England’s Championship division is one of the most intense seasons in Europe. The 46 games played, just in the league itself, give players more opportunities to perform well but also for a team’s season to come crashing down. While there are additional games, every match means just as much in the Championship, if not more, as the teams compete for the right to move up to the ludicrously lucrative Premier League.
Promotion guarantees this immense financial benefit, in addition to the unique experience that is playing in the top flight for players and fans alike. But before the season begins, let's meet the three newly promoted Premier League teams and learn how they got here.
On Matchday 38 in May of 2022, Burnley was purgatory on Earth. The club’s six-year spell in the league was in jeopardy with a match to play, and everyone was painfully aware of the necessary scenario which would see the Clarets avoid relegation: better or equal Leeds United’s result. Their rivals were simultaneously Leeds, who were in Brentford for the day, and Newcastle, who currently stood on the opposite half of Turf Moor.
For the next two hours, purgatory seemed to give way to its more sinister alternative. Newcastle, and more specifically Callum Wilson, scored twice past the club’s future stopper, Nick Pope, dooming his present employer to finish with 35 points on the season despite Maxwel Cornet’s late consolation goal. The nail in Burney’s coffin came when Jack Harrison scored in added time as Leeds won 2-1.
There’s got to be a serious argument that Burnley getting relegated was one of the best things for them.It allowed them to reset, brought in Kompany and started playing beautiful football, have a fun shirt sponsorship, and now have other athletes investing into the club https://t.co/TGkmKbY3ft
— Mitch Peotter (@mitchpeotter) May 1, 2023
While relegation immediately felt like hell had come to the club, it proved to be a blessing in disguise. The club’s long-term replacement for Sean Dyche became Vincent Kompany, the former captain of Manchester City and coach at R.S.C. Anderlecht in Belgium, who oversaw a complete roster overhaul (seriously, check out their transfers from this year), and brought Burney back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
While massive transfer windows are far from a guarantee of future success (just ask Nottingham Forest), Burnley was the definition of class in the Championship. Kompany’s side won the league by ten points and secured promotion with a record seven matches remaining. Winning hardly encapsulated the sentiment. Burnley dominated.
BURNLEY BACK Vincent Kompany’s Clarets are heading back to the Premier League next season after being relegated just last year. This is the earliest a team has clinched promotion to the Premier League. And just look what it means to them. pic.twitter.com/CVr0yzY7NL— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) April 7, 2023
This domination could turn Burnley back into consistent midtable finishers in time if Kompany can be convinced to stay and if they continue to invest well. A prime example could be 23-year-old midfielder Nathan Tella, who joined the club on loan from Southampton and led the Clarets in goals this season from midfield.
Seeing as his parent club and Burnley will be exchanging places in the English football pyramid, there is a good chance that Kompany and his staff will be hoping to retain his services for the next campaign. That signing, as well as a few other players who fit the young Belgian manager’s Guardiola-esque system, would no doubt make the Northern club a favorite to retain its spot for 2024.
Sheffield United F.C.
Completing the season as runners-up in the Championship is a bittersweet feeling. On one hand, you earn automatic promotion to the richest league in the world and avoid the stress of the Playoffs. On the other hand, it's the one club that ends the season with promotion, but without a trophy. As a player, there’s nothing to celebrate apart from a more difficult next season and more funding for the club to potentially replace you.
23 - Sheffield United have conceded the first goal in a league-high 23 games in this Premier League campaign, with the Blades losing 20 of the previous 22 such matches. Downbeat. #LEESHU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 3, 2021
For Sheffield, this success comes after two straight disappointments, albeit for different reasons. The Blades suffered a pitiful relegation in a season where they sat 20th for the final 29 matchdays and won just seven games. The club broke many undesired records in the process, including the worst start to a season and the most consecutive games without a win to start the season in Premier League history. Sheffield’s first year in the Championship ended with devastation as the club qualified for the promotion Playoff but lost to eventual winners Nottingham Forest on penalty kicks.
This season, the Blades fell well short of Burnley but amassed an impressive 91 points, 11 points clear of third place. Forwards Iliman Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie led the team in scoring with 14 and 13 league goals, respectively, while the former added a further ten assists.
We are Premier League! pic.twitter.com/CXHjkgSM6o— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) May 11, 2023
Sheffield will need to be active in the transfer window if they want to stay up next campaign. In the Premier League, six clubs finished within ten points of relegated Leeds United, including Chelsea. The gap between the relegated Premier League sides and the Championship teams they replace is shrinking, and there is every chance for these new clubs to stay up and send the cellar-dwellers down to the second division. To do this, they need to be smart with their signings. Avoid aging players with inflated price tags and instead, invest in young players, just as Forest did with Taiwo Awoniyi last season.
Luton Town F.C.
If Burnely had been through purgatory, Premier League debutants Luton Town have been in hell since the ‘90s. After a decent spell in what was the English top flight, Luton bubbled around the league pyramid until 2007 when the wheels fully came off.
Luton was relegated from the Championship before entering administration in 2008 while in the third division and faced points deductions that sent them down to the fourth tier. Further points deductions the following season for financial irregularities and breaking rules on exiting administration meant Luton Town, would be playing outside of the English professional leagues for the first time in the club’s history.
Luton Town have gone from rags to riches.Administration, points deductions, relegation to non-league football, and now promotion to the Premier League and a guaranteed £170m.
Hollywood couldn't write that script.
Spare a thought for Coventry City. They were great this season.
— Darren (@DDyer1986) May 27, 2023
Luton spent four seasons in non-League before the club began a rapid ascension through the tables and up to the EFL Championship in 2019. There, the Hatters, as they’re known, finally managed to reach the promised land this season with a monumental win in the Championship Playoffs.
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) June 6, 2023
English striker Carlton Morris finished the season with 20 league goals while American shot-stopper Ethan Horvath registered as many clean sheets. These exemplary tallies saw Luton finish third and win the playoffs capped off by a 6-5 win in penalties over Coventry City in front of 85,711 fans at Wembley.
Luton Town have just won the Championship play-off final.This is the entrance to our stadium.
Incredible to think this ground will be in the Premier League next season pic.twitter.com/QPV3ocSYMN
— Luton Town FC (@LutonTown) May 27, 2023
Aside from the necessary renovations that will need to be made to Kenilworth Road ahead of the Premier League season, Luton will need to spend some big money in the transfer market if they want to stay in the first division. Keeping the talent they have, especially Morris and Horvath, will be imperative, but a midfielder to help create opportunities will go a long way.
This season, Morris also led the team in assists, so Luton needs to get another creator for him to operate with. Combining a capable and consistent defense with an attack capable of banging in the goals is just what the Hatters will be hoping to do, as they attempt to swim with the sharks in the Premier League.