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5 Highest Point Tallies Not to Earn Promotion in the EFL


5 Highest Point Tallies Not to Earn Promotion in the EFL

Promotion is one of the biggest prizes in world football, not only for the club’s success higher up the English football pyramid but also their financial standing. However, even with a stellar season, the cruel mistress that is the Play-offs can ruin a season.

Sheffield United: 2011/12, 90 points

Sheffield United’s League One campaign for the 2011/12 season was a strong one that looked like Championship football was on the cards for The Blades. Sheffield United finished third in League One, securing a Play-off place by 17 points.

Charlton topped League One this season, winning with 101 points with Sheffield Wednesday rounding out the automatic promotion places finishing with 93 points.

The Blades had 27 wins, nine draws and only ten losses, but fell victim to the Play-offs. Sheffield United dispatched Stevenage 1 - 0 in the second leg after a goalless draw in the first. However, after losing 8 - 7 penalties to Huddersfield Town, Sheffield United were condemned to another season in the third tier.

Milton Keynes Dons: 2021/22, 89 points

Upon their return to League One for the 2019/20 season, MK Dons looked even further up, hoping for a return to the Championship after relegation in 2016. This looked like a likely feat after a strong 2021/22 campaign, but MK Dons fell just at the last hurdle.

League One was extremely tight at the top of the table this season. Wigan Athletic finished top with 92 points with Rotherham United taking up the last automatic promotion place on 80 points. The Dons finished their season on 89 points, making them one win from the League One title.

26 wins, 11 draws and nine losses was one of the best records in the league but still condemned MK Dons to the pot-luck that is Play-offs. The Dons drew Wycombe Wanderers who had finished sixth, six points behind them.

Wycombe won in front of a home crowd 2 - 0 in the first leg but a Troy Parrott goal and a 1 - 0 win in the second leg wasn’t enough to turn the tide, leaving MK Dons in League One despite their stellar season.

Brighton: 2015/16, 89 points

Before their eventual promotion to the Premier League in 2017, Brighton’s closest brush with promotion came back in the 2015/16 season. The season before had been a nightmare, The Seagulls finishing 20th with only 47 points, but clearly served as motivation.

In the 46 games of the Championship season, Brighton won 24, drew 17 and lost just five - the joint least amount of losses with top-of-the-table Burnley. The Seagulls finished on equal points with second-place Middlesbrough on 89 points, an impressive four-point gap to Burnley. However, this does also mean that Brighton missed out on automatic promotion due to goal difference, where Middlesbrough had a two-point margin.

Brighton did draw Sheffield Wednesday in the Semi-finals, a draw that on paper should’ve favoured Brighton. The Seagulls finished 15 points ahead of Wednesday but lost the first leg 2 - 0 and could only reply with a 1 - 1 draw in the second leg, meaning two goal-difference points were the reason Brighton were prevented from top-flight football for another season.

Portsmouth: 2018/19, 88 points

Portsmouth’s relegation from the Premier League in 2010 brought in a spell of uncertainty and turbulence for the club. The relegation from the top flight started a free fall that saw them fall all the way to League Two before climbing back up to League One where they have been stuck for six seasons.

However, the 2018/19 season was where they came closest to returning to the Championship. Portsmouth finished fourth in League One that season, tied on points with Charlton, three points adrift of automatic promotion and six points from the title.

Portsmouth’s 25 wins, 13 draws and eight losses in 46 games led them to a Semi-final tie with fifth-place Sunderland. However, after a 1 - 0 loss in the first leg and a 0 - 0 draw in the second leg, Portsmouth were left with yet another season in League One.

Milton Keynes Dons: 2008/09, 87 points

The 2008/09 League One season was a close one, with Milton Keynes Dons looking for their first taste of Championship football.

A dominant Leicester City ran away with League One that season, winning 96 points in comparison to second-place Peterborough’s 89. MK Dons may have been 12 points behind Leicester but were only two points adrift of Peterborough.

MK Dons drew Scunthorpe in the Play-offs where the only goals would come in the 1 - 1 draw in the first leg. The second leg was goalless and therefore sent the tie to penalties. Unfortunately for MK Dons, a trip to the Championship was not meant to be as they lost 7 - 6 on penalties.

Header logoChampionship

Team logoIpswich
Team logoLeeds
Team logoSouthampton
Last updated 30/05/2024

This Season's Contenders

In this season's Championship promotion race, there is already a potential slot available on this list for one of Ipswich Town, Leicester City or Leeds United should one of these sides fail to earn promotion via the play-offs, as they've all managed 87 points or more. One to look out for is fourth-place Southampton, who have earned 81 points from 41 matches - the Saints could guarantee a new entrant on this list. Russel Martin's men could potentially manage 96 points and still miss out on automatic promotion.

In League One, Bolton Wanderers are in with a chance of making an entry to this unwanted list, as they have 82 points from 43 matches as they are four pointd adrift of Derby with a game in hand. The Rams are expected to earn promotion as their final two fixtures of the 2023/24 season are Cambridge United (a) and Carlisle United (h).

Header logoLeague 1

Team logoPortsmouth
Team logoDerby
Team logoBolton
Last updated 30/05/2024