The 22 original Premier League teams: Where are they now?

Just nine teams from the 1992/1993 season will compete in this year’s league campaign

Wimbledon’s Vinnie Jones takes part in a promotional launch for the new Premier League season in 1992. Photo: Getty Images

Wimbledon’s Vinnie Jones takes part in a promotional launch for the new Premier League season in 1992. Photo: Getty Images

 

Twenty-five years on from the first ever Premier League season, the landscape has changed utterly. Stadiums have got bigger, club’s financial coffers have got even larger still and the league itself has actually reduced in size by two teams. Clubs have come and gone, some to come again and some possibly never to be seen again in the top division. Sides that couldn’t even dream of getting so much as a division within the Premier League in 1992 have since graced the biggest party of them all. And what of the 22 clubs around which it all started?

Well, just nine of them will play in the top division this year with the other 16 scattered among the lower divisions of the football league. Some will fight it out this season to get back to the top tier while others are battling to ensure their very existence. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton, Tottenham, Southampton and Crystal Palace are the nine survivors, but what of the other 13?

Aston Villa

Few would have considered relegation would ever be a possibility for the Villa after they were the only team to really challenge Manchester United for the first Premier League title in 1992. With Ron Atkinson in charge, the former United manager questioned his old club’s “bottle” to win the league during the run-in. Dean Saunders was at his best up front, ensuring that they were very real contenders. But Atkinson’s talk would come back to haunt him in the end when it was his own side that cracked under the pressure, losing to Oldham in their penultimate game to ensure United of the title without them even kicking a ball on the day. With 924 Premier League games played, Villa are seventh in the all-time cumulative table and the highest ranked of any club not in the division this year.

Position: Second (74 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Steve Staunton, Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton.

Norwich City

After making the move from Manchester United to East Anglia during the summer transfer window, Mark Robins would turn out to be the key for Norwich as they secured a Uefa Cup qualification place by virtue of a third place finish, just two points behind Villa. With Mike Walker at the helm the Canaries very nearly became the original Leicester City story, a full 24 years before the real Leicester City story.

Mark Robins was Norwich's top scorer in the opening Premier League season. Photo: Getty Images
Mark Robins was Norwich's top scorer in the opening Premier League season. Photo: Getty Images

Despite being tipped for relegation before the campaign got underway, the likes of Robins and Chris Sutton powered them to the top of the table for much of the season. In fact, they were eight points clear at the top shortly before Christmas and in the driving seat to lift the trophy. However, they faltered in the final months, crucially losing three games in the month of April, and had to settle for third place.

Position: Third (72 points).
Current Division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Lee Power.

Blackburn Rovers

Perhaps the tale of Blackburn is the biggest fall from grace. Just two years after the inagural Premier League season, the Ewood Park club went on to win the whole thing, inspired by the goals provided by Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer and, most importantly, the millions of pounds provided by Jack Walker. At the start of the 1992 season manager Kenny Dalglish had smashed the British transfer fee record by signing Shearer for £3.6million from Southampton. And who knows just how close Rovers might have got to United at the top of the league if Shearer did’t snap his anterior cruciate ligament in December, forcing him to miss half of the season after he had already banged in a remarkable 16 goals in just 21 games. In the end the Lancashire club had to settle for a fourth place finish, just one point off Uefa Cup qualification.

Position: Fourth (71 points).
Current division: League One.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Kevin Moran.

Queens Park Rangers

At the start of the season you would have got long odds on QPR finishing as the highest placed London club but that’s exactly what happened as Gerry Francis led his side to a finish ahead of the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. In the end it would turn out to be the club’s best ever Premier League finish to date as Les Ferdinand’s goals guided them to a fifth place finish before a slow slide down the table over the next few seasons eventually resulted in relegation in 1996. Over the space of three days in April they were involved in two of the best games of the season when they beat Nottingham Forest 4-3 and Everton 5-3.

Position: Fifth (63 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: None.

Leeds fans outside Loftus Road on New Year’s Day. Photo: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images
Leeds fans outside Loftus Road on New Year’s Day. Photo: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday

Wednesday enjoyed eight consecutive seasons in the Premier League before relegation in 2000, a slide down to League One and an eventual resurgence which almost saw them get back to the top tier last year. With Trevor Francis as player-manager they enjoyed a stellar first season in which they were particularly strong in the cup competitions – losing in the finals of both the FA Cup and the League Cup to Arsenal. A 10 game unbeaten streak from December 19th to March 3rd was mainly to thank for their top half finish with Mark Bright and David Hirst finishing as joint top scorers.

Position: Seventh (59 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: John Sheridan.

Wimbledon

How rosy it all was for the Crazy Gang back in 1992. Little did they know that in nine years time the club would be ripped from its south London roots and moved to Milton Keynes to form the MK Dons we know today. Joe Kinnear’s side had gained cult status in the late 1980s due to the eccentric behaviour of their players, not to mention the dirty nature of their play with the likes of Vinnie Jones at the forefront. Dean Holdsworth and John Fashnau led the line as the team enjoyed a charge up the table after Christmas to finish 12th, despite being in the relegation places on St Stephen’s Day.

