How easy is it for Premier League teams to bounce back up?


As the season draws to a close, fans of teams like Leicester City, QPR and Burnley will be wondering how their team will cope if they are relegated.

As the end of the season draws near, teams in the lower reaches of the Premier League are anxiously looking at the table and wondering if this is the year they fall out of the top flight.

For fans, as the inevitable approaches, they look for what Iain Dowie famously termed as bouncebackability - returning to the Premier League from the Championship in a single season, minimising time away from the bright lights (and money) of the top flight.

As Premier League teams have become exponentially richer thanks to incredible TV deals showering more money than ever before on top-flight clubs, one could be forgiven for thinking that bouncing back at the first attempt is a foregone conclusion. The money gap between the Premier League and the Championship is the largest it's ever been and with parachute payments in place for teams that are relegated it's hard to imagine how a team could fail to bounce back.

Yet in the last four seasons, only two teams have managed it - QPR as play-off winners last season and West Ham United via the same route in 2011-12.

2011-12 was a bizarre year in that all three teams that had gone down the previous year were involved in the play-offs - with Blackpool beating Birmingham City in the semi-final before losing to West Ham United at Wembley.

Of the 30 teams that have been relegated in the last 10 years, only seven have gone back up in their first season and only two as champions - Newcastle in 2009-10 and Sunderland in 2006-07. Birmingham City hold the distinction as the only team to have achieved the feat twice - in 2006-07 and 2008-09 in a period where they played in a different division five seasons on the spin.

Only one team in the last 10 years has achieved the ignominy of a double relegation - Wolves in 2012-13 as they hired and fired both Stale Solbakken and Dean Saunders in what was a grim year for the Molineux club.

With 10 games to go this season only Norwich of last year's relegated teams are in contention to bounce back up, sitting in fifth place, one point off the top; Cardiff City languish in 15th with no realistic chance of making the play-offs now while Fulham are just one place clear of the drop zone - albeit with an eight point cushion.

The warning signs are clear - a year in the Championship may not be the canter it seems for a newly relegated Championship club.

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