THE PREMIER LEAGUE season came to a dramatic close with an intense relegation scrap.
Southampton were already doomed as they had plunged to the bottom of the English top flight after a rough campaign that saw them change three managers.
Leicester were relegated just seven years after winning the Premier LeagueGetty
It all came down to Everton, Leeds as well as Leicester and two of them were condemned to follow Saints to the Championship.
All three of them carried a heavy legacy in the Prem, and so did Southampton.
The Foxes, especially, were fighting for survival only seven years after they shocked the world and won the title in what will forever be remembered as the greatest underdog story in football history.
At the end, Leicester couldn’t replicate any of the spark from 2016 and went down along with Leeds after Everton defeated Bournemouth 1-0.
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Some of these teams may have felt too good to go down.
Of course, such a thing does not exist – you are down there on merit.
But, better teams have gone down in the past – as the below list shows:
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Newcastle – 2008-09
THE 2008-09 season was an utter disaster for the Toon.
By the time they were relegated, Newcastle had seen FOUR different managers scrape together just seven wins.
Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and club legend Alan Shearer all took charge of the club.
But it was Shearer – who vowed to keep the Magpies up – who oversaw the eventual and somewhat inevitable demise, finishing 18th just one point away from survival.
For a team of Newcastle’s size and with a squad boasting Michael Owen, Damien Duff, Nicky Butt, Obafemi Martins, Jose Enrique, Joey Barton and Mark Viduka, playing in the Championship was utterly alien.
They would go on to win the league and bounce straight back to the Premier League, but for a team that strong to go down was remarkable.
Action Images – ReutersNewcastle were relegated in 2008-09 despite their strong squad[/caption]
Leeds – 2003-04
MUCH like Newcastle, Leeds fell into the bracket of clubs ‘too big to go down’.
But in 2004, the Elland Road giants slipped out of the top flight and wouldn’t return for 16 years – even slipping into League One for three seasons during that time.
In 2003-04, Leeds won just eight matches en route to finishing 19th in the Prem, shipping a league-high 79 goals with the club in financial turmoil.
The Yorkshire side had a strong squad, too – with the likes of Viduka, Paul Robinson, Nicky Barmby, Alan Smith, Aaron Lennon and James Milner on the books.
GettyLeeds were relegated in 2004, sparking a 16-year top-flight exile[/caption]
West Ham – 2002-03
EVEN the magic 40-point mark wasn’t enough for the Hammers in 2002-03.
To this day, West Ham‘s tally of 42 points that year is the highest for a relegated team.
For context, the East London giants also secured 42 points in 2017-18.. and finished 13th.
But for a team boasting Jermain Defoe, Paolo di Canio, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Les Ferdinand, David James, Trevor Sinclair and more to go down? Madness.
Ultimately the star-studded squad finished two points adrift off 17th-placed Bolton.
More bizarrely still, it took West Ham two attempts to break back into the big time, eventually scraping through the Championship play-offs despite finishing sixth.
GettyWest Ham were relegated in 2002-03 despite racking up 42 points[/caption]
Blackburn – 1998-99
IN 1993-94, Blackburn won the Premier League trophy. In 1997-98, they finished sixth.
And at the start of the 1998-99 season, they were being tipped to challenge for a second title, now under Roy Hodgson.
Rovers boasted the likes of Duff, Stephane Henchoz, Chris Sutton, Kevin Davies, Tim Sherwood and Tim Flowers.
Despite that, Blackburn finished the season in 19th after winning a woeful five games.
Hodgson was sacked midway through the disastrous campaign with no player in the squad scoring more than five league goals.
GettyBlackburn had been tipped for a shot at the title in 1998-99 but were relegated instead[/caption]
Middlesbrough – 1996-97
EVEN the heroics of Juninho and Fabrizio Ravanelli couldn’t save Boro in 1996-97.
The Italian striker scored 31 times in all competitions – including an opening day hat-trick in the 3-3 draw against Liverpool – with the Brazilian midfield magician in full flow behind him.
However, despite that, Middlesbrough slumped into the second tier after finishing two points shy of safety.
After a strong start to the season – winning three and losing just one of their first six games – Boro failed to win a single match between September 21 and December 26.
Under player-manager Bryan Robson, Middlesbrough finished 19th, one point behind 18th-placed Sunderland and two adrift of Coventry and Southampton, who survived by the skin of their teeth.
GettyMiddlesbrough were relegated in 1996-97 despite boasting Juninho in their team[/caption]