Strong recent record of relegated teams should give Sheffield United hope in Championship

It’s no secret clubs relegated from the Premier League often have trouble reclaiming their top-flight status – but recent history is a cause for optimism for Sheffield United as they begin life back in the Championship.

By Steve Jones
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 1:17 pm

The club has spent 12 years away from the promised land of English football following both of their previous relegations and even dropped into the third tier for a six-season spell between 2011 and 2017.

Still, there’s good reason why things could be different this time round and they join the 23 other relegated clubs who have been promoted back to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity.

In the last five seasons, four relegated teams have bounced back straight away – three of them via automation promotion. That’s good news for Sheffield United, given their poor record at Wembley.

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Sheffield United will be hoping to bounce straight back to the Premier League next season.

During this time, at least one previously relegated side has made the Championship play-offs in each campaign. Just one team has gone up via this route, though – Fulham in 2019/20.

Both Norwich City and Watford regained their Premier League status at the first time of asking last season, while Bournemouth, the other relegated team, finished sixth.

Never have all three relegated teams been promoted, however, and only six times in 28 seasons have two teams done it at the first attempt.

Soberingly, there are 27 sides who are yet to return, including near neighbours Sheffield Wednesday.

But there’s another cause for hope: parachute payments. These are guaranteed to clubs who drop out of the Premier League in the three seasons following their relegation – unless they return to the top flight in that time - to help them manage the drop-off in income.

The Blades will receive around £44 million this year and potentially £34 million in 2022 and £16 million the following year.

A 10-year study by three football finance experts at Sheffield Hallam University found those clubs who received parachute payments “are twice as likely to be promoted to the [Premier League] compared to clubs without and considerably less likely to suffer further relegation to League One”.

The payments have also increased considerably since Sheffield United last received them.

No wonder they have been tipped for a quick return to the Premier League. A two-time Championship promotion-winner in the dugout won’t hurt their chances either.