It seems just yesterday that the unlikely pairing of Sam Allardyce and Jay Jay Okocha were gleefully leading Bolton Wanderers into Europe, but much has changed at the Trotters in recent seasons.
After being relegated from the Premier League in 2012, the Greater Manchester club have turned in increasingly poor performances in the Championship, as a result they now sit bottom of the table after 11 games of their third term in the second tier.
With just one win in the league this season, it’s not surprising to see Bolton priced at just 5/4 to be relegated, or that Dougie Freedman has been fired after just two years at the club.
Freedman was rated by many as the best manager in the Championship when he left Crystal Palace for Bolton and his struggles with the Trotters demonstrate the huge problems the club is facing.
Massive debts will plague the new boss’ attempts to turn Bolton’s fortunes around, and they seem destined to follow the unhappy example of Leeds and Portsmouth and drop into League One.
The route from Premier League to England’s third tier has become an unexpectedly well-trodden one in recent seasons, as sides dropping out of the top-flight struggle with both the financial cost of relegation and the bareknuckle competitiveness of the Championship.
Wolves were the most recent side to drop two divisions in as many years, although they did bounce straight back up into the Championship last term.
Others have not been so resilient. Leeds spent three years in League One and still look miles off reclaiming their place at England’s top table.
Portsmouth’s financial woes were even more dire than Leeds and Bolton’s, with the result that their descent did not end at League One.
Pompey are now a solid mid-table side in League Two, a far cry from their FA Cup-winning Premier League team.
Southampton, Norwich, Sheffields Wednesday and United and Leicester are other former Premier League regulars who have slipped out of the Championship. Some are now thriving once again, others are trapped in the mire.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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