As Michael O’Neill sets about trying to get Stoke City back on an upward trajectory either side of this unwanted hiatus, the long-term target is to establish the club back among the big boys of English football.
Stoke have spent a decade back at the top table recently and their long history is bookmarked by adventures rubbing shoulders with the great, the good and the infamous.
But where to they stand in the all-time top flight rankings?
Our animated table below shows how the standings have changed since Stoke and 11 others founded the Football League back in 1888.
Only five teams have sat at the top of the historic table.
Current Premier League leaders Liverpool sit top on 5,767 points, 121 ahead of Arsenal and more than 300 ahead of Manchester United.
But from 1889 until 1895, it was Preston North End who set the pace, with Aston Villa and Everton eventually closing in and hauling them back.
Stoke are currently in 22nd spot – but a couple of good seasons away from catching the next side above, Nottingham Forest.
And they had better get promoted soon to hold off a threat from Burnley, who are only 48 points behind as things stand.
There are four clubs who have clocked up more than 5,000 points, a further four who have got more than 4,000 and another three who have topped 3,000.
There are 65 clubs in all who have mixed it at the highest level.