Everton finished fifth, which secures them a place in the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup tournament. Manchester City, under the management of Sven-Göran Eriksson, finished ninth, and have won a berth in the UEFA Cup through the Fair Play League. Tottenham and Portsmouth will also join City and Everton in the tournament.
Congratulations to all.
As I mentioned previously, Derby County, Birmingham, and Reading have been relegated from the top-flight Premier League to the Championship League. Derby was formed in 1884 at the Derbyshire County Cricket Club. They wanted to name themselves Derbyshire County FC, but the local football association forced them to shorten it to Derby County. This past season they amassed the lowest number of points (11 of a possible 114) of any team in Premier League history.
Which history, it must be said, is not that terribly long! The Premier League was formed in 1992 and is considered (at least by me) to be the finest soccer league in the world.
West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, and Hull(the winners of the Championship League playoff) will spend the 2008-2009 season playing top-flight soccer in the Premier League. This means big money for each of these teams. West Brom was formed in 1878 by workers from Salter's Spring Works, and has been in the Premier League as recently as 2007. Hull, of course, is the home of the late Mick Ronson. Go Hull!
Colchester, Scunthorpe, and Leicester City drop from the Championship to League One (which is actually the third league level). When I started following the Premier League in 2000, Leicester was in the top-flight but dropped to the second in 2003, and now will play in the third. A sad drop for a team that traces its history back to the 1884 side known as Leicester Fosse.
Swansea, Nottingham Forest, and Doncaster (the winners of the League One playoff) will be promoted to the Championship, one step away from top-flight money! Forest has been in the top-flight as recently as 1998 and enjoys a history that stretches back to 1865, making them one of the oldest known teams in England. Doncaster beat Leeds United in their playoff, frustrating Leeds' attempt to comeback from years of tumbling out of the Premier League and down the tables.
Luton Town, Port Vale, Gillingham, and Bournemouth make the drop from League One to League Two. Luton Town was founded in 1885 and nicknamed The Hatters to commemorate the region's hat-making industry.
Milton Keynes Dons, Peterborough, Hereford, and Stockport (the winners of the League Two playoff) will move up to League One. The Dons are the former Wimbledon F.C. that were bought and moved from their home for the potentially more lucrative Milton Keynes stadium and support. They never dropped out of League play, having played in the Premier League as recently as 2000, and seem now to be back on the rise through the ranks of lower-level leagues.
Dropping out of League play into Non-League status are Wrexham and Mansfield Town.
The big winners moving from Non-League status to League Two are Aldershot Town and Exeter City (the winners of the Non-League playoff). Aldershot is made-up primarily of English players, with one from Wales and one from the Republic of Ireland, and are joined by two from Barbados, one from Jamaica, one from Montserrat, and the currently unknown, young and handsome Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, from Venezuela. Exeter City returns to league play after five years in the Conference.
This Summer brings Euro 2008. England did not qualify. I might support The Netherlands, but haven't decided yet.
Until the English Premier League starts anew at the end of the Summer, I will focus on MLS and my New York Red Bulls! Go Red Bulls!