The richest and arguably most prestigious of the world's Footy Leagues, and certainly one of the most high-profile sports events worldwide. But first, a history lesson.
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 96 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' Cup 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".
But sure enough, 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 2000's, the Premier League overtook Spain's La Liga to become the highest ranked league in Europe according to UEFA. However, recent resurgence from La Liga and Germany's Bundesliga, spearheaded by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, and Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and VFL Wolfsburg, and underachievement from PL teams in Europe means that there's been a power shift. However, fans of the English game frequently argue that, with only a few exceptions, it's usually the same two or three teams battling it out for the title and beating everyone in their way, while in the Premier League, anyone can beat anyone and there are usually anywhere between four and six teams with good odds of winning the title. While this is up for debate (especially with the emerging dominance of Manchester City and Liverpool in the late 2010s), it is notable that players from European leagues moving to England have noted that it is far more competitive, with one memorably remarking that while in Italy you can shut up shop after going one or two ahead, in England you can't relax even when you're four goals up. 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 2015) is £3.3 billion! The Premier League's revenue is the fourth highest anywhere in the world, behind the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA - and with a new £5 billion television licensing deal, it's only likely to get richer.
There are problems, of course. The highest-placing teams get the most money, which is logical, but tends to mean that success is self-perpetuating, and the so-called "Big Four" - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City (Liverpool in place of City until about 2010) - historically dominating the top four positions in the league, which in turn means they all qualify for the Champions League and accumulate even more money. At the other end of the table, smaller clubs promoted to the league usually struggle and are often relegated in their first season. Some clubs have tried breaking their way into the leading pack by spending big in the hope of making up the difference with money earned by getting into the Champions League, but at best have only achieved minor, temporary success, and at worst have undergone total financial meltdown and rapidly fallen away into lower-league obscurity (Leeds United, Portsmouth and Bradford City being the main examples of this).
Historically, the only way to break into the top four seemed to be for a club to be bought by someone with a truly eye-watering amount of spare money to throw around - Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich b(r)ought Chelsea into the top four, and Sheikh Mansour recently did the same for perennial underachievers Manchester City. In Europe they contend against the best teams in the Union of European Football Associations (potentially from as far away as Vladivostok) to win the Champions League, the most prestigious title in world club football - while other associations have their own competitions, the sheer amount of money in European football and self-perpetuating prestige draws the best players like moths to a flame. The Champions League winners also compete for the less prestigious title of World Club Champion. For clubs in positions five, six and sometimes seven (or alternatively, the League Cup and FA Cup winners if they do not already qualify for Europe), there is the Europa League, which was the UEFA Cup until 2009, less popular but still a good alternative for clubs.
However, the 2015/16 season dramatically bucked this trend, with the adage 'anybody can beat anybody' coming dramatically true: relegation-tipped Leicester stormed to an unexpected first-ever title after several months of imperious form, spearheaded by England striker Jamie Vardy and Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez. By contrast, 2014/15 champions Chelsea finished mid-table (10th place, to be exact) following a disastrous first half of the season and the subsequent sacking of their manager, José Mourinho, while usual also-rans and mid-table teams West Ham, Stoke and Southampton jostled with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool the for top 4 places.
Normality reasserted itself in 2016/17, though the Big Four seemingly evolved into the Big Six, composed of usual suspects Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United, with Spurs and a resurgent Liverpool. However, it remains one of the more open and competitive leagues in Europe, as any one of the aforementioned teams is technically speaking considered a fair bet for the title (though Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham have well documented mentality problems), whereas in other European leagues, it's usually dominated by two or, at most, three teams.
