Birmingham briefly top a table for the first time in over 5,000 days

The Blues reached the Championship summit by beating Huddersfield 2-1 on Friday evening.

By Press Association Published: 8 August 2022 - 2.28pm

Birmingham went top of a league table on Friday for the first time since October 27 2008.

John Eustace’s side beat Huddersfield to end a drought of 5,030 days – almost 14 years – which was the third-longest among clubs in England’s top four tiers.

Stoke (April 27 2008) and Bradford (September 19 2008) are the only teams that have to look further back for the last time they finished a day top of the league.

Birmingham manager John Eustace
Birmingham have started the season well under John Eustace (Nick Potts/PA)

Southampton, on the other hand, are bottom of a table for the first time in nearly 10 years, following a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham.

The Saints last propped up a division on November 9 2012 – 3,557 days ago.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the sides who have ended long spells without sitting top (or bottom) of any of England’s top four leagues this season.


Birmingham: 5,030 days (October 27 2008 to August 5 2022)

Alex McLeish
Birmingham last topped a league table under Alex McLeish (Nick Potts/PA)

Birmingham fans were relatively spoiled for success in the mid-to-late 2000s, winning automatic promotion to the Premier League twice in 2006-07 and 2008-09.

The latter campaign was the last in which they topped a league table – the Blues started the season with a run of just one defeat in 13 and went on to secure promotion behind Wolves.

Led by Alex McLeish, they finished ninth in their first year back in the Premier League but were unable to kick on from there.

The following campaign (2010-11) ended in relegation on the final day, with this season the 12th in a row that Birmingham have spent in the Championship.

Walsall: 2,402 days (January 1 2016 to July 30 2022)

Walsall supporters
Walsall fans went six-and-a-half years without seeing their side top of a table (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Birmingham’s neighbours Walsall have started the season well in League Two, beating Hartlepool 4-0 and Newport 1-0.

The Saddlers are top of a division for the first time since New Year’s Day 2016, when five successive wins had propelled them to the League One summit.

Walsall ultimately missed out on automatic promotion by a single point, before losing in the play-off semi-final against Barnsley.

Burnley: 2,274 days (May 7 2016 to July 29 2022)

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley were top of the Championship after day one of the season (Zac Goodwin/PA)

With a win at Huddersfield in his first match in charge, Vincent Kompany brought Burnley’s six-year run of not topping a league table to an end.

The Clarets were promoted as league winners at the end of their previous spell in the Championship, but they did not reach the Premier League summit during a five-year stay.

Burnley did finish five separate days in fourth place under Sean Dyche. These were all in early August apart from the 2017-18 season – which saw them finish seventh and rank in the top four as late as mid-December.


Southampton: 3,557 days (November 9 2012 to 6 August 2022)

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins
Saints had not been bottom of a division since Nigel Adkins was in charge (David Davies/PA)

Southampton returned to the bottom of the Premier League on Saturday for the first time in nearly 10 years.

They lost eight of their first 10 matches in the 2012-13 season, before a draw at home to Swansea lifted them above relegation-bound QPR.

Despite winning successive promotions in the previous two years, manager Nigel Adkins lost his job in January 2013 with Saints sitting in 15th place. He was replaced by Mauricio Pochettino.

Crawley: 1,807 days (August 28 2017 to August 6 2022)

Crawley Town's Tom Nichols
Crawley finished last season in mid-table, but they have suffered back-to-back defeats so far this campaign (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Crawley are bottom of the English Football League after suffering 1-0 defeats in each of their opening two games.

Previously, the West Sussex club had gone almost five years without propping up a division, a run that stretched back to the beginning of 2017-18.

In that season, Crawley lost their first three matches before back-to-back wins lifted them away from danger and to the ultimate safety of mid-table.

Crystal Palace: 1,698 days (December 11 2017 to August 5 2022)

Frank de Boer
Palace were bottom on Friday night for the first time since the Frank de Boer season of 2017-18 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Before Saturday’s round of games, Palace were bottom of the Premier League courtesy of Friday’s 2-0 loss against Arsenal.

This was the first time that Palace had sat at the foot of a table since December 2017.

The Eagles lost their opening seven games without scoring a goal in 2017-18, the first four of which came during the tenure of Frank de Boer (who was sacked after just 77 days in charge).

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