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After the Fall: What Might Be for Wanderers Next Season

What could become of Bolton Wanderers next season? Tom looks at the stats

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It seems as though even the most positive of Bolton Wanderers fans has accepted our fate. The club is on death row awaiting a date of execution. It's only a matter of time before (once more) there is a red letter R next to our name on the league table.

At odds of 66/1 to stay up, it seems as though it's done and dusted. When you hear Bristol City manager Lee Johnson talk about the team with a tone of pity on Channel 5, you know you're done for.

I'd accepted relegation as early as November, so Saturday's result did not shock or upset me. Like many, it was a case of here we go again. Preston were everything that we are not: energetic, busy, clever off the ball, willing to give free kicks away in non-threatening areas of the pitch (take note Mark Davies) to avoid becoming vulnerable to a counter attack.

What is striking is that Preston North End's match day squad was largely made up of players that have spent the previous season in League One. And they were far better than us in terms of game management.

The gap between the two leagues is smaller than ever.

Ever the pessimist, I started to look at the fortunes of teams that have been relegated from the Championship in the last five years. In the name of fairness and balance, I also began to look at the fortunes of sides who had been promoted from League One since 2011.

It makes for scary, exciting and hopeful reading all at once. Simply put, anything could happen.

Let's start with the teams who have been relegated from the Championship in the last five years. Two of last season's relegated sides sit in a comfortable position in the promotion race: Wigan sit 2nd and look almost certain to be promoted, and Millwall are very much in the play-off race in 5th. Blackpool, meanwhile, are currently occupying 21st place, with the very real threat of relegation to League Two upon them.

All told, of the 12 teams relegated in the four seasons previous, only three are currently in the Championship, and by all accounts are doing pretty well for themselves (Preston, Bristol City and Wolves). None have made the jump to the Premier League, although Bournemouth's fortunes this season suggest a double promotion isn't outside of the realms of possibility in the longer term.

Seven teams remain in League One, whilst only two (Portsmouth and Yeovil) have been relegated further to League Two.

Simply put, in 2020/21, we have a 0% chance of being a Premier League Club, 25% chance of being back in the Championship, a 58% chance of still being in League One, and a 17% chance of being a League Two football team (although the parallels with Portsmouth's financial situation suggest that this figure is misleading).

On a more positive note, a brighter future may be ahead if we are able to win promotion back to the Championship next year, although, as we already know, assuming promotion is far easier said than done. Two teams (Bournemouth and Southampton) currently play in the Premier League, 7 sides promoted from League One since 2011 are still in the Championship, 2 are in League One (Doncaster and Peterborough), with only Yeovil in League 2.

If my maths are correct, Wigan have an 8% chance of being a League Two side in five years. We'll take that.

The aim is simple: start anew (think like Wigan did this summer but without any cash), and get back into the second tier of English football as soon as possible.

Easier said than done, I know, but with the money for the players that other teams will actually want to buy, we can start again. Despite it all, a nervous look over the shoulder towards Blackpool and Portsmouth are enough to keep you awake at night