By Brian Sears
27 May 2011
When their relegation was confirmed last Sunday, Blackpool became the 26th side in the Premier League’s history to be relegated in the first season after coming up from the Championship. In this regard, they are ‘One-season wonders’ (OSWs), and though it won’t be much solace to them, their 39 points made them the best performing OSWs in 13 years.
Indeed the Lancs Oranjie are the third most successful OSWs in the history of the 20-team Premier League, and the fifth best performing OSWs overall. The complete records of the 26 OSWs are in the table below. (The 26 teams are actually 18 different teams, with Crystal Palace, Sunderland and others each being OSWs more than once).
In 1997-98, all three promoted sides – Palace, Bolton and Barnsley – were OSWs, and in only one season, 2001-02, have the three promoted clubs – Bolton, Fulham and Blackburn – all survived.
Of those 26 sides, seven graduated to the Premier League as Champions from the Championship or its equivalent league, seven went up as runners-up, and the other 12 came up via the play-offs route. (Swansea or Reading be warned! A dozen of your 19 play-off winning predecessors have gone straight back down again. Crystal Palace and Watford have done it twice each after winning the play-offs).
Blackpool ride high in the statistics when you put the records of the 26 OSWs together. Only four sides in the whole of the Premier League era have gained more points, and two of them had the luxury of four more games in their seasons. And Blackpool have the best record for the last 13 seasons when, arguably, Premier League life has been getting harder.
Blackpool, too, have the best record of all 26 sides when it comes to scoring goals, with 55 giving them one more goal than Middlesbrough in the inaugural season when four more games were played.
Blackpool fans who look at this season’s final table and compare it with recent Premier League campaigns would be justified in feeling they just happened to join the PL in a particularly competitive year. Last season, 39 points would have been sufficient to see them finish in 14th place. In fact, 39 points would have kept them safe in every season back to 2002-03, which was the last time a team with more than that total went down.