The Greatest Escapes From Relegation in English Football's Recent History

Kevin Campbell, Bryan Robson
West Bromwich Albion v Portsmouth | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Football has a romantic side, among all the corporations and tribalism, that we often forget. It's the kid striding up the concrete steps glancing at the theatre that will shape their world, the surfeited parent who's seen it all before. The euphoric highs and the gut-wrenching lows.

Relegation battles continuing into May capture the imagination of the old and new, and if your team is involved - all aboard the jolting, menacing emotional rollercoaster.

So, while this particular May is lacking any finales, let's take a look at the years gone by.

West Brom - 2004/05

THE Great Escape. West Brom became the first team to be bottom of the Premier League at Christmas and survive, it was also the first time that nobody had been relegated heading into the final game.

Labelled 'Survival Sunday' - all eyes were on the bottom four, West Brom were the only team needing a win due to Norwich's goal difference, with Palace and Southampton relying on a draw if results went their way.

Miraculously, the Baggies beat Portsmouth 2-0, with all other results going their way. Pitch invasion ensued, obviously. I say it's all down to Bryan Robson giving his players shots of Cognac pre-game to calm their nerves.

Leicester City - 2014/15

Danny Simpson
Hull City v Leicester City - Premier League | Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Even though West Brom had done it ten-years' prior, it seemed highly unlikely that Leicester could dare to dream. Bottom at Christmas 2014, then seven points adrift with 10 games to go.

Unbeknownst to the footballing globe, Leicester's world was about to change. Seven wins from their last nine games secured Premier League football for another season. Let's build on it next season they said...

Newport County - 2016/17

Sid Nelson, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb
Newport County v Notts County - Sky Bet League Two | Athena Pictures/Getty Images

If you venture into the depths of the Football League, you can find the most extraordinary tales. This time it fell to Rodney Parade. A local first-time manager, the whole city coming out in force and a Hollywood ending.

When Micheal Flynn took over in March 2017, seven wins were needed from 12 games.

Impossible? Maybe. Improbable? Definitely.

After a superb run of games, it came down to that final game. The Exiles needed to match or better Hartlepool's result.

With Hartlepool somehow turning up against league leaders Doncaster, step forward Mark O'Brien. 89th minute, chest, volley, back of the net. Pandemonium.

Rochdale - 2017/18

In March 2017, Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in four years. However, just nine months later, after making another full recovery he was back on the pitch.

Unfortunately, things weren't great on the pitch at Rochdale. 11 points from safety with 16 games to go but a run of three losses in 15 games blew the relegation scrap wide open. Three-way knockout. Northampton and Oldham faced each other in a 2-2 draw while Rochdale edged past promotion chasing Charlton 1-0.

Who scored the goal you ask. Two-time cancer survivor Thompson. Getting a bit dusty in here isn't it?

Wigan Athletic - 2011/12

Roberto Martinez
Wigan Athletic v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League | Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

According to Urban Dictionary, Wigan means 'to do naff all for a period of time before being saved by temporary brilliance'. Touché.

After spending the majority of the 2011/12 campaign slumped in the bottom three, gasping for air. A turn of fortune came for the Latics.

In their last 10 games, they beat Liverpool at Anfield, Arsenal at the Emirates for the first time ever, beat Manchester United for the first time in their history and recorded their biggest ever Premier League win over Newcastle with a four goal trouncing. Martinez magic.

Carlisle United 1998/99

Right, buckle in. This has everything.

Carlisle United were about to drop out of the Football League in May 1999, after a midweek Scarborough win saw them drop to the bottom going into the final game. A Scarborough win would relegate the Cumbrians, with Carlisle desperately needing to beat Plymouth to stand a chance.

The final whistle went at Scarborough and their fans spilled onto the pitch thinking they'd stayed up after a 1-1 draw. It was 1-1 at Brunton Park, into the the final minute, Carlisle got a corner. Up came goalkeeper Jimmy Glass. BANG into the net, he only went a rescued it for Carlisle.

Glass wasn't even a Carlisle player after he was signed on an emergency loan when they sold their only goalkeeper. Lower league football, eh?

Everton - 1993/94

EVERTON V WIMBLEDON
EVERTON V WIMBLEDON | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mike Walker was brought in to take the reins at Goodison after Everton legend Howard Kendall had gone seven games without a win.

On the final day of the season, it was a straight shootout between Everton and Sheffield United. The Ev were 2-0 at home to Wimbledon and it was almost all over, with United leading at Chelsea. The Blades only needed a draw to survive but a miscommunication on their bench meant the pushed for more. Chelsea scored a late winner in injury time, with Everton making a comeback too.

Still haven't been relegated from the Premier League.