As a result of this tightness, in 2016/17 third placed Manchester City, and 5th placed Arsenal were 2 points apart, although Chelsea and Spurs' winning runs had them streets ahead, with Chelsea winning with 2 games to spare. As a result, it's often anyone's guess who'll finish in the top four (which dictates Champions League qualification. Failing to achieve it is frequently grounds for managers being sacked). A brilliant end to the season cast Spurs as a clear second place and North London's superior team for the first time since 1995, but 3 teams competed for a top 3 spot on the final day, and Arsenal missed the CL for the the first time in 20 years - despite earning more points than the preceding season when they came second, while Liverpool squeaked into 4th place. As for Leicester, there was a very real risk that they would be the first defending champions to be relegated since Manchester City in 1938. The widely panned but likely necessary sacking of Claudio Ranieri steadied the ship... before they ran out of steam and got a new manager. In 2017/18, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham ran away with the Top 4 spots; Chelsea were fifth and Arsenal at a distant sixth, giving up on a top 4 place as early as the start of March. This, combined with horrific away form, led to the sacking of Arsène Wenger after 22 years in charge of Arsenal. Manchester City also claimed the title five games still to play in the season, tying the Premier League record for earliest clinching (00/01 Man United).
2018/19 was far more competitive; City remained formidable, but Liverpool and, initially Chelsea and Spurs (despite continuous delays to their new stadium), were also very consistent, with Liverpool in particular displaying what would have been title winning form in many seasons. City, Liverpool and Chelsea were all unbeaten at the quarter-mark, a PL first (Chelsea's first loss of the season was at Spurs on November 24, with City's first loss of the season at Stamford Bridge 2 weeks later. Liverpool remained unbeaten until facing City at the Etihad in January, their only loss all season)). By December, City and Liverpool pulled away in earnest, Liverpool leading at Christmas by 6 points, after shock home defeats for City (who briefly dropped down to 3rd), while Spurs managed to claim 2nd. Manchester United meanwhile, had a sufficiently awful start to the season that unpopular manager Jose Mourinho was sacked (the final straw being a 3-1 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool), something lamented only by United's rivals.
The league finished in one of the closest races for the title ever; City and Liverpool ended up leap frogging each other for much of 2019, with the general consensus being that though only one team could win, neither deserved to lose. One, however, had to, with Man City clinching the title on the final day after a scare at Brighton, a single point ahead of Liverpool, 98 points to 97. To add insult to injury, the only seasons that 97 points wouldn't have won the title were that season and the one before, when City managed 100 points. It was the most 2nd place had gotten since 2010/11 was 89 points, the same year the title was decided on goal difference. 2019/2020 is (as of mid December 2019), a very different story, with City stumbling and Liverpool leaving them 14 points adrift as they streaked ahead, relentlessly winning 16 of 17 games (the other was a draw vs Manchester United), and Leicester - a 'mere' 10 points adrift - apparently being the only conceivable rivals for the title. In other, rather strange, news, newly promoted Sheffield United calmly and efficiently made their way into 5th place and patiently stayed there.
This unpredictability makes the Premier League by far the most entertaining and competitive league in Europe; especially since Bayern Munich, Barcelona/Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris St Germain, and Ajax/Feyenoord/PSV usually run away with their respective leagues - in PSG's case, usually by over 30 points, with only Atlético Madrid challenging the Barca/Madrid hegemony, Napoli and Roma challenging Juventus, Borussia Dortmund challenging Bayern Munich, and Twente and AZ challenging the Ajax/Feyenoord/PSV trifecta - though Nice and Monaco (in Ligue 1), and Red Bull Leipzig (in Bundesliga) are currently providing additional challenges. This, perhaps, has something to do with the aforementioned television deal and influx/more even spread of finances. Whatever the reason, it has led to the English teams reasserting their noughties dominance in the Champions League in 2017/18, with all five English teams reaching the last 16 (Manchester United finished outside the top four, but reached the group stage by winning the Europa League), a feat unprecedented in the history of the Champions League, 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, with Manchester United, now firmly revived, and Liverpool earning shock wins away to PSG and Bayern Munich, before, (despite injuries to two of their star strikers) turning around a 3-0 first leg loss to Barcelona in the semi-finals to get to the final by tearing them to shreds with a 4-0 victory in the second leg at Anfield. This led to the first all-English Champions League final in a decade (which Liverpool won), but at the same time, Chelsea and Arsenal both reached the Europa League final as well (with Chelsea thrashing Arsenal 4-1), meaning that the Premier League had provided all four European finalists, something never seen before.
