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Premier League relegation
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Best players relegated from the Premier League

It's been one of the tightest, tensest relegation battles in Premier League history, with nearly all of the bottom half in danger of going down at some point in the season.

Southampton were the first club relegated, despite the best efforts of James Ward-Prowse, with two more to follow. 

Despite a squad full of internationals, Leicester are in huge danger of falling through the trap door, with the likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho surely not sticking around for a spell in the Championship should the worst happen.

With that in mind, we’re looking at some of the best players to have suffered the ignominy of relegation from the Premier League. 

Rio Ferdinand

In one of the most strangely-assembled squads in Premier League history, it was Rio Ferdinand who stuck out the most at QPR in 2014/15.

Nine players joined the Hoops that summer in an attempt to stave off an immediate return to the Championship.

And while Ferdinand’s level was some way below his peak, he’d moved from Manchester United where he’d played in a Champions League quarter-final the previous season, and won the league the season before that.

But Ferdinand would only make 11 appearances at Lotfus Road, as QPR finished rock bottom. 

Scott Parker

After forging a reputation at Charlton, Scott Parker earned a move to Chelsea, where he failed to make a real impact, being sold to Newcastle, and then returning to London with West Ham in 2007.

Parker would earn the fans’ Player of the Year in three of his four years in East London, with his final season the most bittersweet.

While he may not have been the most technically gifted player, he’d make up for that with sheer tenacity, work rate and determination. Parker would break into the England team in 2011, eventually earning England’s Player of the Year award, but it would coincide with the Hammers’ relegation.

West Ham would finish bottom, but Parker was named FWA Footballer of the Year for his efforts.

Mark Viduka

Despite the exodus of stars at Elland Road as Leeds United tried to the balance the books, a handful of players who’d been with them three years earlier for their Champions League run remained, the best of which was Mark Viduka.

Still only 27 at the start of the season, Viduka had bagged an excellent 48 goals in his three Premier League seasons and would score 11 more as the Leeds squad continued their slide down the table to relegation.

Viduka would remain in the Premier League, however, going on to make another 110 appearances across spells with Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

Georginio Wijnaldum

The Mike Ashley era at Newcastle will be remembered by a lack of investment that left the relationship between owner and fans fractured to say the least.

But the signing of Georginio Wijnaldum in 2015 along with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Andros Townsend and others represented a significant outlay.

Wijnaldum himself was something of a coup, having scored 14 goals in three of his previous five Eredivisie seasons and earning plenty of caps at international level, starting five games at the 2014 World Cup as the Netherlands finished third.

Wijnaldum would impress during his first season, reaching double figures for goals in the league again, earning a move to Liverpool the following summer, but was unable to prevent the Magpies from going down.

Paolo Di Canio

It’s hard to pick just one player from West Ham’s 2002/03 side. They say 40 points is enough to keep you in the top flight, with West Ham always named as the exception, picking up 42 and still going down.

They had David James in goal, who’d been Liverpool’s goalkeeper for more than 200 games as well as playing for England. There was Trevor Sinclair, who was also part of the England set-up at the time, as well as Freddy Kanoute, and a young Glen Johnson, Joe Cole, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe.

But the marquee name in the team was undoubtedly the mercurial Paolo Di Canio. A falling out with Glenn Roeder saw him dropped, only returning when Trevor Brooking was appointed, but despite a goal in each of the final two games of the season, West Ham – and the Italian – were relegated.


It’s not overly disrespectful to say that Juninho was too good for Middlesbrough when he moved to Teeside as a 22-year-old.

Middlesbrough had just been promoted and the Brazilian was being courted by a number of Europe’s top clubs.

Boro stayed well clear of relegation, but it was Juninho's first full season at the Riverside where he truly shone, scoring 12 goals. Only nine players scored more than him in the 1996/97 season, and eight of them were centre-forwards.

But failure to fulfil a fixture saw Middlesbrough docked three points, which would prove fatal come the end of the season.

While Alan Shearer won the PFA Player of the Year and Gianfranco Zola won the FWA Footballer of the Year, it was Juninho who won the Premier League Player of the Year, despite Middlesbrough finishing 19th and being relegated.

Roy Keane

Despite just being 22 years of age, Roy Keane had established himself as one of the nascent Premier League’s hottest properties.

Keane had established himself so much he could secure a lucrative contract at Nottingham Forest, with big-spending Blackburn and a resurgent Manchester United interested in his signature.

Despite his best efforts which saw him named alongside future team-mate Paul Ince in the PFA Team of the Year, Forest were relegated at the end of the inaugural Premier League season, moving to Manchester United that summer in a British record transfer where he’d go on to captain the side to a historic treble.

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