Premier League Switcharoo

Updated: Jul 25, 2018

In the past fifteen years the footballing landscape in England has changed dramatically, in 2003 who would have thought Leicester could have been league champions? Who would have thought that Manchester City and Chelsea would be the football powerhouses they are now?

If that's a lot of change, then imagine how English football has morphed since 1972, the last time Huddersfield were relegated from the First Division. Here we take a look at the table from that season and see where England's premier sides in 1972 are now.

Derby County - 1st

A 37-year-old manager by the name of Brian Clough grabbed his first major trophy in 1972 as he guided the Rams to the league title. Now, following years of financial mismanagement

Derby are in the Championship, on the back of yet another failed promotion bid.

Leeds United - 2nd

Don Revie was left red-faced as his mighty Leeds United missed out on the title by just one point. Now the LS11 club are a solid mid-table Championship team, looking to shake off the effects of incredibly poor boardroom decisions in the early noughties.

Liverpool - 3rd

The Reds finished third in 1972, just behind Leeds on goal difference, but unlike United they haven't fallen away from the top table. European and domestic success characterised the next 20 years for Liverpool and they are now just one game away from winning a sixth European Cup.

Manchester City - 4th

The men from Maine Road finished fourth in 1972, but the next thirty-five years would be rough for Citizens' fans. The club dropped to League One before returning to the Premier League and being bought by petro-billionaires. Now they are the best side in the country and look capable of dominating English football for the next decade.

Arsenal - 5th

The Gunners' finished an unremarkable season in fifth place and fans were left to look back at the success of the 1930's with envious eyes. That was until a certain Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996 and ushered in a new era of success for the North London club. After a tumultuous few years Wenger left Arsenal sitting sixth in the Premier League.

Tottenham - 6th

Long before St. Totteringham's day became a thing, Spurs suffered the indignity of finishing just behind their North London rivals in the league. Despite not winning many trophies, Spurs have gone on to establish themselves as the best club in London in recent years.

Chelsea - 7th

The West London club were not recognised as the power house they are now, finishing seventh in the league was seen as an achievement. Whereas today, failure to finish in the top four has been viewed as a dramatic failure for the Blues.

Manchester United - 8th

The Red Devils were still waiting for the arrival of a certain Scottish revolutionary and in 1972 they continued to toil and struggle, finishing eighth in the league. Since then they have won more trophies than any other club in England are now one of the most famous clubs in the world.

Wolves - 9th

Ninth was a good finish for Wolves in 1972 and it would be a fantastic finish for them next season, when they return to the Premier League following their exhilarating promotion from the Championship this term.

Sheffield United - 10th

Wednesday who? The Blades reaffirmed their crown as the best club in the Steel City with this tenth placed finish, but the past 46 years haven't been too kind to the boys from Brammall Lane. One season in the Premier League was followed by subsequent relegation to League One. In their first year back in the Championship last season they finished just short of the play-off places.

Newcastle United - 11th

This season the Magpies finished in tenth place, and to be perfectly honest the progression of one league place since 1972 characterises the last 46 years in Newcastle. Not much has happened apart from an ill-fated title bid and poor management from the men in charge.

Leicester City - 12th

The Foxes have done well since 1972, despite dropping to League One in the late noughties. First Martin O'Neill brought glory to the East Midlands with a League Cup victory and then enigmatic Italian Claudio Ranieri achieved the impossible by winning the Premier League with Leicester.

Ipswich Town - 13th

Fans of the Tractor Boys would give anything to finish thirteenth in the Premier League now after spending nearly twenty years stuck in the Championship. This season has been one of disappointment for Ipswich who parted company with controversial manager Mick McCarthy following another season of inertia.

West Ham - 14th

Irons fans are forever telling the world how big their club is, but there was nothing big about this thirteenth place finish, which is exactly where they ended the 2017-18 season. There have been ups and downs through the years for the East London club, but in short, not much has changed in 46 years.

Everton - 15th

The Toffees were involved in the highest scoring game of the 1971-72 season when they thrashed Southampton 8-0 at Goodison Park was but finished the campaign in a disappointing fourteenth spot. In the following 46 years Everton fans would become used to mid-table mediocrity apart from a period of success under Howard Kendall in which they won two league titles, an FA Cup and a European trophy.

West Brom - 16th

The Baggies were relegated from the top flight the following season, but hit back over the next twenty years, flirting with silverware on several occasions. The club were also noted for fielding three black players in the late seventies when racism was very much a standard part of English football. The 2017-18 season ended in shame for West Brom though as they were relegated to the Championship.

Stoke City - 17th

Goals from Terry Conroy and George Eastham lit up a pretty dull season for Stoke as they helped the Potters to their first major trophy when they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup Final. The following 40 odd years were, pretty dull. Tony Pulis returned the club to the top flight in the late noughties and Paul Lambert took them back to the Championship this season!

Coventry City - 18th

The Sky Blues finished low down the table in 1971-72 and poor Cov fans haven't had much to cheer about in the proceeding 46 years. This season Mark Robins has guided them to the League Two play-off final after finishing sixth in the league, which is the first time the club have finished in the top six of any league in over 49 years. Wow.

Southampton - 19th

Saints fans have had a pretty enjoyable run of things in the last 46 years. The highlight was winning the FA Cup against a much-fancied Manchester United side in 1976. After that they have had relegation's, promotions, cup finals as well as near bankruptcy. It's never quiet on the South Coast.

Crystal Palace - 20th

The Eagles just missed out on relegation in 1971-72 but worse was to come for the Croydon based outfit, never mind relegation to the second-tier, they had Simon Jordan to come. The bleach blonde eejit riled Palace supporters and presided over a topsy-turvy time for the club.

Nottingham Forest - 21st

Relegated along with Town, no-one had really heard of the East Midlands club, that was until a certain Brian Clough took the reigns at Forest. League titles and European glory followed, but since Cloughy left the fans have had to endure some very bleak times. Spells in the top-flight have been punctuated by relegations and years of obscurity in the Championship and League One.

Huddersfield Town - 22nd

The Terriers went down in style, finishing rock bottom of the league and hopes of an instant return were misplaced with the club finding themselves in the bottom division not long after 1972. Everything changed for the West Yorkshire club when I started supporting them! In early 2004 I went to my first Town match and it's been up ever since then for Town, with the club sitting on the brink of their second successive season in the Premier League, you're welcome Town fans!


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