Position: 12th (54 points).
Current division: AFC Wimbledon and MK Dons both in League One.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Scott Fitzgerald, Terry Phelan, Paul McGee.

Sheffield United

Dave Bassett’s team – and Brian Deane in particular – will always go down in Premier League history after the English striker scored the first ever goal of the new era in a 2-1 win over Manchester United on the opening day. Deane would go on to finish as the team’s top scorer but the wins dried up somewhat after the opening day and the Blades slipped down the table. In the end it took three wins in a row in their final three games to avoid the drop by just three points. However, despite staying up there was disappointment around Hillsborough after losing in the FA Cup semi-finals to bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Position: 14th (52 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Alan Kelly.

Gary Pallister of Manchester United chases Alan Cork of Sheffield United on the opening day. Photo: Getty Images
Gary Pallister of Manchester United chases Alan Cork of Sheffield United on the opening day. Photo: Getty Images

Coventry City

After narrowly avoiding relegation from Division One the previous season, therefore ensuring their place in the new mega-bucks Premier League, Coventry again flirted with the drop in 1992/93 despite a rapid start to the season which saw them win six of their first eight games under Bobby Gould. However, that good form then dried up and they went from September 14th to December 19th without a single win. However, they recovered sufficiently to stay up. They managed to stick around in the Premier League until 2001 when they were relegated after 34 years in the top flight, with Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton the only three clubs with longer spells in the top tier at the time. They are now the lowest ranked of any of the teams from 1992/93, languishing in the fourth tier of English football.

Position: 15th (52 points).
Current division: League Two.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Tony Sheridan, Willie Boland.

Ipswich Town

Ipswich claimed a place in the top flight via promotion from Division Two the previous season and were in line to pull off an unlikely European qualification place during the first half of the season. Just two defeats in their first 22 games left them in fourth place in January of 1993. Chris Kiwomya was scoring for fun and all was looking good at Portman Road but then things took a turn for the worst. Thirteen defeats in their final 20 games saw them slide down the table with pace and they only avoided relegation thanks to two wins in their final three games – one of which came against East Anglia rivals Norwich. Relegation eventually came in 1995 before a two-season foray back to the top flight in 2000/01 and 2001/02.

Position: 16th (52 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: None.

Leeds United

Under Howard Wilkinson and captained by Gordon Strachan, Leeds came up to the Premier League as Division One champions and very much at the top table of English football.

Eric Cantona in action for Leeds during the 1992/93 Charity Shield. Photo: Getty Images
Eric Cantona in action for Leeds during the 1992/93 Charity Shield. Photo: Getty Images

However, their form away from Elland Road proved to be their undoing in the first Premier League season as they failed to win a match on the road all season. Coming towards the business end they were in danger of being only the second ever team to win the league and be relegated the next season but managed to scrape together seven points in their last seven games to beat the drop by just two points. The rest, as they say, is history with the club going on to reach the heights of the Champions League semi-finals in 2001 before it all came crashing down, leading to a demise that has seen them fail to grace the Premier League since.

Position: 17th (51 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: None.

Oldham Athletic

After winning Division Two two years previously in order to reach the top flight, Oldham managed to stay up by the narrowest of margins before relegation in 1994, since when they haven’t managed to get to the top division since. Under Joe Royle’s management they were never really in danger of relegation until, that is, 1992 turned into 1993 and they lost seven of eight games between the start of January and the end of February. Now fighting for their lives they managed to beat Aston Villa in the third last game of the season to give themselves a chance of survival before thrilling 3-2 and 4-3 wins over Liverpool and Southampton saw them survive on goal difference.

Position: 19th (49 points).
Current division: League One.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Mike Milligan.

Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough’s first season in the Premier League will always have a place in Irish football trivia for producing the first Irish goalscorer in the new top division. On August 19th 1992 Bernie Slaven netted twice for Boro in a 2-0 win over City and with that ensured his name in Irish football folklore. Unfortunately the season would not end well for Slaven and his teammates as they completely crumbled in the second half of the season – losing 14 of their last 21 games to be relegated.

Position: 21st (44 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Alan Kernaghan, Curtis Fleming, Chris Morris, Graham Kavanagh, Alan Moore, Bernie Slaven.

Nottingham Forest

The sale of Teddy Sheringham and Des Walker the first week into the new season hurt Brian Clough’s team considerably and the back-to-back European Cup winners just 12 years previously never really stood a chance of survival from early on. After an opening day win over Liverpool they lost six in a row and only really revived slight hopes of survival in the new year when they five of seven games. However, six losses in the final two months condemned Roy Keane and co to their fate and the Corkman would go on to join Man United that summer. Emotional scenes greeted the end of the season at Forest as Brian Clough stepped aside

Position: 22nd (40 points).
Current division: Championship.
Irish players in 1992/93 squad: Roy Keane.

Brian Clough bids farewell to the Nottingham Forest fans after a 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United condemned Forest to relegation. Photo: Getty Images
Brian Clough bids farewell to the Nottingham Forest fans after a 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United condemned Forest to relegation. Photo: Getty Images
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