Promotion for a football fan is amongst the sweetest feelings. The tumultuous emotional rollercoaster that follows is an experience of a lifetime. Each memory becomes special. For example- the Aston Villa faithful at Holte End have adopted the song 'Sweet Caroline' which proved lucky during their promotion last season.
Yet, what follows promotion is often dire results-wise. Teams inevitably lose more than they win. They go from favourites to underdogs and every goal is an event. Some teams are of course better than the others. In the last ten years, there have been 21 different teams who have enjoyed promotion from the Championship. Some promoted clubs hold cult-status. Ipswich Town in 2000/01 comes to mind right away. In the more recent past, other clubs have also made a name for themselves in the Premier League with their doggedness and sometimes fairytale football.
This year, Sheffield United are having many fans dream ut the season is not yet over and we shall see how they measure up against other promoted sides this decade. As we approach the end of the decade let us look at the best-promoted sides in the Premier League in the last ten seasons. Do note: this list has been made keeping league positions in regard.
Honourable mentions should be made to some spirited promoted sides who do not make the list- Bournemouth in 2015/16 who finished 16th but made headlines for their uncompromising exciting style of play and could not sustain their rise. There is also the case of Burnley who were famously hard to beat but had no goals in them.
#4 West Ham United, 10th (2012-13)
West Ham United crawled back to Premier League via the playoffs in 2011-12. Not much was expected from the East London side. Sam Allardyce, in his first role since the Blackburn Rovers sacking, established a team that was very difficult to beat.
West Ham made a lot of signings over the summer but none for huge sums of money. When one looks back, the side was nothing special and the league was very topsy-turvy. Allardyce's performance won plaudits but he came under fire for the style of play. His organised side was unremarkable in every way. Except they never went too long without a result. They never lost more than two on the bounce. Allardyce's principles divide many to this day, but his effectiveness has never been questioned. The scoreline was often decided by one goal and the goals were spread out across the team.
The most important players of this squad were Kevin Nolan, Andy Caroll and Mark Noble. James Collins, Winston Reid, Joey O'Brien and James Tomkins all played effectively at the back. West Ham continued much the same way the following season and finished 13th. Allardyce and West Ham split and both have moved on.
What was remarkable about West Ham is that this was a side which had experienced a torrid recent past. They had been relegated twice in the last decade and struggled for any consistency. Things have looked brighter since for the Hammers, having moved into a new stadium and acquiring a better squad.
Allardyce has since managed Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Everton. West Ham has played in Europe twice this decade. Both attempts were sadly forgettable.