Fulham look set for a return to the Premier League this year, but the question on everyone’s lips is will it last? Fulham have been perennial yoyoers in recent years, but still, they have some way to go to catch up with the biggest yoyo clubs of the Premier League age.
The bookies’ favourites
Before the new season even began, Fulham were the bookies’ favourites to win the Championship, with football bets attracting 5/1 odds. This will be Fulham’s fifth consecutive yoyo year, having been promoted in 2018, relegated in 2019, promoted in 2020 and relegated in 2021.
The instability is a recent phenomenon, however. Fulham were first promoted to the Premier League in 2001, staying there for 13 years before their relegation in 2014. In total, that means three ups and three downs since the Premier League began.
Tigers battling extinction
They yoyoed from the Championship in the other direction last year, spending a single season in League One, but Hull have actually been in and out of the Premier League as many times as Fulham, with six promotions and six relegations.
Fulham will surely pull ahead at the end of this season, however. At the time of writing, Hull are 19th in the Championship and their main priority this year is to stay clear of the relegation zone. Mid-table Birmingham City are also level on three promotions and three relegations.
Watford the Pinball Wizards
The Hornets are familiar local rivals to Fulham – at least, on the rare occasions that they are in the same division. In the pre-Premiership years they were more like pinballs than yoyos as they rattled around from Division Two to Division Four. Since the 90s, however, they have bounced between the top two tiers, with four promotions and three relegations. Bookies fancy them to make it 4-4 this year as they seem destined to swap spots with Fulham.
Watford’s yoyo stats are the same as Leicester’s and we all know what happened to them – proof that struggling yoyo teams can make it and become competitive at the sharp end of the table.
Palace and Sunderland – yoyo extremes
Crystal Palace and Sunderland have each been promoted four times and relegated four times. But that’s where the similarities end. Since their most recent arrival in the top tier in 2013, Palace have been consistent mid-table performers, neither challenging the top six nor flirting with the relegation zone.
The same could have been said for Sunderland back in the day. They have actually spent more seasons in the Premier League than Leicester. But that seems a long time ago now, as they toil away in League 1.
West Brom and Norwich – kings of the yoyo
Norwich have turned yoyoing into an art form and Canaries fans must feel a little dizzy being bounced around so much. In fact, they’ve been promoted and relegated five times each. The bookmakers agree that Norwich are odds on for a sixth relegation this year.
The Canaries share the top spot with West Brom. They, too, have yoyoed 10 times between the Championship and Premier League, but that only tells part of the story. In all, the club has changed division 23 times. They are looking strong in the Championship this year, so you wouldn’t bet against them making it 24 in 2022.