The richest and arguably most prestigious of the world's Footy Leagues (and the fourth-richest sports league in generalnote ), and certainly one of the most high-profile sports events worldwide. While it is in no way financially comparable to the National Football League in the United States, the cultural grip it has is comparable without a doubt, and when compared to other Footy leagues around the world, the Premier League is far and away the richest despite their competition.
Despite the relatively small size of a lot of England's stadia compared to Europe note the quality of the English game is extremely high and total club revenue annually (as of 2022) is £4.8 billion!note The Premier League's revenue is the fourth highest anywhere in the world, behind the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA - and with its current £5 billion domestic television licensing deal, as well as its overseas media deals being worth at least as much (its U.S. deal alone is for roughly £2.1 billion over six years), it's only likely to get richer.
StructureFor those more used to an American sports league, the way the Premier League operates can be a bit different to get used to, as a typical footy league structure means there are no playoff spots that teams play for. It's as simple as being the team with the most points at the end of the season. However, coming close to first has its rewards as well. Here's a brief rundown of what each position can get you.
- 1st place: League Champions, seeded berth to the UEFA Champions League group stages
- 2nd-4th place: automatic berth to the UEFA Champions League group stagesnote
- 5th place: automatic berth to the UEFA Europa League group stagesnote
- 6th-17th place: no reward (although do see below), but safety from relegation
- 18th-20th place: relegation to the Championship
In addition to these rewards, there is also money involved depending on placement, which is why making it into the top flight is so attractive for many smaller sides. There are also the two domestic Cup competitions, the winners of which will get automatic berths to the Europa League group stages (FA Cup, who get the higher UEL berth) or the Europa Conference League playoff (EFL Cup), though if they already have an equal or better European berth, the spot(s) revert to the league and are given to the best placed team(s) who hadn't already qualified for Europe, with the FA Cup spot given priority over the EFL Cup. And on top of all of this, if a team in the Europa League wins it or the Champions League, they gain automatic qualification to the Champions League, while the Conference League winners gain automatic entry into the Europa League, but due to fixed numbers of potential winners, the Premier League may only contribute a maximum of 5 UCL participants, 4 UEL participants, and 1 UECL participant.
Generally speaking, six teams are expected to dominate (though whether or not they actually do is a different story), known as the "Big Six". These are the six teams that generally find themselves in the top several spots at season's end, barring a slip or two. Despite this, however, the Premier League's midtable sides are more than capable of taking them to task on any given gameday, and several of these teams have been known to cause nightmares for the Big Sixnote . Not only that, but a trite but true dictum is that "there are no easy games in the Premier League" - if one of the top teams slacks off, then even relegation fodder have every chance of beating them. Another reason for this is that the Premier League, like all the British Leagues, has a reputation for being extraordinarily physically intense (according to data breakdowns, while there's technically more distance covered per match in the Italian Serie A, for high intensity activity, the Premier League is in a league of its own), playing at a very fast pace, and the referees being comparatively more lenient on hard physical challenges. All of this helps level the skill gap.
On the topic of relegation, unlike teams in some other leagues, such as, to an extent, Scotlandnote , relegation is assured at the end of the season; that is to say, there is no playoff between one of the teams coming up and one of the teams going down. This lack of a lifeline, as well as the money involved for staying in the league, generally means that there is an incentive for even the bottom-feeding teams to play their hardest, and it leads to some shock upsets, or some dramatic battles between the sides fighting for survival.
All of this adds up to a heavily-competitive league with teams that are rich and all are seeking to make themselves better by bringing in the best players possible. Teams such as Manchester City and Chelsea were originally known for being mediocre sides, but were taken over by new ownership, who revamped team facilities and finances and led to them taking a place in the Big Six. This allowed them to afford to bring in some of the best foreign talent while also setting up youth facilities to churn out youth prospects to sell or play as well, which only further added to the league's talent pool and competitiveness, and this in turn provided a major boost to the English National Team as well (also thanks to rules in European competitions mandating home-grown player quotas). It's not uncommon to see the English team field 11 players from Premier League sides, when in the past, you would often see players from other countries. And thanks to this talent pool, England are in the midst of a resurgence, making the 2018 World Cup Semifinals and the 2020/21 European Championship Finals, though they lost both.
Because of this feedback loop of generating talent to make the teams better, which also makes the national team better, it is clear that English football's fortunes, both at the club and national level, rest on the shoulders of the Premier League, and given the way things are going, it is safe to say the present and future are bright.
History of the LeagueIn order to really grasp what a monumental achievement the Premier League actually is, you have to first get a grasp of the context around English footy when it was founded.
By the end of the '80s, English football was in a bit of a state. Hooliganism was rife both at home and abroad—the French called it la malaise Anglaise: the English Disease. Liverpool fans had been blamed for the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985 and English clubs had been banned from all European competition. Revenues and attendance were plummeting and many of the stadia were crumbling, poorly maintained or hopelessly old fashioned, this being one factor in the horrific Bradford City stadium fire of 1985. Tall fences were installed to stop hooligans from invading the pitch, but this practice was stopped after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989, when 97 people* (most of them Liverpool fans) were crushed to death. note The best English players began moving abroad, mostly to Italy or Spain, which were seen as having the best leagues at the time.
There was some light in the gloom, though. England's national team made the top four in the 1990 World Cup, the same year in which the post-Heysel ban on English clubs in Europe was lifted. Manchester United promptly won the now-defunct European Cup-Winners' Cupnote in 1991. After the Hillsborough Disaster, Lord Taylor produced a report which forced all top-level clubs to make their stadia safer, more pleasant places to watch a game (done by removing any lawn seating entirely and having all seating be in chairs) and to take measures to clamp down on hooliganism. Slowly, attendances started to rise as parents began taking their children again, and "normal" non-violent fans were no longer put off.
Then into the mix came the dawn of satellite television, in the form of Rupert Murdoch and his Sky service (still the main British satellite broadcaster). Sky's presence and the increasing quality of the English game meant that TV revenue from football skyrocketed from £6.3m in 1986 to over £44m in 1988. The biggest clubs in the top division felt they weren't getting a big enough slice of the cake, and that The Football League, who had been organizing English football since 1888, weren't doing enough to help, so in the summer of 1991 they decided to break away and form their own league.
The Premier League debuted for the 1992/93 season with 22 members, while The Football League was left with the lower three divisions, now confusingly renumbered so that the second tier of English football would be "First Division". Promotion and relegation between the Premier League and the First Division was maintained, and fans didn't notice any immediate difference beyond the change of names and new logos. Later, a new sponsorship deal with the Football League muddied the waters even further, so that the tiers now read "Premier League -> The Championship -> League One -> League Two".
Money started to flow into the Premier League clubs thanks to Sky's TV revenues, while the number of foreign players began to increase dramatically, particularly after 1995, when a test case at the European Court of Justice established that footballers were not exempt from European Law regarding free movement of labour and services: any EU-citizen footballer could play at any EU club with no restrictions, and any EU footballer could move to another club freely once his contract was up. The case - known as the Bosman Ruling after Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman who took the case to court - had a massive effect on football throughout Europe, but particularly in England where the Premier League rapidly became the richest league.
In the mid-2000s, the Premier League overtook Spain's La Liga to become the highest-ranked league in Europe according to UEFA. However, resurgence from La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga, spearheaded by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, and Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and underachievement from PL teams in Europe meant that there was a power shift. For the tail end of the Noughties and the first half of the 2010s, foreign clubs dominated Europe, with only Chelsea's win in 2012 showcasing England's success (and even then, it was considered a Cinderella win against a heavily-favored Bayern Munich). Complacency set in at several clubs: Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United and the team fell adrift somewhat, Arsène Wenger's Arsenal had settled into a perennial 4th place finish, and the Premier League, while still wildly popular, seemed to be on a slow fade. But then, in the mid-2010s, the unthinkable happened, which further boosted the popularity of the league, left dreams in the minds of the lesser sides, and caused the Big Six to scramble to keep their usual dominance, which caused England to finally return to their lofty heights of European dominance after a time. That event?
Leicester City, a team of so-called castoffs, journey men, has-beens, and never-weres, overcame 5000-1 odds and won the Premiership.
Because of this historic run, it became only more apparent that the league was wild and unpredictable. The Top Four morphed into the Big Six as Liverpool became a force again and Tottenham Hotspur entered the mix, and although in the ensuing several years Manchester City and Liverpool dominated the tables, the other four members of the Big Six finished all over the place, sometimes with teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers or Sheffield United putting up a fight. By the 2019/20 season, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Leicester City were competing for a Champions League place, Wolves and Sheffield were fighting for Europa, and lackluster Arsenal were fighting just to finish in the top half of the table following an uncharacteristically-awful season. The following year, an injury-hit and exhausted Liverpool dropped off in January, ending up 7 points off the top 4 with 10 games to go, before managing to drag themselves back into a six-team dogfight for the last two Champions League places, while West Ham made a very unexpected tilt for the top four. Ultimately, some normalcy resumed with Leicester and West Ham dropping out of the Top Four, and Chelsea and Liverpool claiming the spots for their own, but West Ham continued to play well in the 2021/22 season, and the non-Big Six sides continued to snatch shock wins over the course of their campaigns.
2022/23, however, saw unpredictability reign supreme once again. Marquee signings for players like Erling Haaland for Manchester City and Darwin Nunez for Liverpool have seemingly caused the teams to regress, only for City to suddenly turn on the jets and charge right back into the title race, ultimately pipping erstwhile laughingstock Arsenal for the title en route to an historic treble, whereas Arsenal had transformed into complete monsters and demolished teams left and right, before a slew of extremely unfortunate injuries saw them badly stumble at the end. Manchester United splashed the cash in the summer window to overhaul the team, and despite a rocky start and some players not performing well, they forced their way into the Top 4 and the title conversation, only to drop out almost immediately after and nearly miss out on Top 4. Meanwhile, normally mid-table clubs such as Newcastle, Brighton, Fulham, and Brentford began fighting for European spots against the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool, with Brighton managing a spot in the Europa League alongside Liverpool and West Ham (via winning the Conference League), Aston Villa snatched the vacant Conference League position, and Newcastle claimed the final Top 4 spot to return to heights they hadn't seen since the 90s. Chelsea sat miserably in 10th despite spending over €600 million in two windowsnote , and Tottenham Hotspur were "nailed on for 4th" to start the season, only to slide ignominiously out of Top 4, then out of Europa League, then out of the European spots entirely.
2023/24 has started as the tightest race in recent history, thanks to a resilient Arsenal looking to build on their previous title challenge, a revitalised Spurs under Ange Postecoglu, and a Liverpool side reborn after successfully replacing their entire midfield. The old rule of thumb is that after 10 games, the table starts to take shape, and at the time of writing, after 12 games, there are five teams within three points of each other at top: Manchester City on 28, Liverpool on 27, Arsenal on 27 (edged into third on goals scored), Spurs on 26, and Aston Villa on 25. Manchester United, meanwhile, have managed a typical paradox of being both the league's form team and having lost 9 games out of the first 17 in all competitions - a record last matched the last time they were relegated.
All of this competition led to the English teams reasserting their noughties dominance in the Champions League in 2017/18, with all five English teams reaching the Champions League Last 16 (Manchester United finished outside the top four, but reached the group stage by winning the Europa League), a feat unprecedented in UCL history, and all but Chelsea winning their groups outright, with Liverpool ending up as defeated finalists. Things got even better the following season, as EVERY English side in a group stage reached the last 8 of either the Champions League or Europa League. This led to the first all-English Champions League final in a decade (between Liverpool and Spurs, which Liverpool won, having pulled off an improbable comeback in the semis against Barcelona from 3-0 down), which had been preceded three days earlier by an all-English Europa League final between Chelsea and Arsenal (with Chelsea thrashing Arsenal 4-1, having got to the final after a penalty shootout). This meant the Premier League had provided all four European finalists, something never seen before. Then, in 2020/21, the league promptly provided three of the finalists, as if to prove that this wasn't just a one-time thing.
In more controversial recent history, April 2021 also saw the announcement that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur would be joining a European Super League, alongside AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus from Italy, and Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atlético Madrid from Spain. Said league would essentially function as a replacement of the UEFA Champions League, but the founding members would never find themselves cast out of the league due to poor performance. The ESL got off to a poor start when three clubs rumoured to have places set aside for them—Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund (both Germany), and Paris Saint-Germain (France)—ruled themselves out. Immediately following these announcements, massive outrage and backlash from the governing bodies, other clubs, and supporters alike ensued, with many criticising the league and its members for what has been perceived as a blatant attempt to ensure none of its members ever lose their way into obscurity due to poor performance, but also because the league was to be capped at 20 teams, making entry very exclusive with at least 12 slots already permanently taken, and effectively ensuring the sheer amount of money and branding at the top level would drown out lower leagues, making miracle stories like the Leicester City title impossible. Within 48 hours of the backlash, Chelsea and Manchester Citynote both announced they would be withdrawing. The other clubs followed soon after, effectively killing the new league, much to the delight of detractors. It was incredibly short-lived, and the general reaction from the public seems to be "Let Us Never Speak of This Again," and the outcry from fans even boiled over to the point where several owners or club executives were forced to reevaluate or step down entirely, such as Ed Woodward of Manchester United. Perhaps most tangibly, the Kroenke family, owners of Arsenal, completely turned around fan opinions in the seasons since, going from widely despised to widely supported.
