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The 20 ex-Premiership Clubs

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Of all the facts about the Premiership one of the most surprising is that Reading’s arrival made the Royals the 40th team to appear in the competition. In just 14 seasons that is a very unexpected statistic and shows that English football does still retain some of the traditional equality that set it apart from the other big European Leagues.

So there are now as many ex-Premiership sides as there are competing in the 2006/07 season but where are they all?

Championship


The bulk of those ejected from the top flight are still within touching distance of a return. No less than 15 of the teams in the Championship have played in the Premiership for at least one season.

They include Southampton, who were there for 13 seasons and Leeds United who played for 12. Also in the division are Coventry City (9 Premiership seasons), plus Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester City (8 each)

League One


There are three ex-Premiership sides scrapping it out in League One at the moment. Nottingham Forest enjoyed five seasons in the competition back in the 1990s while Oldham and Bradford City had a more modest two each.

The Latics were actually there as founder members and survived on goal difference in 1992/93 before succumbing to inevitable demotion a year later. Bradford were one of the sides that battled into the new elite and Paul Jewell performed miracles to keep them up for a second year.

League Two


Two sides have tumbled to the basement. Swindon Town had just the one season (1993/94) and never looked remotely capable of staying up. A dreadful year saw them win just 5 games from the then 42 game programme.

The MK Dons were Wimbledon when they played at the highest level. The Dons defied the odds for 8 seasons and still lie 17th on the all-time Premiership points table up to the end of last season.

The Yo-Yo Teams


Crystal Palace have the unfortunate record of playing four Premiership campaigns and being relegated each time. West Bromwich Albion suffered two demotions in their three Premiership campaigns and Manchester City also fell out of the top flight twice, even going down to League One for one season.

Bolton were twice demoted immediately after one season in the elite but since coming up for a third time they have managed six seasons on the bounce. Sunderland have now been relegated three times in their six campaigns at this level.

One Year Wonders


As well as Swindon, Barnsley and Wolves also played just a single Premiership season. Watford were also in this group before winning the Play off Final in 2006.

Never Returned


Oldham and Swindon lost their places in season two (1993/94) and have never been back. The next longest absence is Queens Park Rangers who slid out in 1996 and have also spent time in the third tier since then.

Near Misses


Reading made ultra certain of promotion last season but in 1995 they were actually denied the Premiership by Bolton after being two goals to the good in the Play-off Final.

At least Reading have now put that right. Preston North End still await the chance to play in the Premiership after twice tasting defeat in the winner take all game. West Ham snuffed out their hopes in 2005 by a single goal and it was Bolton who did for them in 2001.

The Full 20


In order of seasons spent in the Premiership;

Southampton, Leeds, Coventry City, Sheffield Wednesday, Wimbledon, Leicester City, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Sunderland, Ipswich Town, QPR, Norwich City, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Oldham Athletic, Bradford City, Barnsley, Wolves and Swindon Town.

Hugh Larkin
17 September 2006


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