The Relegated Perfect XI

Relegated Perfect XI

The best players generally are the ones who finish at the top end of the league, competing for titles and European places. Yet, its surprising how many players end up fighting at the wrong end of the table and sometimes lose, facing the embarrassment of relegation.

Some are too good to have that on their record, but I suppose they can be part of a club. Here’s the Perfect XI of the Premier League Relegation club.

Shay Given 

A Premier League veteran, Given has faced the trapdoor with long-term affiliated club, Newcastle United in 2009. A regular top-half side, they felt the strain from managerial nightmares and board troubles.

Given was a consistent rock for the Geordies though and earned himself a move to Manchester City. One of the leagues most underrated keepers of all time, no wonder he didn’t stay in the Championship for long.

Michel Salgado 

A Real Madrid and Spanish star, Champions League winner and multiple league champion, how has he been relegated in England? After impressing after his release from Madrid, he joined Blackburn Rovers.

In one of the strangest moves in recent time, it didn’t go to plan for the old-timer. Injuries and unrest around the club led to the drop in 2012 for Rovers and Salgado.

Micah Richards

A promising, powerful defender at Manchester City and touted for great things with England, it all went wrong quite quickly. A league winner with the Blues, he looked for first team football with Aston Villa.

Yet, as club captain he ended up tarnishing his reputation as relegation in one of the worst Premier League teams of all time.

Rio Ferdinand 

A world class defender in his day, he opted for a stint at QPR at the tail-end of his career. One of the most respected and adored English footballers of his generation, the spell didn’t work for Rangers’ seemingly star-studded squad.

He wasn’t an ever-present but faced a dreadful end to the season as they were comfortably sent to the Championship in 2015.

John Arne Riise

The man with the hardest left-foot the Premier League has seen. Loved in Liverpool, he didn’t enjoy the same success with Fulham. In an ageing side, Riise failed to to shine as big players departed, leaving Fulham to fight for safety. In 2014, they fell under the safety line and underwent a squad rebuild.

Riise (
Riise (

James Milner

One of the most versatile men in football, Milner has done very well for himself despite a tough start. Graduating from the statuesque Leeds United academy, he was thrusted into the first team amongst financial disarray. Relegation followed in 2004, but Milner progressed from there.

A two-time League winner with Manchester City and key man at Aston Villa and Liverpool, if England could bring someone out of retirement, he’d be one of the first names in the hat.

Scott Parker 

Always wearing his heart on his sleeve, Parker defied the odds winning the FWA Player of the Year in 2011, regardless of relegation with West Ham. He was the driving force to their survival the season before but it was too much for one man the next campaign.

A midfielder capable of various roles, he was severely underused at national level as well. He also suffered the same with Fulham in 2014, although he was past his best.

Park Ji-Sung 

A constant source of goals and assists for Manchester United, he was a big-game player for Sir Alex. Renowned as a work-horse, he was a fan favourite and added vital balance to a superb attaching force.

After his stint at Old Trafford, he, like Ferdinand, opted for life at Loftus Road. In difficult season, Park failed to score for Rangers and ended as a member of the relegated club in 2013.

Joe Cole 

One of England’s brightest young talents at one point, Cole drifted off once he left Chelsea. Excelling under Jose Mourinho he became a key part of the back to back league winning side. He developed at the youth system of West Ham, but like Milner, was rushed into the senior side due to off the pitch problems, resulting in relegation in 2003.

A scorer of one of the best England goals of my generation, that dipping volley against Sweden in 2006.

Joe Cole (
Joe Cole (


The phrase ‘he’s got a great touch for a big man’ has never fitted a striker better. Strong, powerful and technically superb, he was an Invincible member at Arsenal. As well as achieving a double with the Gunners, he is an iconic figure amongst fans. He avoided relegation narrowly with West Brom’s great escape, but couldn’t at Portsmouth.

As financial crises go, this beats the others in this team. An impact sub at best by 2010, he couldn’t provide the catalyst to avoid the inevitable.

Michael Owen 

Up there with the greatest English strikers to grace the game, Owen has tasted the drop like many others. A rising sensation at Liverpool and league winner with rivals Manchester United, he was another who felt the rift at Newcastle United with relegation in 2009.

His widely revered transfer up north was hampered by injuries and unstable state of the club off the field.

It’s a much better team than expected when talking about players who’ve finished in the bottom three. Jermain Defoe, Stewart Downing, Joleon Lescott and Peter Crouch are among those who are notable absentees but still share the honour of a Premier League exit. Many are set to join this May, but would they make the Perfect XI?


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