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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

'Big' clubs in League One: How Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Wolves and Blackburn quickly bounced back

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:45 06 June 2019

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins, Norwich's Paul Lambert and Tony Mowbray's Blackburn team celebrate promotion from League One. Picture: PA

Southampton boss Nigel Adkins, Norwich's Paul Lambert and Tony Mowbray's Blackburn team celebrate promotion from League One. Picture: PA

Archant

Ipswich Town will soon play third-tier football for the first time since 1956/57. STUART WATSON looks how other 'big' clubs fared in League One. Part four: The success stories...

Martin Allen fell out with owner Milan Mandaric in the season Leicester City were relegated to League One. Photo: PAMartin Allen fell out with owner Milan Mandaric in the season Leicester City were relegated to League One. Photo: PA

LEICESTER CITY

Prelude

The Foxes had never played outside the top two divisions. They'd been an established top-flight from 1995-2004 and had only been relegated from the Premier League four years earlier...

Leicester City march towards League One promotion with a 2-0 win at Southend in April 2009. Photo: PALeicester City march towards League One promotion with a 2-0 win at Southend in April 2009. Photo: PA

Relegation - 2007/08

Martin Allen is recruited from MK Dons as manager in the May. He falls out with owner Milan Mandaric over transfers and leaves by 'mutual consent' after just four games in charge. Gary Megson is appointed but leaves for Bolton just 41 days later. Ian Holloway takes over but cannot save them from a last day relegation.

Position: 22nd - W12 D16 L18 Pts 52

Matty Fryatt scored 32 goals as Leicester City won League One. Photo: PAMatty Fryatt scored 32 goals as Leicester City won League One. Photo: PA

Life in League One

One season: 2008/09. Finished: 1st (W27 D15 L4 Pts 96)

Holloway leaves in the summer and is replaced by Nigel Pearson. Gareth McAuley leaves for Ipswich. Richard Stearman goes to Wolves. Iain Hume is sold to Barnsley for £1.2m.

Experienced duo Chris Powell and Paul Dickov are recruited. Six players come in on loan from Premier League clubs, including Tom Cleverley from Manchester United.

Storm the league. Matty Fryatt scores 32 goals in all competitions. A club record run of 23 games unbeaten between November and March.

Leicester City captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri lift the Premier League trophy in 2016. Photo: PALeicester City captain Wes Morgan and manager Claudio Ranieri lift the Premier League trophy in 2016. Photo: PA

What followed...

King Power takeover, fronted by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. In or around the Championship play-off places for the next five seasons. Win the second-tier title in 2013/14. Are Premier League champions - did that actually happen?! - in 2016.

Glenn Roeder (right) and coach Lee Clark show their frustration during Norwich City's relegation season of 2008/09. Photo: PAGlenn Roeder (right) and coach Lee Clark show their frustration during Norwich City's relegation season of 2008/09. Photo: PA

NORWICH CITY

Prelude

Had a one-year dalliance with the Premier League in 2004/05. Life in the Championship was becoming a struggling with finishes of 16th and 17th. Hadn't played outside the top two tiers since 1958...

Norwich City captain Grant Holt lifts the League One trophy in 2009/10. Photo: PANorwich City captain Grant Holt lifts the League One trophy in 2009/10. Photo: PA

Relegation - 2008/09

Experienced strikers Darren Huckerby (San Jose Earthquakes) and Dion Dublin (retired) move on. Glenn Roeder was sacked in January with the team outside the drop zone on goal difference. Canaries go down under club legend Bryan Gunn.

Position: 22nd - W12 D10 L24 Pts 46

Paul Lambert celebrates Norwich City's promotion to the Premier League in 2011. Photo: PAPaul Lambert celebrates Norwich City's promotion to the Premier League in 2011. Photo: PA

Life in League One

One season: 2009/10. Finished: 1st (W29 D8 L9 Pts 95)

Sell David Marshall (Cardiff, £500k) and Sammy Clingan (Coventry, £650k). Sign Grant Holt (Shrewsbury, £500k), Russell Martin (Peterborough), and Fraser Forster (Newcastle, loan).

Lose opening game 7-1 to Colchester United at Carrow Road. Some fans run on the pitch and rip up their season tickets. Gunn is sacked. Paul Lambert is poached from the U's.