The 2022/23 season saw a drastic change in the way the season unfolded, due to The World Cup taking place in Qatar in November and December to avoid the punishing desert climate during summer months. Fixtures were extremely compressed and were even further thrown into disarray following the death of Elizabeth IInote . In preparation for the major match congestion, rule changes were approved to allow for an additional two subs on the bench and five total subs (in no more than three windows, not including half-time) to allow clubs to rotate players. This is all without mentioning the effect of Cup competitions and European matchesnote on an already tight schedule as well. If ever there was a season to force the conversation about match scheduling, this would be it, but it does not seem that any permanent changes are incoming despite that season's high crunch.
There is no doubt that the current state of the Premier League showcases a remarkable turnaround for football in England since the troubles of The '80s and has helped move England back up to being one of the top footballing nations in the world. It is arguably back ahead of its cousin leagues in Spain and Italy in terms of the quality of football, certainly in terms of attendance and revenue and is now watched all around the world and particularly in the Far East.
Current League Information
Current titleholders: Manchester City
Nickname: The Gunnersnote
Current Owner: Stan Kroenke
Current Manager: Mikel Arteta
Current Captain: Martin Ødegaard
Current Stadium: Emirates Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 2nd
Highest Finish: 1st (1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04note )
A very successful north London club who lifted the crown in 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04 (which was achieved unbeaten). Their Arch-Enemy is Tottenham Hotspur, a derby that has led to classic matches in both league and cup competitions. Matches against Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea are also Serious Business to Arsenal's fans. Stan Kroenke, owner of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, holds majority ownership of the club. They currently hold the record for the longest uninterrupted stay in the Top Division/Premier League (dating all the way back to 1919/20, when they were promoted under very controversial circumstances following World War I) and were renowned for finishing in the top four with metronomic regularity. Their intricate, attacking style of play was introduced by Arsène Wenger (and was thus dubbed "Wengerball"), who managed the club for 1,235 games, reaching the 1,000 milestone on 22 March 2014 with Arsenal's fixture at Chelsea (against José Mourinho, no less), and after 22 years of management, he stepped down as Arsenal manager following the 2017/18 season's end. During his time, he guided the team to all three of their Premier League titles, as well as a plethora of Cups as well. However, a lack of major trophies (FA Cups notwithstanding) in the latter years of his time with the Gunners made a number of fans impatient with Wenger, who was perceived as being outdated in his approach and taking the club backwards, something backed up by having every other club of the Big Six finish ahead of them in his final year. Arsenal struggled for a few seasons under his replacement Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg, and Mikel Arteta had trouble out of the gate despite winning an FA Cup, but Arteta was given time and has put together a side of young players who play entertaining possession-heavy attacking ball and who are not afraid to throw down with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. After a disappointing end to the 2021/22 campaign, 2022/23 saw them take a giant leap upward, leading the league for the majority of the season before injuries to key players saw them regress and stumble across the finish line in 2nd, but with UCL ball guaranteed, they came out in the summer window looking for blood, and with major acquisitions in the summer, the Gunners have seemingly thrown down the gauntlet and look to catapult themselves even higher than before. Indeed, going into the third international break, they've only lost one league game, to Newcastle on a controversial goal, notching wins against Manchester United and Manchester City, and currently sit behind Liverpool by a single goal scored, only one point behind City in 1st.
Nickname: The Villans
Current Owners: Nassef Sawiris and Wesley Edens
Current Manager: Unai Emery
Current Captain: John McGinn
Current Stadium: Villa Parknote
2022/23 Position: 7th
Highest Finish: 2nd (1992/93)
Generally a typical mid-table side from Birmingham, the odd flirtation with either end of the table notwithstanding; their highest finish was as runners-up under Ron Atkinson in the first Premier League season. They also mounted a consistent challenge for European places under the management of Martin O'Neill, only to have reverted to old ways since then. The 2014/15 season saw the sacking of manager Paul Lambert after a dire run that left them in the relegation zone. However, ex-Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood managed to keep the team from relegation and took them to the FA Cup final. After a monumentally bad start to the 2015/16 season, Sherwood was fired and replaced by Rémi Garde, former Arsenal player in Arsène Wenger's early years as manager. While he managed to upgrade their performances from 'downright awful' to merely 'very bad', after just 3 wins from 23 games he left the club in March 2016. They were relegated in mid-April following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United. Chinese billionaire Tony Xia took over the club from former Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner in the offseason and signed Premier League-caliber players like Jonathan Kodjia and Mile Jedinak. Despite the club's overhaul, Villa finished midtable in the Championship, following up the next season with a strong push that saw them finish in a playoff spot, though they lost to Fulham in the final. Xia sold out during the 2018 offseason to a joint venture between Egyptian Nassef Sawiris and American Wes Edens, the latter also being a co-owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Bruce was ditched after a poor start to the 2018/19 season, with open Villa fan Dean Smith taking over from Brentford. He got them 10 wins on the trot late on in the season (a run ended controversially by Leeds in the penultimate game) and after beating West Brom on penalties, they held off Derby to return. Survived relegation despite seeing to be assured of it by winning late against Arsenal and drawing on the final day as Arsenal defeated Watford. Then, in 2020/21, they shocked the football world by hammering defending champions Liverpool 7-2, a margin of defeat Liverpool had only conceded once in the last 60 years. Steven Gerrard's arrival in 2021 coincided with a sudden burst of ambition from the Villans, who had signed hot prospects like Buendia with money they had gained from a sale of prodigy Jack Grealish, and used Gerrard's star power to attract his former Liverpool teammate, ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich star Philippe Coutinho. They settled into midtable, but had an opportunity to deny Manchester City the league title, only to let it slip. Villa started the next season in shambolic form, culminating in Gerrard's sacking in October 2022, to be replaced by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who came right in and notched shock wins against Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham over his first two months in charge. This fine form continued for the rest of the season, and ended with Villa finishing seventh and qualifying for the European Conference League for the 2023-24 season, their first European campaign in 13 seasons. The new season began with them qualifying for the competition proper over Hibernian, but despite a slow start in the league, they came roaring back in the second and third run of games, now sitting in 5th, only one point behind the Top 4 and 3 points behind 1st placed City, leaving many Villa fans to wonder if they can make a run at the Europa League or even the Champions League this season.
- Year Established: 1899
Nickname: The Cherries
Current Owner: Maxim Demin
Current Manager: Andoni Iraola
Current Captain: Neto
Current Stadium: Dean Courtnote
2022/23 Position: 15th
Highest Finish: 9th (2016/17)
An incredible story in its own right, Bournemouth spent most of their history floating around between the third and fourth tiers, the only exception being a brief spell in the second tier under Harry Redknapp in the late Eighties. By the 2008/09 season they looked doomed to extinction, having started their League Two season on -17 points due to financial problems, but after appointing Eddie Howe as manager not only did they comfortably avoid relegation, they secured promotion the next season, and then promotion to the Championship in 2013. They continued doing better and better until in the 2014/15 campaign, they sealed Premiership status for the very first time by winning the Championship. Their first few seasons saw them make higher and higher finishes, but come the 2018/19 season, they seemed to slump back into midtable form, before sliding even further in the 2019/20 season and despite a strong final day showing, were ultimately sent down. Earned a playoff spot the next season, but let a 2-0 aggregate lead slip in the away leg, losing out to Brentford. Had a strong 2021/22 campaign as well, gaining automatic promotion in early May. Following a 9-0 shellacking to Liverpool and only one win to open the season, however, Scott Parker was sacked in late August 2022. Following this, Bournemouth grabbed a few needed wins and briefly sat above Liverpool despite the earlier 9-0 thrashing. However, normal service has since resumed, and the club found themselves battling relegation after the resumption of the Premier League - until an amazing turnaround in March and April, which started with them beating Liverpool and also included a comeback victory over Tottenham to lift themselves clear of the relegation battle and achieve survival. Despite this, manager Gary O'Neil was inexplicably sacked a few weeks after the end of the season, and replaced by Spaniard Andoni Iraola. Started the new season in dismal form, only taking 9 draws from 12 matches, and sitting just above the drop zone.
Nickname: The Bees
Current Owner: Matthew Benham
Current Manager: Thomas Frank
Current Captain: Christian Nørgaard
Current Stadium: Brentford Community Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 9th
Highest Finish: 9th (2022/23)
The Bees of Brentford are one of the oldest clubs in all of England, being founded in 1889. Brentford started as a local sportsman's attempt at a permanent team for either football or rugby in the town (one of several). Managed a few spells in the First Division, before being sent down permanently following World War II. Faced serious financial troubles between 1950 and 1970, before finally managing to stabilize and make their way into the Championship following the reorganization of the English Football League. They spent most of the subsequent time in League One, chasing a return to the Championship but failing and than being relegated to League Two in 2007, before returning to League One in 2009, but won their way back into the Championship in 2014, where they have remained ever since. Put together a solid campaign in the 2019/20 season despite the COVID-19 disruption, competing with West Brom, Leeds, and Fulham for automatic promotion and assuring themselves of a playoff place, though they ultimately lost to Fulham in the Final. In 2020/21, they secured another playoff spot, which they managed to win, earning their first top-flight promotion in 74 years, and becoming the fiftieth individual team to compete in the Premier League. Began their campaign with a shock home win against Arsenal, and have settled into the lower-half of midtable in the months since, with the acquisition of Christian Eriksen (recently recovered from an on-pitch heart attack in the middle of the European Championships) helping stave off risks of relegation and pulling off a shocking 4-1 away win at Chelsea, their first away win at Stamford Bridge since 1939. Unsurprisingly given this footballing fairytale, they've turned into something of a neutrals' favourite, and with their collection of results against the big London sides, they have seemingly thrown down the gauntlet for the seasons to come, a challenge which they backed up by demolishing Manchester United 4-0 in only 35 minutes in the second match of the season and taking points off of every Big Six team except Arsenal. This has allowed them to settle into comfortable midtable mediocrity while also jostling with the likes of Brighton, Liverpool, and Chelsea for a Conference or even Europa League spot. Started off well enough, but fell back to midtable going into the third break.
Brighton & Hove Albion
Nickname: The Seagulls
Current Owner: Tony Bloom
Current Manager: Roberto de Zerbi
Current Captain: Lewis Dunk
Current Stadium: American Express Arenanote
2022/23 Position: 6th
Highest Finish: 6th (2022/23)
BHA once had a pretty decent stay in the old First Division, but plummeted soon after, going as far as being just half-an-hour away from being relegated out of the Football League before managing to pull themselves back into the Championship in 2011. Having generally struggled in the lower leagues before moving to the American Express Arena fans were desperate for (after 14 years without a real home, which included two seasons 100 miles away in Gillingham), BHA reached the play offs for the Premier League 3 times over the subsequent 5 seasons, without managing to win them. Come the 2016/17 campaign, they managed to dominate the league alongside Newcastle, where they were able to win the league and achieve promotion. They are known as the Seagulls or the Albion, and have a very fierce rivalry with Premier League side Crystal Palace, known as the M23 Derbynote . They have established themselves as a lower-midtable side in the three seasons hence, and the AMEX has seemed to become a bogey ground for Manchester United. In the 2018/19 campaign, the relegation battle stayed on until late in the season, but thanks to hated rivals Crystal Palace, Brighton survived the season and their PL status continued. They comfortably finished in midtable in the 2021/22 season, and opened the 2022–23 campaign with a shock 2–1 win at Old Trafford, putting new United manager Erik ten Hag firmly on the hot seat, before losing their manager Graham Potter to Chelsea, with his replacement being the Italian Roberto de Zerbi, who picked up right where Potter left off (including beating Potter's Chelsea 4-1 in their meeting), and managed to snag a Europa League spot at the end of the season for the first time in their history. The new season began with a blistering start, their only blemishes being defeats to Chelsea, West Ham, and Villa, and they sit only a few points off the leaders, just six points outside of Top 4.
