The Championship play-off final is often described as the most valuable single football match in the world and winning promotion to the Premier League offers clubs huge financial incentives in terms of revenue, sponsorship and TV money.
In recent years the likes of Nottingham Forest, Brentford and Aston Villa have all enjoyed successful promotions to the top-flight by winning the play-off final. Winning promotion to the Premier League is a huge achievement in itself but staying in the top-flight is an even greater hurdle which several teams have failed to overcome.
But how successful have the play-off winners been during the Premier League era and what is their survival rate of the third and final promoted team? Here is everything you need to know.
When were the Football League play-offs introduced?
The Football League play-offs were first introduced in 1987 and they have taken place at the conclusion of every season since then. The first two finals were played over two legs. However, since 1990 the play-off final has taken place over one game which has traditionally been played at a neutral venue such as Wembley Stadium or the Millenium Stadium.
Blackburn Rovers in 1992 became the last team to win promotion from the old second division before the introduction of the Premier League in the 1992/93 campaign. Blackburn successfully adjusted to life in the top-flight and they were crowned Premier League champions just three years later in 1995.
Who is the most successful team in the play-offs?
Since the Premier League was formed a total of 30 teams have won promotion to the top-flight via the Championship play-offs. Crystal Palace have been the most successful team in this era and they have been promoted through this method in three of their four finals. They also won promotion to the top-flight in 1989 and Ian Wright scored a crucial double in that final.
How many teams have survived in the top-flight after play-off glory?
The promoted teams from the Championship have generally struggled to adapt to life in the top-flight and just 13 teams have survived in the Premier League in the last 30 years.
The most successful team from the play-offs during the Premier League era is Ipswich Town. George Burley’s side shook up the status quo in the 2000/2001 season and qualified for the UEFA Cup with a stunning fifth place finish. The standout performer for the Tractor Boys was record signing Marcus Stewart who bagged an impressive 19 goals.
Leicester City are another hugely successful promoted team and they recorded a 9th place finish in the 1996/1997 campaign whilst also earning a place in Europe after their League Cup victory under manager Martin O’Neill.
The worst performance from a newly promoted team is Derby County in the 2007/2008 campaign and they were relegated with a record low points tally of just 11 points. The Rams managed just one top-flight victory in the entirety of the campaign and they lost a total of 29 of their 38 matches.
Overall teams from the play-offs have a 43.3% record of survival in the top-flight. Steve Cooper’s Nottingham Forest side will be hoping to improve on that record in the final few weeks of the season as they battle to remain in the Premier League.
- 1993: Swindon - 1993/1994 (22nd) - relegated
- 1994: Leicester - 1994/1995 (21st) - relegated
- 1995: Bolton - 1995/1996 (20th) - relegated
- 1996: Leicester - 1996/1997 (9th) - survived
- 1997: Crystal Palace - 1997/98 (20th) - relegated
- 1998: Charlton - 1998/99 (18th) - relegated
- 1999: Watford - 1999/2000 (20th) - relegated
- 2000: Ipswich - 2000/2001 (5th) - survived
- 2001: Bolton - 2001/2002 (16th) - survived
- 2002: Birmingham - 2002/2003 (13th) - survived
- 2003: Wolves - 2003/2004 (20th) - relegated
- 2004: Crystal Palace - 2004/2005 (18th) - relegated
- 2005: West Ham - 2005/2006 (9th) - survived
- 2006: Watford - 2006/2007 (20th) - relegated
- 2007: Derby - 2007/2008 (20th) - relegated
- 2008: Hull City - 2008/2009 (17th) - survived
- 2009: Burnley - 2009/2010 (18th) - relegated
- 2010: Blackpool - 2010/2011 (19th) - relegated
- 2011: Swansea - 2011/2012 (11th) - survived
- 2012: West Ham - 2012/2013 (10th) - survived
- 2013: Crystal Palace - 2013/2014 (11th) - survived
- 2014: QPR - 2014/2015 (20th) - relegated
- 2015: Norwich - 2015/2016 (19th) - relegated
- 2016: Hull - 2016/2017 (18th) - relegated
- 2017: Huddersfield - 2017/2018 (16th) - survived
- 2018: Fulham - 2018/2019 (19th) - relegated
- 2019: Aston Villa - 2019/2020 (17th) - survived
- 2020: Fulham - 2020/21 (18th) - relegated
- 2021: Brentford - 2021/22 (13th) - survived
- 2022: Nottingham Forest - TBC