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On this day in 2008: Derby’s record-breaking relegation

The Rams slid out of the Premier League with just 11 points and a host of other unwanted records.

On this day in 2008: Derby’s record-breaking relegation

Sunday marks the anniversary of the earliest relegation in Premier League history, when Derby’s demotion was confirmed on March 29, 2008 after a miserable season.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at what remains the worst statistical campaign of the Premier League era.

Derby’s tale of woe

The statistics of Derby’s annus horribilis are often recounted, starting with their final tally of just 11 points.

They managed only one win all season, Kenny Miller’s goal seeing them past Newcastle 1-0 on September 17. That was their sixth game of the season, meaning should the Championship play-off perennials one day return to the top flight they will do so on an ongoing record winless run of 32 matches.

They took four points off the Magpies that season after December’s 2-2 draw, while they drew both games with Fulham. Their remaining points came from draws with Portsmouth, Bolton, Manchester City, Birmingham and Sunderland.

Kenny Miller, left, celebrates his winner against Newcastle
Kenny Miller, left, celebrates his winner against Newcastle, the only chance for Derby to do so in 2007-08 (Nick Potts/PA)

Goalless games with the Black Cats and away to Fulham made it just three clean sheets for the season as they conceded 89 goals while scoring only 20. Their 19 away games yielded just three points and eight goals.

Their season is perhaps best put in context, though, by the comparison to the team immediately above them in the final table. Birmingham were relegated in 19th place with 35 points – more than three times Derby’s total, and closer in points to seventh-placed Blackburn on 58 than to the Rams.

They went through three chairmen – Peter Gadsby, Adam Pearson and Andrew Appleby – and two managers as Paul Jewell replaced Billy Davies in November.

How they compare

Mick McCarthy, right, and Grant Leadbitter walk off dejected after Sunderland's defeat to Manchester City in 2005-06
Mick McCarthy, right, Grant Leadbitter and Sunderland went down with 15 points in 2005-06 (Gareth Copley/PA)

Only six teams have ever got fewer than 20 points in a Premier League season, with Derby’s total four adrift of the next lowest.

That 15-point campaign belongs to Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland side of 2005-06, with the Black Cats previously having been relegated with 19 points in 2002-03.

Portsmouth also limped to 19 points in 2009-10, Aston Villa managed only 17 in 2015-16 and Huddersfield last season finished on 16.

Derby’s relegation was the earliest in terms of date in the Premier League era, with Huddersfield relegated on March 30 but matching County’s mark of six games to go.

Earliest Premier League relegations
Derby set unwanted records in 2007-08 (PA graphic)

Their 20-goal tally is the worst in the Premier League, though only by one – Sunderland netted just 21 in their 19-point campaign in 2002-03.

Similarly, the 89 conceded by Derby is the most in a 38-game Premier League season, with the only worse records – 100 by Swindon in 1993-94 and Ipswich’s 93 the following season – coming in the 42-game era.

Derby’s resulting goal difference of -69 truly stands out though – it is the worst in the Premier League by a clear 12 goals. Ipswich finished at -57 and Swindon -53 in those aforementioned seasons, while Huddersfield’s -54 is the only other record worse than -50 in a 38-game campaign.

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