Nickname: The Clarets
Current Owners: ALK Capital (majority); J.J. and Kealia Watt (minority), Dude Perfect (minority)
Current Manager: Vincent Kompany
Current Captain: Jack Cork
Current Stadium: Turf Moor note
2022/23 Position: 1st in Championship (promoted)
Highest Finish: 7th (2017/18)
The smallest club to have been promoted to the Premier League until Bournemouth's promotion in the 2014/2015 season. The club is based in a town in eastern Lancashire so small its population would only fill three of Old Trafford's stands. Despite starting their freshman season (2009/10) well, things went horribly wrong after promotion-winning manager Owen Coyle left and they ended up getting relegated shortly after. They got another chance in the Premier League during the 2014/2015 season, in which they had a number of notable feats, including getting a 1-0 win against Manchester City, who they held away from home earlier in the season from 2 down, who up to that point had scored in every match. They fought hard to stay in the league, but it was not to be. They were next promoted in 2016, finishing the season atop the Championship. They survived the next season, largely off the back of stunning home form (in the league - it could have been in the cup too, but Burnley lost at home to then-5th-tier Lincoln), despite earning only one away point before February (at Old Trafford after their ex-United keeper Tom Heaton stopped a Curb-Stomp Battle on his own), and no away wins until the end of April. They even qualified for the Europa Qualifying Rounds that season, but they didn't manage to make the Group Stage. They also became the first team in nearly four years and 68 league games to beat Liverpool at Anfield in January 2021. 2021/22 has seen them struggle for survival, and they currently hold the status of being one of the five relegation-battling teams. In mid-April, Sean Dyche and a number of the coaching staff were unexpectedly sacked, and while the team responded well, they ultimately were sent packing at the last action. Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany subsequently replaced Dyche permanently in the Championship and guided Burnley to another immediate promotion the following April. Shortly after securing promotion, the Clarets picked up a few prominent minority investors, first now-retired NFL great J.J. Watt and his wife (and pro soccer player) Kealia and then the Dude Perfect Web video collective. Their start to the season has been dire, and they sit bottom entering the third break.
Nickname: The Bluesnote
Current Owner: Todd Boehly
Current Manager: Mauricio Pochettino
Current Captain: Reece James
Current Stadium: Stamford Bridgenote
2022/23 Position: 12th
Highest Finish: 1st (2004/05, 2005/06, 2009/10, 2014/15 and 2016/17)
Central London-based Chelsea FC are a club that has seen recent success, relative to English football as a whole. They were purchased in 2003 by Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich, making them one of the wealthiest clubs in the league practically overnight. The club have presently won five Premier League titles, winning it all in 2004/05 and 2005/06 under José Mourinho, in 2009/10 under Carlo Ancelotti, in 2014/15 after Mourinho returned from stints at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, and in 2016/17 under Antonio Conte, as well as a pair of Champions Leagues in 2012 and 2021. Although their traditional rivals are Fulham, Chelsea fans tend to look down on their central London neighbors, instead regarding Arsenal or Spurs as their main rivals. Like Manchester City, fans of other sides find them controversial, due to Abramovich splashing money on the team, their (ab)use of the loaning system, and their penchant for "bus-parking" (playing heavily-defensive ball relying on the counter-attack), though Maurizio Sarri brought about a more attacking philosophy during his turn. In March 2022, due to the war between Ukraine and Russia and the growing sanctions on Russian businesses and businessmen in the international scene, Roman Abramovich handed over stewardship of the club to a charitable foundation and announced intentions to sell, but before any deals were made, Abramovich's assets were seized by the UK government (on the club's 117th birthday, no less). While turmoil reigned as the ownership situation took time to resolve itself, Chelsea managed to secure Top 4 late that season and even managed to make a pair of Cup finals, though they lost both. In early May 2022, however, American businessman Todd Boehly purchased the club and took over as owner. 2022/23 was a season to forget, as despite spending over €600m between the two windows, they finished 12th, their football was an eyesore, they fired two managers, and seemingly every move they made backfired, with the only exception being their acquisition of Enzo Fernandez in a British transfer record. Mauricio Pochettino was hired in the summer, and they followed this up with another massive summer spending spree, dropping another €400m on another haul of playersnote , including breaking the British transfer record again. With €1 billion spent in three windows, it is clear that it is Champions League or bust for Chelsea, and their first few matches saw them faceplant out the gate. While a draw against Liverpool gave them hope, their form has still been extremely shaky, though they managed a big win against Spurs and a heroic 4-4 draw against Manchester City to go into the third break in 10th.
Nickname: The Eagles
Current Owners: Steve Parish (Majority Shareholder), Joshua Harris and David S. Blitzer
Current Manager: Roy Hodgson
Current Captain: Joel Ward
Current Stadium: Selhurst Parknote
2022/23 Position: 11th
Highest Finish: 10th (2014/15)
A South London-based club with a loyal cult following who to date have had five separate spells in the Premier League, more than any other team, and suffered immediate relegation in each of the first four (though were a little unlucky to go down in the 1994/95 season, when there was an extra relegation spot due to league reconstruction). They finally averted relegation in the 2013/14 season thanks to manager Tony Pulis, the ex-Stoke coach who has never suffered relegation with any of his teams. Pulis moved on to West Brom afterwards and Palace have further established themselves in the Premier League mix under former Newcastle manager (and ex-Palace player) Alan Pardew, who succeeded in making them a credible threat to the very top teams, particularly the long suffering Liverpool, until Jürgen Klopp took charge - now it's the long suffering Manchester United, who Palace most recently humiliated 3-1 at Old Trafford.They really, REALLY don't like Brighton and Hove Albion. Have established themselves as a midtable side who are quite capable of beating the Big Six in their home of Selhurst Park with semi-regularity - except for Liverpool, who after dropping a 3 goal lead in the disaster that arguably cost them the title in 2013/14 have since returned every time with malice aforethought. They currently appear to be safe from relegation, and for a time they had few aspirations beyond that, but the appointment of former Arsenal stalwart Patrick Vieira has brought with them renewed ambition, and they notched shock wins against several members of the Big Six. Unfortunately, a run of bad form resulted in Vieira's sacking, and the Eagles currently find themselves dragged back into the relegation battle, their future uncertain. Vieira was succeeded by the man he'd replaced, veteran journeyman Roy Hodgson, who stabilized the club and restored their midtable status, allowing them to comfortably avoid the relegation they were in danger of falling into. Started off 2023/24 fairly well, hovering midtable going into the third break.
Nickname: The Toffees
Current Owners: Farhad Moshiri (Majority Shareholder), Bill Kenwright and Jon Woods
Current Manager: Sean Dyche
Current Captain: Séamus Coleman
Current Stadium: Goodison Parknote
2022/23 Position: 17th
Highest Finish: 4th (2004/05
Liverpool's major rivals from just across town. Spent the first decade of the Premier League constantly fighting relegation, but after David Moyes's appointment as manager in 2002 they often challenged for European places, and managed to break into the Champions League spots (at that time occupied consistently by the "Big Four") in the 2004/05 season. Roberto Martínez took over as manager after David Moyes left for Manchester United and constructed an extremely talented team that played delightful attacking football. Unfortunately, their defending was correspondingly dubious; numerous times they took the lead, only to either concede goals and lose or draw, along with a serious problem with playing at home. Under Ronald Koeman, they became the 'best of the rest', spearheaded by prodigiously talented striker Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku then joined Manchester United for £80 million, this move enabling Wayne Rooney to make a surprise return to his alma mater after 13 years away. Despite spending more than £140 million in the transfer market, a disastrous start to the 2017-2018 season meant that Koeman was sacked in October 2017, being replaced by footballing firefighter Sam 'Big Sam' Allardyce. He got the team to the top half but was obviously unpopular due to his rustic game and canned for longtime target Marco Silva, with Rooney's return lasting just one season. Silva was canned after a torrid start to 2018/19, but Duncan Ferguson took the caretaker role, led a trashing of Chelsea just 40 hours later, held Man U and Arsenal, and transferred the job to ex-Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who has bought them up the table with a run of single goal wins. The following season they found themselves jostling with other Big 6 sides for the titular spots, though their hated neighbors ended up pulling ahead of them by a wide margin as their form picked up and Everton's dropped off. Everton ultimately finished the season being thrashed by Manchester City, and dropping out of European contention entirely. Ancelotti subsequently left to return to Real Madrid, and was succeeded by Rafa Benitez, formerly of Liverpool, who thus became the first man in over a century to have managed both Liverpool clubs. An OK start under Benitez soon gave way to an abysmal run of form and he was given the boot in January 2022 following a defeat to bottom-of-the-table Norwich. Under Frank Lampard, they were dragged into a relegation battle, much to the glee of their cross-town rivals, but with a game to play, they sealed their survival with a monumental second-half comeback against Crystal Palace, and their dream end to the season continued when Ancelotti's Madrid denied Liverpool a Champions League title, fully turning the table on their rivals. In 2022/23, they find themselves battling relegation again, but have managed to snatch desperately needed points at irregular intervals, leaving them stranded in the drop zone and finally causing Frank Lampard to be sacked in late January 2023; Sean Dyche, formerly of Burnley, replaced him a week later and in his first match, Everton turned in a resolute performance, managing to shock the league by defeating Arsenal 1-0 and climbing out of the drop zone... for all of about two hours before Wolves put them right back in. However, a few more good results saw them climb out of the drop zone, and a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on the final day was enough to keep them in the top flight for a 70th successive season. The 2023/24 campaign, however, has seen some improvement, as they managed a few desperately-needed wins to hover safely above the drop zone in midtable going into the third break, but then down came the hammer of the FA, handing Everton a 10-point deduction due to breaches in Financial Fair Play, which now have them sitting squarely in the relegation zone once again.
Nickname: The Cottagers
Current Owner: Shahid Khan
Current Manager: Marco Silva
Current Captain: Tom Cairney
Current Stadium: Craven Cottagenote
2022/23 Position: 10th
Highest Finish: 7th (2008/09)
Probably most famously had a great escape from relegation in 2007/08 under Roy Hodgson, then the following season got into Europe, before becoming runners-up in the 2009/10 Europa League - beating many of the game's most famous names to do so, including a famous 4-1 win against Juventus. The team lost their status as a Premier League club as a poor 2013/14 campaign saw both ex-Spurs boss Martin Jol and René Meulensteen getting the sack. Formerly owned by Mohammed Al Fayed (who infamously placed a statue of Michael Jackson outside their stadium), they were purchased in 2013 by Pakistani-born US billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and co-owner (with his son) of All Elite Wrestling. Their first 2 seasons after relegation were ones of struggle, where Fulham held off the risk of a further relegation, but under ex-Chelsea player Slavisa Jokanovic, they snuck into the playoffs ahead of Leeds, only to lose to Reading. Most recently, they won their way back into the playoff final. They earned a good early win over Burnley, having spent big money on talented platers, but than 8 straight defeats, many of which saw them leak goals left, right and centre, Jokanovic was sacked and replaced by his former manager up the road Claudio Ranieri, without knowing he was sacked until the Leicester legend was announced in his place. Ranieri failed to revitalize the club, and barely a hundred days later he was sacked himself, with Jokanovic associate Scott Parkernote taking his place as caretaker. Went down in early April after losing to Watford, but managed a strong campaign in 2019/20, confirming a Playoff spot. Emerged victorious over Brentford to confirm a place in the Premier League for the 2020/21 season, but were sent packing shortly after. The following season, Parker left to join fellow relegated side Bournemouth, to be replaced by Marco Silva (formerly of Hull City and Everton), under whom they completely dominated the league season, winning it entirely in early May. 2022-23 has seen them catapult themselves into the European spot competition, jostling with the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle. They even made a deep FA Cup run, only to fall against Manchester United after a spectacular implosion which saw two of their players (one for pushing the referee) and their manager dismissed after the Video Assistant Referee spotted a deliberate handball than the on-field referee missed. Their promising season didn't quite pan out in the form of European football, but they finished in a respectable 10th place, falling behind a resurgent Aston Villa and Liverpool and unable to close the gap on Spurs to finish in a Conference League spot. Have since started the new campaign in lackluster form, snatching a late draw against Arsenal and beating Everton, as well as knocking Spurs out of the League Cup, but those are their only accomplishments thus far, and in the third run of games, they've slid backward and now hover near relegation.
Nickname: The Reds
Current Owners: Fenway Sports Groupnote
Current Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Current Captain: Virgil van Dijk
Current Stadium: Anfieldnote
2022/23 Position: 5th
Highest Finish: 1st (2019/20) - Earliest title win in EPL history (7 games remaining)note
The most successful club in English football, having won the League 18 times and the European Cup 6 times, but took until 2020 to win the league in its present form, being runners-up in 2002, 2009, 2014, and 2019. Formerly known as the club most likely to come third in any competition you care to name, and the league's European specialists, with as many European Cup/Champions League wins as the rest put together, with titles in 2005 and 2019, and finals in 2007 and 2018. Periodically threatened a return to the glory days prior to the arrival of Jürgen Klopp, who turned them into 'Europe's Entertainers'. This was cemented by a Champions League victory in 18/19 (while missing out on the league by 1 point), before rampaging through the league in 2019/20, tying the record for most consecutive wins twice, and scooping the European Super-Cup and Club World Cup on the way to the title - even the COVID-19 caused 3 month break didn't stop them winning in cruise control, racking up 99 points (one shy of the record). Known for their lethal front three including any combination of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane (until his 2022 departure to Bayern Munich), Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, and most recently, Luis Diaz and Darwin 'Captain Chaos' Nunez a.k.a. 'the Red Arrows', and ruthless consistency, thanks to investing in centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, goalkeeper Alisson Becker and defensive midfielder/defender Fabinho (departed to Saudi Arabia in 2023), and their lightning fast creative full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Their home stadium of Anfield was medium-sized by footballing standards prior to its expansion, but renowned for its raucous atmosphere, and is frequently cited as the most intimidating place to play in world football by ex-pros. They hadn't lost a league match there in nearly four years until Burnley found a way in January 2021. Owned by Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Penguins, succeeding the widely despised Hicks and Gillette, who drove the club into bankruptcy. The 2022/23 season was a tale of two halves of the season, with their performance being tepid at best in the first half and languishing in the lower part of the top half of the table, only to come roaring back in the second half, only just missing out on Top 4 at the end. However, after suddenly losing the aging midfield core of captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho (to Saudi Arabia), and vice-captain James Milner (to Brighton), Liverpool struggled to replace key players in the summer, though they eventually got their men in the end, and have returned with a vengeance. Despite an extremely controversial defeat to Spurs and a string of niggling injuries, they sit level with Arsenal (ahead on goal difference) only a point behind leaders Man City going into the third break.
