Just eight short years ago, Swansea City were staring relegation from the Football League square in the face. They finished just one point ahead of Exeter City who plunged into non-league football - from the old Division Three - along with Shrewsbury Town.

Today, the Swans stand proudly in the Premier League, just one point away from the magic 40 points that most newly promoted teams strive for, and are showing no signs of slowing down with nine games remaining.

This pleasant surprise and memorable achievement by the side from South Wales, has prompted GMF to take a walk down memory lane, and look back at the top five shock entries of clubs to make it into the Premier League.

5. Swindon Town - Promoted 1993

Many of the younger readers may not realise that the League Two leaders were once of the Premier League, but in 1993 the Robins were involved in one of the most exciting play-off finals of the decade.

Player manager Glenn Hoddle scored the opener for Swindon who went 3-0 up, only to get pegged back by Leicester City. A late penalty secured a 4-3 win that took them into the top-flight.

Town are scarcely remembered as a Premier League side because they were relegated the following year - bottom of the league by a clear 10 points.

4. Barnsley - Promoted 1997

The old Division One was taken by surprise in the 1996-97 season as runaway leaders Bolton Wanderers were followed into the Premier League by Barnsley.

Crystal Palace joined the other two by winning in the play-offs but they all kept each other company on the way back down the following season. They ended in the same order that they were promoted in.

3. Bradford City - Promoted 1999

In the 1995-96 campaign Bradford City were promoted from the old Division Two, and survived Division One the following year by the skin of their teeth ending up in 21st place. They made slight improvements in 97-98 finishing 16th before their promotion into the Premier League in 1999.

City finished second behind Sunderland but were booted straight back down to earth with just 26 points.

2. Blackpool - Promoted 2010

The most recent and probably most exciting of this top five were Blackpool. Tipped for relegation from the Championship in 2009-10 Ian Holloway took his small squad from a Northern Seaside town to 6th spot in the Championship.

Cardiff City thought that they were practically in the Premier League before their play-off final at Wembley, but were upset as Blackpool twice came from behind to win 3-2.

The 12,555 spectators that would cram into Bloomfield Road were treated to a year of fearless 'all out attack' football. It was said that Holloway's men often played a 4-2-4 formation and were scared of nobody.

On the final day of the season Blackpool took the lead against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but to the dismay of most of the country they ended up losing 4-2 which sent them straight back to the Championship.

1. Fulham - 2001

Now an established Premier League team, Fulham cruised into the top-flight with 101 points in 2000-01 season. Two years prior to that, they cruised out of the old Division Two with the same amount of points.

Go back a further two years to 1996-97 and Fulham were in the old Division Three. The Cottagers went from the lowest English League to the highest in the space of just six years, and now consistently hold their own.

 

Swansea will be looking to establish themselves as a Premier League team now, and few football fans would begrudge them their place with the entertaining, free-flowing football that they have exhibited so far this season.

Topics:
Football
Premier League