It’s the richest game in football next weekend, as Aston Villa and Fulham do battle in the Championship play-off final.
We take a look at how recent play-off winners have fared in the Premier League, kicking off with David Wagner’s Terriers…
Huddersfield Town – 2017
Having not played top-flight football since the era of short-shorts and big moustaches (1972, to be precise), many doubted whether the Terriers could handle the step up.
They ran things a bit close, with survival finally confirmed in their penultimate game. But survive they did, and with some great memories along the way – including October’s 2-1 triumph over Manchester United at a packed John Smith’s Stadium.
Hull City – 2016
The Tigers endured a difficult summer after their Wembley victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Boss Steve Bruce left in acrimonious circumstances during the summer, and the Prem season got off to a miserable start.
Despite a late-season rally under January appointment Marco Silva, Hull finished 18th and were banished back to the second-tier.
Norwich City – 2015
Having finished third in the Championship in 2014-15 before breezing to a play-off triumph, hopes were high for the Canaries.
But while Alex Neil’s men were often exciting to watch – that 5-4 home loss to Liverpool remains one of the great Premier League games – they fell short in the top-flight. In the end they finished 19th, despite a half-decent home record.
Queens Park Rangers – 2014
Sorry, R’s fans. We’ve got to talk about the 2014-15 season…
After a last-gasp Wembley win over Derby County – courtesy of a Bobby Zamora strike – the West London club were back in the big time after just 12 months away.
But the good times wouldn’t last long. QPR finished rock-bottom of the Premier League with 30 points, and didn’t win at home for nearly five months. Ouch.
Crystal Palace – 2013
The Eagles soared to promotion after play-off final victory over rivals Watford in 2013. And their rise continued, with a top-half finish in 2014-15. Since then, the South London club have stabilised – producing a solid 11th-placed finish last term.
West Ham United – 2012
However, the biggest success story of recent years has been that of the Hammers. Despite a difficult 2017-18, they’ve generally fared well since their 2012 return to the Premier League.
In 2015-16, the Irons finished seventh, beating Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United along the way. That placing marked their best league finish since 2002.
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