Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

History paints a bleak picture for Championship play-off final winners

Four of the last five teams to win football’s richest game have gone straight back down.

Fulham, winners of the Championship play-off final in 2018, were unable to survive in the Premier League (John Walton/PA)
Fulham, winners of the Championship play-off final in 2018, were unable to survive in the Premier League (John Walton/PA)

Almost two-thirds of clubs promoted to the top flight via the play-offs since the introduction of one-off finals in 1990 have gone straight back down.

Aston Villa will be the latest side to try and buck that trend after winning promotion to the Premier League with victory over Derby in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

Derby know more than most how hard it can be to adjust after promotion via this route.

They posted the all-time lowest Premier League points total of just 11 following their play-off success in 2007.

Here Press Association Sport looks at the survival rate for teams promoted via the play-offs.

Second tier to top flight – the toughest step of all

bpanews_4fe25ffd-b7f8-4a1c-84d2-f6f6390fcc73_embedded2312167
Graphic showing the survival rates for clubs promoted via the play-offs (PA Graphic)

In all, 18 of the 29 clubs to come into the First Division or Premier League via the play-offs since 1990 have gone straight back down.

Four of the last five teams promoted this way – QPR, Norwich, Hull and Fulham – have failed to survive, with Huddersfield the only exception when they finished 16th in 2017-18.

Crystal Palace have been promoted to the top flight via the play-offs on three occasions but twice went straight back down (1997-98 and 2004-05), while Watford were relegated on both occasions when they were promoted in this way.

West Ham hold the distinction as the only team to have twice been promoted and survived each of the first seasons up.

Thriving rather than surviving

bpanews_4fe25ffd-b7f8-4a1c-84d2-f6f6390fcc73_embedded21193236
Andy Morrison, left, and Nicky Weaver lift the trophy after Manchester City win promotion to the second tier (Tony Harris/PA)

Play-off success can be the springboard for greater things – Manchester City followed up promotion from the third tier in 1999 with winning instant promotion to the Premier League the season after.

Blackburn finished fourth in the Premier League’s inaugural season – still the best-ever placing for a side immediately after promotion via the second tier play-offs.

Cambridge followed up play-off success in 1989-90 by winning the Third Division title in 1991, while more recently Southend won the League One title in 2006 after being promoted via the play-offs the season before.

Survival rates improve outside the top flight

Just three of the 29 teams promoted to the second tier from the third via the play-offs since 1990 have suffered instant relegation – Burnley in 1995, Yeovil in 2014 and Rotherham in the season just ended.

The jump from the fourth tier to the third is only slightly more perilous according to the data, with five of the 29 teams promoted via the play-offs going straight back down. The unfortunate ones were Torquay (1992), Scunthorpe (2000), Cheltenham (2003), Gillingham (2010) and Dagenham (2011).

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph