Pedigree – Part 4

The new season begins in less than 3 days, excited yet? The final part of the Pedigree series is below.

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Scunthorpe United
Premier League Experience: 0 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 0 Seasons
Last Season: 6th (Promoted)

Foxblogger had the pleasure of watching Scunthorpe at their first Wembley appearance last season. Back in March the JTP Final between the Iron and Luton was called the best domestic game at Wembley since it was rebuilt. That match was quickly eclipsed by the League One play-off final in May and this time it was Scunthorpe who fell on the smiley side of a 3-2 scoreline.

Scunthorpe’s first season in the Championship after a 44-year absence ended in immediate relegation. It’s easy to forget that Nigel Adkins’ side actually started the season quite well, sitting happily in mid-table until November. But by New Years’ Day 2008 the Iron had slipped into the bottom three and never got out. Watching what lessons they have learned from this experience will be interesting.

Sheffield United
Premier League Experience: 3 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 2 Seasons
Last Season: 3rd

Now here’s a side haunted by the past. Absolute certainties don’t come much closer than five minutes in conversation with a Blades fan and the words “West Ham” and “Tevez” cropping up. If Sheffield United fans can finally come to terms with their relegation long enough to focus on the present they’ll see a side more than capable of bringing them back to the Premier League. Maybe once they get there they’ll get more than eight points from their final 11 matches of the season too?

Sheffield United are another of the eight founder members of the Premier League who have since lost their grip on the cash cow they helped to create. It took the Blades 12 long years to get themselves promoted back to the Premier League after their relegation before last but you’d be surprised if they took as long this time.

Sheffield Wednesday
Premier League Experience: 8 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 4 Seasons
Last Season: 12th

It’s a measure of how far Sheffield Wednesday fell in the years following their relegation from the Premier League that last season’s 12th place in the Championship was the club’s second best season in the last ten years.

It’s difficult to know how to place Wednesday. In 2009 the club oscillated between 12th and 13th place and no further. What that says about ambitions is anyone’s guess, but Wednesday have tended to be slow starters since their return to the Championship. Two years in League One has taught the club to live within its means, but it’s difficult to picture a Wednesday promotion push on the back of prudence.

Swansea City
Premier League Experience: 0 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 1 Season
Last Season: 8th

Swansea fans are used to seeing their team winning. The side hasn’t finished in the bottom half of any table since 2002/03, which considering the Swans have been promoted twice during that period is a very impressive record.

But the departure of Roberto Martinez could lead to a case of second season syndrome. We’ll take a closer look at Swansea in our first weekly preview on Friday.

Premier League Experience: 2 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 2 Seasons
Last Season: 13th

Twice the Hornets have made it to the Premier League, and twice they have been unceremoniously dumped out of the division. Still, when you consider Derby’s last effort you might think that 24 and 28 points aren’t exactly terrible hauls for small teams with tight budgets in the top flight these days. Perhaps Burnley will provide a new benchmark this season?

Following their latest relegation Watford looked odds-on to return straight back, but just one win in their final 14 games of 2007/08 meant the Hornets scraped into the play-offs on goal difference alone. A side truly out of form were duly trounced 6-1 on aggregate by eventual play-off winners Hull.

Watford were the first side Foxblogger ever saw Leicester play. Boxing Day 1993 saw City equalise in the last minute to snatch a 4-4 draw. There really was no hope for me after that.

West Brom
Premier League Experience: 4 Seasons
Current Spell in Championship: 0 Seasons
Last Season: 20th (Relegated)

In only two of the last eight seasons have West Brom remained in the division in which they started. Even those campaigns weren’t dull; one featured a final day escape from relegation in which any three of the bottom four could have gone down, the other featured a play-off final defeat at the hands of Derby County.

Despite all this movement, the Baggies have been keen not to overextend themselves. As a result they find themselves in excellent financial shape, something which can’t exactly be said for other promotion rivals such as their opening day opponents, Newcastle United.

With a goalscorer, West Brom may well prove the biggest threat in the division.

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