The influx of foreign players also means that Premier League fans get to watch some of the best players in the world every week, but it also means that English talent potentially gets squeezed out - in 1999, Chelsea became the first English club to field an entirely non-English starting eleven and at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, more than eighty Premier League players took part. Some say this has had a detrimental effect on the national team's talent pool. However, this has again been thrown into doubt in recent years by English players coming to prominence in the first teams of the Big Six. And as might be reasonably pointed out, England teams past have never lacked for talent, just energy after a gruelling season with no winter break prior to the 2019/20 season and the ability to play together (the Gerrard-Lampard dichotomy strikes again...). This was further thrown into doubt in 2018 with the national team making the World Cup semifinal - for the first time since 1990 - followed a few months later by qualifying for the Nations League Semifinals from a group which also included World Cup finalist (and the team that they lost to in the World Cup semifinal) Croatia and Spain, and going further than World Cup winners France, semifinalists Belgium and long-standing rivals Germany. This despite being arguably a far less talented group than their predecessors (an abundance of actual team spirit/ability to work together is cited).
Despite those problems there is no doubt that the current state of the Premier League showcases a remarkable turn around 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. Now if only the national team could match the Premier League's success...
Current title holders: Manchester City
Current Manager: Mikel ArtetaCurrent Captain: Pierre-Emerick AubameyangCurrent Stadium: Emirates Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 5thHighest Finish: 1st - Only undefeated season in Premier League history
A very successful north London club who lifted the crown in 1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04 (which was achieved unbeaten), all of which was under Arsène Wenger's management. Wenger 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. 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 they're renowned for finishing in the top four with metronomic regularity (the shambolic 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons being the times under Wenger's tenure this has not happened). A lack of major trophies (The FA Cups notwithstanding), however, 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. 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. Wenger was succeeded by Unai Emery for a season which saw them blow a Top 4 finish and lose a Europa League final to rivals Chelsea, before a string of bad results saw the club lose patience with Emery, sacking him in late November 2019, leaving former player Freddie Ljungberg as the interim manager. He suffered further misery in his 6 game stint (just 1 win), before another former Arsenal #8, Mikel Arteta, took the job (the Arsenal captain between 2012 and 2016 became the assistant boss of idol Pep Guardiola at Manchester City before becoming Arsenal boss), with the aim to put the league season, where Arsenal are likely to break the draws record, behind him and make Arsenal a force again long term. Despite seeming out of the Top 4 race, Arteta's Arsenal have surged back into the conversation despite a shock exit in the Europa League's Round of 32 against Olympiacos.
- Aston Villa
Current Manager: Dean SmithCurrent Captain: Jack GrealishCurrent Stadium: Villa Parknote2018/19 Position: 5th in Championship (Won Playoff, Promoted)Highest Finish: 2nd
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.
- AFC Bournemouth
Current Manager: Eddie HoweCurrent Captain: Simon FrancisCurrent Stadium: Dean Courtnote2018/19 Position: 14thHighest Finish: 9th
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 appear to be in danger of being relegated.
- Brighton and Hove Albion
Current Manager: Graham PotterCurrent Captain: Lewis DunkCurrent Stadium: Falmer Stadium (sometimes called American Express Arena after the credit card firm sponsoring it.)note2018/19 Position: 17thHighest Finish: 15th
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. Another season where they have been stationed just above the watermark has followed, though they have managed surprise results against Big Six sides Arsenal and Chelsea.
Current Manager: Sean DycheCurrent Captain: Tom HeatonCurrent Stadium: Turf Moor note2018/19 Position: 15thHighest Finish: 15th
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. Int eh 2019/20 campaign, they once again have found themselves jostling with the lower half of the Top 10, including Tottenham, Arsenal, and Manchester United as they try to make it into the Top 4.
