English clubs · English football · English league · Football history · Records & statistics

Bournemouth, Tranmere Rovers, And The Letter “B”


AFC Bournemouth have just been promoted to the top tier of English football for the first time (since they joined the Football League in 1923). Tranmere Rovers have been relegated to the Conference, losing their place in the Football League for the first time since they first joined in 1921.

The two clubs were amongst a small number that had spent more than 5 seasons in the second tier without ever playing in the first tier:

CLUB CURRENT LEVEL

YEARS
IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

NO.
OF YEARS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
1ST
TIER
2ND
TIER
3RD
TIER
3RD
TIER (N/S)
4TH
TIER
Port
Vale
3 1892
to 1896, 1898 to
2907,
1919 to date
102 41 30 7
(S), 6
(N)
18
Plymouth
Argyle
4 1920
to date
88 40 26 13 (S)

9

Lincoln
City
NL 1892
to 1908, 1909 to 1911,
1912 to 1920, 1921 to 1987, 1988 to 2011
104 34 10 21 (N) 39
Rotherham
United
3 1893
to 1896, 1919 to date
92

32

26 21 (N)

13

Stockport
County
NL 1900
to 1904, 1905 to 2011
99 26 15 25 (N)

33

Chesterfield 4 1899
to 2909, 1921 to date
97 20

33

20 (N) 24
Bristol
Rovers
NL 1920
to 2014
87 19 34 25 (S)

9

Doncaster
Rovers
2 1901
to 1903, 1904 to 1905, 1923 to 1998, 2003 to date

83

19

16

17 (N)

31

Walsall 3 1892
to 1895, 1896 to 1901,
1921 to date
95 15 41 19
(S),
11 (N)

9

Crewe
Alexandria
3 1892
to 1896,1921 to date
91 12 14 30 (N) 35
Tranmere
Rovers
3 1921
to date
87 11 29 29 (N) 18
Shrewsbury
Town
3 1950
to 2003, 2004 to date

64

10 27 7
(S), 1
(N)

18

Scunthorpe
United
4 1950
to date
65

9

13

8 (N) 35
Cambridge
United
4 1970
to 2005, 2014 to date
35 8

9

19
Southend
United
4 1920
to date
88

7

26 30 (S)

25

Gillingham 3 1920
to 1938, 1950 to date
83

5

33 25 (S) 20
Peterborough
United
3 1960
to date
55

5

25

25

Bournemouth 2 1923
to date
85 5 41 28 (S) 11

With promotion to the Premier League, Bournemouth now leave this group
of clubs, and join a much smaller group of clubs who have played in the
top flight despite having spent 10 or less seasons in the second tier:

CLUB CURRENT
LEVEL

YEARS
IN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

NO.
OF YEARS
FOOTBALL LEAGUE
1ST
TIER
2ND
TIER
3RD
TIER
3RD
TIER (N/S)
4TH
TIER
Wimbledon
4
1977
to 2002, 2011 to date
29 14

4

3

8
Wigan
Athletic (Wigan Borough)
2

1921-33,
1978 to date

47 8 4 17 11
(N)
8
Northampton
Town
4 1920
to date
88 1 3 17 30
(S)

37

(The treatment of Wimbledon and Wigan as the continuation of older clubs is dealt with in a post from January 2008.

From a post in December 2007:

… if you look at urban areas, even within England, the Bournemouth Urban Area has a population of 383,713, while the Birkenhead Urban Area has a population 319,675 (see here), and neither have had a club in the top flight in England.

Of all the clubs in England and Wales never to have played in the top flight, Hull has spent the most number of seasons in the second tier. That’s probably the most number of seasons any club in Europe has spent in the second tier without ever playing in the first tier.

It used to be Barnsley before they played one season in the Premier League in 1998-99. Only Barnsley (67) and Leicester City (57) have spent more seasons in the second tier than Hull (53).

Hull City finally won promotion to the top flight in 2008.

On a separate note, every division in the Football League and the Conference has been won by a club whose name begins with the letter B:

  • Championship – Bournemouth
  • League One – Bristol City
  • League Two – Burton Albion
  • Conference National – Barnet
  • Conference North – Barrow
  • Conference South – Bromley

Or, if anyone wants to get technical about AFC Bournemouth, then a club originating from a city/town/area whose name begins with the letter “B”.

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