Nickname: The Hatters
Current Owner: Luton Town Football Club 2020 Ltd.note
Current Manager: Rob Edwards
Current Captain: Tom Lockyer
Current Stadium: Kenilworth Road note
2022/23 Position: 3rd in Championship (won Playoff, promoted)
Highest Finish: N/A
The oldest professional club in South England, Luton Town's history has been full of ups and downs, financial crises, promotions and relegations, and exactly one major trophy win, a League Cup in 1988. They spent several years in the old First Division in the 80s and early 90s, but they were unfortunate enough to be relegated only the season before the First Division broke away to form the Prem. They spent time floundering around the Championship and League One, up until 2009, when they dropped out of the Football League entirely after a massive 30-point deduction due to misconduct and administration, which remains the largest points deduction ever levied against a Football League club. Since 2014, however, their rise to the top has been meteoric, to say the least. In the 2021/22 season, they made a playoff spot and had a shot to make the Premier League for the first time in their history, but they fell at the semifinal stage. Undeterred, they dusted themselves off, went again and finished higher and with more points in the 2022/23 season, despite their manager Nathan Jones departing for Southampton (who would later fire him before the season even finished) during the pause for the World Cup. He was replaced by Rob Edwards (who began the season managing Luton's sworn rivals Watford, only to get fired by them after only 11 games), making the Playoff Final against Coventry City, which went all the way to penalties, and then to sudden-death, but they would not be denied, becoming the first side in the history of English football to go from the top flight to the non-league system and then back to the top flight, and they managed the climb in only 9 seasonsnote . They really, REALLY don't like Watford and they have major beef with the Football Association, having a banner permanently affixed to their stadium blaming them for their 2008 woes. Their first season back hasn't gone well, but they currently sit just inside the drop zone third international break.
Nickname: The Citizens
Current Owner: Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Current Manager: Josep "Pep" Guardiola
Current Captain: Kevin de Bruyne
Current Stadium: Etihad Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 1st
Highest Finish: 1st (2011/12, 2013/14, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2020/21, 2021/22, and 2022/23) - Most wins (32), most goals (106), and most points (100) in a single season in Premier League history
Perennial underachievers until being bought by Arab Sheik Mansour, after which the team became serious contenders, winning the 2011-12 title under Roberto Mancini and the 2013/14 title under Manuel Pellegrini, capitalising on the faltering at the end of the season of a previously rampant Liverpool side. Fans of other teams find City as controversial because of the team's overwhelming wealth and despite their secure position at the top end of the Premier League, they have yet to translate it to European success, the standard by which every top club is ultimately judged. This is finally showing signs of changing as of 2023, with the club winning their first ever Champions League, completing a highly successful season that also saw them win the Premier League Title and the FA Cup, becoming the second ever English team to win this Treble (after Manchester United). Have a persistent problem playing against Liverpool, especially at Anfield, the only stadium (until 2020 - when it was devoid of the usual intimidation factor thanks to a lack of fans) they've failed to win at since the Mansour takeover, and in general since 2003. Became the first team to break 100 points in the Premier League era in 2017/18, despite stumbling at the end. Came from as many as 10 points behind Liverpool to secure the 2018/19 campaign, only making it certain on the final day in a title race decided by a single point. The next season, however, saw City slide back into a battle against Leicester City for 3rd place as Liverpool surged forward and never let the lead slip. In February they also received a sentence from UEFA over their Financial Fair Play transgressions that led to a ban from European competitions for the next two seasons; the ban was subsequently overturned on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, prompting righteous delight/relief from City fans and disgust from almost everyone else. They started slowly in 2020/21, but came back with a vengeance to clinch the title ten points ahead of their Manchester rivals. Also managed a Champions League Final appearance, but they were defeated by Chelsea. Have followed this up with a brutally-efficient 2021/22, with the team being close to pace for another 100-point season - however, a couple of stumbles combined with an even more brutally-efficient Liverpool breathing down their necks again, they remain ahead of Liverpool by the thinnest of margins after a grudge match at the Etihad ended 2-2 in an extremely entertaining contest. Things came down to the final day, but despite allowing Aston Villa to jump ahead to a 0-2 lead early, City rallied and produced three goals in five minutes to complete the comeback and seal the title. Interestingly, they hold the league record for the largest winning points margin (19pts, 2017/18) and the narrowest winning points margin (0pts (winning on goal difference), 2011/12). Have since started off the 2022/23 season brightly enough, with a few early draws, a shock loss to Brentford, a New Years Eve stumble against Everton, a derby defeat to Manchester United dampening form, and their goalless run at Tottenham coming back to bite them, but they fought back, only to follow it up by slipping against Nottingham Forest the very next game. They then went on a(nother) late season surge to snatch 12 games on the bounce and bring Arsenal's title challenge to an end, taking the league in with one week left to play, plus an FA Cup Final appearance and a Champions League Final appearance, culminating in their historic treble with their victory in both the FA Cup and the Champions League. However, in early February 2023, news broke that the Premier League were charging City with numerous breaches of Financial Fair Play, with potential penalties being points deductions or even relegation, leaving City's future and the status of previously won titles uncertain. 2023/24 saw them pick right back up where they left off, taking 28 points from 12 matches and sitting top by a point entering the third international break.
Nickname: The Red Devils
Current Owners: The Glazer Familynote
Current Manager: Erik ten Hag
Current Captain: Bruno Fernandes
Current Stadium: Old Traffordnote
2022/23 Position: 3rd
Highest Finish: 1st (1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998,99, 1999/2000, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13) - Most Premier League titles (13)
The most successful club in English football, who have won the top League a record 20 times, with their 13 Premier League titles all being won under Sir Alex Ferguson. The Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, holds a controlling stake in the team; however, supporters have unsuccessfully attempted to buy out Malcolm Glazer, the family patriarch and owner of the club until his death in 2014, since he saddled the club with massive debts. After Ferguson’s retirement, the club has been in a bit of a flux. Following several seasons of a managerial carousel and varying table positions over the years, the club brought in Erik ten Hag from Ajax, and his era began with a bang... for all the wrong reasons. With two extremely embarrassing performances, United lost 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford and 4-0 at Brentford, making ten Hag the first Man Utd manager in a hundred years to lose his first two games at the club. They have since responded by going on a tear, with a 2-1 win against Liverpool (the score belying how dominant they were), a fortunate victory over Southampton and a convincing 3-1 win against a rejuvenated Arsenal. Despite meeting Manchester City and being thrashed 6-3, their form continued, and going into the new year, they managed to defeat City 2-1 in the reverse fixture, forcing themselves back into the Top 4 race, only to lose momentum against Palace and then suffer defeat against Arsenal. They bounced back, winning several games on the bounce including a Carabao Cup against Newcastle to put them back in the title race, but then they met a vengeful Liverpool, who tore them apart and won 7-0, their worst loss in league history. This, followed by a late season wobble and a very late resurgence by Liverpool, means that with three games to go their arch-rivals are just one point behind in a race for Top 4. They were, fortunately for them, able to recover their mojo and secured Champions League ball with a thrashing of Chelsea in Match 37. 2023/24, however, has not started the way they'd like, with some extremely shaky play that see them outside Top 4 and bottom of their Champions League group with two matches left to play, made worse with off-the-pitch controversies around the club's handling of domestic abuse allegations against two of its players, plus the sleep-inducing saga of a possible takeover continuing to drag on.
Nickname: The Magpiesnote
Current Owner: Public Investment Fundnote
Current Manager: Eddie Howe
Current Captain: Jamaal Lascelles
Current Stadium: St James' Parknote
2022/23 Position: 4th
Highest Finish: 2nd (1995/96 and 1996/97)
This team from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is probably most famous for Kevin Keegan's rant in 1996, where with Newcastle 12 points ahead, he declared that he'd "love it if we (Newcastle) beat them (Manchester United)". They let that lead slip. Formerly owned by (widely hated) SportsDirect tycoon Mike Ashley, they were eventually relegated in 2009, but came right back up on their first attempt. Alan Pardew, who managed to even get Newcastle into Europe, eventually left to rescue his old club Crystal Palace, causing Newcastle to only barely survive that season on the final day, and go down immediately after (but not before giving Tottenham Hotspur a 5-1 thrashing on the last day). Returned to the big time yet again after only one season down, but they've mostly languished in the lower midtable ever since. In October 2021, however, after over a year of rumors and dealings, the club was sold by Ashley to the Public Investment Fund, a Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Incumbent manager Steve Bruce took charge for the first game under the new owners, a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham, before, to the surprise of no one, leaving by mutual consent three days later. Known for being a passionate fanbase who often competed with their neighbors, they really, REALLY don't like Sunderland, and take every opportunity they can to mock their less fortunate rivals. Early 2021/22 saw them utterly capitulate, sitting in a relegation spot up until the Saudi-backed takeover, but some canny use of the now nigh-unlimited bank account and the recruitment of Eddie Howe steered them out of the relegation spots and firmly upwards towards mid-table. Their upward ambitions had the eyes of everyone in the league on them for the 2022/23 season, and they responded with only five league defeats all season (one each to Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa, and the other two to otherwise struggling Liverpool), though whether their growth will continue is a different matter. They ended up fourth, securing a Champions League group stage place. Unfortunately for them, the 2023/24 season started off poorly until they began to rally in September, now sitting in 7th and several points off Top 4, and worse, a Champions League Group of Death against Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain, and AC Milan for them to try to fight through, and they currently sit bottom.
Nickname: The Forestnote
Current Owner: Evangelos Marinakis
Current Manager: Steve Cooper
Current Captain: Joe Worrall
Current Stadium: City Groundnote
2022/23 Position: 16th
Highest Finish: 3rd (1994/95)
Enjoyed huge success under Brian Clough in the 70s and 80s, but the start of the Premier League brought relegation, and his retirement. Came back twice after that but, aside from a 3rd place finish in 1995, enjoyed little success, and ended up going down to League One in 2005, becoming the first European Cup-winning team to later be relegated to the third tier of their domestic league (they came back three years later). Barely escaped relegation in 2016/17, and most recently made headlines for signing "Lord" Nicklas Bendtner, the former Arsenal striker, and onetime player of the year for his country, Denmark, who only played for them for six months, but scoring 2 goals, before leaving on a free transfer to Rosenborg in Norway. Forest avoided relegation by 2 goals, meaning fans attributed Bendtner, whose goals scored 3 points off top 6 teams Fulham and Newcastle, to their survival. In the next season, they sacked Mark Warburton but then caused a great FA Cup shock a week later, being the first side since Arsene Wenger was Arsenal manager to knock the Gunners, who won 3 of the last 4 iterations of the world's oldest event, out at the earliest possible stage, also Arsenal's first direct defeat in round 3 (i.e. without a replay) since their famous 1992 loss to Wrexham, which was also done in impressive style with a young side hammering a demotivated reserve group of Arsenal players, with most main men left out completely for the League cup semifinal. Aitor Karanka, the ex-Middlesbrough boss, came in just a couple of days after that famous result. Their 2021/22 season started on a negative note as they were dead last in the Championship after 7 matches, but former Swansea manager Steve Cooper managed to steer the ship and got the team to finish in a playoffs spot: in the final, they held off Huddersfield in a hotly contested match to return to the top flight after 23 years of absence, returning to the Premier League with the longest gap between matches in the divisionnote . In their first season back, they broke a record for the most players signed by a British club in one transfer window, with an incredible 22 new signings. After a poor start, they managed to climb out of the relegation zone after snatching some desperately needed points against teams like Chelsea and Liverpool, but only managed to achieve safety with a famous win against Arsenal late in the season. Started off the 2023/24 season with pretty decent form, having signed Matt Turner from Arsenal, who immediately buoyed them to huge wins against Chelsea and Sheffield United and a handful of draws to sit comfortably midtable going into the third break.