Current Manager: Frank LampardnoteCurrent Captain: César AzpilicuetaCurrent Stadium: Stamford Bridgenote2018/19 Position: 3rdHighest Finish: 1st
Central London-based Chelsea FC is currently owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, making the club one of the wealthiest in the Premier League. The club have presently won five Premier League titles, winning it all in 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. 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. Chelsea have most recently won teh 2018/19 Europa League after an all-London final against Arsenal, but Sarri left for Juventus shortly thereafter. Abramovich then hired former Chelsea midfield legend Frank Lampard, signing him away from Derby County after the latter had lost the Championship playoff final to Villa. Expectations were rather low, but backed by the emerging youth talents, Lampard has by all accounts started his managerial spell in Chelsea well, clinging onto the fourth place in an otherwise lopsided season. Time will tell if he can keep Chelsea competitive.
- Crystal Palace
Current Manager: Roy HodgsonCurrent Captain: Luka MilivojevićCurrent Stadium: Selhurst Parknote2018/19 Position: 12thHighest Finish: 10th
A South London-based club 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 (at least until Jurgen Klopp took charge).They really, REALLY don't like Brighton and Hove Albion, and as much as they hate BHA, their hate for Eric Cantona is even worse. 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.
Current Manager: Carlo AncelottiCurrent Captain: Leighton BarnesCurrent Stadium: Goodison Parknote2018/19 Position: 8thHighest Finish: 4th
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 run in 2017/18, 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.
- Leicester City
Current Manager: Brendan RodgersCurrent Captain: Wes MorganCurrent Stadium: King Power Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 9thHighest Finish: 1st
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, Arsena, Chelsea, and Manchester United.
Current Manager: Jürgen KloppCurrent Captain: Jordan HendersonCurrent Stadium: Anfieldnote2018/19 Position: 2ndHighest Finish: 2nd
The second most successful club in English football, having won the League 18 times and the European Cup 6 times, but have never the Premier 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, before a nosedive in 2009-10 season put paid to that. Periodically threaten a return to the glory days and had a good record in the Champions League under Rafael Benítez, winning in 2005 and reaching the final in 2007, one restored under Jurgen Klopp, with a final appearance in 2018 and a victory in 2019 as well as rampaging through the league and only dropping 2 points through 27 games before finally losing to Watford after going 44 games unbeaten. Known for attacking verve, they've been dubbed 'Europe's Entertainers'. Their home stadium of Anfield was medium sized by footballing standards at 45,000 prior to its expansion, but renowned for its raucous atmosphere, leading to a reputation as an intimidating place to play and the nickname 'Fortress Anfield'. Owned by Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox, succeeding the widely despised Hicks and Gillette, who drove the club into bankruptcy. One well documented problem Klopp addressed has been consistency, especially against weaker teams - one season, they actually took more points (20) against the top 6 than against the bottom 6 (19). The addition in 17/18 of ex-Chelsea winger Mohammed Salah has only made them deadlier going forward - even the loss of star midfielder Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona was mitigated by using the £142 million transfer fee to acquire centre-back Virgil Van Dijk (£75 million) and goalkeeper Alisson Becker (£65 million), transforming the defence, and nearly being enough to win their first league title in almost 30 years (falling just short on the final day after losing nly one game to winners Manchester City that year). The following season saw them tie the record for most consecutive wins twice, before drawing to Manchester United, and then losing to Watford. The Watford loss ended what was an invincible season up to that point, as well as a 44-game unbeaten streak that had many Liverpool fans dreaming of matching and surpassing the 2003/04 Arsenal Invincibles side. As things stand, however, they only need two more wins to seal the title. The outbreak of COVID-19 has suspended the season, and so they will have to wait just a while longer to celebrate.
- Manchester City
Current Manager: Josep "Pep" GuardiolaCurrent Captain: David SilvaCurrent Stadium: Etihad Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 1stHighest Finish: 1st - Most wins (32), most goals (106), and most points (100) in a single season in Premier League history
The current league champions. 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. Have a persistent problem playing against Liverpool, especially at Anfield, the only stadium they've failed to win at since the Mansour takeover, and in general since 2003. Became teh 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. 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.
