Recent history proves how difficult it is to bounce back to the Premier League
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Just seven teams have managed to bounce straight back to the Premier League at the first attempt in the past 10 seasons - so just how difficult is the task that awaits Norwich City in the Championship?
The challenge becomes a little clearer for the Canaries today as the EFL publish fixtures for the new campaign, knowing they come down from the top flight with Bournemouth and Watford.
Both of those clubs have enjoyed a degree of Premier League stability and financial strength in recent years, swiftly making a change of manager after their fate was sealed as they try to adjust to the intensity of the Championship challenge - and the need for parachute payments to manage the drastic drop in income.
Norwich, for example, saw their revenue go from £97.8million in the top tier in 2015-16, down to £33.7m in 2018-19 after their parachute payments had finished.
As Canaries fans know all too well, player sales and the promotion of 2019 were absolutely crucial to City recovering stability, as the new regime led by sporting director Stuart Webber and head coach Daniel Farke somehow engineered a title triumph amid drastic cost cutting - making a loss of £37.9m for the 2018-19 financial year.
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All of which puts Norwich in quite a different place to Watford and Bournemouth, having had limited finances following promotion. Injury problems may have exacerbated the issues and a club record losing streak of 10 league games to conclude a relegation campaign may have made for a rather miserable experience, yet in the bigger picture City still very much see themselves as an upwardly mobile club.
That has already been illustrated by the ability to operate with a bit more freedom in the transfer market this summer, prior to any of the crown jewels being sold for handsome profits as well.
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There is absolutely no room for an ounce of complacency about promotion prospects however, even with the welcome sight of three of the bigger clubs escaping the Championship last season in Leeds, West Brom and Fulham.
In the past 10 campaigns, just two clubs have managed to bounce back with automatic promotion; Burnley in 2016 and Newcastle in 2017, both as champions.
The other five of the last 30 clubs to attempt bouncing back at the first attempt have all had to do it the hard but glorious way, via the play-off final at Wembley. Fulham are the latest example, following Hull in 2016, Norwich in 2015, QPR in 2014 and West Ham in 2012.
But still, that’s just seven of those last 30 clubs who have bounced straight back - a success rate of 23.3 percent.
Two of those have even gone straight though and been relegated to League One; Sunderland in 2018 and Wolves in 2013, prior to their resurgence under wealthy Chinese ownership.
The average finishing position of a team relegated from the Premier League in the past 10 years has been 10th in their first year back in the Championship.
A relatively wealthy and stable club like West Brom kept their stay outside the top flight to just two seasons but Leeds had to wait 16 years before they could rejoin the elite.
Norwich and Aston Villa kept it down to three seasons thanks to their promotions in 2019 but you don’t have to look far for examples of big clubs longing for a return to the big time.
Nottingham Forest are about to kick-off their 22nd season outside the top flight and Sheffield Wednesday their 21st. Derby were relegated in 2008, former Premier League champions Blackburn in 2012 and of course down in League One there’s Ipswich, whose last top tier stint came to an end back in 2002.
Canaries boss Farke was given a crash course in Championship intensity during his first season though, when the word ‘transition’ became the bane of City supporters’ existence on the way to finishing 14th. Yet the German, his coacing staff and the raft of overseas players brought to the club proved they had learned their lessons - as they surged to the title with an attacking style in 2019.
As Farke and Webber waste no time in breathing fresh energy and enthusiasm into a squad damaged by a clearly disappointing campaign, that playing style will have to be meshed with huge determination, if they are to be successful again.
Clubs relegated from the Premier League in the past 10 Championship seasons
- 7 of last 30 bounced back at first attempt (23.3pc)
- Only 2 promoted automatically
- 2 were relegated
- Average finishing position: 10th