Wolves' path to double promotion can be fraught with danger

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Kenny Jackett insists Wolves must be aiming for a second successive promotion when they kick off in August.

But while Norwich and Southampton are recent examples of clubs who have gone from League One to the Premier League in double-quick time, history urges caution.

The bar was set by Paul Lambert's Canaries, who stormed to the third-tier title with 95 points in 2009-10, before finishing runners-up in the Championship to QPR with 84 the following year.

However after stabilising in the Premier League in the following two years during which they finished 12th and 11th under Lambert, they were relegated this time.

Southampton, who finished seventh in League One the year Norwich went up, were promoted as runners-up to Brighton with 92 points in 2010-11.

The Saints repeated the feat 12 months later when they were second in the Championship, a point behind Reading. And they are perhaps the best example of a club rising from the ashes to stabilise back in the Premier League with finishes of 14th and now eighth in the last two seasons.

The other comparison Wolves should perhaps be looking to follow is the continuing success story in south Wales. Compared to Norwich and Southampton, Swansea have taken a longer route to the elite in a journey started by Jackett when he led them to the League Two title in 2004-05.

The Swans won League One in 2007-08 under Roberto Martinez and finished eighth in the Championship the season after, six points short of the play-offs.

Twelve months on, Paulo Sousa led them to a place higher and a point outside the top six. Brendan Rodgers then took over and in his first season, 2010-11, they reached the Promised Land via the play-offs, beating Reading 4-2 in the final.


Rodgers took them to 12th in 2011-12 before Michael Laudrup bettered it to end up ninth last season before Garry Monk secured them 12th spot this time around.

Other clubs of a similar size to Wolves have taken a little longer, such as Leicester, or in the case of Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Nottingham Forest, look as far away as ever to making the final leap up.

Leicester joined Wolves in the 100 points club this term to regain their Premier League place they lost 10 years ago, when they went down with the Molineux men.

And it's been a rollercoaster decade for the Foxes that has included 10 managerial appointments, including the latest, Nigel Pearson, in charge twice. Since winning League One in 2008-09, Leicester have taken six years to reach the Premier.



After finishing fifth in 2009-10 when they lost in the play-off semi-final to Cardiff the year Blackpool went up, they had to be content with 10th and ninth in the next two seasons before ending up sixth last season when they again lost in the play-off semi-final, to Watford.

But if continued high investment has eventually paid off for Leicester, the same can't be said of Charlton.

The team whose third-tier points record has just been broken by Wolves had high hopes of continuing their march only to be forced to settle for ninth last season and 18th this time around.

Jackett himself acknowledged the loss of the Addicks star players Yann Kermogant to Bournemouth and Dale Stephens to Brighton hit them hard.

The same year Charlton stormed to the League One title, Sheffield Wednesday – helped by a certain Danny Batth – were runners-up, led by former Wolves boss Dave Jones.

But they too have found it hard going in the Championship, finishing 18th last season and only two places higher under Stuart Gray this time.

Wednesday's Yorkshire rivals Leeds went down from the Premier League with Wolves in 2003-04 and have been through turmoil in the dressing room and boardroom since.

They came up from the third tier as runners-up to Norwich in 2009-10 but missed out on the play-offs to finish seventh the season after and haven't been as close since, ending up 14th, 13th and now 15th in the last three years.

Similarly, Nottingham Forest seem to have hit a glass ceiling.

After finishing runners-up in League One to Swansea in 2007-08, they have been forced to settle for 19th, third, sixth, 19th, eighth and now 11th.

Wolves have only gone up in successive seasons once in their history, when Graham Turner led them to back-to-back titles from the old Fourth to the Second Division from 1987-89.

The following season they ended up 10th, seven points off the play-offs in what's now the Championship.

And the only other time they have been promoted from the third tier, 1923-24, they finished sixth the following season.

The bigger and ever-widening gap from the second tier to the top flight is shown by how Wolves have fared in their next season after winning promotion – 20th in 1932-33 (but avoided relegation as only two teams went down), 17th in 1967-68, 15th in 1977-78, relegated in bottom place in 1983-84 and 2003-04, and 15th in 2009-10.

But Wolves can worry about that when they get there, eh Kenny?

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