Home » EFL teams to achieve back-to-back promotions: Ipswich join list

EFL teams to achieve back-to-back promotions: Ipswich join list

Achieving promotion across England’s four footballing tiers is a brilliant achievement, but to do it back-to-back is even better.

It’s a rare thing to see a team fly up the divisions, but it can happen, with Wrexham a recent example.


Wrexham have jumped from the National League to League One in two seasonsCredit: Getty

Ipswich Town became the latest side to achieve this feat when their promotion to the Premier League was confirmed.

The Tractor Boys smashed League One and finished second in the Championship to return to the top-flight for the first time in over 20 years.

But what other English sides have managed this outstanding feat?

National League to League One

Wycombe Wanderers 1992-1994

Under Martin O’Neill‘s guidance, the Chairboys sealed promotion from the Confrence by winning the title.

They then beat Carlisle and Preston in the play-offs the following year to gain a spot in the old Second Division.

Doncaster Rovers 2002-2004

Doncaster made their way into League Two through the Conference play-off final, where they scored a Golden Goal to win it.

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They followed this up by dominating League Two, being promoted as champions.

Carlisle 2004-2006

Under Paul Simpson, Carlisle bounced back from relegation to the National League by winning the play-off final against Stevenage.

Simpson stayed, and the club stormed to the League Two title before their manager joined Preston.

Carlisle enjoyed great success under Simpson


Carlisle enjoyed great success under SimpsonCredit: Getty

Exeter 2007-2009

Exeter were promoted from the Conference after turning around a 2-1 defeat to Torquay in the first leg of their semi-final before beating Cambridge in the final.

They then finished as runners-up to Brentford in League Two the following year.

Stevenage 2009-2011

Under Graham Westley’s stewardship, Stevenage became a Football League club for the first time, finishing 11 points clear at the top of the table.

They found themselves down in 18th place at one point the following year, but had a late surge to seal a play-off place and beat Torquay 1-0 in the final.

Crawley 2010-2012

Crawley‘s owner, Bruce Winfield, died from cancer just 19 days before Steve Evans‘ side secured their place in the Football League for the first time in their history.

The following season was a bit of a roller coaster as Evans left to join Rotherham before they sealed a place in League One less than a month later.

Evans moved on from Crawley before their second promotion was confirmed


Evans moved on from Crawley before their second promotion was confirmedCredit: Getty
Gabby Agbonlahor claims he’d rather have Ipswich promoted to the Premier League than Leeds

Bristol Rovers 2014-2016

The Gas got promotion back to League Two at the first time of asking as they beat Grimsby Town on penalties in the play-off final.

They then leaped into League One on the final day of the following season thanks to a 92nd minute winner over Dagenham & Redbridge.

Wrexham 2022-2024

The Welsh side, under the ownership of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, have given their supporters two dream seasons.

An incredible title race with Notts County ended with Wrexham taking the National League title, which they followed with an automatic promotion spot in League Two.

The promotion party at Wrexham was something else


The promotion party at Wrexham was something elseCredit: Rex

League Two to Championship

Bury 1995-1997

Under Stan Ternet, Bury finished third in the old Division Three to scrape a place into Division Two.

They then walked to the title the following year to reach Division One for the first time in 30 years.

Brighton 2000-2002

Before Brighton were a solid Premier League side, they spent a lot of time well down the leagues and earned promotion to League One in 2001.

Peter Taylor then ensured it was back-to-back promotions by helping the Seagulls take the League Two title.

Rotherham 1999-2001 and 2012-2014

The Millers are the only team on this list to achieve back-to-back promotions on two occasions.

The first came in the late 1990s into the noughties as Rotherham finished second in League Two and League One to gain a spot in the Championship.

The second time was masterminded by Evans, who led them to another second-place finish. They then beat Leyton Orient on penalties in the League One play-off final the following year.

Rotherham are a unique team on this list


Rotherham are a unique team on this listCredit: Getty

Peterborough 2007-2009

Unsurprisingly, Darren Ferguson is the hero here, as he led the Posh to back-to-back promotions.

However, the Championship proved to be a step too far for Ferguson, and he was sacked with Peterborough bottom of the second tier.

Burton Albion 2014-2016

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink replaced Gary Rowett and guided the Brewers to the League Two title.

Hasselbaink left and Nigel Clough returned for a second spell and led the club to the Championship for the first time in their history.

League One to Premier League

Watford 1997-1999

Watford legend Graham Taylor returned to help them when they found themselves in League One, and he took them to the Second Division title.

This was followed with a play-off final win over Bolton to get them back into the top-flight.

Taylor is Watford's most successful manager


Taylor is Watford’s most successful manager

Manchester City 1998-2000

Before all the money, Manchester City endured some tough times and needed Joe Royle to lead them to promotion from League One.

Royle stayed on and sealed a place in the Premier League for City the following year.

Southampton 2010-2012

Nigel Adkins came in from Scunthorpe and secured second in League One in his first year to get the Saints into the Championship.

They then finished as runners-up to Reading the following year to return to the Premier League, although Adkins was soon replaced by Mauricio Pochettino once in the Premier League.

Norwich 2009-2011

Paul Lambert arrived at Carrow Road with Norwich in the third tier after a shambolic year in the Championship, but just nine months after his appointment, the Canaries were promoted.

The Scotsman followed this up with another promotion to get Norwich back in the Premier League.

Ipswich 2022-2024

Kieran McKenna’s arrival at Portman Road has been totally transformative as the Tractor Boys sealed promotion from League One.

They were then expected to struggle, given they were going up against teams with huge budgets, but they defied all the odds to seal second place.

It was a stunning achievement.

Ipswich are on their way back to the Premier League


Ipswich are on their way back to the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty