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Article: Brentford FC is the 50th Premier League Club: Who Will Be No. 51?

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By Jonathan Lewis | 19th DEC 2021

As so often happens when a team debuts in the Premier League, Brentford’s first-ever match in the big time was a memorable one – a deserved 2-0 win over Arsenal. As with Hull City in 2008 and Blackpool in 2010, the Bees joined the party in style with a big win in the opening fixture.

Brentford, as you might have seen mentioned in passing, are the 50th team to have played in the Premier League. If you think you can name all 50, these online sports quizzes will test you on that very subject (spoiler: you’ll always forget one of the teams beginning with “B”).

But while Brentford are number 50, we wondered which clubs are best equipped to become number 51? That might sound easy, but there has always been a lot of yo-yoing between the Premier League and Championship, particularly in the last decade. In fact, the teams that relegated are usually placed as betting favourites to return the next season, just like Fulham and West Brom this term.

Luton narrowly missed out on being a Premier League team

In the current Championship season, there are five clubs never to have played in the Premier League – Preston North End, Millwall, Luton Town, Peterborough and Bristol City. Perhaps the most unlucky out of that quintet is Luton Town. The Hatters were in the top flight (when it was called Division 1) right up until the end of the 1991-92 season. But they were relegated and missed out on the inaugural 1992/93 Premier League season.

When you see lists of the “biggest” clubs not to have played in the Premier League, Preston North End tend to top those lists. The argument is that Preston were the first-ever league champions all the way back in 1889, and they remain the only club to have won the top division championship and not appear in the Premier League.

And if we are talking about “big” clubs, the eye is inevitably drawn to Bristol City (and Bristol Rovers). Not due to the specific stature of the clubs or their achievements, simply by way of the fact the city of Bristol is the largest in England never to have tasted Premier League action. Wakefield and Plymouth are next on the list, if you were wondering.

Luton have an outside chance for promotion

But are any of the clubs we spoke about above in any kind of position to become number 51 sooner rather than later? At the time of writing, Luton are 3rd in the Championship (it’s really early in the season, so that means little), so technically they are in the driving seat. The Hatters are also 8/1 to gain promotion with MansionBet – the highest of any team mentioned so far. But it’s still a relative longshot as the Championship is a tough, tough league to negotiate.

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Of course, we should not forget that there are some clubs below the Championship that could easily achieve a couple of promotions and leapfrog the teams mentioned earlier. Clubs like Salford City, Fleetwood Town and AFC Wimbledon all have seen rapid progression through the divisions in recent years. They are well-run clubs, which, for different reasons, have had impressive levels in investment. Accrington Stanley, too, have been pushing along nicely in the modern era.

So, who will be number 51? It’s really hard to say. Perhaps we haven’t mentioned them yet. Maybe an oligarch will invest in Oxford United or Lincoln City. But if you talk to fans of the likes of Blackpool, Bradford, Hull, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Huddersfield or Reading, they might tell you that the easier part is getting there – the difficult part is staying.

Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer

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