With the Championship Play-offs in full swing I’ve been looking at the stats to see what has happened to past winners. So just what can the winning team expect from the future? The one thing which seems most likely according to the first graph is that the winner can expect a fairly swift return to the Championship with around two-thirds of teams being relegated at the end of their very first Premier League season.
As we can also see survival rates for the victors compare rather unfavorably to those who are promoted to the Championship via the play-offs, this is perhaps due to the gigantic gap between the Championship and Premier League in terms of the standard of football and clubs incomes compared to the gap between the Championship and League One. Interestingly clubs promoted from League Two to League One through the play-offs do less well which suggests that there is similarly a gap between these divisions, albeit one less marked than the Championship/Premier League one.
The good news however, is that for clubs who survive their inaugural Premier League season their subsequent survival prospects improve drastically, this is undoubtedly because the Premier League is so competitive that weak sides are found out straight away and relegated in their first season. Survival is no accident.
So what is the medium-term outlook for clubs – where can fans of the play-off winners expect their club to be in five years time? According to this pie-chart the most likely place for a play-off winner to be at the end of their 5th season following their triumph is in the bottom half of the Championship, with 25% of former play-off winners finding themselves in this position. In total 35% of clubs finished in the Premier League, 60% in the Championship and 5% in League One.