Since World War 2, there have been 11 occasions when a club promoted from the second tier has finished in the top 3 in their first season back in the top flight:
- Burnley, 1947-48 (season back in top flight), 3rd
- Tottenham, 1950-51, Champions
- Huddersfield, 1953-54, 3rd
- Ipswich, 1961-62, Champions
- Leeds Utd, 1964-65, 2nd
- Manchester Utd, 1975-76, 3rd
- Nottingham F, 1977-78, Champions
- Watford, 1982-83, 2nd
- Sheffield Wed, 1991-92, 3rd
- Newcastle Utd, 1993-94, 3rd
- Nottingham F, 1994-95, 3rd
On 3 occasions (1951, 1962 and 1978), the club finished as champions.
All 11 occasions occurred in the 38 seasons between 1947 and 1995, an average of once every 3.45 seasons. There were much longer gaps between 1954 and 1962, between 1965 and 1976, and between 1983 and 1992, but otherwise, the event has occurred once every 2 or 3 seasons. In fact, the only time it occurred in consecutive seasons was after the start of the Premier League – in 1994, and again in 1995.
When the Premier League season ends next week, it would not have occurred in 13 seasons. Is this just one of those periods, which in the past has ranged from 7 to 10 seasons, or will we ever see a promoted side finish in the top 3 again?
Perhaps we have to wait for Forest, the only club to do it twice since the war, to do it again.