- Manchester United
Current Manager: Ole Gunnar SolskjærCurrent Captain: Harry MaguireCurrent Stadium: Old Traffordnote2018/19 Position: 6thHighest Finish: 1st - Most Premier League titles (13), earliest title win in EPL history (5 games remaining)
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 Fergusons retirement, the club has been in a bit of a flux. First, Fergusons chosen successor, former Everton boss David Moyes, was sacked after leading United to their worst ever Premier League finish (7th), which meant the club failed to qualify for any European competition for the first time since 1990. Afterwards, Dutchman Louis van Gaal was brought in to bring back winning ways, and Champions League. He managed the former in his second season (an FA Cup victory), and the latter in his first (4th). However, his reign at the club will always be remembered for his very boring style of football designed to neutralize opponents rather than attack them, to the derision of everyone, particularly the clubs fans. Despite the aforementioned FA Cup victory, van Gaal was sacked two days later after failing to obtain Champions League football. Until mid-December 2018, was managed by former Chelsea manager José 'The Special One' Mourinho. While United finished sixth in Mourinho's first season, outside the Champions League qualifying places, they managed to get into the 201718 CL group stage by winning the Europa League. Man U spent £90million to bring back former youth product Paul Pogba in 2016, and a year later spent £80 million on Romelu Lukaku, who has had a mixed relationship with Mourinho, with Wayne Rooney back at Everton after 13 years. Mourinho was finally sacked after a season and a half in charge, and Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the one who scored United's last-gasp winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, was hired as the caretaker for the remainder of the season amid general perplexity, but he quickly steered the ship at United, leading him to become the permanent manager. However, ever since, they have returned to the form held under Moyes and van Gaal, causing cries for Ole's sacking. Despite that, though, the signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon gave the Red Devils a much-needed shot in the arm, as they breezed through Club Brugge in the Europa League round of 32 and returned into the race for the last Champions League spot to pretty much everyone's surprise.
- Newcastle United
Current Manager: Steve BruceCurrent Captain: Jamaal LascellesCurrent Stadium: St James' Parknote2018/19 Position: 13thHighest Finish: 2nd
Owned by (widely hated) SportsDirect tycoon Mike Ashley (although there have recently been talks about a takeover by a group led by the sovereign investment fund of Saudi Arabia - should it happen, the club would become the richest in England by a landslide), this team from Newcastle-upon-Tyne is probably most famous for Kevin Keegan's rant in 1995, 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. 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, swapping spots with hated rivals Sunderland, much to their glee. Ever since, however, they've mostly languished in the lower midtable.
- Norwich City:
Current Manager: Daniel FarkeCurrent Captain: Grant HanleyCurrent Stadium: Carrow Roadnote2018/19 Position: 1st in Championship (Promoted)Highest Finish: 3rd
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 look like they'll be kicked right back down yet again.
- Sheffield United
Current Manager: Chris WilderCurrent Captain: Billy SharpCurrent Stadium: Bramall Lane note2018/19 Position: 2nd in Championship (Promoted)Highest Finish: 14th
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 Teveznote 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.
Current Manager: Ralph HasenhüttlCurrent Captain: Pierre-Emile HøjbjergCurrent Stadium: St Mary's Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 16thHighest Finish: 6th
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. 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 Pocchetino, famous for his foul in the 2002 World Cup, helped Southampton climb into the top half of the table. They continued their good form during the 2014/15 season, they turned 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 a 9-0 home loss to Leicester followed by a winning run including at Stamford Bridge, at home to Spurs, and most notably, in the return in Leicester.
- Tottenham Hotspur
Current Manager: José MourinhoCurrent Captain: Hugo LlorisCurrent Stadium: Tottenham Hotspur Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 4thHighest Finish: 2nd
A north London club and Arsenal's main rival. 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, though to date have only actually made the top four twice, 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 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 (they have the youngest squad in the division, albeit only by a fraction, with Liverpool close behind). They finished a season in which they had challenged for the title, ahead of traditional powers Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Chelsea, by being absolutely dismantled by an already relegated 10-man Newcastle, while Arsenal defeated Aston Villa to pip them for second in the final standings. The next season however, Spurs placed 2nd after winning 19 of their last 23 games, including 9 in a row, culminating in a derby win to confirm a place above Arsenal with 5 games to spare, before scoring 13, 6 from Harry Kane, in their last 2 away matches. 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, culminating in manager Pochettino being sacked just six months after the Champions League Final appearance.
