Biggest drop in English Football?

What’s the record for a club falling the farthest via relegation? For instance, Leeds United was a Prem team for twelve years before managing to drop all the way to League 1.

Any bigger drops?

Leeds was going to be my first guess…

Luton Town was in the top division for awhile, right? They are now in the Conference National (5th tier, I think). Oxford United is another I see mentioned after a Google search.

Some discussion here:

Oxford United went from the old Division One in 1988 (what’s now known as the Premier League) all the way down to Conference National (i.e. one division below the Football League) by 2006. That’s a four-division drop in comparison with Leeds’ two-division drop.

I can think of bigger rises, like Wimbledon FC going from the low reaches of the Southern League all the way to the Premier League, but you don’t tend to see big changes in the other direction. Teams tend to go broke trying to keep up giant stadiums in the Bumbleshire County League or whatever.

Good one. Looks like they dropped 83 places since 1956.

In the early 80s, Bristol City were relegated three times in consecutive seasons - an equivalent drop now would be, say, Wigan being relegated this year and by 2013 being in League 2. All fairness to bristol, this run of futility did require them to go bankrupt - I don’t think it would be possible to fall this far, this quickly without serious financial mismangement.

That’s a long way to fall in very quick succession.

Swansea City managed to go from the then fourth division to the first division, actually topping the entire league on several occasions, and back down to the fourth, all in the space of about eight seasons during the seventies and eighties. And of course they are now in position to return to the top tier again.

How does that happen? I mean, what is going on from a financial or managerial perspective that leads to this?

I’m not sure that it *could *happen, now. The financial gulf between the Premier League and the rest, and even between the top of the EPL and the bottom, is too big. We get quite excited these days when a newly-promoted side gets near the top during the first few games of the season, but the idea of one of those teams actually winning the league seems far-fetched. Nottingham Forest did it in the late seventies and other teams did it in the past too. But it was a different age, things were much more even financially. TV money was smaller and was divided more equally.

In Swansea’s case they got a bright young manager (former Liverpool star John Toshack). I don’t know if some kind of financial injection helped their ascent, but they did get into money trouble on the way down, as is often the case.

From the 1930s to 1984, Wolverhampton Wanderers spent all but a few seasons in the top division. They were relegated all the way to division four in three consecutive seasons from 1984 to 1986, but have since recovered to become a Premier League team again, in the process becoming the first club ever to have won all four football league divisions at some point in their history.

The lowest placed team on the English football pyramid to ever play in the top flight of English football is Glossop North End who currently play in North West Counties Premier Division (level 9 of English football). I’ve not included Darwen as the original club was wound up in 2008.

Question - is this a real league? I ask because, in the USA, it’s common to refer to the backwoods hinterlands as “Bumblefuck County,” or a variant, and your context makes it seem similar.


Nah, it’s a joke akin to “BFE”.