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Top five clubs to achieve back-to-back promotions from EFL League One to Premier League

Published at :May 5, 2024 at 10:41 PM
Modified at :May 5, 2024 at 10:41 PM
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Kieran McKenna’s team happens to be one of the five in English football history to achieve this feat

There is something really special about the Premier League. The league which started back in 1992 in England is now the most-watched football league around the globe. Currently, there are 20 clubs fighting for the title in the English first tier. The league houses global superstars and coaches and always seems to keep the fans intrigued with the competitiveness.

Every season from the second tier of football in England which goes by the name EFL Championship, three teams get promoted to replace the relegated sides from the Premier League. The season-long journey for the promotion itself happens to be a crazy ride that often goes down to the wire.

With this season’s regular matches of the Championship done, we see Ipswich Town being one of the automatically promoted sides. The special thing about their promotion is the fact that it is a back-to-back promotion in succession from EFL League One to ultimately the PL. To date, only four other clubs have achieved this feat excluding the Tractor Boys.

5. Watford (1997-1999)

The typical start of a change often begins with the change of manager. In the 1997-98 season, Graham Taylor was appointed as the manager. Peter Kennedy ended up as the top scorer for his team that league season with 11 goals. Overall Watford came out on top in a two-way fight for the third division title with Bristol City.

Last season they might have won the entire thing and got automatic promotion to the second division but the following season brought a few challenges. Under Taylor, the Hornets couldn’t seal an automatic promotion spot to move in the Premier League but they did find the last option working for them. After a fifth-place finish, they participated in the playoffs. A 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers in the finals ensured their PL status for next season.

4. Manchester City (1998-2000)

The current Manchester City are seen dominating the top tier but back then things weren’t that good. The City team found themselves in the third tier of English football in the 1998-99 season for the very first time. Manager Joe Royle also had a turbulent season as there were times in the first half of the season when the fans wanted him to get sacked. Royle ended up staying and taking the Sky Blues back to the second tier after a penalty shootout win in the playoffs final against Gillingham.

After a quick bounce back to the second tier of the English football league ladder, City were in the running for the title. But they could only manage second place by the end of the season with just two points less on the league table than winners Charlton Athletic. This meant an automatic promotion to the big league – the Premier League.

3. Norwich City (2009-2011)

A similar event like that of Manchester City’s 1998-99 season was repeated in the 2009-10 season. Norwich City found themselves in the same position, the third tier of English football after a 49-year absence. Paul Lambert who arrived as the manager on 19 August steered the team back to the second tier. They won the division with a points advantage over Leeds United who had finished second.

The following season, 2010-11, in the second tier was also a memorable one under Lambert. Once again Grant Holt was the top scorer for the Canaries after being one in the season prior. This time they managed a second-place finish to get promoted to the PL.

2. Southampton (2010-2012)

During the season 2010-11 when Norwich City were busy chasing the PL promotion, a division lower, Southampton was fighting for a place in the second division. In the 2009-10 season, the Saints missed out on the promotion narrowly and were deemed favourites the year later. And it went exactly the way bookmakers wanted it. A second-place finish in League One granted them entry to the Championship.

The following season in the second tier saw a massive club record sale at that time. In the summer, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to Arsenal for a reported £15 million. Head coach Nigel Adkins was again doing the business, and so was striker Rickie Lambert. Lambert netted 27 goals in the Championship and helped his team move to the first tier in quick succession.

1. Ipswich Town (2022-2024)

Ipswich Town were one of the teams that participated in the inaugural Premier League season. Now after a successful promotion to the PL, we will see them back after a 22-year absence in the next season.

Kieran McKenna was probably the biggest gamble the club had taken back in December 2021. A newbie coach who hadn’t yet coached a senior team as a manager was appointed to guide the Tractor Boys back to the EFL Championship. In his first full season, 2022-23, McKenna proved the critics wrong and guided Ipswich Town to the second tier successfully. The club was now playing fantastic football, scoring goals at will. After 101 goals in the Football League One and 98 points on the table, they moved a step up.

Although now Ipswich were playing in a lot more competitive environment, the methodology remained the same. With the 2023-24 regular season done and dusted in the Championship, under the guidance of the Northern Irish coach, the Tractor Boys are back in the big league – the Premier League, after a second-place finish that granted them automatic qualification.

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