So it’s not secure yet, and Bolton Wanderers could still fluff automatic promotion. But let’s be optimistic and look forward to next season. Now clearly simply comparing to previously promoted sides with little more in the way of context is not a very good metric for seeing how we will fare, but let’s see anyway.
Last season saw Wigan Athletic bag the league with Burton Albion in second and Barnsley getting through the playoffs. All three of those teams sit in the bottom half of the Championship table at the time of writing. Wigan are a massive 22 points ahead of the next team so shouldn’t be worried about dropping any lower, the only problem for them is they are second from bottom and staring down the barrel at an immediate return to League One. Burton Albion are faring a little better, but perched only two points and one place above the drop zone is hardly good. An immediate return to League One could well beckon, but they still have a good chance of staying up. Of the promoted teams its Barnsley who are currently best set in 13th.
The year before that Bristol City crushed all before them to win the League One title, their record if memory serves is comparable to that of Sheffield United this season. They managed to stay up thanks to good end of the season form last term but are not safe yet this season. I would imagine they have enough to avoid the drop though. MK Dons then finished in second place. After good early season form they fell away rather dramatically to join us and Charlton Athletic in League One this season. It was again the playoff winners, Preston North End, who came out best and are once again safe in the Championship.
2013-2014 saw Wolverhampton Wanderers bounce straight back after successive relegations to the third tier. They have managed to consolidate well in the Championship since. Brentford came up second and likewise have consolidated well. That season also saw Rotherham United win promotion via the playoffs. Their Championship adventure is set to come to an end so embarrassingly it doesn’t make our experience last season look quite so bad. But overall this is the most successful batch of promoted teams in recent years.
The year before that saw Doncaster Rovers win the league and gain promotion. Doncaster were not though able to maintain their Championship status that season, and have of course since dropped into League Two but will return to the third tier next season at the first time of asking. Second place that season was AFC Bournemouth. Now that would be quite the blue print to follow. After one season consolidating in the Championship they won the title to seal promotion to the Premier League for the first time. They did of course though, however this does seem to pass a lot of people by, have a fair amount of cash behind them. This is a rather different story to us who only have the tenner stuck down the sofa left. The playoffs were won by Yeovil Town that year. Since then they have suffered successive relegations to League Two and just about managed to steady the ship before making it three relegations on the bounce. It’s fair to say that this group experienced the good, the bad and the ugly over the years since reaching the Championship.
So I think it’s fair to say it’s a bit of a mixed bag of those who managed to escape League One. Those who have gone up with a bit of cash in the bank such as Wolves and Bournemouth have done well. Others though have not fared so well. Although they are clubs you could class as being smaller than Bolton and you would hope we would not go the same way as them. But with the way things are at the moment it’s going to be an uphill struggle not to go with the trend which seems to be dropping back into the third tier.