remain.
In June of 2003, Wimbledon entered in to administration and the team ended the 2003-2004 campaign in last place. The team was purchased at the end of the season and relocated to Milton Keynes.
Former Wimbledon supporters established a new club known as AFC Wimbledon in 2002. After many seasons of non league football, AFC Wimbledon won promotion to the Football League for the first time last season.
They will play this year in the fourth tier of English Football League Two.
Everton are one of the 7 teams that have always been a part of the EPL
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Everton, from the blue side of Liverpool has spent the past 20 years as a core member of the EPL.
In fact, Everton have played in England's top division for a record 108 seasons.
Everton's earliest achievement in the Premier League era was a 1-0 FA Cup victory over Manchester United in 1995.
Led by manager and former Everton player Joe Royle, Everton then went on to finish the 1995-1996 season in sixth place.
Under current manager David Moyes, Everton have had some successful campaigns. He led the club to seventh place in 2002-2003 and the clubs' highest ever EPL finish of fourth in 2004-2005.
Having qualified for the Champions League playoff rounds, Everton were knocked out and then eliminated from the UEFA Cup.
Under Moyes the Toffees qualified for the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 UEFA Cup tournaments. He also led them to the 2009 FA Cup final which they lost to Chelsea 2-1.
Sheffield United were part of the first EPL season
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Sheffield United spent the first two EPL seasons as members of the top tier.
The Blades made it to the 1993 FA Cup semi-final before losing to their crosstown rivals Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.
Relegation came at the end of the 1993-1994 season with United spending the next 12 seasons in Division One/the Championship.
Under manager Neil Warnock, Sheffield United finished second in the 2005-2006 season and were promoted back up to the Premier League.
The stay was short lived as the Blades finished in 18th place and were relegated back down to the Championship.
After four seasons, instead of going up, Sheffield United were relegated again at the end of last season to League One with a 23rd place finish. After 10 games this season, the Blades currently sit in second place in League One.
The Sky Blues were once flying high in the EPL
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Coventry City were part of the Premier League for its first nine seasons and never finished higher than 11th.
A 19th place finish in 2000-2001 led to relegation to English Division One/the Championship (renamed in 2004).
The Sky Blues have just begun their 11th straight season in English football's second tier.
Coventry City generally finishes towards the bottom of the table, however, they did finish in the 8th position for the 2005-2006 season.
Coventry City had called Highfield Road home for 106 seasons. In 2005, the team moved in to a new stadium, the Ricoh Arena, with seating for 32,609 fans.
Ipswich Town spent some time in the Premier League
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Ipswich Town had been a very successful club under the management of Bobby Robson in the '70's and early '80's.
They then had a down period where they played in England's second tier for a number of seasons.
Managed by John Lyall, the Tractor Boys won promotion to the newly establish Premier League for its inaugural season.
After three unproductive campaigns, Ipswich Town finished last and were relegated back to Division One where they would spend the next five seasons.
Ipswich Town won the 2000 Division One playoffs 4-2 over Barnsley and were back in the top flight for the start of the new season.
Once again, their stay wasn't long as they were relegated following an 18th place finish in 2002.
The Tractor Boys have just started their tenth straight season back in the second tier of English football
Leeds United had a fall from grace and are trying to recover
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Leeds United are one of English football's most historic teams and have spent most of their existence in England's top flight.
Unfortunately, club mismanagement led to a decline from which the club is still trying to recover.
Leeds were a core member of the EPL for the league's first 12 years of existence.
The team made it to the finals of the 1996 League Cup before losing 3-0 to Aston Villa.
Under manager David O'Leary, Leeds finished the 1999-2000 season in third place and qualified for the Champions League.
Leeds ended up in the UEFA Cup competition where they made it to the semi-finals. Leeds lost to Galatasary and their European campaign ended without a trophy,
The bad times soon came as Leeds Chairman Peter Risdale led the team in to financial trouble and the club was forced to sell its star players in order to pay back loans.
Following the 2003-2004 season, Leeds were relegated and they are still trying to find their way back.
Leeds finished the 2006-2007 Championship season in last place and were relegated to third tier League One.
