Submitted by Andrew McMellon (@andrew_mc84)
Host of My Best Eleven Podcast, Journalist and Pundit (https://mybesteleven.podbean.com/ & https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCosPHLqTf7KuZfKVtlVLy0Q)
As another thrilling Premier League season approaches, attention turns to the teams promoted from the Championship, and the burning question arises: do these teams have a fighting chance of surviving in the top flight? Remember Sheffield United, Luton Town and Burnley fans...all 3 last season did just that! While some may argue that the Championship acts as a proving ground for competitive teams, others point to the immense challenges faced by newly promoted sides. In this article, we delve into the statistics to provide a balanced analysis of the survival rate of teams promoted from the Championship in the Premier League.
The 40-point bar to secure safety has reached mythical status in the football lexicon, largely because it's a nice round number that's easy to remember. Indeed, only three times in Premier League history has 40 points not been enough to stay up, and it last happened in 2003 when West Ham went down despite a 42-point haul. The other two occasions involved Sunderland in 1996/97 (40 points) and Bolton in 1997/98 (40 points). Since the Premier League went to 20 teams in 1995/96, the average points total of the 18th-placed team has been 35.2, meaning 36 points has often been enough to secure safety. In fact since 2000, 37 points have been enough to retain Premier League status on all but four occasions.
Over the years, various factors have influenced the survival rates of promoted teams in the Premier League. While it is impossible to predict the future with certainty, examining historical data helps shed light on the trends. Overall, it has been a huge mixture in the past 10 years. Data suggests that the survival rate for promoted teams is relatively unpredictable. Some seasons have seen promoted sides defy expectations and secure their Premier League status, while others have struggled to adapt and ultimately face relegation. For example, in the 2018-2019 season, all three promoted teams—Norwich City, Sheffield United, and Aston Villa—managed to avoid relegation. As you can see from the table below, it is a hugely mixed bag over the past 10 years:
There are a number of areas and issues which can effect the likely survival and some of these are listed below: 1. Finances One of the primary obstacles faced by promoted teams is the financial gulf between the Championship and the Premier League. The disparity in revenue, television rights, and sponsorship deals can pose significant challenges for teams adjusting to the top-flight level. Smaller budgets and limited resources can impact squad depth and the ability to attract quality players, making the survival battle even tougher. Despite the belief that the big pay day of Premier League promotion will bridge the gap, the revenue streams, even with these payments is still often short of the 17th place team in the Premier League the season before.
Image above is of Huddersfield Town, who famously survived after being written off in 2018
2. Squad Reinforcements Promoted teams must reinforce their squads to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League. This typically involves signing new players or loaning experienced Premier League campaigners. This however does not always work, in 2018/19 season, Fulham spent upwards of £100m on transfers alone and brought in 16 players such as Andreas Schurle, Ryan Babel and Alfie Mawson (note they did bring in Alexander Mitrovic that summer too) and still finished 19th;subsequently relegated. By contrast Nottingham Forest, last season, spent over £160m by bringing in upwards of 25 players such as Morgan Gibbs-White, Jonjo Shelvey, Neco Williams and Taiwo Awoniyi over the 2 windows. 3. Managerial Impact: The role of the manager cannot be overstated when assessing a team's survival chances. Tactical awareness, squad management, and experience in handling top-flight pressure all contribute to a team's performance. Previously in the early stages of the Premier League, promoted teams that have secured the services of experienced and competent managers have generally fared better in their quest for survival. This however may be changing with managers such as Steve Cooper, Dean Smith, Chris Hughton and Slavan Bilic. It is important that any changes a club does want to make, do not happen too late as in the case of Leeds in 2022/23 with Sam Allardyce.
Conclusion: The survival rate of teams promoted from the Championship to the Premier League remains a topic of debate and uncertainty. While some teams have defied the odds and thrived in the top flight, others have faltered and faced relegation. The financial disparities, squad reinforcements, and managerial impact all play significant roles in determining a team's chances of survival. Nonetheless, the Premier League is known for its unpredictability, making it challenging to draw definitive conclusions. Promoted teams have the opportunity to make an impact and establish themselves among the elite, but they must overcome the various obstacles in their path. As the upcoming season unfolds, only time will tell which promoted teams can successfully navigate the challenges and secure their place in the Premier League.