The name is derived from the toy yo-yo which goes up and down a string. In Germany the equivalent term is Fahrstuhlmannschaft , in Greece it is ομάδα ασανσέρ, in Spain it is equipo ascensor and in Russia they often say команда-лифт, all four of them literally meaning "lift team" or "elevator team". In the Netherlands the term is heen-en-weer club (to-and-fro club). In Polish, yo-yo clubs are referred to as wańka-wstańka, which translates to "roly-poly toy".
West Brom were an archetypal yo-yo club throughout the first decade of the 21st-century, during which time they were promoted four times and relegated three times. This was seen by some to be a direct result of the policies espoused by the club's chairman Jeremy Peace, who refused to allow the club to spend beyond its means and has insisted on sound financial management. This tended to leave the club at a disadvantage in the Premier League, when other similarly-sized clubs have tended to spend beyond their means, but strongly placed in the second tier (The Championship) due to the parachute payments received on relegation from the Premier League. However, West Brom has in recent years lost this reputation due to successfully staying in the Premier League for several consecutive seasons. Likewise Crystal Palace reached the Premier League five times, were relegated the following season on the first four occasions, but have now survived since 2013.
Birmingham City have been promoted and relegated to and from the top division more times than any other English club, with 12 promotions and 12 relegations.
Birmingham's longest period in one division has been 18 years in the First Division, from 1921 to 1939. Their next longest was 10 years, also in the First Division, between 1955 and 1965.