Top seven Champions League winners to be relegated from the Premier League

Posted by - May 7, 2011 - Champions League, Lists, Premier League

Yesterday’s post featuring Michel Salgado’s potential relegation sparked some Twitter debate with our pals at Caught Offside. So here’s a list of other Champions League winners who’ve also felt the harsh realities of the Premier League.

1. Nicky Butt
Champions League winner with: Manchester United (1999)
Relegated with: Newcastle (2009)
You can imagine Pele shaking his head in disapproval on the day Nicky Butt lost his place in England’s top-tier. Suspensions for Roy Keane and Paul Scholes (shocking, isn’t it?) meant Butt played an integral part in the famous victory over Bayern Munich, but he couldn’t keep Newcastle afloat a decade later.

2. Jonathan Greening
Champions League winner with: Manchester United (1999)
Relegated with: West Brom (2006, 2009)
One of two players on the list to have more Premier League relegations than Champions League medals. He very honestly but equally accurately described himself as a fraud for having ‘won’ the Champions League in any case. He was an unused substitute for the final but hadn’t played a single minute of Champions League football all season.

3. Finidi George
Champions League winner with: Ajax (1995,1996)
Relegated with: Ipswich Town (2002)
Also a contender for a list entitled ‘least likely double Champions League winners ever’, Finidi arrived for the Tractor Boys’ difficult second season in the Premier League after they secured European qualification in their first season. His place on this list indicates that things didn’t go quite to plan.

4. Kanu
Champions League winner with: Ajax (1995)
Relegated with: West Brom (2006), Portsmouth (2010)
It seems being Nigerian and winning the Champions League with Ajax is a surefire way to get yourself on this list. Kanu is the other member of the two-time relegation club, even sharing one of the occasions with Jonathan Greening.

5. Geremi
Champions League winner with: Real Madrid (1995)
Relegated with: Newcastle (2009)
There are people on this list that we think you will have forgotten were relegated, but here’s one who we think you will have forgotten won the Premier League. It is difficult to say Geremi played a key part in Newcastle’s relegation, but we don’t suppose he would want to mention that on his CV either.

6. Steve Finnan
Champions League winner with: Liverpool (2005)
Relegated with: Portsmouth (2010)
Damn you, ill-fated stint at Portsmouth! Finnan’s record had pretty much been a meteoric rise from non-league to Champions League. If only he had avoided popping in at Fratton Park before retiring he could have kept his name off this list.

7. Denis Irwin
Champions League winner with: Manchester United (1999)
Relegated with: Wolves (2004)
The Manchester United stalwart is the player on this list we feel most sorry for. He dropped down to the Championship of his own accord when he left Old Trafford to join Wolves in 2002. Having spurred them on to promotion, he was a victim of his own success when they were relegated back to the second-tier the following season.

These are all the players we could come up with, but it’s probably not exhaustive. Can you add any others?

  • Exasperated, TW

    Maybe Finidi George is the ‘least likely double Champions League ever’ because he has, in fact, only won it once – in 1995. The following year, Ajax were runners-up to Juventus

  • Exasperated, TW

    And Denis Irwin was at Portsmouth, was he? I sniff a lazy cut and paste job. n

  • Fran

    no, what an outrageous statement, he retired in 03/04

  • dave

    Julio Ceasar