Bournemouth could create Premier League history with play-off success

·3 min read

Bournemouth have the chance to make Premier League history as they enter the Championship play-offs.

Should the Cherries, who finished sixth and will face Brentford on Monday, secure promotion it will be the first time in the Premier League era that all three relegated clubs have bounced straight back.

The second tier has proved difficult to escape from for previous relegated sides but this season has bucked the trend – Norwich, bottom of last season’s Premier League, romped to the title with Watford second – and Jonathan Woodgate’s side can still make it a full house.

Promotions to the Premier League immediately after relegation
This could be the first time all three relegated teams bounce straight back to the Premier League (PA graphic)

Only five times previously in the three up, three down system have even two relegated teams come back into the Premier League, with only one such example in the last 10 seasons before this one – Burnley and Hull were both promoted in 2016 having been relegated 12 months earlier.

There have been 11 occasions of one club bouncing straight back, as was the case last season with Fulham winning the play-offs, and nine times when no team found a way back – 2017 and 2018’s relegated teams, Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Swansea, Stoke and West Brom all missed out at the first time of asking. The Baggies were then promoted last season but will have to do it all again after being relegated once more.

Teams finishing bottom of the Premier League actually have the best record of bouncing straight back – doing so on nine occasions out of 26.

That would be matched by the highest of the three relegation places should Bournemouth win through, while only six teams finishing in the middle of the three relegation places have returned straight away. Bournemouth’s sixth-placed finish was exactly in line with previous teams relegated in 18th, with that group having an average finishing position of 6.08 compared to ninth for the other two relegation places.

Fulham manager Scott Parker, left, and West Brom's Sam Allardyce
Fulham and West Brom lasted only a season on their top-flight returns (Catherine Ivill/Richard Heathcote/PA)

It has been likelier for promoted teams to suffer immediate relegation, with both Albion and Fulham adding to those statistics this season.

Only three times have all three promoted teams survived, most recently Newcastle, Brighton and Huddersfield in 2017-18. QPR, Norwich and Swansea collectively achieved that feat in 2011-12, as did Fulham, Blackburn and Bolton in 2001-02.

One team has gone straight back down on 12 occasions and two teams another nine times, while in 1996-97 Bolton, Barnsley and Crystal Palace all lasted only one season. It remains the Tykes’ only visit to the top flight, but they too have the chance in this season’s play-offs.

That season also saw relegated duo Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest promoted straight back at the first attempt, meaning five of the six promoted or relegated teams immediately returned – a record that will be matched this season should Bournemouth triumph.

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