Alex Neil needs to ensure Norwich City join the famous yo-yo club

Hull City manager Steve Bruce and his Norwich-born son Alex celebrate winning last season's Champion

Hull City manager Steve Bruce and his Norwich-born son Alex celebrate winning last season's Championship play-off final, and sealing an immediate return to the Premier League. Picture: PA/Nigel French - Credit: PA

Sports writer David Freezer looks at the clubs who have managed to bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt... and those who haven't.

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Bouncing back immediately from Premier League relegation is rarely straightforward – as plenty of teams have found to their cost.

Of the 30 teams to slip out of the top flight in the past 10 seasons, just 10 have managed to bounce back at the first attempt.

Norwich City know all too well how difficult it can be to make the jump back up to English football's top table, taking six seasons and a drop into the third tier before returning after relegation in 2005.

Other, arguably bigger, clubs have endured far more arduous stints away from the wealth and glamour of the Premier League though.


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Two-time European champions Nottingham Forest are preparing for their 18th season outside the top flight and three-time English champions Leeds are set for their 13th campaign away, with both having spent three years in League One.

Sheffield Wednesday are gearing up for their 17th year out of the spotlight and just down the road they know all too well about that battle at Ipswich as well, as the Tractor Boys prepare for their 14th attempt to get back to the top tier.

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Fulham were Europa League runners-up in 2010, but they have finished 17th and 20th in the Championship in the past two seasons – after 13 straight seasons in the top flight.

In total, 17 of next year's Championship clubs will have played in the Premier League.

Coming down alongside the Canaries are Newcastle United and Aston Villa, both clubs which are expected to compete at the top level, with large fanbases.

Both have appointed former Champions League-winning managers as well, Newcastle keeping hold of Rafa Benitez and Villa appointing Roberto Di Matteo, who also has the experience of getting West Bromwich Albion promoted in 2010.

Add to that the appointment of former Leicester boss Nigel Pearson at a financially healthy Derby County, Garry Monk's appointment at Leeds United and the re-emergence of Brighton, managed by Chris Hughton, inset, and Sheffield Wednesday last season – and the Canaries' route back to the top looks far from straightforward.

Burnley and Hull City managed to shake off their relegation hangover and get back into the top flight at the first time of asking last season, though.

Maybe it is a salutary lesson that both clubs stuck with the managers that they had gone down with and were rewarded for their loyalty.

Burnley had seen their Premier League adventure come to an end in 2010, but returned after finishing second in the Championship under Sean Dyche in 2014.

The Clarets won just seven of their 38 games in the Premier League and ultimately finished five points short of survival to go down, but they stuck with Dyche and were rewarded with the title. That came after a sluggish start, drawing twice and losing at Ipswich in their opening three league games and being knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Port Vale. Nine wins in the next 12 got Dyche's team back on track and they remained in the top six for the rest of the season.

Hull had fallen only three points short of survival in the top flight, with a better goal difference than three teams who avoided the drop, so stuck with the experienced Steve Bruce. The former Norwich City and Manchester United defender had led the Tigers to automatic promotion in 2013 and had also previously guided Birmingham to promotion in 2002 and 2007.

Their loyalty was also rewarded, with Hull staying in the top six for the whole of last season before going on to beat Wednesday in the play-off final at Wembley.

Conversely, Queens Park Rangers had three managers – Chris Ramsey, Neil Warnock and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – last season and saw a bright start tail off into mid-table obscurity, eventually finishing 12th.

Can Alex Neil now follow the example set by Dyche and Bruce as the next revolution of City as a 'yo-yo' club unwinds?

In the past 10 seasons just one club has managed the feat of bouncing back twice in three seasons, with Birmingham City finishing second in 2007 and 2009, either side of a Premier League relegation.

Repeat that trick and the Scot will have the makings of a lasting legacy at Carrow Road which would be remembered for a long time to come.

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