Premiership Relegation

It can be heartbreaking when your team is relegated but what does it mean and what can be learnt from past relegation experiences?

Ipswich Town, Coventry City and Derby County have all played in the Premier League in the last decade. But, following their respective demotions to the second tier of English football, each side have been forced to deal with periods of struggle. Ipswich have made a particularly tough start to the new season, with them presently standing at the foot of the Championship.

Ipswich Town

The league toils of Ipswich Town this season under new high-profile managerial appointment Roy Keane have been overshadowed by sadness amongst the Portman Road faithful, as the club’s greatest ever manager, Sir Bobby Robson, passed away during the summer. Robson took the reins at Ipswich Town in 1968, and his 14 years in charge represented the most successful period in the history of the Suffolk side. The club finished as league runners-up, and the FA Cup was secured in 1978 – the centenary year of Ipswich Town.

UEFA Cup

Exciting Dutch pairing Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen helped propel the Tractor Boys to a 1981 UEFA Cup victory, but the following year saw Robson following in the footsteps of another former Portman Road boss, Sir Alf Ramsay, and accepting an invitation to become coach of the English national football team. Ipswich Town have largely endured tough top-flight experiences since, with their 9-0 drubbing by Manchester United in 1995 still standing as the all-time heaviest defeat in Premier League history.

Manager George Burley did take the club into Europe in the early part of the new millennium, with a 1-0 victory over Italian giants Inter Milan briefly reviving memories of the Robson glory days. But relegation came at the end of that season and Ipswich Town have since struggled to put together any kind of concerted promotion challenge.

Coventry City

When Coventry City tasted relegation from the Premiership in 2001, it marked the end of 34 consecutive years in the top division of English football. The Sky Blues had been taken into Division One in 1967, under then-boss Jimmy Hill, building on the Division Three title win of three years previously.

During their subsequent unbroken spell in the top-flight, Coventry City tasted their greatest victory, as they sprang one of the FA Cup Final shocks of all-time to overpower Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in a Wembley classic. The Midlands side twice came from behind to seal the win, with the acrobatic diving header from forward Keith Houchen remaining one of the most memorable goals to grace English football’s showpiece occasion. Manager Gordon Strachan pulled off a remarkable last-day relegation escape for Coventry City at the end of the 1996 season, but he could not save the Sky Blues five years later when they finally slumped out of the Premiership.

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