Friday 23 August 2019

How other clubs slipped to back-to-back relegations as Sunderland struggle

Sunderland dismissed Simon Grayson with the club in the relegation zone
Sunderland dismissed Simon Grayson with the club in the relegation zone

Struggling Sunderland are in danger of suffering the ignominy of back-to-back relegations to League One.

The Black Cats, who finished bottom of the Premier League last term, sacked Simon Grayson on Tuesday night with the club in the Championship's bottom three.

Only two clubs in the Premier League era - Swindon and Wolves - have dropped down those two tiers in consecutive years.

Here Press Association Sport assesses their struggles during those times.

Swindon - relegated from the top flight in 1994; relegated from the second tier in 1995

Player-manager Glenn Hoddle delivered top-flight football to Wiltshire for the first time in the Robins' history when they won the play-off final in 1993, yet he left for Chelsea before the Premier League campaign so former assistant John Gorman stepped up to the post. Swindon failed to win any of their first 15 games and conceded 100 times en route to relegation back to the second tier.

Gorman stayed on as manager and his team won six of their opening 11 league fixtures but picked up just one point from their next six games and the Scot was relieved of his duties in November. The Swindon board went down the route of a novice boss again by hiring former England midfielder Steve McMahon but he could not prevent another demotion.

Having taken one step forward and two back, Swindon were promoted back to the second level under McMahon at the first time of asking but they would slip down another two levels again, becoming the first club to have played in the Premier League to be relegated to League Two in 2006. It is at that level where the Robins now find themselves.

Wolves - relegated from the top flight in 2012; relegated from the second tier in 2013

The midlands club's three-year stay in the Premier League was ended with three games to go in 2012. Mick McCarthy's five-and-a-half-year reign was ended in February that season, following a 5-1 home thrashing by local rivals West Brom. McCarthy's assistant Terry Connor took charge for the remainder of the campaign but failed to win any of his games at the helm.

Wolves had a change of direction ahead of their Championship tilt, hiring Norwegian Stale Solbakken. The initial signs were good - with Wolves third in early October - but an FA Cup loss to non-league Luton saw him jettisoned in January. Dean Saunders came in from Doncaster but could not arrest the slide and he was axed shortly after another relegation was confirmed.

Kenny Jackett became Wolves' fifth permanent boss in 16 months and reversed the decline, winning promotion with a 103-point haul in the first of his three years in charge. The club now have Portuguese Nuno Espirito Santo in charge and lead the way in the Championship after 15 games.

PA Media

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