Bournemouth’s poor performance in the second half of the Premier League season has notably thrown up the idea of second season syndrome again in the media. In American sports a similar 'curse' is referred to as the sophomore slump or sophomore jinx.
I posted on this some years back but here’s an updated version.
There has been nine occurrences of second season syndrome in the Premier League. Middlesbrough (97/98), Bradford (00/01), Ipswich (01/02), West Brom (05/06), Reading (07/08), Hull (09/10), Birmingham (10/11), QPR (12/13) and Hull (14/15) have all cursed. All of these teams were promoted to the Premier League, survived for one season, and were relegated the next.
Should Eddie Howe be worried? Probably not. Actually he deserves credit for keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League in their first season – the maiden (not the second season) is the greatest challenge for promoted teams in the Premier League.
Since the Premier League became a 20-team competition in 1995, 27 of the promoted teams have occupied the 63 relegation places at the end of a season, 43%.
In one season were all three promoted teams relegated; this happened in 97/98 when Bolton Wanderers, Barnsley and Crystal Palace all went down. It wasn’t until 01/02 that all three promoted teams actually avoided relegation; Fulham, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers all avoided the drop. This has happened only once since – QPR, Swansea and Norwich performed a similar feat in the 11/12 season.
Second season syndrome has happened to just nine teams that have survived the first season. Furthermore, teams stricken by second season syndrome usually perform poorly in their first season. On closer inspection four out of the nine second season curses involved the promoted team finishing 17th in their first season, just avoiding the drop. This was the case for Bradford, West Brom, Hull (09/10) and QPR. The most recent case (Hull 14/15) saw the club struggle in to 16th, beating relegation by 4 points.
Promoted teams often go straight back down. While second season syndrome might make for an interesting narrative, the most worried managers should probably be Aitor Karanka and Marco Silva.