Pedigree – Part 2

Foxblogger’s look at what the past can teach us about the present continues as we take a gander at Derby County to Newcastle Utd.

Derby County
Premier League Experience: 7 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 1 Season
Last season: 18th

Derby County aren’t traditionally seen as a yo-yo side, but their six-year spell in the Premier League from 1996-2002 was the sides’ longest period in any division from the 1980’s onwards. Since 1980 Derby have been promoted or relegated a dozen times. Like Crystal Palace, the Rams seem to put together a reasonably good Championship season together after a rotten one. Under Nigel Clough there’s every chance this could continue.

Doncaster Rovers
Premier League Experience: 0 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 1 Season
Last Season: 14th

By one measure the Keepmoat Stadium was the most boring place to watch Championship football last season. Just 34 goals were scored in 23 league matches, a measly 1.5 per game. But to characterise Rovers in this way would be injustice equivalent to Graham Fenton’s £1.1m transfer fee, Doncaster were very entertaining and in the last seven seasons have provided their fans with nothing but joy.

In the same year as City last bulldozed their way back to the Premier League, Doncaster were lifting themselves back into the Football League through the Conference play-offs. Leicester haven’t played Doncaster since 1956, it’ll be the longest historical gap they bridge this season.

Ipswich Town
Premier League Experience: 5 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 7 Seasons
Last Season: 9th

Roy Keane may be the story for every other correspondent, but it’s the play-offs which have defined Ipswich Town’s recent history and left scars deeper than any the Irishman left on his opponents. The Tractor Boys have entered the play-offs on six occasions and won promotion only once.

The rot at Ipswich did seem to be ending under Jim Magilton, but the lack of killer instinct cost the side dear in the push for another play-off heartbreak. If Keane is going to perform his promotion miracles again one would think it will have to be as part of the top two.

Premier League Experience: 14 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 0 Seasons
Last Season: 19th (Relegated)

An average gate on 28,429 attended Middlesbrough’s home matches last season, over 80% of capacity. It’s a surprising statistic because the overriding impression of the Riverside Stadium last season was one of an empty stadium, apathetic fans and an anaemic strike force. The latter is at least true, Boro’ managed just 28 goals last term.

Comforting to Gareth Southgate’s men should be the knowledge that Middlesbrough’s last two stays in the second tier have been blissfully short, three seasons in total. 1997/98’s return straight back to the Premier League was made all the sweeter as Boro’ edged out Sunderland to automatic promotion by just one point. What would Middlesbrough fans give to see the same fate befall Newcastle?

Newcastle Utd
Premier League Experience: 16 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 0 Seasons
Last Season: 18th (Relegated)

Unlike their North-East rivals Middlesbrough, the Magpies were not founder members of the Premier League, but they do enter the Championship with more experience at that level than any other side. Only Manchester United and Arsenal finished higher than Newcastle in 2002/03.

The last time Newcastle found themselves in the second tier they spent four years here and almost relegated themselves again in 1991/92 (a season which included a 5-2 away defeat to Oxford Utd, a 6-2 demolition at the hands of Wolves and a 1-1 home draw with Cambridge Utd). The difference this time around is the Sky cameras will be on hand to delight in every such embarrassment. Newcastle visit Scunthorpe on 20th October…

Next time: Nottingham Forest to Reading

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