The nearly clubs of the Premier League’s history

Tamhas Woods

Where would we be without the Premier League and its inherent dramas?

Would Arsenal still be a bunch of buffet-gorging wideboys? Perhaps Manchester United would not be a global brand? Would we have ever had the chance to see this?

SEE ALSO: Why Manchester United upstart Jesse Lingard should be working at McDonalds

Leicester’s title win of 2015/16 seemed to affirm that the romance of football is not completely stone dead. There is no doubt that over the past quarter-century, we have loved seeing a provincial club occasionally dine with the big boys – even if just for a single season!

Cases in hand include Swindon and Barnsley. Who can possibly forget the two that simply came and went?

The latter club broke no particular records, but enjoyed a famous (and since repeated!) win at Anfield in November 1997. The Tykes also knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, that season.

For their part, John Gorman’s brave Swindon Town team showed no fear when faced with the elite. They seldom wanted for goals…but, sadly for Gorman and his long-suffering charges, neither did the opposition.

For Swindon, a 5-0 home defeat to Leeds on the final day of 1993/94 resulted in an unwanted achievement:

SEE ALSO: Leeds’ best PL XI

Then there was Bradford, a side seemingly doomed to relegation as the endgame of 1999/2000 approached. A favourable run of results, culminating in a 1-0 win over Liverpool, saw the Bantams beat the odds. The club from West Yorkshire duly went down the following season with a meagre 26 points.

And now, thanks to some excellent home form, Burnley will finally be an established top flight club, after promotions in 2009 and 2014 both led to instant relegation.

In a perverse twist, we look at smaller clubs that have come agonisingly close to Premier League membership and never attained it.

Remember these?

SEE ALSO: Why Bolton legend Jussi Jaaskelainen’s refusal to retire is just what football needs.

So not exactly life-affirming stuff, but Brighton and Hove Albion look good for a Premier League debut in August, and Huddersfield may yet join them.


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