Nickname: The Blades
Current Owner: Abdullah bin Musa'ed
Current Manager: Paul Heckingbottom
Current Captain: John Egan
Current Stadium: Bramall Lane note
2022/23 Position: 2nd in Championship (promoted)
Highest Finish: 9th (2019/20)
One of the two Sheffield clubs, who contest the Steel City derby (at least, when they're in the same division). Suffered last-day relegation from the Premier League on two separate occasions, the second in very controversial circumstances due to West Ham striker Carlos Téveznote scoring the goal which kept West Ham up at United's expense. Generally enjoyed better fortunes than Wednesday for most of the 2000s, though they only just won back promotion to the Championship, where a blistering start suggested that Wilder could be promoted from League 2 to Premier League in successive seasons (Northampton in 2015-16, Sheffield United since), though the Blades ultimately fell short. Achieved promotion for the 2019/20 campaign and have became notable for merited away results at Stamford Bridge, Goodison, Tottenham, Molineux and Emirates Stadium (and limiting Liverpool and Man City to narrow wins) making a European place far likelier than the relegation that seemed odds on when the season began as they jostle with Big Six sides Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Chelsea, as well as surprise challengers Wolves and Burnley. The following season was similarly spectacular, but for completely the opposite reasons... they officially made the worst start in the history of all four of England's top divisions and went down without even having 15 points to their name on the day relegation was confirmed. They bounced back the following season though, having a strong campaign under new manager Paul Heckingbottom, achieving promotion by late April. The return has been abject, as they have only one draw to their name after eight matches and sit second from bottom by a point.
Nickname: The Spursnote
Current Owners: Joe Lewis (Majority Shareholder) and Daniel Levy
Current Manager: Ange Postecoglou
Current Captain: Heung-Min Son
Current Stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 8th
Highest Finish: 2nd (2016/17)
A north London club, hated rivals to Arsenal due to geographynote . The Spurs were relatively unremarkable for the Premier League's first decade, usually finishing in a mid-to-low position, but became regular challengers for the Champions League first under Martin Jol, and then under Harry Redknapp. Managed their first Top Four finishes in 2010 and 2012 (and failed to qualify for the Champions League in the latter after sixth-place Chelsea won it). The 2013/14 season saw Spurs selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for (at the time) a world record £85.3 million and sacking Andre Villas-Boas after a rocky start. In addition to loathing Arsenal, Spurs also have fierce derbies against West Ham United and Chelsea. They usually play exciting and attractive football, played by a young and talented team (at one point, they had the youngest squad in the division, albeit only by a fraction). They spent the 2017/18 season and most of the 2018/19 season at Wembley Stadium, during which time their usual stadium White Hart Lane was redeveloped into a 61,559-seater stadium, into which they moved in April 2019. After a slow start, the form continued, with Real Madrid beaten at Wembley and the Stamford Bridge taboo ended. During the 2018/19 season, they would go from being 12 minutes away from being knocked out of the Champions League group stage - with two games left - to knocking Manchester City out in the quarterfinals, and then coming form 3-0 down on aggregate to Ajax inside the final half of the fixture to secure a berth to the Champions League final, which they would lose 2-0 to Liverpool (after conceding a penalty thirty seconds in). Things went off the rails for Spurs in 2019/20, with a torrid start that saw them in the Bottom 10 of the table approaching the holidays as well as a Champions League campaign that featured a demeaning 7-2 home loss against eventual champions Bayern Munich (they must really have a beef with London clubs, huh?), culminating in manager Pochettino being sacked just six months after the Champions League Final appearance, with José Mourinho doing little more than earning another place above Arsenal, and Spurs never looking like a CL push. 2021/22 saw Tottenham mostly hold their own in the Top 6, eventually enduring the season's turbulence, shock results against smaller sides while taking massive results from other Big Six sides, and claiming a Top 4 spot toward the end of the season as both Arsenal and Manchester United wavered toward the end. 2022/23 started off reasonably well, with Spurs staying close to the top, grinding out results and even notching a hard-fought draw against Chelsea, but they were dismantled by Arsenal despite their run of form, stumbled into the World Cup break, and returned in uninspired form, drawing Brentford 2-2 being dismantled by Unai Emery's Aston Villa on New Years Day and dropping out of Top 4, and worst of all, conceding their first home defeat to Arsenal since 2014 with a tepid 0-2 performance. Nevertheless, there have been bright spots, such as their star striker Harry Kane breaking Jimmy Greaves' goalscoring record while defeating title contenders Manchester City at home, but their inability to hold a lead has left them barely keeping hold of a Top 4 spot, even resulting in manager Antonio Conte going on a bizarre rant about the regularity of such bottlejobs after blowing a 3-1 lead to draw Southampton. Just over a week later, to the surprise of no-one, Conte left the job 'by mutual consent'. His second-in-command, Cristian Stellini, initially took over as interim for the remainder of the season, only to be himself sacked a few weeks later after a humiliating 6-1 loss to Newcastle (who were 5-0 up after 21 minutes). Their ineptitude only continued, with Spurs falling completely out of the Top 4 race altogether, and ultimately missed out on European competition altogether for the 2023-24 season. Ange Postecoglou arrived from Celtic to replace Conte full-time. Summer 2023 saw Kane depart for Bayern Munich shortly before the start of the season, but despite this, Spurs seemingly rallied around Ange and went unbeaten for ten matchweeks before utterly collapsing against Chelsea, and then having defeat snatched from the jaws of victory by Wolverhampton Wanderers, leaving them in 4th.
West Ham United
Nickname: The Ironsnote
Current Owners: David Sullivan (Majority Shareholder), Daniel Křetínský, the estate of David Gold and Albert Smith
Current Manager: David Moyes
Current Captain: Kurt Zouma
Current Stadium: London Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 14th
Highest Finish: 5th (1998/99)
Despite what the name suggests, they're based in east London, having begun life as the Thames Ironworks Football Club in 1895. "The Hammers" are notable for their devoted fan base and for having contributed several key players to England's only World Cup winning side in 1966, including hat trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst and legendary defender Bobby Moore. The team has featured in most Premier League campaigns and generally finishes mid-table, but have twice suffered relegation on the back of ill-advised managerial appointments (Glenn Roeder in 2003, and Avram Grant in 2011). Recent years have been something of a roller coaster for West Ham. On the one hand, their century-long tenure at Upton Park ended on a high note with a strong performance in the 2015/16 season. Under then manager and former player Slaven Bilić, the club achieved the rare feat of a “Premier League Grand Slam” by beating Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and both Manchester teams in a single season. But a move to the London Stadium (the renovated 2012 Olympic Stadium) in the autumn of 2016 would prove tumultuous as both players and supporters struggled to adjust to their new home. The next two seasons would be dogged by uneven form, relegation fears, and simmering discontent among the club’s fans. Veteran manager Manuel Pellegrini took control of the club in the summer of 2018 and made a number of key signings. After another wobbly start, the Hammers began to show signs of consistency and positive attacking play, creating a fresh sense of optimism among fans. By the end of 2019, however, another nosedive in form led to the sacking of Pellegrini and reappointment of former caretaker, David Moyes, who, thanks in part to some canny signings, guided the club to safety once again. Moyes's tenre at West ham has been largely posituve. An unusually strong 2020/21 campaign saw the club just miss out on the Champion's League, for which they would make amends by progressing all the way to the semi-finals of the Europa League the following season. Many fans have sited the Hammers' victory over serial Europa winners Sevilla, after extra time, as their best ever night at the London Stadium. 2021/22 saw West Ham jostle with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester United for a Top 4 spot, utlimately finishing 7th and settling for the Conference League. They then started the 2022/23 season in torrid form, losing all three matches and sitting bottom alongside Manchester United, and were in the drop zone for much of the season, only securing safety toward season's end. The Hammers fared better in the Conference League and, in June of 2023, became the first British club to win the competition, defeating Serie A side Fiorentina in the final and securing a Europa League place in the process. The achievment sent fans into raptures as they hadn't seen their club win a major trophy since 1980 (The FA Cup) or a major European trophy since 1965 (The UEFA Cup Winners' Cup), though in the summer they bid farewell to their captain Declan Rice as he completed a blockbuster nine-figure move to Arsenal, and despite not really cashing in on their new riches, they started off the season well enough, sitting midtable going into the third break and leading their Europa League group. Historically, West Ham don't like Spurs and really loathe Millwall.
Nickname: The Wolves
Current Owners: Fosun International
Current Manager: Gary O'Neil
Current Captain: Max Kilman
Current Stadium: Molineuxnote
2022/23 Position: 13th
Highest Finish: 7th (2018/19 and 2019/20)
Hugely successful in the 1950s, and relatively common fixtures in the top-flight until the mid 1980s. After their first Premier League campaign ended in immediate relegation they survived for a few years in the 2000s/2010s, only to be relegated in 2012, and then relegated again the following year, although were promoted back to the Championship in 2013/14 and have hung out in the lower half of the table. However, in 2017, a Chinese takeover allowed Mourinho's agent Jorge Mendes to help engineer the Midlands side's managerial appointments and transfers, and Wolves were successfully able to achieve promotion in early April 2018. Their first season back in the top flight started with a draw at home against Everton and a defeat at Leicester, but they surprisingly managed to snatch two points away from Manchester City despite scoring with an offside handball. Form has bizarrely oscillated - one example being a 7 game run where they lost to Watford, Brighton, Huddersfield and Cardiff, but were very unlucky not to beat Arsenal, cut a 3-goal deficit to Spurs to one goal, and beat Chelsea from behind. Also knocked Manchester United out of the FA cup to make the semi-finals, and became the first team to be promoted and then finish in the Top 7 in the next season since Ipswich in 2000-01. They finished in 7th again the following year, before slipping all the way down to 13th the next year. Fought for a Europa spot, but ultimately fell short of even the Conference. Have since started the 2022/23 season in dismal form, culminating in Bruno Lage's sacking in early October, to be replaced by former Real Madrid and Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui. The new manager brought some desperately needed early results, including a huge 3-0 win over Liverpool to climb out of the relegation zone, and they managed to comfortably survive with several weeks left to play. Just days before the new season began, however, Lopetegui resigned in a dispute over the club's transfer business; sacked Bournemouth boss Gary O'Neil was quickly installed as his replacement. The season has started about as well as could be expected for Wolves, suffering some early defeats to bigger sides, but they were able to end Manchester City's unbeaten season, before following that up by stealing three points from Spurs after 90 minutes, leaving them comfortably midtable entering the third break.
- None yet.
Promoted teams (Will play in Premier League next season):
- None yet.
Guaranteed playoff spot or better:
- None yet.
Current Owners: Chien Lee, Paul Conway, Grace Hung, Neerav Parekh, Billy Beanenote and The Cryne Family
Current Manager: Neill Collins
Current Captain: Alex Mowatt
Current Stadium: Oakwell note
2022/23 Position: 4th in League One
Highest Finish: 19th (1997/98)
Spent 102 years trying to make it into the top flight of English football, and then were relegated after only one season, having spent virtually the entire season in the bottom three. Did manage a strong FA Cup run in the same season though, reaching the fifth round and knocking Manchester United out along the way. Came close to a return in 2000, but were relegated to the third tier 2 seasons later. Yo-yo between Championship and League 1 nowadays. An FA Cup run to the semi-finals, exactly 10 seasons after the Premier League season, repeating its bright spot of a historic win at Anfield, then ending Chelsea's defence, was their most notable moment since. Earned a playoff spot in 2020/21, but fell short against Swansea, only to follow it up with an abysmal 2021/22 season, getting relegated in mid-April, though they managed a playoff spot first time round the next season.
Birmingham City (2002-2006; 2007-2008; 2009-2011)
Current Owner: Paul Suen (majority), Tom Brady (minority)
Current Manager: Wayne Rooney
Current Captain: Harlee Dean
Current Stadium: St Andrew's note
2022/23 Position: 17th in Championship
Highest Finish: 9th (2009/10)
The other major club from Birmingham. Had quite a few seasons in the Premier League during the 2000s, but could never quite establish themselves despite a League Cup win months before their relegation in 2011. With Villa and Wolves, forms one-third of a trio of Midlands clubs that have benefited from Chinese investment. Benefit is used loosely however at this stage. The investors sacked local boy Gary Rowett just before Christmas with the side near the Play-off places, replacing him with Gianfranco Zola, and Zola saw the team slide towards the relegation zone, resigning after a loss to Burton in the pre anti penultimate fixture, with Brum now just 1 point above the relegation zone. Harry Redknapp came in, and they won their last 2 games to stay in the Championship when a loss in either of them would have seen Birmingham relegated, but was sacked after a slow start to the next season, another one where they survived for definite on the final day. During the 2023 offseason, City picked up a new minority owner in retired NFL legend Tom Brady, and, a few months into the subsequent season, England and Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney was appointed as manager.
Blackburn Rovers (1992-1999; 2001-2012)
Current Owners: The V H Group
Current Manager: Jon Dahl Tomasson
Current Captain: Elliott Bennett
Current Stadium: Ewood Park note
2022/23 Position: 7th in Championship
Highest Finish: 1st (1994/95)
Won the Premier League once back in 1994/95 under Kenny Dalglish, with Alan Shearer up front before he moved to Newcastle next season. The first of two former champions to have been relegated, twice no less; the second relegation came after they were taken over by Indian poultry giant Venky's, who sacked then-manager Sam Allardyce and replaced him with the highly unpopular Steve Kean, leading to relegation the following year, and the club getting through four managers in the following season in the Championship. Relegated again in 2017, with Venkys still owning the club, but immediately returned to the Championship the following year.
