conclusion of the recent Premier League season, the longest in the
competition’s history thanks to the pandemic, we’re just a few weeks away from the
beginning of the next campaign.
It’s come a long way since 1992, when players from outside Britain and Ireland
were a rarity and transfer fees in the single digit millions were considered
extortionate, but continues to maintain its status as the greatest spectacle in
the footballing world.
Forty-nine teams have
contested the league since its inception, a total of twenty per year with the
exception of the first three campaigns, which boasted twenty-two. Of these, three endure the
pain of relegation each year, though with the ever-growing gulf between the
Premier League and the Football League, the same teams seem to drop out and
quickly return every time.
Not every team has
enjoyed this ‘bouncebackability’ (as Iain Dowie once coined it), however, and many
have endured years or decades trying and failing to return to their former
home. Leeds United were one of these until they ended eighteen years of misery with their Championship victory this year and the following teams have suffered absences on a par with or far greater to theirs.