As Tony Pulis settles into the Crystal Palace hot seat, the Welshman is facing a huge task to help the Eagles stave off relegation from the Premier League.
But while many pundits point to Palace's lack of quality and perilous start as prime reasons to expect Pulis to struggle in his quest, the former Stoke City manager can call on several examples of successfully keeping an unfancied team up against all odds.
Check out five of the most unlikely relegation escapes from previous campaigns.
Losing 2-0 at half time against Manchester City with just 225 minutes of the season left, Roy Hodgson’s Fulham were facing a meek return to the Championship after seven years in the top flight.
With results going against them, Fulham looked down and out until Diomansy Kamara bagged two in the final 20 minutes to grab a 3-2 win and keep them in the fight. A 2-0 win against fellow-strugglers Birmingham City the following week pulled them out of the relegation zone but, with 15 minutes to go on the final day, it looked as though it wouldn’t be enough.
As they laboured against a stubborn Portsmouth side at Fratton Park, results elsewhere meant Fulham needed a winner or they’d be relegated. With minutes left on the clock, Danny Murphy converted a Jimmy Bullard free-kick to nick all three points and survival on goal difference.
A third consecutive victory crowned a remarkable turnaround from a team that had only won five of their previous 35 league games, setting a series of events in motion that led to Hodgson becoming England manager four years later.
West Ham 2006/07
Early season hope following the signings of big-hitting Argentines Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano soon evaporated with The Hammers’ bubbles, as Alan Pardew’s troops found themselves embroiled in a relegation scrap.
Despite replacing Pardew with Alan Curbishley in November the 2006 FA Cup runners-up continued to struggle, taking just six points from their new boss’s first 12 games. West Ham looked like certainties for the drop, until an incredible return to form saw them win seven of their last nine matches.
Inspired by serial headline-maker Tevez, West Ham became the first away team to win at the Emirates Stadium and slayed champions Manchester United at Old Trafford during a magnificent run, which saw them claim more than half of their season’s points tally in the last two months.
Victory on the final day lifted the Happy Hammers to a lofty 15th position, although Curbs and his boys didn’t get the credit they deserved. This was down to relegated Sheffield United’s claims they should have received a points deduction for playing Tevez and Mascherano in breach of Premier League rules.
Coventry City 1996/97
So your team collects fewer points than its closest relegation rival and still stays up… now that’s a great escape by any stretch. Perennial strugglers Coventry defied logic and many pundits’ predictions to do just that in 1997, when they were the beneficiaries as Middlesbrough were docked three points after a no-show against Blackburn.
Boro earned the punishment after 23 of their players reported ill or injured the night before their trip to Ewood Park and decided they’d be better off playing another day. The FA had other ideas though and deducted Boro three points, before the sickly Teesiders succumbed to Rovers in the rearranged game.
Despite unsuccessfully appealing the decision, Middlesbrough were left in 19th place, two points adrift of the lucky Sky Blues. City developed a habit of surviving several nerve-jangling relegation scraps before finally going down in 2001, but this stands out as their most memorable.
West Brom 2004/05
No count down of the Premier League’s greatest escapes would be complete without mentioning West Brom’s final day heroics in 2005. We’re all familiar with images of a sea of Brummies holding Keiran Richardson aloft after the on-loan midfielder inspired his adopted club to unexpected safety.
But The Baggies’ escape is notable for more than just being the only team to beat the drop after lying bottom at Christmas. Sitting 20th before the last round of fixtures, West Brom required a minor miracle to haul themselves out of trouble, needing to beat Portsmouth and hope Norwich City, Southampton and Crystal Palace all failed to win.
Goals from Geoff Horsfield and Richardson meant the Black Country side held their part of the deal and, as news of Charlton’s late equaliser against Palace spread, pandemonium filled The Hawthorns.
If Tony Pulis needs a blueprint for success this season, he’d do worse than to follow Harry Redknapp's example. Appointed mid-way through the season from rivals Southampton, ‘Arry set about putting a team together that could pull them out of trouble.
After introducing eight January signings, including Benjani and Pedro Mendes, Redknapp’s new boys needed time to gel and went on a disastrous run at the beginning of 2005, picking up just one point from eight winless games.
There was no need to panic though, as a stunning Mendes double sealed victory against Man City and proved to be a catalyst for their season.
Pompey followed that up with victories against West Ham and Fulham and went on to win five of the next eight games. Their form was so good they even avoided a nail-biting final day, securing their safety with a 2-1 win against Wigan in the penultimate game of the season.
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