Current Owner: Simon Sadler
Current Manager: Neil Critchley
Current Captain: Chris Maxwell
Current Stadium: Bloomfield Road note
2022/23 Position: 22nd in Championship (relegated)
Highest Finish: 19th (2010/11)
Mostly remembered for the success they had when Stanley Matthews played for them back in the 50s, but they suffered some very troubled times from the late 70s onward, before getting back into the top-flight after a series of promotions in the mid-late 2000s. They went down straight away, albeit with a relatively high points total for a relegated side, partly due to a series of good away wins in the first two thirds of the season, before a spectacular implosion in spring. They were relegated twice in a row as the ownership was losing control and fans were turning against the Oyston family regime that has owned the Tangerines for decades, but snuck into the play offs in League Two, despite continued fan anger at the club's corrupt ownership, after winning their last game when any 2 of 9 teams could have made the play off, and beat Luton dramatically before holding off Exeter in the play off final. After four seasons in League One, during which the Oystons finally sold up, to the unbridled delight of the entire fanbase, they returned to the Championship, again via the play-offs, in 2021, only to get sent back down in 2023.
Bolton Wanderers (1995-1996; 1997-1998; 2001-2012)
Current Owners: Football Ventures
Current Manager: Ian Evatt
Current Captain: Antoni Sarcevic
Current Stadium: Macron Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 5th in League One
Highest Finish: 6th (2004/05)
A Greater Manchester based club; their first Premier League season was awful, and their second saw them relegated on goal difference, but they established themselves as a pretty good side under Sam Allardyce in the 2000s, reaching highs of 6th place and establishing themselves in the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League). Their fortunes gradually deteriorated after he left however, and they were eventually relegated in 2012. After a dismal 2015/16 campaign, which saw them in 173 million pounds of debt, and handed a transfer embargo to boot, they were relegated to the third tier for the first time since 1993, though they won their way back up next season, and only narrowly avoided going down again in the final minutes of the 2017-18 season, but fell apart the following season, as financial woes got so bad that the certainty of them even playing games was low and their last home game cancelled completely. Things got so bleak that they were at risk of being expelled from the Football League altogether and doomed to extinction (a fate that befell unfortunate neighbours Bury FC, who had been in the Football League for 134 years until this happened), until they were saved in the eleventh hour by Football Ventures buying the team out. The following season was one of total turmoil, in no small part due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but they were relegated to League Two. They were, however, able to turn it around and returned to League One at the first opportunity, and earned a playoff spot in 2023.
Bradford City (1999-2001)
Current Owner: Stefan Rupp
Current Manager: Graham Alexander
Current Captain: Richard O'Donnell
Current Stadium: Valley Parade note
2022/23 Position: 6th in League Two
Highest Finish: 17th (1999/2000)
West Yorkshire club who famously survived on the last day of the 1999/2000 season by beating Liverpool. Unfortunately, in a portent of what would later happen to neighbours Leeds United, they then massively overspent on players and underwent financial meltdown, ending up in the Football League's lowest tier by 2007 (though they won promotion out of that division in 2013). Generally chased promotion to the Championship since they knocked Chelsea out of the FA cup in 2015, until a dire end to the 2017-18 season ended promotion hopes and continued into the new year.
Cardiff City (2013-14, 208-19)
Current Owner: Vincent Tan
Current Manager: Erol Bulut
Current Captain: Joe Ralls
Current Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 21st in Championship
Highest Finish: 18th (2018/19)
The second Welsh club to have played in the Premier League. Their constant failures to get promoted to the top-flight were the source of a running joke for many years, until things finally went right in 2013 when they won the Football League Championship and earned promotion. Their owner, Vincent Tan, is a controversial figure for his constant Executive Meddling note , his jeers toward his own players and his lack of knowledge for the game note . However, his decision to sack Malky Mackay has helped vindicate his reputation after details about the former manager's... unsavory text messages came to public light. Despite signing players such as England international Steven Caulker, their first season in the Premier League was a far cry from the success of their rivals Swansea City and the Bluebirds got relegated ignominiously, and have since bounced around the Championship. However, under Neil Warnock, they managed the division's best winning start in 2017, with 5 on the trot, and got a fairer crack of the PL whip in real colours. In spite of their season being destroyed by their marquee signing being killed in a plane crash a day after joining the club, they won back-to-back, a feat not achieved the previous time, but lost late to Crystal Palace to be sent down with one match left to play, bringing an end to their rather tragic season. The following season, they managed a playoff spot, but lost to Fulham.
Charlton Athletic (1998-1999; 2000-2007)
Current Owner: Thomas Sandgaard
Current Manager: Michael Appleton
Current Captain: George Dobson
Current Stadium: The Valley note
2022/23 Position: 10th in League One
Highest Finish: 7th (2003/04)
Another London-based club, who narrowly failed to survive in their first season, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side for a few years. However, things quickly went downhill after long-time manager Alan Curbishley left, and they were relegated the following year, then again in 2009. They won promotion back to the Championship in 2012, before their new owner's mismanagement of the club saw them sent back down in 2016, having relied on a partnership with clubs of his in Belgium, Spain and Hungary, where he was losing popularity at a rapid rate. Lost in Playoffs in 2017-18 under the guidance of ex Leeds and West Ham bad boy Lee Bowyer, but earned a shock win over Sunderland with the last action of the play-off final the next year. Despite a valiant effort, they went straight back to League One the following season however.
Coventry City (1992-2001)
Current Owner: Doug King
Current Manager: Mark Robins
Current Captain: Liam Kelly
Current Stadium: Coventry Building Society Arena note
2022/23 Position: 5th in Championship
Highest Finish: 11th (1993/94 and 1997/98)
Midlands-based club, with rivalries with Leicester City and the two Birmingham-based clubs. Like Southampton they were long time members of the top-flight, but constantly struggled and finally went down in 2001. Contrary to what Monty Python's Flying Circus would have you believe, they have won the FA Cup (in 1987, well after the referenced sketch aired). Their failures to win promotion combined with the cost of building a new ground caused their finances to deteriorate as the decade progressed, leading to them being relegated again in 2012. To add insult to injury they were kicked out of their ground the following year, playing their 2013–14 "home" games 40 miles away in Northampton. They're now back in their Coventry ground... though they're now tenants of the Wasps rugby union club, formerly playing near London, which bought the ground and moved their home matches there in late 2014. They had a torrid 2016/17 campaign and have gone down to League 2. They last placed in the top 5 in any division in 1966, but Reached the FA cup last 16, including beating Stoke, and placed 6th, thereby earning a playoff place, in 2017-18. They won the play off final, finally getting upward trajectory. Talks between their owners SISU and Wasps had broken down before the 2019/20 season, so they had to move out of Ricoh Arena and arrange a groundsharing agreement with Birmingham City while a new stadium gets planned. On the plus side, while the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with each team be allocated points on a Points-Per-Game basis, Coventry finished 1st and achieved promotion to the Championship. Their Championship performance improved over the following seasons, and they made the promotion playoff final in 2022/23, to be played against familiar foe and fellow league climbers Luton Town, but they fell in sudden-death penalties.
Derby County (1996-2002; 2007-2008)
Current Owner: David Clowes
Current Manager: Paul Warne
Current Captain: Curtis Davies
Current Stadium: Pride Park Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 7th in League One
Highest Finish: 8th (1998/99)
Mostly remembered as the first team that Brian Clough made into title-winners. They were a generally decent side for a few years under Jim Smith, until they were relegated in 2002. Returned for one season after that, which can only be described as a failure of the most epic kind. We're talking the lowest points total in Premier League history, the earliest relegation in Premier League history, only a single win from 38 matches (24 points adrift of 19th place, much less safety) and even a bizarre sex tape scandal involving their manager erupting in the middle of it (which, frankly, was more fun to follow than the team itself). Their season was legendarily bad. They most recently made it into a playoff spot, winning the home fixture against Fulham, but losing the away by a greater margin. After Gary Rowett joined Stoke, ex-Chelsea icon Frank Lampard decided the Rams were his first managerial job. They found their way into the play offs, and controversially beat Leeds, in spite of having lost the first leg at home, 1-0, they earned a 4-2 win in a high-octane return, only to lose to Aston Villa. Lampard would leave after that season for Chelsea. Their 2021/22 season started in a very bleak note as the club entered administration, which had them start at -12 points on the first matchday; as if that wasn't enough, in a prime display of Murphy's Law, the team was deducted a further 9 points on November due to breaching EFL accounting rules. Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney was called up as manager to steer what was by all accounts a sinking ship, but with the team's heroic efforts on the pitch they sat within striking distance of safety in multiple occasions. Sadly, despite heroics like a 2-1 win against a nearly unstoppable Fulham, they were officially relegated to League One with three matches to spare, as the club's future was becoming bleaker by the day. Rooney then abruptly resigned as manager during the summer. Despite it all, the club was officially bought on July 1 by a consortium led by lifelong Rams supporter and property developer David Clowes, meaning they would avoid yet another points deduction in League One, and they only just missed out on a playoff spot in 2023.
Huddersfield Town (2017-19)
Current Owner: Phil Hodgkinson
Current Manager: Darren Moore
Current Captain: Christopher Schindler
Current Stadium: Kirklees Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 18th in Championship
Highest Finish: 16th (2017/18)
Like Preston North End, Huddersfield are an historic team with regard to English football. When the English top flight was the Football League's First Division, they were the first team to win three straight titles (1923/24 to 1925/26), as well as the first team to score an Olímpico (a goal directly from a corner kick) in English history. They have not won a title since, and they began slipping over the next few decades, going down from the top flight in 1972 as far as the Fourth Division in 1975 (the first League Champions to do so). The Terriers spent most of their time in the Premier League era sitting still in the Championship and League One (with a single year in League Two), but in 2012 they won promotion to the Championship. They then climbed the ranks to make it to the Championship Playoff Final in 2017, where they beat Reading 4-3 on penalties. The 2017-2018 season will be their first season in the Premier League, and their first top-flight season in 45 years. They became the second newly promoted team to not concede a goal before the first international break (in the 3 games, wins by 3-0 and 1-0 and a 0-0 draw). They struggled afterwards, but then became the first team to beat Manchester United in the 2017-18 season, and shock late season stalemates at Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge allowed their survival with time to spare. This hasn't occurred the next season though, as their inability to find a goalscorer cut Huddersfield well adrift from the start, and indeed, they suffered the second earliest relegation (one day later than Derby's hapless 2007-08 ensemble), with three wins, two of which were against Wolves, the other against fellow strugglers Fulham, scoring just 18 goals in the process. Floundered for a few years, but won a playoff spot in 2022, though they ultimately fell short in the Playoff Final.
Hull City (2008-10; 2013-15; 2016-17)
Current Owners: Acun Ilıcalı
Current Manager: Liam Rosenior
Current Captain: Richie Smallwood
Current Stadium: KC Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 15th in Championship
Highest Finish: 16th (2013/14)
Hull first entered the Premier League (and indeed the top-flight) in 2008. The Kingston upon Hull-based team's debut season was mostly remembered for them doing well until then-manager Phil Brown decided to berate his entire team on the pitch during half-time of one match. After that moment, they barely avoided relegation after failing to win a single home game for the rest of the season (winning only once away, at Fulham) before going down the following year having not won a single game on their travels. Hull returned to the top-flight in 2013 under Steve Bruce's management and finished as runners-up to Arsenal in the 2014 FA Cup after being up 2-0 within 20 minutes. While the Tigers went out of the Premier League on the final day the following season, they quickly rebounded and ultimately achieved promotion after beating Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 in the 2016 Championship playoff final. Usually struggling against relegation and being the whipping boy of the League in the first half of the 2016/17 season, including a wince-worthy 5-1 defeat to Liverpool, a change of manager restored fortunes somewhat (including with a 2-0 victory over Liverpool), but it was not enough to stop them from going down and losing star left-back Andy Robertson... to Liverpool. A failed spell under ex-Russia boss Lenoid Slutskiy led to Hull needing another boss change, and risking an untenable back to back relegation and financial ruin after a decade of yo-yoing between the top 2 tiers, though Nigel Adkins has stabilised them since and they were able to stay up in the Championship for next season, only to be kicked down after a truly dismal second half of the season in 2020, with just 6 points in 20 games.
Ipswich Town (1992-1995; 2000-2002)
Current Owner: Gamechangers 20 Ltd. (Majority Shareholders) and Marcus Evans
Current Manager: Kieran McKenna
Current Captain: Luke Chambers
Current Stadium: Portman Road note
2022/23 Position: 2nd in League One (promoted)
Highest Finish: 5th (2000/01)
Norwich's main rivals, and a successful club under Bobby Robson in the seventies, but their first few years in the Premier League were unimpressive, and they were relegated after a really terrible season in 1994/95. They came back in 2000, and finished fifth that year, only to end up back in the second tier the following year, but a torrid 2018/19 campaign saw them finish dead last with only 28 points out of 46 games, which sent them down into League 1, but they were able to win promotion in 2023 under the management of highly-rated young coach Kieran McKenna.
