English Football Ups and Downs 2011

Manchester United won the league title for a record 19th time, clinched with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn on May 14th. They will enter the Champions League group stages next season along with Premier League runners-up Chelsea and third-placed Manchester City. Fourth-placed Arsenal will enter in the qualifying rounds.

Carling Cup winners Birmingham City were the first team to book their place in Europe. They will play in the Europa League, despite being relegated from the Premier League, after being granted a licence by UEFA because of earlier fears about their financial situation.

Because Manchester City had already qualified for the Champions League ahead of their FA Cup final win over Stoke City, the beaten Potters qualified for the Europa League (a decent consolation prize). Tottenham Hotspur clinched fifth place on the final day of the season meaning they will also play in the Europa League next season.

England earned an extra Europa League place through being one of the top three countries in Uefa’s Respect Fair Play league. The highest-place team in the Premier League’s Fair Play table that has not yet qualified for Europe – Fulham – will enter the Europa League first qualifying round.

The bottom three teams (relegated to the Championship): West Ham United (whose fate was confirmed on 15th May), Blackpool (who ensured an instant return to the Championship) and Birmingham City (after they were beaten 2-1 by Spurs on the final day of the season).

In the Championship, QPR made it back to the Premier League for the first time since 1996. Norwich City took the runners-up spot and Swansea City made it to the Premier League through the play-offs, after a 4-2 win over Reading in the final.

Relegated to League One were: Preston North End, Scunthorpe United and Sheffield United.

Brighton & Hove Albion were promoted from League One as champions. Southampton ended a two-year spell in League One by clinching the second automatic promotion place. Peterborough Utd were promoted as winners of the League One play-offs.

League One relegations: Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle (their second successive relegation – they had suffered a 10-point deduction earlier in the season for going into administration), Bristol Rovers and Dagenham & Redbridge.