Every season, no matter how exciting, three teams from the Premier League are relegated. Three teams from the Championship are promoted and take their place in England’s top flight. The top 2 squads at the end of the season are automatically promoted, while the next four teams engage in a play-off for the third and final promotion spot. Here is a look at the 3 new Premier League teams, and how they got here.
Bournemouth were the champions of The Championship this season, accruing 90 points from their 46 league games. They scored 98 goals on the season, while allowing 45 for +53 goal differential. They were promoted up the ranks until they joined The Championship for the 2012-13 season. Amazingly, the club was in League Two (fourth tier) as recently as 2008-09. So the rise of the club has been fairly quick by any standard.
The club has a heavily UK and Irish-based roster. They only have 5 players on their roster who do not hail from the UK or Ireland. The club also didn’t rely on upper league talent. They only had one loanee who was a significant contributor to their success this season — Artur Boruc, the Polish goalkeeper from Southampton, playing in 37 league games. So there is no real reason to worry about the club taking a huge dive due to loanees returning to their clubs.
As for the club, defender Tommy Elphick is the captain, having been at the club since 2012. Their leading scorer this season was Callum Wilson, who had 20 league goals. Frenchman Yann Kermorgant followed with 15, and Brett Pitman had 13 to round out the double digit scorers. Steve Cook joined Elphick in defense as the only two players to start all 46 games. The club had 5 midfielders who started over 30 matches, with Andrew Surman, Marc Pugh, Harry Arter, Charlie Daniels, and Matt Ritchie.
The club is owned by Maxim Demin, a Russian businessman who purchased the club in 2011 for a reported 850,000 pounds. The Chairman is Jeff Mostyn, while the club is managed by Eddie Howe, who is only 37. He began managing the club back in 2012, where he guided the club to promotion in League One competition. The next season the club finished 10th in the Championship, only 6 points out of a play-off spot. This season, he led the club to the top, gathering the league title and promotion. The Cherries will be in the top flight of English football for the first time ever.
Watford finished just a single point behind Bournemouth, finishing second by just the slimmest of margins. They had a chance to win the league title, but squandered their opportunity when they drew their final match at home to Sheffield Wednesday. A trophy would have been nice, but I am fairly certain that they are pretty happy with their automatic promotion to the Premier League.
The club’s roster is very new, with only defender Lloyd Doyley joining the club before 2010. Watford took a very different approach than Bournemouth to their promotion. They brought 8 players in on loan from teams in the Premier League, as well as Italian teams. No player on their squad played in all 46 league matches, with only one player starting in more than 40. Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes joined over the summer on a free transfer from Tottenham, and started in 44 league matches. Forward Troy Deeney is the team captain, and has been at the club since 2010. Deeney also led the club in goals this season with 21 in Championship play, while new addition Odion Ighalo was just behind with 20. Loanee Matej Vydra scored 16 goals for the club. The club had 31 players who made a Championship appearance.
Watford is owned by a father-son duo of Italian businessman Gino and Giampaolo Pozzo, although Watford is primarily run by Gino. Giamopaolo also owns Udinese Calcio in Italy and Granada CF in Spain. Raffaele Riva is the chairman of the club, while Slavisa Jokanovic is the manager. Jokanovic is a former defensive midfielder for multiple clubs across Europe. He was appointed in October 2014, after the club had gone through 4 coaches in 5 weeks.
Despite the club badge looking like a moose, the nickname of the club is the Hornets. The badge is actually the symbol of the county Hertfordshire, a hart, which is an archaic word for stag. It really is an interesting situation.
These two clubs ended the season knowing that they were going to be heading to the Premier League. Norwich City, on the other hand, had to do it the hard way.
Norwich City finished the regular season just outside of the automatic promotion spots in 3rd. That meant that they had to go through the promotion play-offs. Their first opponent was Ipswich Town. They drew the first leg before taking the second leg 3-1 at home. They then headed to Wembley for the Promotion Final. Waiting for them was Middlesbrough, who took both of the regular season matchups between the teams. The third time was a charm though for Norwich City, taking a 2-0 victory and their ticket to the Premier League.
The club had a group of players that made up the core of the club this season. Goalkeeper John Ruddy started all 49 league matches, while CM Bradley Johnson, LB Martin Olsson, and RB Russell Martin each had over 40 league starts. The leading scorer for the club this season was striker Cameron Jerome, who put 20 balls into the netting during league play. Johnson, Gary Hooper, and Lewis Grabban each had over 10 league goals as well.
Norwich City is a public limited company. The majority joint shareholders are Delia Smith and Stephan Phillips and have been elected as directors. The manager of the club is Alex Neil, who was hired in January, and went on an impressive run recording a 67% win percentage. The club nickname is The Canaries, which is easy to see, considering there is a canary on their crest.
These three clubs will be replacing Hull City, QPR, and Burnley. Each have the potential to really shake up the Premier League, and we will eagerly await next season.