Promoted trio aim to stay

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 August, 2005, 12:00am

Don't jump to easy conclusions about Sunderland, Wigan and West Ham - the three newcomers to the English Premiership.

The common view is that there is a massive gulf between England's top two divisions, but it doesn't tally with recent history.

You have to go back eight years to find the last season when all three promoted clubs went straight back down, and at least two promoted sides have managed to stay up in four of the seven seasons since.

It may seem difficult to equate Championship form with the standard needed to compete in the Premiership, but history suggests there is some correlation between the two.

A key statistic is the number of defeats suffered by each promoted club, with nine defeats a significant cut-off point.

Of the 35 previous teams promoted to the Premiership, 18 had suffered nine or fewer defeats during their promotion season. Of those, 12 (67 per cent) survived past their first season in the Premiership. By contrast, of the 17 teams with 10 or more defeats during their promotion season, only six (35 per cent) survived.

Wigan just make the cut-off with nine defeats - Sunderland (10 defeats) and West Ham (15 losses) both fail this test.

It is also worth looking for promoted teams with a well-balanced home and away record. Of the 14 teams who incurred no more than 60 per cent of their defeats home or away during their promotion season, 10 (71 per cent) have survived. Only eight (38 per cent) of the other 21 promoted teams have survived.

Wigan pass this test, too. Of their nine defeats, five (56 per cent) were at home and four (44 per cent) away. It also augurs well that they had fewer defeats away than at home - four sides have been promoted to the Premiership with fewer or the same number of defeats away as at home, and three have survived.