Now and Then – The Premier League Relegation Strugglers Learn from the Past?

By Rebecca Coles. As they say, what goes up must come down. And this season the struggle for Premier League survival is no battle; it’s a relegation scrap, writes Rebecca Coles. The Premier League line-up for 2013/14 included promoted Crystal Palace, Cardiff and Hull. All three sides have had their moments but the Tigers are the only ones not currently scrapping to preserve their top-flight status.

Over the years various records have been set by the league’s newest arrivals:

  • Newcastle still hold the title for the most successful promoted team, finishing third in 1993/94.
  • In 1997/98, newcomers Barnsley, Palace and Bolton were all relegated together, which has never happened since.
  • For the first time in the history of the league, 2001/2002 saw all three promoted clubs – Fulham, Bolton and Blackburn – avoid relegation.
Peter Beardsley was an integral member of Newcastle's 1993-1994 successful campaign

Peter Beardsley was an integral member of Newcastle’s 1993-1994 successful campaign

While the Bluebirds are experiencing their first season in the top flight, Crystal Palace and Hull are no strangers to the Premier League.

The Eagles have made it to the chosen land on four occasions but seem to have become resigned to immediate relegation. Hull’s debut came in 2008/09 and they made a huge impression by winning six of their opening nine fixtures before narrowly surviving on the final day despite a home defeat to Manchester United. However, the reprieve was short-lived with the club slipping back to the Championship the following term having garnered just 30 points from 38 games.

So what does it take to be successful in your first season with the big boys? Well, sticking by your manager could just be the answer.

Despite Hull’s Egyptian-born millionaire supremo trying to alter the club’s name, Steve Bruce is still alive and kicking.

On the other hand, Palace and Cardiff are another matter. The Londoners started the season with the charismatic Ian Holloway in charge. But his reputation for being a class clown was not enough to satisfy the Selhurst faithful and Tony Pulis, who has never experienced relegation, was brought in.

Tony Pulis has transformed the Eagles from relegation certainties to survival hopefuls

Tony Pulis has transformed the Eagles from relegation certainties to survival hopefuls

As for Cardiff, we all knew that Vincent Tan was going to be an interesting sight due to his love of pulling on a Cardiff shirt over his suit and tie! What we didn’t predict, however, was the sudden axing of Malky Mackay.

With the bizarre events in South Wales unfolding throughout the season, it really is no wonder Cardiff have struggled. And that’s even before you take into consideration the appointment of inexperienced boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Bringing in new players midway through the season has also proven to be far from a guaranteed formula for success. But you do get some exceptions to the rule, such as Bruce’s signing of striker Shane Long.

Cardiff may have had the deepest pockets of all the clubs to reach the top flight but their recruitment policy has hit the skids with loan signing Wilfried Zaha their only real glimmer of hope.

Wilfried Zaha has found it tough going in his first season in the Barclays Premier League

Wilfried Zaha has found it tough going in his first season in the Barclays Premier League

So it would appear that consistency and experience could well be the key to a successful campaign in the Premier League.

As it stands, the newly-promoted club with the best chance of survival is Hull, while Palace should be safe in the hands of Pulis. But I believe the chaotic structure at Cardiff will see the Welsh club tumble through the basement door along with West Brom and Fulham, who are no strangers to managerial changes.

Which of the newly promoted sides will head straight back down? Does Tony Pulis deserved Manager of the Season if he can keep Crystal Palace afloat? And what is the key to avoiding the drop?

Read the rest of the Now and Then series by Rebecca Coles here!

Follow @Rebecca_L_Coles

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