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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

'Big' clubs in League One: Protests, points deductions and downward spirals

PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 June 2019

Coventry, Blackpool and Portsmouth all found the going tough after relegation from the Championship. Picture: PA

Coventry, Blackpool and Portsmouth all found the going tough after relegation from the Championship. Picture: PA

Archant

Ipswich Town will soon play third-tier football for the first time since 1956/57. STUART WATSON looks at how other 'big' clubs fared in League One. Part three: There was more pain to come...

Coventry City dropped out of the Championship under manager Andy Thorn in 2011/12. Photo: PACoventry City dropped out of the Championship under manager Andy Thorn in 2011/12. Photo: PA

COVENTRY CITY

Prelude

Top-flight club for 32 successive years (68-01), followed by 11 in the second-tier. Hadn't been in the third-tier since 63/64...

First relegation - 2011/12

Takeover falls through in August. Experienced midfielder Lee Carlsey retires to become U18s coach. Transfer embargo imposed in March for not filing accounts. Andy Thorn's team includes the likes of Richard Keogh, Gary McSheffrey and Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Coventry City fans hold signs in the stands as a protest against the club. Photo: PACoventry City fans hold signs in the stands as a protest against the club. Photo: PA

Position: 23rd - W9 D13 L24 Pts 40

Life in League One

Five seasons (2012-2017). Finished: 15th, 18th, 17th, 8th, 23rd.

First season: 15th (W18 D11 L17 Pts 55)

Thorn sacked after poor start. Mark Robins appointed, but joins Huddersfield in February. Steven Pressley arrives. Captain Kevin Kilbane retires in December. Loan striker David McGoldick is recalled by Forest and joins Ipswich. Transfer embargo in March. Club goes into administration and is deducted 10 points.

Second season: 18th (W16 D13 L17 Pts 51)

Tony Mowbray resigned as Coventry City manager in 2016. The club went on to be relegated to League Two. Photo: PATony Mowbray resigned as Coventry City manager in 2016. The club went on to be relegated to League Two. Photo: PA

Ground share with Northampton. Another 10-point deduction. Callum Wilson scores 23 goals.

Third season: 17th (W13 D16 L17 Pts 55)

Return to the Ricoh Arena. Wilson sold to Bournemouth. Cyrus Christie moves to Derby. Lose to Worcester City in FA Cup. Tony Mowbray replaces Pressley in February. Reach semis of Football League Trophy.

Fourth season: 8th (W19 D12 L15 Pts 69)

James Maddison sold to Norwich but loaned back. Joe Cole signs short-term deal. Adam Armstrong, Jacob Murphy and Ryan Kent all loaned in from Premier League clubs. Finish five points off the play-off places.

Fifth season: 23rd (W9 D12 L25 Pts 39)

Mowbray resigns in September following a 10-game winless start, claiming his squad were 'babies in a man's game'. Russell Slade sacked after 16 games. Mark Robins appointed. Win the Football League Trophy, beating Oxford United at Wembley, but slip into the fourth-tier for the first time since 1958/59.

Coventry City players celebrate League Two promotion in 2018. Photo: PACoventry City players celebrate League Two promotion in 2018. Photo: PA

What followed...

Instant League Two promotion, a sixth-place finish followed by play-off wins against Notts County and Exeter. Finished eighth in League One last season. Ricoh Arena row continues. Could yet groundshare with Birmingham next season.

BLACKPOOL

Blackpool were relegated under Lee Clark's management in 2014/15. Photo: PABlackpool were relegated under Lee Clark's management in 2014/15. Photo: PA

Prelude

Earned respect of neutrals during Premier League campaign of 2010/11. A Championship club for three years before that and four afterwards...

Relegation - 2014/15

Caretaker boss Barry Ferguson not given job. Five loans expire. Club release 17 players. Tom Ince sold. Started pre-season with just seven registered players. Jose Riga sacked in October. Relegated under Lee Clark after claiming just four wins all season. Fans, angry at under investment and mis-management, storm the pitch on final day and force game to be abandoned.

Blackpool fans protest against owner Owen Oyston. Photo: PABlackpool fans protest against owner Owen Oyston. Photo: PA

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Position: 24th - W4 D14 L28 Pts 26

Life in League One

One season (2015/16). Finished: 22nd (W12 D10 L24 Pts 46)

Another mass exodus of players at the end of their contracts. Regular protests against the Oyston family as hundreds of fans stay away from Bloomfield Road. Neil McDonald the manager as Tangerines suffer second successive relegation.

Brad Potts celebrates scoring at Wembley. Blackpool won the 2016/17 League Two Play-Off Final. Photo: PABrad Potts celebrates scoring at Wembley. Blackpool won the 2016/17 League Two Play-Off Final. Photo: PA

What followed...

Despite toxic off-field issues continuing, Blackpool are promoted straight back to League One under Gary Bowyer in front of crowds averaging just 3,500. After a seventh-place finish, there is a dramatic 6-5 aggregate win against Luton in the play-off semis before Exeter are beaten at Wembley.

In November 2017, High Court rules Owen Oyston (owner) and his son Karl (chairman) 'illegitimately asset stripped' £26m from the club. Finish 12th in League One. In February 2019, club is put into receivership. Fans finally end their four-year boycott. Finish 10th in League One.

PORTSMOUTH

David Norris (centre left) looks dejected as Portsmouth head towards Championship relegation in 2009/10. Photo: PADavid Norris (centre left) looks dejected as Portsmouth head towards Championship relegation in 2009/10. Photo: PA

Prelude

Win the FA Cup in 2008 (beating Cardiff) and play in UEFA Cup following season. In February 2010, become first Premier League club to enter administration. Reach the FA Cup Final again (losing to Chelsea), but a seven-year stay in Premier League is ended as they are relegated. Hadn't played in the third-tier since 1982/83...

First relegation - 2011/12

Steve Cotterill, who had kept the South Coast club in the Championship against the odds, joins Forest in September. Ten players had been released in the summer due to financial problems.

Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) take control in June 2011. By November, a European arrest warrant is issued for chairman Vladimir Antonov. In February, the club enters administration for a second time and is handed a 10-point deduction.

Portsmouth fans demonstrate during a turmultuous period which saw two spells of administration. Photo: PAPortsmouth fans demonstrate during a turmultuous period which saw two spells of administration. Photo: PA

Position: 22nd - W13 D11 L22 Pts 40

Life in League One

One season (2012/13). Finished: 24th (W10 D12 L24 Pts 32)

Another mass exodus of players. New boss Michael Appleton has to cobble together a new squad on next to no resources. Mammoth 23-game winless run. A second successive relegation as finish bottom (another 10-point deduction applied in April). Portsmouth Supporters' Trust finally wrestle control of the club from administrators.

Portsmouth, now owned by the Supporters' Trust,  finished fourth in League One and won the Checkatrade Trophy this season. Photo: PAPortsmouth, now owned by the Supporters' Trust, finished fourth in League One and won the Checkatrade Trophy this season. Photo: PA

What followed...

Four seasons in League Two - finishing 13th, 16th, 6th and 1st. Carried that momentum into League One, finishing 8th and then 4th. Beat Sunderland in the Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley last season. Kenny Jackett's men will start next season among the promotion favourites.

PART ONE: 'Big' clubs in League One: When patience was required

PART TWO: 'Big' clubs in League One: Those that have begun to yo-yo

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