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Too good to go down? Five famous clubs that were relegated

| 05.02.2015

Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund, 28/1 with Coral to win the Champions League, have suffered a drastic domestic fall from grace this season, plummeting into the Bundesliga’s relegation zone despite finishing second to Bayern Munich last term.

Following Dortmund’s demise from title challengers to relegation contenders, Coral writers look at Europe’s other top teams that declined dramatically and dropped down from their top-flight divisions.

Despite finishing in fourth spot in the 2010/11 La Liga campaign, the Yellow Submarine sank to the depths of Spanish relegation the following season after an unfortunate demise under Miguel Angel Lotina’s reign.

In previous seasons, Villarreal had finished as high as second and third, including ending the 2007/08 term 10 points ahead of Catalan giants Barcelona.

Some incredible players have graced the stage at El Madrigal, none better than Juan Roman Riquelme, an Argentinian icon and a symbol of the club’s best days in the top-flight.

However, in 2012, the famous Spanish outfit were relegated from La Liga after defeat to Atletico Madrid, causing a mass exodus of star names including Nilmar, Borja Valero, Diego Lopez and Giuseppe Rossi.

In the 2010/11 Ligue 1 season, giants Monaco dropped from the top-flight following a horrendous campaign, despite having finished eighth the previous season.

The Principality outfit were defeated in the 2004 Champions league final under former France captain Didier Deschamps by Jose Mourinho’s Porto, after a period of moderate success in Europe’s elite club competition, constantly featuring for many seasons.

Although, in 2011, a youthful Monaco outfit boasting players like Park-Chu Young, Mahamadou Diarra, Stephane Ruffier and Chris Malonga dropped from the country’s top division for the first time since the 1970s.

Monaco had steadily declined since their Champions League final appearance in 2004, but a 2-0 defeat to rivals Lyon on the final day of the 2010/11 campaign damned them to a fatal fall from grace.

Leeds United
Towards the end of their Premier League days, under controversial chairman Peter Risdale, Leeds had dangerously taken out several large loans with the hope of securing Champions League qualification but, after narrowly missing out on a place, the Yorkshire-based club became engrossed in financial trouble.

A host of top names were subsequently sold on to fund loan repayments, such as Rio Ferdinand, who joined bitter rivals Manchester United for a reported £30m.

After a series of managerial sackings and further departures at Elland Road, the Whites were condemned to top-flight relegation during the 2003/04 season with star names such as Alan Smith, Paul Robinson and Mark Viduka still on their books.

They later went down to League One, as they were hit with a 10-point deduction after entering administration in 2007, and were officially relegated to the third tier after having previously never been lower than the Championship.

Newcastle United
The Magpies ended a 16-year stay in the top-flight in 2009 as they dropped to the Championship after a defeat to Aston Villa.

Newcastle, who had been taken over by the Premier League’s all-time goalscorer and club legend Alan Shearer towards the end of the 2008/09 campaign, lacked any firepower or urgency that season as it ended in devastating failure on Tyneside.

Despite Shearer’s team including Ireland international Damien Duff, whose own goal against Villa sent his side down, Shola Ameobi, Mark Viduka and Kevin Nolan, it ended in tears for the Geordie faithful.

In 2005, after 27 years in England’s top tier, the Saints were sent down to the Championship after a disastrous season at St Mary’s.

At one point the following term, after their demise, it looked as if Southampton would suffer a second consecutive relegation but, with many seasons of producing top young talent such as Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, they were able to bounce back.

Now sitting in the top four of this season’s Premier League table, Southampton’s revival is a great example of how to persevere and eventually fight back to the top-flight, something teams like Leeds can learn from.

Ronald Koeman’s top tier Saints are 2/1 to finish in the top four this term.



Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.