With the league titles all but decided across Europe's top
competitions, our attention now turns to battles which are, if anything, even
more fascinating: the relegation dogfights.
One of the teams that is already relegated, Bundesliga side
St Pauli, have at least one player who's seen it all despite his tender
years: midfielder Fin Bartels, who is going down for the fourth time in five
years. The hapless 24-year-old inspires our look at the players, teams and
managers who just couldn't stay up.
1. Fin Bartels
Considering that - in terms of pure statistics - a team has
a roughly three in 20 chance of going down each season, it's not particularly
noteworthy that a player should go down four times over the course of their
But when you reach that milestone at the age of just 24, as
Bartels has, questions should be asked. The midfielder has just been relegated
from the Bundesliga with St Pauli to add to two previous relegations with German
lower league sides Holstein Kiel and demotion from the Bundesliga with Hansa Rostock.
2. Herman Hreidarsson
The Icelandic defender shares the record for relegations
from the Premier League: he has suffered the drop five times. The teams to
benefit from this peculiarly unlucky charm have been Crystal Palace, Wimbledon,
Ipswich, Charlton and Portsmouth.
Given that he is now five-for-five, it's perhaps
unsurprising that he has not been snapped by anyone else.
3. Neil Redfearn
It's a shame when a long and distinguished career like Redfearns (which has spanned 24 years
and 1,000 matches) is remembered for a strange statistic like racking up relegations.
The Yorkshireman has suffered the drop from the Premier League
with Barnsley and Charlton, and has also contributed to relegations with Bolton,
Lincoln City and Scarborough, and even 'helped' Halifax drop out of the Football League altogether.
4. Fabio Pecchia
The Italian midfielder was a solid player, enjoying a lengthy career in Serie A and representing his
country at U21 and U23 levels.
But the main reason his name lives on in the history books
is for his impressive feat of being relegated four times in five seasons from
1999 to 2004, with four different clubs. The unlucky beneficiaries of his services
were Sampdoria, Torino, Napoli and Como, with the first three relegations
coming in successive seasons.
5. Nigel Quashie
The journeyman has been relegated four times from the
Premier League with four different clubs - QPR, Nottingham Forest, Southampton
and West Brom - and even has a Facebook page in his honour called "Nigel
Quashie was relegated with my club". He was on course to match Herman
Hreidarsson's five relegations after joining West Ham for the 2006-07 season,
but blew it at the last as he accidentally helped the side stay up instead.
6. Nathan Blake
The Welshman was relegated five times from the English top
flight, with Sheffield United (in 1994), Bolton (in 1996 and 1998), Blackburn
(1999) and Wolves (2004).
7. Ashley Ward
The retired centre-forward was the first player to be
relegated four times from the Premier League, helping to take Norwich (1995),
Barnsley (1998), Blackburn (1999) and
Bradford (2001) on their ways back down to the Championship.
8. Carlton Palmer
The England defender was relegated four times from the top
flight, with West Brom (1986), Sheffield Wednesday (1990), Nottingham Forest
(1999) and Coventry (2001). He then expanded his oeuvre slightly by enjoying
relegation as player-manager of Stockport in 2002.
9. Jamie Devitt
Being relegated in successive seasons is apparently deemed
too pedestrian a trick by Irish winger Jamie Devitt (pictured).
Last year, at the age of 19, Devitt become the only known
player ever to help three clubs to relegation in the same season as his loan
clubs Grimsby and Darlington and his parent Hull were all relegated.
"Some have told me I will be the answer to a quiz
question in the future," jokes the Dubliner.
10. Carlos Fernando
The Colombian goalkeeper enjoyed a 25-year career that
peaked with his eight seasons at Boca Juniors, with whom he won the Apertura league
and the South American Supercup as well as taking the Argentine Player of the
Year award in 1994.
But among all the gongs and glory he also picked up two less
impressive distinctions by being relegated for three consecutive seasons on two
separate occasions. Those drops came in Spain with Extramadura, Merida and
Tenerife from 1997-1999, and back in Argentina with Nueva Chicago, Olimpo and
Lujan de Cuyo from 2007-2009.