Wes Hoolahan comes good in his second season. Holt scores 30 goals in all competitions. Average attendance increases to 24,756.

Win 5-0 in reverse fixture against Colchester. Reach the semis of the Football League Trophy. Finish top, seven points clear of Leeds.

Teemu Pukki celebrates Norwich City's return to the Premier League. Photo: PATeemu Pukki celebrates Norwich City's return to the Premier League. Photo: PA

What followed...

Win the Championship to secure back-to-back promotions, Holt and Hoolahan again to the fore. Two mid-table finishes in the Premier League follow.

Jan Poortvliet resigned during Southampton's relegation season of 2008/09. Photo: PAJan Poortvliet resigned during Southampton's relegation season of 2008/09. Photo: PA

SOUTHAMPTON

Prelude

Had spent 27 consecutive years in the top-flight, followed by four in the Championship. Narrowly avoided relegation in 2007/08. Hadn't been in the third-tier since 1959/60...

Rickie Lambert kisses the Football League Trophy which Southampton won in their first season down in League One. Photo: PARickie Lambert kisses the Football League Trophy which Southampton won in their first season down in League One. Photo: PA

Relegation - 2008/09

Start with a 10-point deduction for going into administration. Head coach Jan Poortvliet resigns in January and youth boss Mark Wotte takes over. David McGoldrick scores 12 goals. Finish six points adrift of safety.

Position: 23rd - W10 D15 L21 Pts 45*

Rickie Lambert is carried off the pitch by jubilant fans after Southampton secured back-to-back promotions into the Premier League. Photo: PARickie Lambert is carried off the pitch by jubilant fans after Southampton secured back-to-back promotions into the Premier League. Photo: PA

Life in League One

Two seasons (2009-2011). Finished: 7th, 2nd

First season: 7th - W23 D14 L9 Pts 73*

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Once again started with a 10-point deduction. Appoint Alan Pardew as boss. Rickie Lambert, Dean Hammond, Radhi Jaidi, Dan Harding, Michail Antonio, Lee Barnard, Jose Fonte, Jason Puncheon all signed. By end of January more than £3m had been spent on fees.

Southampton finished eighth in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PASouthampton finished eighth in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: PA

Fail to win opening seven games, but win the Football League Trophy and finish seven points adrift play-off places.

Second season: 2nd - W28 D11 L7 Pts 95

Club owner Markus Liebherr dies in August. Pardew is sacked after a 4-0 win against Bristol Rovers. Nigel Adkins is appointed in September. A breakthrough year for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Secure second spot on the last day with a win against Walsall.

What followed...

Finish second in the Championship as Lambert scores 20+ goals for the third consecutive season. Have had four top eight finishes in the Premier League since under the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman.

Stale Solbakken was sacked as Wolverhampton Wanderers slipped towards League One. Photo: PAStale Solbakken was sacked as Wolverhampton Wanderers slipped towards League One. Photo: PA

WOLVES

Prelude

Three seasons in top-flight. Sack Mick McCarthy in February. Relegated from the Premier League under caretaker boss Terry Connor. Hadn't been in the third-tier since 1988/89...

Relegation - 2012/13

Wolverhampton Wanderers' captain Sam Ricketts lifts the League One trophy. Photo: PAWolverhampton Wanderers' captain Sam Ricketts lifts the League One trophy. Photo: PA

Steven Fletcher and Matt Jarvis are sold for big money. New Norwegian manager Stale Solbakken recruits from abroad and few are hits. He is sacked in January with the team 18th. Dean Saunders come in from Doncaster. Midlands club become the first to ever to experience successive relegations to third-tier. Saunders is fired.

Position: 23rd - W14 D9 L23 F55 A69

Life in League One

One season (2013/14). Finished: 1st (W31 D10 L5 F89 A31 Pts 103)

Kenny Jackett is appointed from Millwall and oversees a major clear-out of big earners including the likes of Karl Henry, Stephen Ward, Jamie O'Hara and Roger Johnson. Bakary Sako was persuaded to stay on.

