By Nick Harris
17 April 2013
Cardiff City’s guaranteed promotion to the Premier League means that half of the 92 clubs in English football’s four main divisions next season will have tasted Premier League football at some point since 1992.
That means being in the Premier League is on the brink of being a ‘majority experience’ for clubs in England’s four divisions, and should Brighton manage to gain promotion as well this season, they and Cardiff will become the 46th and 47th different Premier League clubs.
Already in the 21 seasons since England’s top division was revamped, 45 different teams have played in it, from the seven ‘ever-present’ clubs (Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa) to the four ‘one-season wonders’ from Burnley, Barnsley, Blackpool and Swindon via 34 other teams.
The division has its knockers, lots of them, arguing that the elite in England now hog the vast, vast majority of the game’s finances, leaving the left to scramble for crumbs. Certainly the financial divide between the Premier League and the rest is huge and from next season, when the new £5.5bn three-year TV deals kick in, the riches in the Premier League will be greater than ever before.
Yet there are few in the game, certainly not many owners or fans, who don’t aspire to being in the Premier League, and Cardiff’s elevation so soon after South Wales neighbours Swansea, demonstrates that something in the pyramid system is still working well enough to allow them to climb to the top.
Whether Cardiff will thrive or immediately be relegated remains to be seen although the bookies already have them among the favourites for the drop in 2013-14.
At the bottom of the page, a Sportingintelligence analysis in graphical form shows how the different 45 clubs to date have fared.
NB: The graphic contains information on the 20 completed seasons up to May 2012, and not the current incomplete season.
The teams are ranked in order of success, so Manchester United, 12 times winners of the Premier League (of 19 English titles in all, see graphic in this piece) are top, followed by Arsenal and Chelsea with three titles each, then Blackburn and Manchester City, the only other PL winners.
Rovers and City have both missed PL seasons but come above ‘ever presents’ in this analysis for having won the title.
Only three non-winners have ever finished as high as second place: Villa, Newcastle and Liverpool.
Only three other clubs have ever finished as high as third: Norwich, Forest and Leeds. Neither Spurs nor Everton have ever finished so high.
The rest is self-explanatory and hopefully adds perspective to the achievements and ‘status’ of certain clubs. Leeds, Bolton and Middlesbrough can all argue they are Premier League veterans even as they ail outside it now.
And while Stoke are perceived now as a steady, established PL team, in fact they have just four complete PL seasons behind them and have never finished higher than 11th place.
Into this melting pot, Cardiff will arrive.