Relegation a good thing? Here’s how nine other ‘big clubs’ dealt with League One

A Norwich City fan throws his season ticket towards the manager Bryan Gunn during the Canaries' 7-1

A Norwich City fan throws his season ticket towards the manager Bryan Gunn during the Canaries' 7-1 thrashing by Colchester United on the opening day of the League One season in 2009/10. - Credit: PA

With Ipswich Town’s 60-year stay in the top two divisions under threat, we look at how similar clubs have dealt with such a drop.

Leeds United fans invade the pitch after Ipswich Town's late leveller virtually sealed their relegat

Leeds United fans invade the pitch after Ipswich Town's late leveller virtually sealed their relegation from the Championship in 2007.

LEEDS UNITED

History: Top-flight giants for many, many years.

Relegated to League One: 2006/07. Managers were Kevin Blackwell, John Carver and Dennis Wise. Home draw with Ipswich sealed their fate. Administration ensued.

What followed: Three years in League One. Finished 5th, 4th and eventually promoted in second spot.

Leeds United fans hold a banner after relegation to the third tier in 2007.

Leeds United fans hold a banner after relegation to the third tier in 2007. - Credit: Archant


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NORWICH CITY

History: Flitted between the top two tiers from 1960 onwards.

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Relegated to League One: 2008/09. Glenn Roeder was replaced by Bryan Gunn in January. Dropped into third-tier for the first time in 49 years.

What followed: Thrashed 7-1 by Colchester, at Carrow Road, in season-opener. Soon pinched Paul Lambert from the U’s and went on to clinch back-to-back promotions. Have spent four of the last six seasons in the top-flight.

Southampton's Rickie Lambert is carried off the pitch by jubilant fans following the club's promotio

Southampton's Rickie Lambert is carried off the pitch by jubilant fans following the club's promotion to the Premier League. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

SOUTHAMPTON

History: Top two tiers from 1960 onwards.

Relegated to League One: 2008/09. Head coach Jan Poortvliet resigned in January and youth boss Mark Wotte took over for the remainder of the season. Finished 23rd after winning just one of their last 11 games.

What followed: Finished 7th in League One after going into administration and being hit by 10 point deduction. Then secured back-to-back promotions under Alan Pardew and Nigel Adkins. Now aiming to secure a fourth successive top-half finish in the Premier League.

Sheffield Wednesday were relegated to League One in 2011.

Sheffield Wednesday were relegated to League One in 2011. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY

History: Top two tiers for majority of their history (late ‘70s aside).

Relegated to League One: 2002/03 and 2009/10 – the latter after a final day home draw against Crystal Palace. Brian Laws left in December and was replaced by Alan Irvine that season.

What followed: Promotion at the second attempt both times. Finished 16th and then 5th (winning the play-offs in 2005), then 15th and second.

SHEFFIELD UNITED

History: A few years in the 1980s aside, always a mainstay of English football’s top two divisions.

Relegated to League One: 2010/11. They had three different managers during that turbulent campaign – Kevin Blackwell, Gary Speed and Micky Adams.

What followed: Six successive seasons in League One. Finishes of 3rd, 5th, 7th, 5th and, most recently, 11th. There was a Play-off Final defeat to Huddersfield in the first year, as well as semi-final losses to Yeovil and Swindon in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Along the way there has also been runs to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup. Chris Wilder’s side are currently top and primed for promotion.

COVENTRY CITY

History: Top-flight from 1967/68 until 2000/01. Second-tier for a further 11 seasons.

Relegated to League One: 2011/12. Key men like Keiren Westwood, Aron Gunnarsson and Marlon King were replaced by lower league players and loanees. Andy Thorn’s side lost home games to fellow strugglers Millwall and Doncaster in April and finished 23rd.

What followed: The Sky Blues had a year playing at Northampton. Beset by off-field problems, they have finished 15th, 18th, 17th and 8th in League One and are currently rock-bottom.

WOLVES

History: Always in the top two tiers apart from a brief spell in the mid-to-late ‘80s.

Relegated to League One: 2012/13. A year on from dropping out of the top-flight under Mick McCarthy and Terry Connor’s management there was another relegation, this time under Stale Solbakken and then Dean Saunders.

What followed: Immediate promotion as champions under Kenny Jackett. Narrowly missed out on a Championship play-off spot the next year.

PORTSMOUTH

History: Top two tiers from 1983 onwards. FA Cup winners and runners-up in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Relegated to League One: 2011/12. Two years on from dropping out of the Premier League the south coast club went down again. Continued financial problems led to a 10-point deduction which proved crucial.

What followed: A relegation to League Two in 2013 following another points deduction. Pompey was then bought by their Supporters’ Trust. They’ve continued to get average attendances of more than 16,000. Currently third and pushing for promotion.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC

History: Aside for a few years in the 70s and early 80s, the South London outfit were always in the top two tiers.

Relegated to League One: 2009/10 and 2015/16. The latter campaign saw three foreign managers in charge – Guy Luzon, Karel Fraeye and Jose Riga.

What followed: The Addicks went back up at the third attempt following their first relegation. They are currently 16th in the League One standings following last year’s drop and, with a lot of off-field unrest, may face a longer road to recovery this time around.

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