Our old friend Paul Merson has predicted which three clubs will climb out of the Championship next season.

Talking on the Sky Sports Fantasy Football Club podcast, Paul Merson was asked which three club he could see being promoted to the Premier League next season and replied:

“Norwich, Newcastle and hopefully Villa.”

Whilst most neutrals will think Norwich and Newcastle will be amongst the favourites, the inclusion of Villa looks more a case of laziness and/or favouritism.

The three clubs are of course the trio who have been relegated and Paul Merson played for Villa and continues to be a fan of theirs.

Aston Villa were generally agreed last season to be probably the worst Premier League club since the classic Sunderland and Derby County teams set record lows in terms of number of points.

It would take some turn around for that Villa squad of last season to be turned into something approaching promotion candidates.

As for the angle of expecting Premier League clubs to instantly bounce back, the stats don’t really support it.

In the previous five seasons, only four clubs have managed to do this (marked in bold below), although if Hull overcome Sheffield Wednesday in the play-offs, it will become five of the last 15 to have achieved this.

If Hull do come up, then it would possibly signal a shift in direction as that would mean alongside Burnley two sides relegated in 2014/15 would have instantly won their Premier League place back.

The trio relegated this past season will have an even bigger advantage on the other 21 clubs, as the parachute payments that Newcastle, Norwich and Villa receive next season will be far higher than any club has previously received. This is due to the new Premier League TV deal coming into effect and the fact that relegated clubs are getting a far bigger percentage up front in the first season when they are down.

Relegated clubs in recent seasons, those in capitals/bold have made an instant return to the Premier League:


Birmingham, Blackpool, WEST HAM


Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves


Wigan, Reading, QPR


NORWICH, Fulham, Cardiff