Current Manager: Nigel PearsonCurrent Captain: Troy DeeneyCurrent Stadium: Vicarage Roadnote2018/19 Position: 11thHighest Finish: 11th
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. Following the surprise sacking of their previous manager, Sanchez Flores joined the club and faced the prospect of bedding in half a dozen new signings, almost all of whom spoke different languages. Despite this and consequently being tipped for relegation, he managed to perform beyond expectations and keep Watford in the top flight. Despite a great start to the season that saw them in 7th by Christmas, as well as an appearance in an FA Cup Semi-Final, an abject second half of the season was enough for Watfords owners to decide that Flores time was up and the two parted company at the end of the season.note Walter Mazzari led them to one of their most successful starts in the top division in their history, keeping three square clean sheets, though a 6-1 thrashing at Anfield dampened the optimism somewhat. They then earned a shock win to destroy Arsenal's title chase, but lost all their last 6 games and Mazzari was sacked. Hull's Marco Silva came in, and, in spite of his best successes being at home as Hull boss, and in Portugal and Greece beforehand, has proven ace away from home. Like Burnley, they are ahead of most middle-to-bottom teams and well clear of the relegation zone so far, although their form has fallen over the winter. However, after a loss to Leicester, Marco Silva was surprisingly sacked, to the anger of the country, with Watford's loss in form after they rebutted Everton's overtures for him 2 months earlier (although Watford lost a 2-0 lead to lose to an Everton side than in terrible form when the toffees were still awaiting their next boss - they won their next 2 games afterwards but only 1 of their subsequent 11, not keeping a clean sheet during the 11 games) being blamed for it, and obscure Spaniard Javi Gracia, a manager with experience in Spain and Russia, in his place a few hours later. Beat Chelsea and Everton at home a short time after. Won first 4 games of 2018-19 season, a club record, and reached the final of the cup, only to suffer the largest loss in the final since 1903. They sacked Gracia after just 4 games, and bought back 2015-16 boss Flores, but sacked him in early December after just 1 win. Leicester boss from 2014-15 Pearson came in, and masterminded the side to wins v Man U and Wolves over Xmas, but lost late on to Villa and Everton to stay in danger.
- West Ham United
Current Manager: David MoyesCurrent Captain: Mark NoblenoteCurrent Stadium: London Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 10thHighest Finish: 5th
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 Bilic, 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 clubs 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 had led to the sacking of Pellegrini and reappointment of former caretaker, David Moyes. Historically, West Ham don't like Spurs and really loathe Millwall.
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
Current Manager: Nuno Espírito SantoCurrent Captain: Conor CoadyCurrent Stadium: Molineux note2018/19 Position: 7thHighest Finish: 7th
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.
Promoted teams (Will play in Premier League next season):
Guaranteed playoff spot or better:
- End of season.
- Barnsley (1997-98)
Current Manager: Gerhard StruberCurrent Captain: Adam DaviesCurrent Stadium: Oakwell note2018/19 Position: 2nd in League One (Promoted)Highest Finish: 19th
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, than ending Chelsea's defence, was their most notable moment since.
- Birmingham City (2002-2006; 2007-2008; 2009-2011)
Current Manager: Josep "Pep" Clotet (caretaker)Current Captain: Michael MorrisonCurrent Stadium: St Andrew's note2018/19 Position: 17th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 9th
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.
- Blackburn Rovers: (1992-1999; 2001-2012)
Current Manager: Tony MowbrayCurrent Captain: Charlie MulgrewCurrent Stadium: Ewood Park note2018/19 Position: 15th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 1st
Won the Premier League once back in 1994/95 under Kenny Dalglish, with Alan Shearer on the offense before he moved to Newcastle next season. The only 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.
- Blackpool (2010-2011)
Current Manager: Simon GraysonCurrent Captain: Jay SpearingCurrent Stadium: Bloomfield Road note2018/19 Position: 10th in League OneHighest Finish: 19th
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 2, 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.
