The Championship playoffs always provide excitement but those who come through them arguably fall into two camps.
Some sides carry their momentum into the Premier League, while others perhaps get caught up in their planning and overcomplicate things, often resulting in relegation.
Last season’s playoff winners Brentford look like they could fall into the former category, with the Bees pushing for a top-half finish heading into the final day.
They have certainly done better than Fulham, who they lost to in 2020. The Cottagers have won two of the last four playoff finals, only to return to the Championship at the first time of asking on both occasions.
Hammers Lead the Way
West Ham United may have developed into regular European contenders under Davis Moyes but it is only two seasons since they were battling relegation.
In fact, there was a spell where they played in three Championship playoff finals in nine years. They lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in 2004, before returning to Cardiff to beat Preston by the same scoreline 12 months later.
They would eventually be relegated back to the second tier in 2011 but bounced back with playoff final glory in 2012, Ricardo Vaz Te’s late goal seeing them seal a 2-1 win over Blackpool.
Typical of the Hammers, their current spell in the Premier League has been somewhat of a rollercoaster, recording finishes of 10th, 13th, 12th, 7th, 11th, 13th, 10th and 16th before last term’s breakout season when they finished sixth.
Moyes’ men have sealed another European finish this term and with the 2022-23 campaign marking their 11th in the Premier League since beating Blackpool, they are the most successful team to come through the playoffs.
Rovers Made Immediate Impact
Blackburn became only the second side ever to win the Premier League when Kenny Dalglish guided them to glory in 1994-95. However, that success means it is easy to forget that they had previously been something of an also-ran before local millionaire Jack Walker transformed their fortunes.
Rovers’ place in the inaugural Premier League came courtesy of a 1-0 Wembley win over Leicester and they hit the ground running in their first top-flight campaign since 1965-66.
Pinching a young striker named Alan Shearer from under the nose of Manchester United certainly helped, with the brilliant forward netting 16 goals in 21 appearances as his side finished fourth in the standings.
That remains the best performance by a team promoted through the playoffs.
An honourable mention goes to Ipswich, who were fifth in 2000/01. The Tractor Boys would be relegated the following year but their progress was compromised by the added distraction of playing in the UEFA Cup. They have not been back in the Premier League since and have endured their fair share of travails.
That said, for all of the subsequent heartache, some fans will argue that it was worth it for the payoff of seeing their side beat Inter Milan 1-0 on a famous night at Portman Road in November 2001.