Premier League 2nd Season Syndrome is a Myth!

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So the next time some football pundit tells you a club is suffering from “2nd Season Syndrome”, shout back at the TV, “Bollocks”, it is actually a myth, it doesn’t really exist.

See we recently got into a discussion on the TNS forum with diab0 from the Royal Rendezvous site about 2nd Season Syndrome, after Reading’s relegation in 2008.  What typically happens?  Is it “myth or fact” that teams typically suffer from relegation in their 2nd Season?

So at the TNS offices, here in Wigan, we’ve done some research to prove the point!  Steve has got out his Rothmans Sky Sports Year book & I got my A4 pad and we made some notes.

So did you know a team in their 2nd Season in the Premier League, is more likely to finish in the Top 10, than they are to be relegated.  Actually they are more likely to be relegated in their first season, so never see a 2nd.

But let me explain, are you sat down as this bit gets a bit complicated:

In all there have been 62 teams promoted to the Premier League.  Now don’t get smart with me & say 3 teams, 21 seasons equals 63, sunshine.  In 1995 only 2 teams were promoted as the league reduced to 20 teams.

Of those 62 teams, only 56 teams have played a 2nd season, with QPR, Norwich & Swansea all entering their 2nd Season this time round.  Of course Reading Southampton & West Ham, about to play their 1st.

Of those 56 teams, 26 teams have been relegated in their 1st season, so almost half the teams (46.4%) ever promoted to the Premier League are relegated at the first hurdle.

So if you do get to your 2nd Season & there have been 30 teams who have managed this, what typically happens to you?  Well…..

Only 1 team has ever finished in the top 2 in their 2nd Season – Blackburn in 1994. (3.3%)

4 teams have finished in the top 6 in their 2nd Season – Blackburn 94, Newcastle 95, Blackburn 03 & Newcastle 12 (13.3%). #pattern

7 teams have finished in the top 9 in their 2nd Season – Blackburn 94, Newcastle 95, Forest 96, Derby 98, Sunderland 01, Blackburn 03 & Newcastle 12 (23.3%). #surprised?

10 teams have finished in the top 10 in their 2nd Season – Blackburn 94, Newcastle 95, Forest 96, Derby 98, Leicester 98, Sunderland 01, Blackburn 03, Birmingham 04, Newcastle 12 & WBA 12 (33.3%).

So this brings me to that so called dreaded 2nd Season Syndrome, in all only 7 teams in 19 seasons have suffered this fate, here’s your role call – Middlesbrough 97, Bradford 01, Ipswich 02, WBA 06, Reading 08, Hull 10 & Birmingham 11 (23.3%).

So in respect to when you shout back “Bollocks” at the Football pundit, back it up with these facts!  Just when did you last hear a pundit say; “2nd Season Top 10 Syndrome”, or “1st Season Relegation Syndrome”?  In reality a team is more likely to finish in the Top 10 in their 2nd Season, than get relegated.

In the end, the analogy is to easily placed on a team by a pundit, without being backed up by fact.

Yes more teams have suffered this fate recently with 4 teams in the last 6 years.  Though in the same period 7 teams have been relegated in their 1st season.

So just put it down to lazy hacks using a sound bite because they can’t be bothered to research.

Oh why I’m on and if you haven’t fallen asleep yet, some other interesting facts that came from the research.

In 1997 Bolton, Barnsley & Crystal Palace were promoted, in 1998 they were all relegated, it’s the only time all 3 promoted teams were relegated in their 1st season.

This last season 2011/12 (QPR, Norwich & Swansea) & 2001/02 (Fulham, Blackburn & Bolton) are the only 2 seasons where all 3 promoted teams have stayed up. #pattern

Finally the average finishing position in their 1st season for a promoted team is showing a worrying trend, let me explain:

First 5 Premier League Seasons – Average position Promoted teams finished was 13.8

6th to 10th Season – Average position was 14.6

11th to 15th Season – Average position was 15.4

16th to 19th Season – Average position was 15.6

Are teams finding its getting harder to jump from Championship to Premiership & perform?  Averages are showing they’re finishing lower & lower, only 4 teams in 27 in the last 9 seasons have finished in the top 10, Birmingham 2010, Reading 08, Wigan 06 & West Ham 06 achieving this.

But that’s a whole different article!

So remember when Hansen, Lawrenson or even Redknapp say “2nd Season Syndrome”, you know what to shout back at the TV.


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