Often, what has happened in the past can help to shed light on what is happening now.

With that in mind, I’ve done a little bit of research to find out how teams relegated from the Premier League have done in the following season. I’ve gone back to 2005-6 – so, not including this year, that’s 10 seasons.

I have an agenda in all of this. I don’t think that some of us are sufficiently appreciative of the effort that Rafa and the team have put in this year.

We are about to go into the biggest game of the year on Monday night – when a win against Preston will see us automatically promoted….and with the team standing right on the verge of that achievement, there is an undercurrent of people grumbling that – ‘well, we’re only going to finish second’, and ‘we’ve been playing rubbish football for half the season’, and ‘most of the team isn’t good enough for the Premiership’.

With some people it’s as if they just assumed that we were going to cruise through the season, slaughtering ever team that we came up against – and anything less than that was going to leave them disappointed.

So here are the facts:

Premier League relegated teams (with Championship final league positions the following season in brackets)

2005-6: 18 Birmingham (2nd), 19 West Brom (4th), 20 Sunderland (1st)

2006-7: 18 Shef Utd (9th), 19 Charlton (11th), 20 Watford (6th)

2007-8: 18 Reading (4th), 19 Birmingham (2nd), 20 Derby (18th)

2008-9: 18 Newcastle (1st), 19 Boro (11th), 20 West Brom (2nd)

2009-10: 18 Burnley (8th), 19 Hull (11th), 20 Portsmouth (16th)

2010-11: 18 Birmingham (4th), 19 Blackpool (5th), 20 West Ham (3rd)

2011-12: 18 Bolton (7th), 19 Blackburn (17th), 20 Wolves (23rd)

2012-13: 18 Wigan (5th), 19 Reading (7th), 20 QPR (4th)

2013-14: 18 Norwich (3rd), 19 Fulham (17th), 20 Cardiff (11th)

2014-15: 18 Hull (4th), 19 Burnley (1st), 20 QPR (12th)

2015-16: 18 Newcastle (2nd), 19 Norwich (8th), 20 Villa (12th) (current positions)

Number of relegated teams winning automatic promotion in the following season: 6 out of 30

Number of relegated teams finishing in top 6 in the following season: 16 out of 30

So, the chances of bouncing straight back up automatically over the last 10 years have been 1 in 5.

The odds of finishing in the top 6 have been (more or less) evens.

The average position of a relegated team the following season is between 7th and 8th.

Interestingly enough, if you drill down into the figures a bit more, you can see that it isn’t getting any easier. The 6 teams to bounce straight back up automatically were Birmingham and Sunderland (both 2006-7), Birmingham again (2008-9), Newcastle and West Brom (2009-10), and Burnley (2015-16).

Which means that if we finish in the top 2 this season we will only be the 2nd team in the last 7 seasons to have bounced straight back automatically – Burnley last season being the only other one.

That puts the achievements of this year into perspective. There is a fairly vocal minority who apparently think that a team like Newcastle should be skating through the Championship, knocking in hatfuls of goals as they stroll back to the Premier League. And they would have you think that finishing second, with a lot of nail-biting and a load of scruffy performances, is no great achievement.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course but I think those people lack a bit of perspective.  The brute facts I’ve set out above show that getting straight back out of the Championship really isn’t easy.

Most of the teams who do get automatically promoted have been building for it for a while – like Brighton this year. The teams who have just been relegated are (by definition) coming into a Championship season straight off the back of a bruising and demoralising experience. As often as not relegation has led to them losing key players.

It just isn’t easy to turn that right around. Perhaps some of us have been a little bit spoiled by the experience in 2009-10 and think that for a ‘big’ team like Newcastle to go straight back up, is nothing more than you would expect. Those of us with a few more years under our belts will remember how horrendously difficult it was for Newcastle teams to get out of the 2nd tier in the 70s and 80s and 90s.

Add to that our transfer business from the last year. Of course the myth peddled is that Newcastle spent big bucks last summer and, effectively, bought their way back up. But we all know that the club actually had a huge net £40m transfer surplus last summer.

So Rafa has taken a squad which was poor enough to get relegated last season, has seen a net outflow of £40million worth of playing assets, and in spite of that, has put together a squad which is on the verge of doing what only one other team from the last 21 teams to be relegated has managed, and gain automatic promotion the following season.

The facts don’t lie. If we finish in the top 2, regardless of how we stagger to the finish line, it will be a major achievement.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • Thefootballerwhocouldfly

    The (probable) promotion wouldn’t have happened without Rafa… the difficulty lies next year without him!

    • Vodkamagpie

      Great stats there, it really does show you how hard the championship is. And then you get your comment, with no fact/evidence that Rafa won’t be in charge next season, you are taking a wild/random guess. Why would Rafa have joined us in the first place, and then still decide to stay after relegation, if ashley would not give Rafa a ton of money to build a team to challenge top 6

      • Alex

        You trust Ashley to keep his word?

