Football is full of surprises. These surprises are not a reserve of the top leagues. The English Football League (EFL) has its own fair share of surprises that, at times, blow people’s minds away. Some of these shockers come in the form of teams that end up winning promotion to the EPL from the EFL. In this post, we look at the story of one such surprise.
Where It All Started
When Aston Villa signed John Terry from Chelsea in the summer of 2017, everyone expected that the club would go one to gain promotion. With John Terry’s league winning status, it was hoped, would help boost the morale of the players.
This morale was there, and a finish in the playoff spots was somewhat a positive result for the team. However, the joy would soon fade quickly when Fulham dented their hopes of promotion. In the EFL Championship final of that year, Fulham beat Aston Villa 1 – 0 to secure promotion.
What followed was a summer of overhaul. It all started with firing the then manager Steve Bruce. A direction that saw many people receive mixed reactions. But the board affirmed that it needed a more progressive manager. The club also sold a ton of its players.
The Shocker That Was 2018/2019 Playoff Final
Aston Villa’s overhaul of the squad received extensive criticism, and at the start of the 2017/2018 season, many bookmakers had no hope of the team winning anything. However, the club would prove its critics wrong and beat Derby County FC 2 – 1 in that season’s playoff final.
From a team that bookmakers even thought of fronting as most likely to get relegated to a playoff finale winner, no one saw that coming. Aston Villa were surprise winners of the playoff final and earned the third and final promotion slot.