UNSTOPPABLE: THE FIVE QUICKEST TEAMS TO WIN PROMOTION FROM CHAMPIONSHIP TO PREMIER LEAGUE
Every so often, a team comes along that simply blows you away.
They contain that air of high-octane dominance each time they grace the field, mercilessly dissembling opposition week after week.
You dread watching your team attempt to lock horns with them, yet, as a neutral, it really is a sight to behold. And right now, it is fitting to touch on those who have inflicted a reign of supremacy, too.
Just last weekend, results elsewhere meant that Norwich City made an instant return to the Premier League with five games to go after sitting pretty at the top of the table for much of this term.
Here are the five sides who have achieved the quickest promotions since the division was rebranded in 2004, and what the future has bore them since.
5. Wolves- 2017/18
It came as anything but a shock when Wolves, beholding a powerful Portuguese mantra, swept their opponents aside to clinch the Championship title in the 2017/18 season.
With a tally of 99 points, the Molineux side achieved promotion with four games to go and, at one stage, it seemed as though they were destined to surpass Reading’s record-breaking total of 106 points (which we will get to later).
Evidently, the foundations for further success were well-laid and it showed; after that, Wolves went on to record consecutive 7th-place finishes and subsequently embarked on a run to the Europa League quarter finals last year.
It must be said though, in the absence of star forward Raul Jimenez, Wolves have struggled over the current campaign.
They sit in 12th as of present, which, whilst it is far from a horrendous position to be in, it is not exactly what was envisaged in the West Midlands prior to this season.
4. Norwich City- 2020/21
Norwich have been branded with the proverbial yo-yo club tag for what seems an eternity, however, there is a school of thought that they could fare slightly better in the Premier League next term.
Norwich won promotion in 2019, but they came crashing right back down within an instant after finishing rock bottom of the table. This time out, they have wasted no time in brandishing their prowess and Watford’s 1-0 defeat to Luton Town last weekend incited a promotion party with five games to spare.
Players such as Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki have looked a cut above Championship level for the vast majority of the campaign, and with talent like that in your ranks, you will always be in contention.
With a fresh, young squad and a progressive philosophy behind the scenes, it certainly will be interesting to see what the future holds at Carrow Road.
3. Newcastle United- 2009/10
History indicates that Newcastle are real bastions of the top flight, however, that did not prevent them from dropping out of the league in 2009.
A tide of instability had swept through St James’ Park in their relegation campaign, which saw them blaze through four managers on their descent to the Championship. But they would waste no time in clambering back to the summit.
Boasting one of the best-assembled squads in the league’s history, Newcastle romped to promotion with five games to spare and tallied up 102 points in the process.
For the subsequent six years, the Magpies recemented their Premier League presence before succumbing to a second relegation in the 2015/16 campaign, where again, they would gain promotion at the first time of asking.
Although relegation fears had crept up earlier on this term, they seem to have hit a good run of form at the perfect time and, with a seven point advantage over 18th-placed Fulham, all suggests that survival is imminent.
2. Leicester City- 2013/14
Out of all the sides listed, it would be fair to say that Leicester City have embraced the most success- and by a fair margin, too.
The Foxes ran riot in the 2013/14 season as they chalked up 102 points and guaranteed promotion with six matches still to go. Whilst that was undoubtedly a significant triumph, it would soon pale in comparison to what was about to ensue.
After orchestrating the great escape to keep their heads above the water, Leicester went on to win the Premier League title the following campaign in what was, perhaps, the most amazing achievement that the sport has witnessed.
Although they spent a couple of subsequent seasons lingering in mediocrity, the appointment of Brendan Rodgers in 2018 proved to be a monumental masterstroke.
Rodgers has gone on to construct a star-studded squad at the King Power Stadium that can compete with the very best, and with the talent at their disposal, it is little surprise that they are frequently tussling at the high end of the table.
1. Reading 2005/06
If you are a Reading supporter, then this particular campaign is guaranteed to rekindle lost notions of euphoria.
Under the tuition of Steve Coppell, unprecedented levels were set; the rampant Royals amassed an English football record 105 points, conceded just 32 goals and put in 99 of their own. Patently, promotion was wrapped up early and after a 1-1 draw against Leicester City, football at the highest level was ensured with six matches to go.
Additionally, they tasted defeat on a mere two occasions and soon married their blueprint of supremacy with a very encouraging audition in their inaugural top flight bow..
With the likes of Kevin Doyle, Leroy Lita and Steve Sidwell all igniting the Madejski Stadium, Reading went on to finish 7th, a league record at the time.
However, the paradisiacal aura ultimately expired the following season. After offloading key players, Reading slumped to relegation and have only returned to the Premier League on one occasion, achieving promotion in the 2011/12 season before plummeting straight back down.
They have remained in the second tier ever since, though that has not come without a host of ups and downs- from Wembley heartbreak to relegation dogfights, Berkshire has well and truly witnessed it all.
Currently, Reading are 7th in the division, having seen their playoff ambitions dwindle considerably in recent weeks.