- Bolton Wanderers (1995-1996; 1997-1998; 2001-2012)
Current Manager: Phil ParkinsonCurrent Captain: David WheaterCurrent Stadium: University of Bolton Stadium note2018/19 Position: 23rd in Championship (relegated)Highest Finish: 6th
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 neighbors 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.
- Bradford City (1999-2001)
Current Manager: Gary BowyerCurrent Captain: Josh WrightCurrent Stadium: Valley Parade note2018/19 Position: 24th in League One (relegated)Highest Finish: 17th
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, 2018-19)
Current Manager: Neil WarnockCurrent Captain: Sean MorrisonCurrent Stadium: Cardiff City Stadium note2018/19 Position: 18th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 18th
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 could get 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.
- Charlton Athletic (1998-1999; 2000-2007)
Current Manager: Lee BowyerCurrent Captain: Chris SollyCurrent Stadium: The Valley note2018/19 Position: 3rd in League One (Won Playoff, Promoted)Highest Finish: 7th
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 the next year.
- Coventry City (1992-2001)
Current Manager: Mark RobinsCurrent Captain: Liam KellyCurrent Stadium: Ricoh Arena note2018/19 Position: 8th in League OneHighest Finish: 11th
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 201314 "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.
- Derby County (1996-2002; 2007-2008)
Current Manager: Phillip CocuCurrent Captain: Curtis DaviesCurrent Stadium: Pride Park Stadium note2018/19 Position: 6th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
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. 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.
- Fulham (2001-2014, 2018-2019)
Current Manager: Scott Parker (caretaker)Current Captain: Tom CairneyCurrent Stadium: Craven Cottage note2018/19 Position: 19th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 7th
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, they were purchased in 2013 by Pakistani-born US billionaire Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and now also 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 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 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 Parker taking his place as caretaker. Went down in early April after losing to Watford.
- Huddersfield Town (2017-19)
Current Manager: Jan SiewertCurrent Captain: Tommy Smith (team) and Mark Hudson (club)Current Stadium: Kirklees Stadium note2018/19 Position: 20th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 16th
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.
- Hull City (2008-10; 2013-15; 2016-17)
Current Manager: Grant McCannCurrent Captain: Markus HenriksenCurrent Stadium: KC Stadium note2018/19 Position: 12th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 16th
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 of Liverpool), but it was not enough to stop them from going down. 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.
- Ipswich Town (1992-1995; 2000-2002)
Current Manager: Paul LambertCurrent Captain: Luke ChambersCurrent Stadium: Portman Road note2018/19 Position: 24th in Championship (relegated)Highest Finish: 5th
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.
- Leeds United (1992-2004)
Current Manager: Marcelo BielsaCurrent Captain: Liam CooperCurrent Stadium: Elland Road note2018/19 Position: 3rd in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 3rd
Frequently won trophies in the 60s, 70s and 90s, 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 have never seriously looked like getting back into the Premier League since then, and in fact have only even once finished in the top half of the Championship, when they made the play-off final in 2006. 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 agree on). Nowadays, their rivals are the two Sheffield clubs. Nowadays, 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. Most recently bungled a Playoff Spot they almost seemed assured to win at 3rd, before dropping their last several matches to finish outside the Top 6. For a while, they had a promotion chase in the bag the next season, under Thomas Christiansen, but lost form badly over the winter, he was sacked, and Paul Heckingbottom made the short move up the M1. He only lasted the season, and famous Argentine Marcelo Bielsa came in instead. This led to them leading for most of the campaign, only to lose 3 of their last 4 games, have to settle for 3rd, and suffer a cruel 4-2 loss to Derby in the play offs, having won the first leg. The league meeting between the pair earlier in the season, won by Leeds, was infamous for Bielsa openly revealing he used spy tactics, which are commonplace in South America.
- Middlesbrough (1992-93; 1995-97; 1998-09; 2016-17)
Current Manager: Jonathan WoodgateCurrent Captain: George FriendCurrent Stadium: Riverside Stadium note2018/19 Position: 7th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 7th
One of the "North-East Three" along with Newcastle and Sunderland. Were controversially relegated for failing to fulfill 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.