        • SH.ER

          Ashley said nothing at all he did not do in the past 2 years
          Injected money, tried to change
          we had thrown huge amount of money on average players
          in the last 2 years, sadly the money was in the wrong hands
          but now, i really believe Benitez is gonna fix a lot of things in our signings, just give it a season or two

          • Alex

            Extremely likely that Ashley only changed because the circumstances of relegation forced him to. Once he has his EPL money stream back, most believe it’s probable he’ll revert to type. We’ll see very soon

        • Vodkamagpie

          That depends on Rafa. If Rafa says he wants to buy fellaini for 40Mil, sort it out, or I walk, then he must walk if the board think it is a ridiculous request.

          • Alex

            If you cite a less-ridiculous example (Fellaini?), I might be more sympathetic to your argument.

          • Toonbadger

            it would be for The Manchester bog brush

    • SH.ER

      Benitez is staying , has no reason to leave
      He will stay here with us even if he has to take this squad intact to a full Premier League season …. GET IT???

      • Leazes Ender


  • Albert Stubbins

    ask the journo’s from the chron- they havent a scooby!!

  • Andy Mac

    It would have been more informative if the relative finishing positions included whether the club were promoted ? For example if West Brom were 4th in 2005-06 did they go up (P) or not ?

    Interesting nonetheless and a point well made. However I cannot help feel that this was Fatman’s well laid plan to get Rafa to help promote the club then bring in Mr Cheap as Chips after Benitez walks away ?

    • Wor Lass

      Andy, I assume that 4th in this table would indicate that they lost the play-off final.

  • Alex

    Great points, well made. Some NUFC fans fall into the category you describe. But, most of this should be aimed at the national pundits (especially, that pair of to$$ers, Matterface and Saggers at Talksport) who’ve done nothing but suggest Newcastle have a devine right to return, and Rafa crush every opposition. Ridiculous.

    It’s been a great (almost) season, a proper football season, but still delighted to be just about out of it.

  • Kneebotherm8

    Yes the championship IS a tough old division,as we all knew it would be,and these stats bear that out. Mr. Benitez should be getting a whole lot more credit for what he’s achieved here, instead of the lazy opinions of opposing managers and fans,saying how easy it’s been for him,given his Massive spending budget. I doubt if there’s many,if any, managers in this division have made a profit on transfer dealings in these two past transfer windows,as Rafa has.

    • Leazes Ender

      Can you list what he’s achieved and put it into the context of the ‘Rafalution’?

      • Kneebotherm8

        He’s achieved promotion at the first attempt(assuming we don’t lose our last 3 and Huddersfield win their last 3) which as the article,and facts and figures,states is no mean achievement. In the context of the’Rafalution ‘ well it’s a start,given his near impossible task of keeping us up last year in the allotted timescale given by the hapless Toon hierarchy.

        • Leazes Ender

          One thing the ‘Rafalution’ means is taking control…. in January Charnley dealt a blow to the myth that the club and the Chronicle have been peddling…. I haven’t witnessed a ‘Rafalution’….. I’ve witnessed the press and the club and Gallowgate flags feeding the idea as if it were fact…. where is it?

          • Kneebotherm8

            The Rafalution will only be on if he’s at the club,I can’t see him being a puppet to Ashley like our previous incumbents. If they sack him, or he walks then it’s over and no doubt we’ll end up with another puppet. Time will tell what Ashleys plans are,so we can all speculate as much as we like at this moment in time. My hope is that he’s encouraged to stay,like most of us, but I wouldn’t wager money on that being the case.

          • Toonbadger

            Ashley said he wasn`t going anywhere until we won something. Well, we get a trophy for 1st or 2nd. Does that mean he will sell up?

          • Kneebotherm8

            Nice thought.

  • Blackburn1066

    The past is the past, 3 points tomorrow is the future, love it.

    • Leazes Ender

      With United the past is also the future…

  • Simon Ritter

    Excellent piece, Travis. Just for one day/week/month can we please forget all about Ashley etc and concentrate on applauding the players, coaches and manager for giving us what we wanted? Or are some supporters never satisfied? Perhaps even a little deluded?

  • Leazes Ender

    Rubbish…. last seasons squad was good enough for mid table…. that’s where Ashley had pitched the club…. but with no goals and nothing to play for there was complacency lethargy, poor management and a lack of fight…. resulting in relegation

    Charnley can never invisage injuries lack of form, and suspensions…… not while he has one eye on his annual bonus scheme…..

    Blame those who put up with this nonsense…. because you are going to get it again and again!

  • Whickhamrobbie

    I enjoy / hate my football whatever the league we are playing in .
    Both times lately we have been in the second tier has been enjoyable / infuriating in equal measure .
    If Rafa stays lets hope we build using a proper strategy and not just chuck cash at overrated mercenaries .

  • N16Bdgr

    Aren’t the years all one out? It’s 2016/2017 now and we last went up in 2009/2010, not 2008/2009. Otherwise, interesting….