Leeds United (1992-2004, 2020-2023)
Current Owners: 49ers Enterprisesnote
Current Manager: Daniel Farke
Current Captain: Liam Cooper
Current Stadium: Elland Roadnote
2022/23 Position: 19th (relegated)
Highest Finish: 3rd (1999/2000)
Known as "the Whites" or "the Peacocks", they frequently won trophies in the 60s, 70s and 90s (though they gained notoriety for an extremely brutal playing style - even by the lax standards of the time - under Don Revie), reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but crashed and burned spectacularly after overspending in the early 2000s, being relegated in 2004, and then again to League One in 2007, and only avoided being tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted due to Loophole Abuse (which cause the FA to bring in the more stringent financial rules that are in operation today). Got back to the Championship in 2010, but never seemed to look like serious promotion contenders. Their main rivals used to be Liverpool and Manchester United, the two other traditional footballing superpowers of the North, and some fans still believe this is so, to the derision of Liverpool and United fans alike (it being one of the very few things the two groups actually agree on). Nowadays, their rivals are the two Sheffield clubs, and fans quietly acknowledge that the old days of Champions League football and challenging for the title are long gone. Replaced an earlier club called Leeds City... who were tossed out of the Football League and bankrupted just after World War I due to massive corruption, which included bribing league officials and paying their players illegal bonuses. When they began competing for promotion, they gained a reputation for bungling away leads, as they managed to blow nearly-assured promotion, and a nearly-assured playoff spot multiple times over the years, but with famed Argentine manager Marcelo "El Loco" Bielsa they finally played up to their potential and managed to dominate the Championship for all of the 2019-20 season, sealing their definitive return to the Premier League after 16 long years of absence. They promptly threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the league by managing several surprise wins, though they ultimately finished midtable. Next season, however, a bunch of mid-to-long-term injuries to their starters left them hovering just above the drop zone; following a run of three successive heavy defeats in late February, 4-2 to Manchester United, 6-0 to Liverpool and 4-0 to Tottenham, Bielsa was let go and was replaced by former RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch. Marsch's leadership saw the team climb out of relegation, and they were able to secure their survival with a win on the final day. They carried their strong momentum into the next season, and after three matches, sat as high as 2nd in the table after trouncing a dismal Chelsea side 3-0. They carried their momentum for a few months, but then went on a winless streak that lasted through the World Cup, all of December and January, and into February, leaving them stranded in the relegation zone and resulting in Jesse Marsch's sacking. Former Watford boss Javi Gracia replaced him, but failed to improve the club's situation, and was himself sacked in early May, with "Big Sam" Allardyce replacing him and given four matches to preserve the club's top flight status. These four matches ultimately yielded just one point and Leeds were ignominiously relegated on the final day after a 4-1 loss to Tottenham. Allardyce stood down less than a week later. Not long after, the majority shareholder Andrea Radrizzani agreed to sell his stake to 49ers Enterprises, an investment arm of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers that bought into the club in 2018 and had increased its stake to 44% before Radrizzani sold out.
Leicester City (1994-95, 1996-2002, 2003-04, 2014-2023)
Current Owners: The Srivaddhanaprabha Family
Current Manager: Enzo Maresca
Current Captain: Jonny Evans
Current Stadium: King Power Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 18th (relegated)
Highest Finish: 1st (2015/16)
The Midlands-based "Foxes" had a good run under Martin O'Neill's management in the late nineties, but things went rapidly downhill after he went north of the border for Celtic in 2000. Leicester got relegated to League One in 2008, but they bounced back the following season and spent the next five seasons in the Championship. After being absent from the Premier League for ten years, the Foxes achieved promotion in 2014, following a miraculous rally that saw them come from bottom into safety within two months. Following a tumultuous offseason that saw their old manager sacked, the club swiftly appointed Claudio ‘The Tinkerman’ Ranieri, former Chelsea boss, who had never won a top flight title in his 28 year career as a manager. Despite all the oddsnote , most notably the now infamous 5000/1 odds of the side winning the league, the squad made up of mostly bargain buys, cast-offs and supposed has-beens managed to defy all logic and reason to win the 2015/16 title, the first league title in the club's history, and in the eyes of many, a victory for passion and teamwork over money and power in football. Their 2016/17 season wasn't quite so successful, with the worst title defence in over half a century, to the point that Ranieri was sacked in February 2017 (which led to a pretty big backlash pretty much everywhere owing to his popularity). Tragedy struck the club early in the 2018/19 season, when a helicopter carrying widely beloved owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha crashed, killing everyone aboard and leading to mass mourning from everyone in the league. 364 days later, Leicester won NINE-nil AT Southampton, en route to a season challenging Manchester City for second place behind a rampaging Liverpool, ahead of Big Six teams Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester United. Ultimately, they fell short of their lofty performance, finishing 5th. However, in 2020/21, they seemed to be back in form, spending 242 consecutive days in the Top 4 and they won the FA Cup. Unfortunately, a string of bad results saw them slip out of the Top Four, and then in the final game, they let a 2-1 lead against Tottenham slip, sealing them at 5th place for the second year running. Have followed this up by falling back into the midtable in 2021/22 and have started the 2022/23 season in utter shambles, sitting dead bottom with just a single point in 7 games. They have since found a way out of the relegation zone, but after months of just hanging in, Brendan Rodgers was sacked following a late collapse against Crystal Palace. Dean Smith, formerly of Villa and Norwich, was subsequently brought in for the remainder of the season, but things did not sufficiently improve and, despite a valiant 2-1 win over West Ham on the final day, it was not enough to prevent them becoming the second former Premier League champions to be relegated after Blackburn Rovers.
Middlesbrough (1992-93; 1995-97; 1998-09; 2016-17)
Current Owner: Steve Gibson
Current Manager: Michael Carrick
Current Captain: Jonny Howson
Current Stadium: Riverside Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 4th in Championship
Highest Finish: 7th (2004/05)
One of the "North-East Three" along with Newcastle and Sunderland. Were controversially relegated for failing to fulfil a fixture in 1997, but came back the following year and lasted over a decade, generally finishing mid-table (although they reached the finals of the UEFA Europa League (then the UEFA Cup) in 2006, losing to Sevilla in the finalsnote ) before eventually going down in 2009. They won promotion in 2016, only to go down again the following season. Gary Monk was controversially sacked pre-Xmas because Boro thought his style wasn't good enough. Who did they bring in his place? Tony Pulis! Pulis led them to the Championship playoff, though they were ousted by Aston Villa. However, a late slump the next season saw them miss out on one completely, and a new boss needed in their former player, ex-England international defender Jonathan Woodgate. He was replaced by Neil Warnock in June 2020 after the club lost their first game following the season's pause due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Warnock left the club in November 2021 to be replaced by ex-Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, who was sacked in October 2022 to be replaced by former Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick. In his first season, Carrick turned them around from relegation candidates to reaching the play-off semi-final, losing to Coventry.
Norwich City (1992-95, 2004-05, 2011-14, 2015-16, 2019-20, 2021-22)
Current Owners: Delia Smith, Michael Wynn-Jones and Michael Foulger
Current Manager: David Wagner
Current Captain: Grant Hanley
Current Stadium: Carrow Roadnote
2022/23 Position: 13th in Championship
Highest Finish: 3rd (1992/93)
Title challengers under Mike Walker in the first Premier League season, but suffered a spectacular collapse after he left the following year and went down in the 1994-95 season. Came back for one season in 2004/05, before returning again and stabilising themselves in 2011. A torridnote 2013/14 campaign, however, saw the Canaries being too cautious and conservative for their own good and they paid dearly by being relegated on the season's final day. Fortunately for Canary fans, the team redeemed themselves in the Championship thanks to a much more positive play-style under Scottish manager Alex Neil and they achieved promotion after comfortably beating Middlesbrough in the 2015 Playoff Finals. In the 2015/16 season, despite a famous victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford, they were relegated despite doing their part in the final days. Came back for the 2019/20 season, but despite a famous 3-2 win over Manchester City and an earnest devotion to their stylish attacking football, they got kicked right back down immediately. Dominated the Championship the next season, and earned promotion once again by finishing 1st, but followed that up with a season in which they languished in last place, with their relegation confirmed in late April.
Oldham Athletic (1992-1994)
Current Owner: Frank Rothwell
Current Manager: Micky Mellon
Current Captain: Carl Piergianni
Current Stadium: Boundary Park note
2022/23 Position: 12th in National League
Highest Finish: 19th (1992/93)
Smallish club based in Greater Manchester who nonetheless spent a few years in the top flight back in the early 90s. They were relegated in 1994 and since 1997 have been in the third tier - the longest period any non top-flight club have been in their division without being promoted or relegated. However, this was ended on the final day of 2017-18. Paul Scholes, a famous devotee, managed just 7 games for them in 2018-19. In April 2022, after a season of struggle that saw them stuck in the bottom three since October, they became the first ex-Premier League club to be relegated out of the Football League into the National League, the top-flight of the paradoxically named non-league system.
Current Owner: Michael Eisner
Current Manager: John Mousinho
Current Captain: Tom Naylor
Current Stadium: Fratton Park note
2022/23 Position: 8th in League One
Highest Finish: 8th (2007/08)
South coast club, whose fortunes seem to be the opposite of bitter rivals Southampton at any given time. After getting into the Premier League, their fortunes improved year on year, including winning the FA Cup... until their playboy millionairenote owner pulled the plug on them in 2009, sending them into a financial meltdown that made Bradford and Leeds's declines look tame. They were relegated the following year, relegated to League One in 2012 (thanks to a points deduction) and relegated to League Two the year after that, only avoiding bankruptcy when the supporters' trust purchased the club. They were able to win promotion to League One again in 2017, and a former Disney CEO purchased them that summer.
Queens Park Rangers (1992-1996, 2011-2013, 2014-2015)
Current Owners: Tony Fernandes, Ruben Gnanalingam and Lakshmi Mittal
Current Manager: Marti Cifuentes
Current Captain: Geoff Cameron
Current Stadium: Loftus Road Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 20th in Championship
Highest Finish: 5th (1992/93)
Yet another central London club, who were regular fixtures in the top-flight until relegation in 1996. After 15 years of varying fortunes they returned to the Premier League in 2011 with rich new owners, and barely survived the 2011/12 season before things went epically wrong the following season and they were relegated. They returned for 2014/15 after beating Derby County in the play-offs, but crashed out of the league after a brutal thrashing from Manchester City. Formerly managed by footballing stalwart Harry Redknapp, the club is facing an uncertain future as they have enough financial debt to potentially prevent them from playing in the English Football League. However, they continue playing there, albeit as an unspectacular mid-table side.
Reading (2006-2008; 2012-2013)
Current Owners: Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li
Current Manager: Ruben Selles
Current Captain: Liam Moore
Current Stadium: Madejski Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 22nd in Championship (relegated)
Highest Finish: 8th (2006/07)
Berkshire-based club who were promoted to the top-flight for the first time ever in 2006. Despite a strong debut season, things went wrong the next year and they were relegated. They proved even worse the next time they were promoted, and went straight back down. Finished in a playoff spot in 2017 and made it to the Championship Final, where they lost on penalties to Huddersfield, but have largely struggled in the seasons since, and dropped into League One for the first time in just over 20 years in 2023.
Sheffield Wednesday (1992-2000)
Current Owner: Dejphon Chansiri
Current Manager: Danny Röhl
Current Captain: Barry Bannan
Current Stadium: Hillsborough note
2022/23 Position: 3rd in League One (won playoff, promoted)
Highest Finish: 7th (1992/93, 1993/94 and 1996/97)
Southampton (1992-2005, 2012-2023)
Current Owners: Sport Republic, backed by Dragan Solak
Current Manager: Russell Martin
Current Captain: Jack Stephens
Current Stadium: St Mary's Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 20th (relegated)
Highest Finish: 6th (2015/16)
South Coast club who were regular fixtures (albeit usually struggling against relegation) until some epic mismanagement saw them relegated in 2005, and then again in 2009 to the third tier. Rebounded with back-to-back promotions in 2011 and 2012, though promotion-winning manager Nigel Adkins was controversially axed simply because the owners didn't think he was high-profile enough. However, the new boss, Mauricio Pochettino, famous for his foul in the 2002 World Cup, helped Southampton climb into the top half of the table, resulting in Pochettino getting poached by Premier League rivals Tottenham. They continued their good form without him during the 2014/15 season however, briefly turning into unlikely title challengers under the management of Dutchman Ronald Koeman, and though they fell away, finished respectably. Losing yet more star players to clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool didn't seem to impede them again, despite a dismal period from late November to early January (where they only obtained 4 points from a possible 24), they turned it around to finish in their highest ever position and qualify for the Europa League group stage. Things, however, have been tougher since due to the increasing changeover in managers, with veteran Mark Hughes being required to save them with 8 games left of 2017-18 despite reaching the FA cup Semi Final, though he succeeded. However, after just one win in their first 14 games (with the 15th "away" to Spurs, which would produce another routine loss under the interim management, though a last-gasp goal back made it the first time in 8 years EVERY team scored in a PL game round), Sparky got canned for the second time in 2018, the final game seeing them lose a 2-0 lead to draw with Manchester United. Austrian Ralph Hasenhuttl, who had an impressive record in the German Bundesliga with young and unheralded squads, was the next to the role. His first home game saw a win over Arsenal, despite being pegged back twice, their first win since round 4, and the Gunners' first loss since round 2. However, a run of 3 favourable games produced only 2 points after the January window ended without investment despite a prior revival, but the inconsistency of rivals was enough for Southampton to steer away from the danger zone. The next season saw an utterly humiliating 9-0 home loss to Leicester (both Leicester strikers got hat-tricks), and widespread speculation that they would be relegated. However, this was followed by a winning run including at Stamford Bridge, at home to Spurs, and most notably, in the return in Leicester, aided by an astonishing scoring streak by Danny Ings, who barely missed out on that season's Golden Boot. Football is a strange game, sometimes. Hasenhuttl managed to survive another two seasons (one of which saw them lose 9-0 again, this time to Manchester United at Old Trafford) before he was eventually dismissed in November 2022 in the wake of a 4-1 home defeat to Newcastle. He was replaced by Luton Town manager Nathan Jones, under whom their league form continued to slump and, after just fourteen games in charge and with the club bottom of the table, he too was fired, to be replaced by his assistant Ruben Selles. Despite a win over Chelsea in his first game in charge and draws at both Old Trafford and the Emirates, Selles was unable to lift the club off the foot of the table and they were ultimately relegated in mid-May following a loss to Fulham.