There are only three signings. Sam Ricketts arrives from Bolton to become the new captain. Danny Batth emerges from the academy to become a symbol of the rebuild.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Sam Ricketts (bottom) and Danny Batth celebrate promotion back to the Championship. Photo: PAWolverhampton Wanderers' Sam Ricketts (bottom) and Danny Batth celebrate promotion back to the Championship. Photo: PA

Promotion was sealed with four games to spare. The final points tally - 103 - was a record for the division. Goals were spread around as Nouha Dicko, Leigh Griffiths and Sako each bagged 12 in the league.

Looking back...

Former Wolverhampton Express & Star journalist Tim Nash (who now runs wolvesbite.com), said: "When relegation to League One happened there was a lot of anger and it was a really toxic club. Fans were chanting 'your not fit to wear the shirt' at certain players.

"Kenny Jackett went on a public charm offensive. It became a much more humble club and the fans reconnected.

"They embraced the pressure. Winning became a habit. Nobody thought it at the time, but that relegation proved to be a blessing in disguise. For all the current success, supporters still talk about that season with great fondness."

Wolves have just finished seventh in the Premier League under Nuno Espirito Santo. Photo: PAWolves have just finished seventh in the Premier League under Nuno Espirito Santo. Photo: PA

What followed...

Just missed out on a Championship play-off place the following season. Finishes of 14th and 15th follow. A mega money Chinese takeover, the involvement of Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes and appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo kick-starts a speedy rise.

Won the Championship in impressive fashion. Have just finished seventh in the Premier League to qualify for the Europa League.

Owen Coyle was sacked as Blackburn Rovers slipped towards Championship relegation in 2016/17. Photo: PAOwen Coyle was sacked as Blackburn Rovers slipped towards Championship relegation in 2016/17. Photo: PA

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Prelude

Champions of England in 1994/95, Rovers had participated in all bar two of the opening 20 Premier League seasons. Twice just missed out on the Championship play-off places, then finished 15th. Hadn't played outside the top two divisions since 1980...

Blackburn Rovers celebrate League One promotion in 2017/18. Photo: PABlackburn Rovers celebrate League One promotion in 2017/18. Photo: PA

Relegation - 2016/17

Former Bolton manager Owen Coyle is appointed in the summer against a continuing backdrop of protests against the club's owners, Venky's.

Assistant boss Alan Irvine leaves to take on a role at Norwich. The likes of Anthony Stokes, Stephen Hendrie, Charlie Mulgrew and Danny Graham are signed. Grant Hanley and Shane Duffy are sold.

Coyle is sacked in February after winning just 11 games. Tony Mowbray takes over, but can't prevent the Lancashire side being relegated on the final day.

Bradley Dack is mobbed by fans as Blackburn Rovers get promoted back to the Championship. He scored 18 goals from midfield in 2017/18. Photo: PABradley Dack is mobbed by fans as Blackburn Rovers get promoted back to the Championship. He scored 18 goals from midfield in 2017/18. Photo: PA

Position: 22nd - W12 D15 L19 Pts 51

Life in League One

One year: (2017/18). Finished: 2nd (W29 D11 L6 Pts 96)

Bradley Dack is signed from Gillingham for £750k. He goes on to score 18 goals from midfield.

Blackburn Rovers finished 15th in their first season back in the Championship under Tony Mowbray. Photo: PABlackburn Rovers finished 15th in their first season back in the Championship under Tony Mowbray. Photo: PA

Graham and Mulgrew's class show at that level. Adam Armstrong is a useful loan addition from Newcastle. Peter Whittingham arrives to supply some experience. Ritchie Smallwood, a Bosman signing from Rotherham, starts every league game.

Rovers lose their opening two games. There are just four more defeats as they finish second - just behind Wigan and nine clear of Shrewsbury.

What followed...

A 15th place finish in the Championship last season.

THE STATS

- 42 teams have been relegated from the Championship, and subsequently played in League One, since it was rebranded in 2004/05;

- 11 have come straight back up (28%): Six as champions, two in second, three via the play-offs;

- Nine have made the play-offs in their first League One season: Three winners, six losers;

- Five have suffered a successive relegation (Luton, Portsmouth, Blackpool, Yeovil, Plymouth).

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

PART THREE: 'Big' clubs in League One: When more pain followed

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