There was once a time when Charlton, Norwich and Southampton all graced the Premier League and enjoyed some form of success. Whether that was a top half finish or even challenging for the Premier League title in Norwich’s case back in 1992/93. Things have gone steadily downhill though for all three teams from being established names in the top flight to promotion contenders in the Championship and now all but relegated to the delights of League One football.
We already know that Charlton and Southampton are down, with the Saints’ future looking increasingly uncertain on and off the field. The Canaries’ defeat at home to Reading on Monday night means they now need a miracle to keep their place in the second tier of English football. The side that could replace Norwich in the drop zone is also another Premier League side, albeit just for a season: Barnsley.
It’s not the first time a former Premier League side has been relegated from the Championship with Bradford City, Swindon, Leeds, Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Oldham, Notts Forest, QPR and Leicester City all having to endure the indignity of being relegated. However, out of all of those sides only one has managed to bounce back to the top flight and upset the football odds by becoming an established name in the Premier League.
That will be a worrying trend for three out of the four of these clubs who could be making those dark and lonely trips to Yeovil away on a cold Tuesday in February or watching Stockport come away with a point on their own patch (no offence to those sides). Norwich, Charlton and Southampton all spent big trying to regain their place in the top flight and it failed, leaving them with empty pockets and a reliance on youth and experience which clearly hasn’t worked for those three.
They say that the Championship is the most unpredictable league in England and probably rightly so as I don’t think many of us out there will have picked any of those four teams to face the drop, maybe with the exception of Barnsley. Being a supporter of a club still in the top flight I can remember at least one occasion when my side was beaten by Charlton, Norwich and Southampton and always thought they would one day return to the Premier League.
Perhaps that is the problem, maybe trading on your name and history in the Championship doesn’t work and instead of attracting the young, hungry types of player you want you get those who are just looking for a pay day. You have to question where all the money went that each club made from selling their big stars when they went down, especially Southampton with their sales of Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Kenwyne Jones.
It seems then that going on recent history we will be unlikely to see any of the four potential relegation candidates back in the top flight for some time and perhaps now it is the turn of a smaller club to enjoy its time in the limelight and develop themselves into an established top flight club.