Premier League Relegation Points History (Highest + Lowest)

Since its inception in 1992, the English Premier League has offered up some wonderfully competitive and extremely tight relegation battles.

Dropping out of the most lucrative league in the world is a disaster for any club, and it is well known that returning to the top league via the ultra-competitive English Championship is by no means a given.

Many so-called ‘big clubs’, after dropping out of the Premier League, have slipped even further down the league ladders – so survival is absolutely crucial.

But how many points does a club need to avoid the dreaded drop? Is the magic number really 40 points? And how much has the relegation dogfight changed over the years in terms of how many points are needed to stay in the Premier League?

Just as the number of points needed to win the league each season can vary hugely, the same is true of the points required to survive.

Before we dive into the all-time record, here are some of the key Premier League relegation points statistics (since the league switched to a 20-team format it 1995/96):

  • Average Points for 17th Place: 38.2
  • Average Points for 18th Place: 35.5
  • Highest Points to Be Relegated from Premier League: 42 (West Ham, 2002/03)
  • Lowest Points to Survive in Premier League: 34 (West Brom, 2004/05)

Premier League Relegation Points History (All Seasons)

SeasonLowest
Surviving
Team
Highest
Relegated
Team
1992/93
(22-team league)
19th: Oldham
49 pts
(-11 goal difference)
20th: Crystal Palace
49 pts
(-13 goal difference)
1993/94
(22-team league)
19th: Ipswich
43 pts
20th: Sheffield Utd
42 pts
1994/95
(22-team league, 4 teams relegated)
18th: Aston Villa
48 pts
19th: Crystal Palace
45 pts
1995/9617th: Southampton
38 pts
(-18 goal difference)
18th: Manchester City
38 pts
(-25 goal difference)
1996/9717th: Coventry City
41 pts
18th: Sunderland
40 pts
1997/9817th: Everton
40 pts
(-15 goal difference)
18th: Bolton
40 pts
(-20 goal difference)
1998/9917th: Southampton
41 pts
18th: Charlton Athletic
35 pts
1999/0017th: Bradford City
36 pts
18th: Wimbledon
33 pts
2000/0117th: Derby County
42 pts
18th: Manchester City
34 pts
2001/0217th: Sunderland
40 pts
18th: Ipswich Town
36 pts
2002/0317th: Bolton
44 pts
18th: West Ham
42 pts
2003/0417th: Everton
39 pts
18th: Leicester City
33 pts
2004/0517th: West Brom
34 pts
18th: Crystal Palace
33 pts
2005/0617th: Portsmouth
38 pts
18th: Birmingham City
34 pts
2006/0717th: Wigan Athletic
38 pts
(-22 goal difference)
18th: Sheffield United
38 pts
(-23 goal difference)
2007/0817th: Fulham
36 pts
(-22 goal difference)
18th: Reading
36 pts
(-25 goal difference)
2008/0917th: Hull City
35 pts
18th: Newcastle United
34 pts
2009/1017th: West Ham
35 pts
18th: Burnley
30 pts
2010/1117th: Wolves
40 pts
18th: Birmingham City
39 pts
2011/1217th: QPR
37 pts
18th: Bolton
36 pts
2012/1317th: Sunderland
39 pts
18th: Wigan Athletic
36 pts
2013/1417th: West Brom
36 pts
18th: Norwich City
33 pts
2014/1517th: Aston Villa
38 pts
18th: Hull City
35 pts
2015/1617th: Sunderland
39 pts
18th: Newcastle United
37 pts
2016/1717th: Watford
40 pts
18th: Hull City
34 pts
2018/1917th: Brighton
36 pts
18th: Swansea City
33 pts
2019/2017th: Aston Villa
35 pts
18th: Cardiff City
34 pts
2020/2117th: Burnley
39 pts
18th: Bournemouth
34 pts
2021/2217th: Leeds United
38 pts
18th: Burnley
35 pts

Lowest Points to Survive in Premier League

SeasonTeamPoints
2004/05West Brom34 pts
2008/09Hull City35 pts
2009/10West Ham35 pts
2019/20Aston Villa35 pts

Has Anyone Ever Been Relegated with 40 Points?

Three teams have reached 40 points or more and been relegated from a 20-team Premier League – West Ham with 42 points (2002/03), Sunderland with 40 points (1996/97) and Bolton Wanderers with 40 points (1997/98).

So the mythical 40 point mark that is said to guarantee Premier League safety is just that – a myth.

Birmingham City were relegated in the 2010/11 season despite accruing 39 points, while in 1995/96 Manchester City failed to survive despite earning 38 points, being relegated by only seven goals, with Southampton surviving with 38 points and a goal difference of -18.

If you think that is unlucky, spare a thought for the Sheffield United team of 2006/07, who reached 38 points with a -23 goal difference only to be relegated by a single goal, with Wigan Athletic surviving on 38 points and a -22 goal difference. Heartbreak for the Blades.

Highest Points Total to Be Relegated from Premier League

West Ham United earned the unwanted record of the highest points total to be relegated from the Premier League when they reached 42 points in the 2002/03 season and still finished in 18th position, two points behind Bolton Wanderers.

PositionTeamPWDLGFGAGDPTS
18thWest Ham381012164259-1742

The Hammers won 10 and drew 12 of their 38 games, including home and away victories over London rivals Chelsea, and averaged more than a goal a game during the course of the season.

They lost manager Glenn Roeder to illness in April after he won the league’s Manager of the Month award in March (with club legend Trevor Brooking taking over as caretaker manager), and striker Jermain Defoe was nominated for Young Player of the Year at the end of the season.

They had finished seventh in the Premier League the previous season, narrowly missing out on European competition, but despite a squad containing several then-current or future England internationals, including David James, Trevor Sinclair, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe, Glen Johnson and Michael Carrick, a terrible start to the season saw them win just three out of their first 24 matches, and the club found themselves bottom of the table at Christmas with just 16 points.

Despite a late-season run of good results, their 10-year stay in the Premier League came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Birmingham City while Bolton were defeating Middlesbrough 2-1 to ensure their safety on the final day of the season.

How Many Points to Guarantee Premier League Survival

Technically, the points total that must be reached to guarantee Premier League survival is 43, as no club has ever earned that many points and been relegated. West Ham earned 42 points in 2002/03 and were relegated.

But what are the chances of staying in the Premier League by accruing fewer points than the elusive 43? Here’s the statistical evidence given what we have learned from the 26 seasons of a 20-team Premier League season, based on the points required to finish 17th in the league each year. 

Points TotalNumber of Seasons it
Would Have Led to Survival
Chance of Survival
330/260.00%
341/263.85%
354/2615.38%
368/2630.77%
379/2634.62%
3814/2653.85%
3918/2669.23%
4022/2684.62%
4124/2692.31%
4225/2696.15%
4325/2696.15%
44+26/26100%
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Thomas Smith

Tommy is a freelance writer and editor based in Spain but originally from the north east of Scotland. A former daily newspaper reporter, he is passionate about football, loves cricket and snooker and enjoys watching most sports.

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