A couple of weeks ago my colleague Marc took a look at how the end of one Reading campaign influence another, so today I'm taking a look at how promoted teams have gone into their campaigns of glory. I've looked back at each of the promoted sides from the past decade to try and figure out if there's any pattern and if a certain finish spells doom....
|FINISH||AUTOMATIC PROMOTION||PLAY-OFF WINNERS||TOTAL|
Everyone's got a chance
The good news here folks is that no matter where you finish one season, history has proven it's possible to mount a promotion bid. Five teams have tasted play-off glory after ending the previous year in the bottom third of the table including Hull who went from 21st in 2007 to play-off final glory a year later.
Likewise, three sides who ended up 11th-15th managed to work their way into the top two, including the last two runners-up Burnley (11th in 2013) & Watford (13th in 2014).
The finishing sweet spot
The teams that have the best chance of getting promoted are, unsurprisingly, those that finished the previous season in the Premier League. Eight teams have bounced straight back, with three of the past four play-off winners coming from that group.
In terms of Championship finishers, the sweet spot seems to be 7th and 10th. In particular 7th and 8th are magic numbers with six teams turning those placings into promotion magic the next season, including Reading between 2005 and 2006.
A long slog
While everyone does have a chance to turn things around in dramatic fashion, it's been a very tough task for teams to turn a bottom-half finish into automatic promotion the following season. In the past decade, no team finishing lower than 13th has gone up directly and QPR's takeover inspired promotion in 2011 is the only occasion a team outside the top 10 has then gone on to win the title.
What it means for Reading
Honestly? Who knows.
The table above just reinforces the popular view that it's one of the most unpredictable leagues in Europe and it's a division where anyone can make a run. With that being said, more than 60% of teams promoted have either been in the Championship top 10 or come down from the Premier League, so you can't disregard the form from the previous campaign. So while we should certainly be aiming to finish the season as strongly as possible, our final position really shouldn't be overblown. As many teams who've finished 11th-15th have won promotion as teams who failed in the play-offs so keep your heads up folks, glory could be just around the corner... oh and as for teams that end up relegated? That'll have to wait.....