A look back at the last five winners of the Championship play-offs


The Championship play-offs are an annual highlight in the English football calendar, offering a thrilling climax to the season as teams battle it out for the final promotion spot to the Premier League. 

The last five winners of the play-offs provide tales of redemption, resilience, and fairy-tale success. So, as the Championship bet markets heat up, let’s take a closer look at these memorable campaigns.

2019 – Aston Villa

After the heartbreak of losing in the 2018 final to Fulham, Aston Villa returned with a vengeance in 2019. 

Under the guidance of Dean Smith and with significant contributions from players like Jack Grealish and John McGinn, Villa were determined to make their mark. 

Their ambition culminated in a gripping 2-1 victory over Derby County at Wembley. This win not only secured their return to the Premier League but also marked the beginning of a new era for the club.

2020 – Fulham

Fulham’s yo-yo relationship with the Premier League continued as they were relegated following their 2018 play-off victory and immediate promotion. 

However, under the leadership of Scott Parker, they bounced back at the first opportunity. In the 2020 play-offs, Fulham overcame local rivals Brentford in a tightly contested final at Wembley, winning 2-1 thanks to a brace from Joe Bryan in extra time. 

This victory underlined their resilience and determination to remain a force in English football.

2021 – Brentford

Brentford’s story in the 2021 play-offs was one of redemption and historical achievement. 

Having lost to Fulham in the previous year’s final, Brentford entered the 2021 play-offs with unfinished business. 

Their 2-0 victory over Swansea City not only avenged their prior disappointment but also marked their return to the top flight for the first time in 74 years, showcasing the club’s long-term development and ambition.

2022 – Nottingham Forest

Under Steve Cooper, Nottingham Forest ended a 23-year absence from the Premier League, a significant achievement for a club with such a rich history. 

Their 2022 play-off final against Huddersfield Town was a nervy affair, decided by a fortuitous own goal from Chelsea loanee Levi Colwill. 

Forest’s promotion was a testament to Cooper’s leadership and the gritty performances from the team throughout the season.

2023 – Luton Town

Luton Town’s victory in the 2023 play-offs was nothing short of a fairy-tale. 

A decade after competing in non-league football, Luton completed an astonishing rise up the English football pyramid. 

Their win over Coventry City in the final, secured through a nerve-wracking penalty shootout, defied the Championship promotion odds and was a fitting climax to an incredible journey. 

Luton’s story is one of perseverance, community spirit, and strategic club management that has resonated deeply with football fans.

Each of these teams’ journeys through the play-offs highlights the drama and unpredictability of football, where fortunes can change in the blink of an eye. 

The Championship play-offs remain one of the most exciting fixtures in the sporting calendar, offering a blend of despair, joy, and ultimately, the exhilarating chance of playing in the Premier League. 

As another play-off season approaches, fans anticipate more unforgettable moments and stories that will add to the rich history of this competition.

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