Are Blackpool about to join the long list of newly promoted clubs who announce themselves with a bang, before eventually slipping out of the Premier League, never to return? As I will find out, the dreaded second season syndrome has turned into the second HALF of season syndrome! Oh the joys of a tighter league..
Ipswich Town – from 5th one season to 18th the next. In 2000-01, the temporarily red-hot Marcus Stewart scored 18 goals, leading the Tractor Boys to Europe. Not only this, but Ipswich were only 4 points off 2nd place, amassing an incredible 66 points. George Burley was named Manager of The Year. The following season, relegation was the punishment for such a stunning introduction. A start of 1 win in 18 games really killed the club’s hopes, and the club has never seriously threatened a return to the country’s top division.
Reading – from 8th one season to 18th the next. Reading almost exactly mirrored Ipswich’s unfortunate situation. They share the blue strip, although Reading were unable to match their Uefa Cup ambitions, falling a missed penalty short on the last day of the 2006-07 season. However, even without the distraction of Europe, Reading proved ill-prepared for the harsh realities of 2007-08. Their attractive attacking style was nullified somewhat, as teams managed to work them out, and 36 points was not enough to spare their top-flight status, as they dropped into the Championship on goal difference. Since then, Reading have never really managed to form a serious promotion push.
Hull City – from 3rd at the end of October 2008 to 17th in May 2009. 19th the season after. Hull took the league by storm, with Phil Brown’s antics initially delighting the media and fans alike. After winning 3-0 at West Brom they had amassed 20 points from their first 10 games, only kept off the top of the pile by goal difference. The long slide from that point ensured Hull only just avoided the drop that year. 2008-09 was viewed by many as a depressingly inevitable relegation season for Hull, and so it proved. Jimmy Bullard was bought in an attempt to arrest this slump, but his intermittent injuries were befitting of the stop-start nature of the Tigers’ form. After returning to the second tier, they have done well to halt this freefall, and are currently relatively stable in mid-table.
Burnley – Not quite as dramatic a fall from grace as was by Hull, but impressive nonetheless. The Clarets started off with an invincible home record, remaining in the top 10 well into the autumn. However, results began to slide, Owen Coyle made the controversial decision to switch to Bolton, and Brian Laws proved out of his depth, as Burnley’s top flight party was cut short even sooner than their predecessors.
Blackpool – 4th in September, 9th in January, 15th in March… 18th or worse in May perhaps?