Ranked! The 10 best Championship play-off winners in Premier League history, by points

best Championship play-off winners: Ipswich Town players celebrate with the trophy after winning the 2000 Division 1 play-off final at Wembley Stadium
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They say the Championship play-off final is the richest game in football - but that doesn't mean a whole lot if you end up coming straight back down from the Premier League.

But plenty of play-off winners have survived their first season (back) in the big time - and some have done a lot more than simply stay up.

Who, though, has fared best at the highest level after triumphing at Wembley or (as was the case from 2001 to 2006) the Millennium Stadium? Here are the top 10, ranked by points...

Best Championship play-off winners: 10. Bolton, 2001/02 (40 points)

Bolton Wanderers 2001-02

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The 2001-02 season marked the beginning of the most successful period in Bolton's modern history, as the Trotters returned to the Premier League after three years away.

Sam Allardyce steered his side to a 16th-placed finish at the end of a season which featured wins at home to Liverpool and away to reigning champions Manchester United.

9. Crystal Palace, 2013/14 (45 points)

Crystal Palace 2013-14

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Crystal Palace's current nine-year top-flight stint is the longest in their history - but it looked like they might be heading straight back down to the Championship after taking just three points from their first eight games of 2013/14.

That poor form prompted manager Ian Holloway to resign - before Tony Pulis came in and led the Eagles to comfortable survival with an 11th-placed finish.

8. West Ham, 2012/13 (46 points)

West Ham United 2012-13

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Rock-bottom of the Premier League two years previously, West Ham marked their instant return to the top flight with a top-half finish, coming 10th under Sam Allardyce.

A 3-1 victory over European champions Chelsea was the standout result for the Hammers in a season which saw them named preferred bidders for the London (then Olympic) Stadium.

7. Brentford, 2021/22 (46 points)

Brentford 2021-22

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Appearing at the highest level of English football for the first time in 74 years, Brentford took a few of the big boys by surprise last term - most notably beating Arsenal 2-0 in the big kick-off and thrashing Chelsea 4-1 away in April.

Thomas Frank's side looked to be in a spot of bother around the turn of the year - but, propelled by the creative qualities of a returning Christian Eriksen, they cruised to 13th in the end.

6. Swansea, 2011/12 (47 points)

Swansea City, Brendan Rodgers

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Just eight years after almost dropping into non-League, Swansea made it to the promised land by defeating Reading in the Championship play-off final - and they weren't there just to make up the numbers.

Driven by Brendan Rodgers' directive to starve the opposition of the ball, the Swans finished 11th with the third-highest average possession (56%) in the division.

5. Leicester, 1996/97 (47 points)

Leicester City

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Relegated from the Premier League in 1995, Leicester bounced straight back up to the big time thanks to Steve Claridge's 120th-minute winner against Crystal Palace at Wembley.

And the Foxes fared rather better in the top flight this time around, with Martin O'Neill guiding the club to a ninth-placed finish - their highest for 31 years - as well as League Cup glory. 

4. Birmingham, 2002/03 (48 points)

Birmingham City 2002-03

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Back in the big time after 26 years away, Birmingham posted a comfortable 13th-placed finish under Steve Bruce - and recorded some memorable results along the way.

A 2-1 home win against Liverpool was one to savour - but Blues fans will recall one game above all else when thinking about 2002/03: September's 3-0 triumph over arch-rivals Aston Villa at St. Andrew's, featuring that own goal by Peter Enckelman.

3. West Ham, 2005/06 (55 points)

West Ham United 2005-06

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A year on from losing the Championship play-off final to Crystal Palace, Alan Pardew's West Ham returned to the Millennium Stadium and went one better, seeing off Preston to end a two-year top-flight exile.

And the Hammers looked right at home back in the Premier League, coming ninth in a season which also saw them reach a first FA Cup final since 1980 (although they couldn't quite hold off a Steven Gerrard-inspired Liverpool).

2. Blackburn, 1992/93 (71 points*)

Alan Shearer, Blackburn

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*42-game season, equates to 64 points in a 38-game season

In 1995, Blackburn would be crowned champions of England for the third time - but they only returned to the top tier three years earlier, just in time for the inaugural edition of the Premier League.

Backed by the wealth of local businessman Jack Walker, Kenny Dalglish's Rovers enjoyed a stunning season, finishing fourth and a single point off UEFA Cup qualification - helped in no small part by 16 goals from their marquee summer signing, a certain Alan Shearer.

1. Ipswich, 2000/01 (66 points)

Ipswich Town 2000-01

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Ipswich play in the third tier these days, but it wasn't so long ago that the Tractor Boys were a force to be reckoned with at the highest level; their 2000/01 performance remains the third-best by any team promoted to the Premier League through the play-offs or otherwise.

George Burley's side qualified for the UEFA Cup by storming to a fifth-placed finish, ending the season only four points behind runners-up Liverpool - who they beat at Anfield for one of their biggest results of the campaign.

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