Three seasons later, Leeds finished second and won automatic promotion back to the Championship where they are still playing today.
The Saints were relegated from the EPL in 2005
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The Southampton Saints were members of the Premier League for its first 13 years.
The Saints generally finished in the second half of the table but under manager Gordon Strachan, the team finished 11th in the 2001-2002 season.
The 2002-2003 campaign was even better as Southampton finished in 8th place and secured a spot in the FA Cup final at the Millenium Stadium. They went on to lose 1-0 to Arsenal.
Under manager Harry Redknapp, the Saints finished last in 2004-2005 and were relegated to the Championship.
In April of the 2008-2009 season, Southampton was docked ten points after the club's owners went in to administration. This pretty much ensured the Saints being relegated once again to League One.
The Saints rebounded and were promoted at the end of the 2010-2011 season back to the Championship after finishing second in League One.
Oldham Athletic were once a top flight club
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Oldham Athletic, based out of the greater Manchester area, were members of the EPL for the league's first two seasons.
A 19th place finish was followed by a 21st place finish and relegation to Division One.
Life in Division One wasn't much easier for Oldham and they finished 14th, then 18th and finally in 23rd place in their three years in the league.
Oldham are now in their 15th straight season in England's third football tier; Division Two which became League One in 2004,
Oldham's best season in the last 15 years was a 6th place finish in the 2006-2007 League One campaign.
The Latics biggest achievement in cup competitions came in the 1994 FA Cup semi-final where they drew with Manchester United 1-1 and forced a replay at Old Trafford.
They went on to lose 4-1.
Crystal Palace have been up and down in the EPL
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Crystal Palace is one of those teams that has been up and down so many times that you need to keep a scorecard.
Original members of the Premier League, Crystal Palace was relegated in the first season having finished in 20th place.
Here's where they've been since:
- 1993-1994 First in Division One securing automatic promotion back to the EPL.
- 1994-1995 19th place in the EPL and relegation back to Division One.
- 1996-1997 6th place in Division One, won promotion back to the EPL through the playoffs.
- 1997-1998 Last place finish in the EPL and relegation back to Division One.
- 2003-2004 6th place in Division One, won promotion back to the EPL through the playoffs.
- 2004-2005 18th place in the EPL and relegation back to what is now known as the Championship.
Crystal Palace has remained in the Championship for seven straight seasons.
Middlesborough are trying to make it back to the EPL
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Middlesbrough have spent 14 of the 20 EPL seasons as members of the top flight.
However, they didn't get off to a great start finishing second from bottom in 1992-1993 and being one of the first teams relegated.
It didn't take them long to win promotion back up as they topped the Division One table for the 1994-1995 season.
Once again they didn't remain at the top for long as relegation came to Middlesbrough again in 1997 with a 19th place finish.
This time they bounced back from Division One in just one season as they finished second to Nottingham Forest.
Eleven years of top flight football followed for Middlesbrough with some good accomplishments. They won the 2004 League Cup and were runners up for the trophy in 1997 and 1998.
They also went to the 1997 FA Cup final where they lost 2-0 to Chelsea. One of their best accomplishments was making it to the 2005-2006 UEFA Cup final where they lost to Sevilla 4-0.
Middlesbrough's time at the top came to an end following the 2008-2009 season as they finished in 19th position.
They are now beginning their third season in the Championship.
Nottingham Forest finished last in the Premier League's first season
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Nottingham Forest finished in last place in the Premier League's inaugural campaign.
The club then turned things around the next season in Division One as they finished second and won promotion back to the EPL.
Three seasons in the top flight followed, but Forest finished last again in 1996-1997 with just 34 points. They were relegated back down to Division One.
In 1997-1998 Forest again won the Division One title and promotion back to the Premiership.
This time, they went from first to worst finishing dead last in the 1998-1999 EPL season. They haven't been anywhere close to getting back to the Premier League ever since.
After six years in Division One/the Championship, Forest found themselves relegated yet again. This time it was to England's third tier now known as League One.
In their third League One season, 2007-2007, Nottingham Forest finished second and were promoted to the Championship where they remain to this day.