- Nottingham Forest (1992-1993; 1994-1997; 1998-1999)
Current Manager: Sabri LamouchiCurrent Captain: Ben WatsonCurrent Stadium: City Ground note2018/19 Position: 9th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 3rd
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 than 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 (ie 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 semi final. Aitor Karanka, the ex Middlesbrough boss, came in just a couple of days after that famous result.
- Oldham Athletic (1992-1994)
Current Manager: Laurent BanideCurrent Captain: Peter ClarkeCurrent Stadium: Boundary Park note2018/19 Position: 14th in League TwoHighest Finish: 19th
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.
- Portsmouth (2003-2010)
Current Manager: Kenny JackettCurrent Captain: Brett PitmanCurrent Stadium: Fratton Park note2018/19 Position: 4th in League OneHighest Finish: 8th
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 Manager: Mark WarburtonCurrent Captain: Toni LeistnerCurrent Stadium: Loftus Road Stadium note2018/19 Position: 19th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 5th
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 Manager: José GomesCurrent Captain: Liam MooreCurrent Stadium: Madejski Stadium note2018/19 Position: 20th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
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, but needed the late-season appointment of Paul Clement to stay in a division which they were last below in 2002, and a subpar start to the next season meant that he was ditched just before Christmas for the second year in a row, having also been at Swansea the previous year.
- Sheffield Wednesday (1992-2000)
Current Manager: Lee Bullen (caretaker)Current Captain: Tom LeesCurrent Stadium: Hillsborough note2018/19 Position: 13th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 7th
The other Sheffield club. Had varying fortunes for the first few Premier League seasons before getting relegated after a pretty terrible season in at the turn of the century (in which they lost 8-0 in an early season game). Currently in the Championship, into which rivals Sheffield United won in 2017, after cruel play off losses to near rivals in 2016 and 2017.
- Stoke City (2008-2018)
Current Manager: Nathan JonesCurrent Captain: Ryan ShawcrossCurrent Stadium: Britannia Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 16th (Relegated)Highest Finish: 9th
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.
- Sunderland (1996-97; 1999-2003; 2005-06; 2007-17)
Current Manager: Jack RossCurrent Captain: George HoneymanCurrent Stadium: Stadium of Lightnote2018/19 Position: 5th in League OneHighest Finish: 7th
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
- Swansea City (2011-2018)
Current Manager: Steve CooperCurrent Captain: TBACurrent Stadium: Liberty Stadiumnote2018/19 Position: 10th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
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.
- Swindon Town (1993-1994)
Current Manager: Richie WellensCurrent Captain: TBACurrent Stadium: County Ground note2018/19 Position: 13th in League TwoHighest Finish: 20th
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.
- West Bromwich Albion (2002-03, 2004-06, 2008-09, 2010-2018)
Current Manager: Slaven BilićCurrent Captain: Chris BruntCurrent Stadium: The Hawthornsnote2018/19 Position: 4th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 8th
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 have re-established their mid-table status, proving a hard team to break down and a consistent threat to top teams via set-pieces. However, they had a dire end to the 2016-17 season, dropping out of the top half, and, when wins in their first 2 games were followed by a 19 game winless run, Pulis was sacked. 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 made the play offs the next season, despite a controversial sacking, and lost on penalties.
- Wigan Athletic (2005-2013)
Current Manager: Paul CookCurrent Captain: Sam MorsyCurrent Stadium: DW Stadium note2018/19 Position: 18th in ChampionshipHighest Finish: 10th
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.
- Wimbledon (1992-2000) note
Current Manager: Wally DownesCurrent Captain: Deji OshilajaCurrent Stadium: Kingsmeadow note New stadium2018/19 Position: 20th in League OneHighest Finish: 6th
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 is also currently building a new ground intended as the successor of their old ground Plough Lane, with the new stadium projected to be opened in the 2019/20 season. Their new ground will be located in the site of the former Wimbledon Greyhound Track. Chelsea Ladies F.C. (who currently shared ground with them) will take over Kingsmeadow as the sole tenant of the stadium once Wimbledon leave for their new stadium.