Stoke City (2008-2018)
Current Owners: The Coates Family
Current Manager: Alex Neil
Current Captain: Joe Allen
Current Stadium: Britannia Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 16th in Championship
Highest Finish: 9th (2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16)
Top-flight mainstays from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire until the mid-80s, when they were relegated after an infamously awful 1984/85 season. They then spent the next two decades bouncing between the second and third tiers, before Tony Pulis bought them back into the Premier League in 2008. They've consistently finished in the mid-table since then, though their somewhat ugly footballing style and failure to progress saw Pulis get sacked in 2013. He was replaced by Welshman Mark Hughes, who steadily cleaned away their thuggish reputation by buying former Barcelona players Bojan and Ibrahim Affelay, former Inter Milan attacker Marko Arnautovic and highly rated starlet and talisman of the Swiss national team, Xherdan Shaqiri. This last in particular caused a lot of double takes since Shaqiri is the exact opposite of Stoke's stereotypical kind of player, being tiny even by the standards of tiny technical players at 5'6'', which had led to him being dubbed 'the Magic Dwarf'. For the next few years, they became the team from mid-table that the big teams worry about. Also well known for the meme “But can he do it on a cold rainy Wednesday night at Stoke?” Relegated in the 2017/18 season after ten seasons in the EPL, with Hughes being sacked at midseason and haven't looked like challening for promotion back in the seasons since.
Sunderland (1996-97; 1999-2003; 2005-06; 2007-17)
Current Owner: Kyril Louis-Dreyfusnote
Current Manager: Tony Mowbray
Current Captain: Max Power
Current Stadium: Stadium of Lightnote
2022/23 Position: 6th in Championship
Highest Finish: 7th (1999/2000 and 2000/01)
Deadly rivals of Newcastle from just across the county, and relatively regular members of the Premier League since 1996. Challenged for the European spots for a few years in the early 2000s under Peter Reid, but otherwise have generally finished lower mid-table, along with being relegated after two really awful seasons in 2003 and 2006. Spent the past few seasons looking almost certain for relegation before rallying under a new manager to finish safely; First Paolo Di Canio came in at the end of the 2012/13 season, where they obtained 8 points from their last 7 games to secure safety. The following season, after the appointment of Gus Poyet in October, they won 4 of their last 6 games to avoid relegation (which had looked near-certain for most of the season. Unfortunately, another bad run in 2014/15 saw Poyet sacked, with Dutchman Dick Advocaat hired on a short-term contract to help the team survive relegation. While he succeeded, becoming much loved by the fans (who clubbed together to get a massive bouquet of flowers for Advocaat's wife when she reversed her decision to make him retire at the end of the 2014/15 season), a poor start to the 2015/16 season led to his parting company with the club and the safest of safe pairs of hands, Sam 'Big Sam' Allardyce, coming in to guide Sunderland to better fortunes, eventually escaping relegation again after beating Everton 3-0.note . During the pre-season, Big Sam left to become England Manager, and so he was replaced by former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes. Relegated in late April 2017 for the first time in 10 years. They took 364 days to record a home win, beating Fulham 1-0 on December 16 2017, their first home win since December 17 2016. Ironically, Fulham were also the side that Sunderland earned their sole home league win against in 2005-06, their final home league game, and rearrangement of an abandoned match from a month earlier (though they won home games in cup competitions, although only against Cheltenham after extra time, and Northwich). Prior to the win over Fulham in late 2017, Sunderland appointed Chris Coleman, famous for getting Wales into the last 4 of the European Championships, and making them the UK's best side despite generally weaker players than England, aside from Bale and Ramsey. Home form continued to deteriorate in the Championship, however, and they ultimately went down again with a 2-1 loss to Burton Albion in April, going on to finish bottom. Lost the playoff final the next season with the very last action, but returned to the playoff the next season and won their way back into the Championship.
Swansea City (2011-2018)
Current Owners: Stephen Kaplan & Jason Levien and Swansea City Supporters Trust
Current Manager: Michael Duff
Current Captain: Matt Grimes
Current Stadium: Liberty Stadiumnote
2022/23 Position: 10th in Championship
Highest Finish: 8th (2014/15)
Became the first Welsh club to ever play in the top division after being promoted in 2011. After almost being relegated out of League Two in 2003 (which would have caused the club to fold due to the financial difficulties they faced at the time), they enjoyed a meteoric rise to the Premier League thanks to their attacking, possession-focused tactics. Having established themselves as consistent mid-table finishers in their first two seasons, Swansea earned their first major piece of silverware when they won the League Cup in 2013, qualifying for the Europa League in the process. They started the 2015/16 season well, but slumped significantly after the first few weeks, eventually leading to the sacking of intensely popular and widely admired manager Garry Monk, who had gone straight from retirement from playing for Swansea to management and had, at the end of the previous season, been tipped for the England job. An upturn in performance following Guidolin's recruitment managed to bring Swansea to safety. After a rough start to the following season, Guidolin was shown the door, and replaced by former USA boss, Bob Bradleynote , before he too was shown the door two and a half months afterwards after failing to re-invigorate the squad. They appointed their third manager of the season in the form of former Bayern Munich assistant manager Paul Clement, and he began with a stunning win away to Liverpool, and Swansea managed to survive after a late revival, ensuring a 7th PL season in a row on the Gower Peninsula. Caused a surprise by signing Portugal international Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich, after the Euro 2016 winner struggled for first team action at the club Clement was a former assistant manager of. He hopes to better Portuguese winning team teammate Eder, who had failed to make impact in a brief spell there before his stunning winner against hosts France in the 2016 final. However, Renato himself was struggling (and passed to a billboard in a game at Chelsea), prompting rumours of his loan being cancelled, and Clement being sacked for Carvahal, himself sacked by Sheffield Wednesday a few days earlier. Eased past Liverpool and Arsenal in successive league games, and had a best cup run in over 50 years including winning one replay 8-1. Sent down on the final day of the 2017/18 season, managed a playoff spot in the 2019/20 season but were defeated by Brentford. Managed another playoff spot in 2020/21, but were defeated again by Brentford in the final.
Swindon Town (1993-1994)
Current Owner: Clem Morfuni
Current Manager: Michael Flynn
Current Captain: Dion Conroy
Current Stadium: County Ground note
2022/23 Position: 10th in League Two
Highest Finish: 22nd (1993/94)
Their only top-flight season to date did not go at all well, as they were relegated in bottom place after conceding precisely one hundred goals. To add insult to injury, they were then relegated the following year (though like Crystal Palace, this was only due to league reconstruction), and have since spent most of their time bouncing around between the bottom two divisions, as evidenced by their relegation to League Two in 2017. Their stadium is next to a bizarre set of roundabouts called The Magic Roundabout. Gained promotion despite the COVID-19 outbreak shortening the 2019/20 season.
Watford'' (1999-2000, 2006-07, 2015-2020, 2021-22)
Current Owner: Gino Pozzo
Current Manager: Valérien Ismaël
Current Captain: Tom Cleverley
Current Stadium: Vicarage Roadnote
2022/23 Position: 11th in Championship
Highest Finish: 11th (2018/19)
Enjoyed success under Graham Taylor in the 80s, and he took them back to the top-flight in 1999, only for them to be immediately relegated. They were promoted again under Adrian Boothroyd in 2006... and got immediately relegated again. Have since done reasonably well in the Championship, though repeatedly fell short of promotion, before finally winning promotion in the 2014/15 campaign. Gained a reputation for their managers having George Jetson Job Security after constantly sacking managers after excellent starts to the season followed by a loss of momentum and the team slipping down to midtable or lower. Went down at the end of the 2019/20 seasonnote , but secured promotion on the first attempt. Another of the four major relegation candidates in the 2021/22 season, despite a spectacular 4-1 victory over a beleaguered Manchester United, they sealed their status in early May.
West Bromwich Albion (2002-03, 2004-06, 2008-09, 2010-2018, 2020-21)
Current Owner: Guochuan Lai
Current Manager: Carlos Corberan
Current Captain: Chris Brunt
Current Stadium: The Hawthornsnote
2022/23 Position: 9th in Championship
Highest Finish: 8th (2012/13)
West Midlands-based club, who spent much of the 2000s bouncing between the Premier League and Championship, before establishing themselves as a decent mid-table side under Roy Hodgson before he left to take over England. Best known for their "Great Escape" during the 2004/05 season, where they became the first team to escape relegation having been bottom at Christmas (in fact, they were still bottom going into their final match). They were relegated the following season, however. Under Tony Pulis, they re-established their mid-table status, proving a hard team to break down and a consistent threat to top teams via set-pieces up until a dire end to the 2016-17 season sent them plummeting and, when wins in their first 2 games in the 2017-18 season were followed by a 19 game winless run, Pulis was sacked in favor of Alan Pardew. Having oscillated between stability and PR disasters throughout 8 years in the PL unimpeded, their 2017-18 campaign descended into farce, and Pardew was ditched with one league win in 30 league games, and 10 points adrift with 18 to gain, though Moore gaining 11 of them in his first 5 games, including against Man Utd, Liverpool and Spurs, ensured WBA were only demoted on the final week. They failed to gain promotion in the 2018-19 year, but managed it the following season. However, like Fulham, they were kicked right back down, a season best known for Liverpool winning at the Hawthorns thanks a 93rd minute header from their goalkeeper.
Wigan Athletic (2005-2013)
Current Owner: Talal Al Hammad
Current Manager: Shaun Maloney
Current Captain: Tendayi Darikwa
Current Stadium: DW Stadium note
2022/23 Position: 24th in Championship (relegated)
Highest Finish: 10th (2005/06)
Lancashire club who spent the better part of a decade surviving against the odds, always managing to pull off last-day escapes. Unfortunately the 2012/13 season proved a step too far, and they were relegated despite winning the FA Cup. They almost reached the FA Cup final again the next year (beating Manchester City in the quarter-finals, no less), but eventual winners Arsenal put them out on penalties in the semi-finals. Relegated to League One twice in 3 years after horrific seasons (the ill advised appointment of Mackay, and Whelan's laughable and senile defence of his slurs in 2014-15, and despite rebounding with Ulster striker Will Grigg becoming a meme after a great season, they went back down again after their squad didn't adapt). Knocked City out of the cup AGAIN thanks to Grigg (having defeated two lowlier PL sides beforehand) and were too good for League One again. Two seasons later, they were controversially relegated back to League One after being deducted twelve points for entering administration. After a couple of years, they reentered the Championship after a dominant campaign, only to get kicked right back down, finishing bottom in 2023.
Wimbledon (1992-2000) note
Current Owners: Wimbledon Football Club Supporters’ Society
Current Manager: Johnnie Jackson
Current Captain: Will Nightingale
Current Stadium: Plough Lane note
2022/23 Position: 21st in League Two
Highest Finish: 6th (1993/94)
South London club who were nicknamed "the Crazy Gang," and the only former Premier League club which is no longer in existence. The club itself became Milton Keynes Dons in 2004 (an occasion that is still very controversial to this day among football supporters), while a Spiritual Successor club, AFC Wimbledon, was formed in 2002. Supporters of both clubs insist there is no rivalry between them despite their history, despite matches still being treated as a big deal. Both clubs met in the same league for the first time in the 2016/17 League One season, splitting the fixtures and with MK Dons finishing ahead by four points. The next season, however, MK Dons went down after a horrendous season, with AFC Wimbledon surviving to the joy of football fans around the world because for the first time ever AFC Wimbledon was in a league above MK. This status only lasted one season, as AFCW survived the drop from League One only on goal difference whilst MK Dons finished third in League Two, thereby reuniting the teams in the 2019/20 League One. The team moved into a new ground, a successor of their old ground Plough Lane, located on the site of the former Wimbledon Greyhound Track, shortly into the 2020/21 season. Chelsea Ladies F.C. (who formerly groundshared with them) then took over Kingsmeadow as the sole tenant of the stadium. However, their season was ultimately one to forget, and they were relegated back to League Two, where they were almost relegated again, but managed to stay up on the last day.