English football's top-flight winners to experience relegation to the second tier - from Blackburn to Forest

Leicester could be relegated seven years on from their title win. (Getty Images)Leicester could be relegated seven years on from their title win. (Getty Images)
Leicester could be relegated seven years on from their title win. (Getty Images) | Getty Images
Leicester City face the prospect of being relegated to the Championship just seven years after their stunning title triumph

On 2 May 2016, Leicester City achieved the impossible by becoming Premier League champions at odds of 5000/1. The triumph sparked a wave of euphoria around the city as thousands of fans celebrated the club’s remarkable achievement.

Leicester’s title celebrations live long in the memory for supporters, but the mood is very different in the King Power Stadium this season as the club face the prospect of being relegated to the second tier just seven years on from their title triumph.

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A potential relegation for the Foxes will come as a huge shock to many fans and most football experts expected the former champions to finish comfortably above the drop zone before a ball was kicked due to the quality of players such as James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans.

Relegation to the Championship would also give Leicester the rare and unwanted distinction of becoming just the second former Premier League winning club to be relegated to the second tier of English football.

But who was the last former champion to be relegated from the top-flight and what caused their downfall? Here is everything you need to know.

Who was the last Premier League winner to be relegated?

The Premier League was first formed in 1992 and since the inaugural season there have been seven different winners which are Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City and Liverpool.

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Leicester City stunned the footballing world by winning the title in 2015/16. (Getty images)Leicester City stunned the footballing world by winning the title in 2015/16. (Getty images)
Leicester City stunned the footballing world by winning the title in 2015/16. (Getty images) | Getty Images

Manchester City, Blackburn and Leicester have all experienced relegation during the Premier League era but only one team has been relegated in the aftermath of their title win and that was Blackburn Rovers.

How did Blackburn win the Premier League?

Blackburn Rovers began their rise up the Football League pyramid in 1991 when they were purchased by lifelong fan and millionaire businessman Jack Walker.

Walker inherited a team that were near the bottom of the second tier of English football at the half-way stage of 1990/91 but he used his funds to sign new players and manager Don Mackay ultimately steered the club to safety.

The following season Blackburn made the ambitious move to bring in former Liverpool icon Kenny Dalglish as manager and the club won promotion via the play-offs to earn a place in the inaugural season of the Premier League.

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Dalglish continued to improve the team in the following seasons and the likes of Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton, Tim Sherwood, David Batty and Graeme Le Saux were all examples of marquee signings.

The Lancashire club quickly established themselves as one of the strongest teams in the top-flight and they finished fourth and second in both of their first two seasons.

Blackburn Rovers went one better in the 1994/95 campaign and they piped Manchester United to the title with an impressive 89 points with leading goalscorer Shearer being awarded the PFA Player of The Year award.

What went wrong for Blackburn Rovers?

Blackburn Rovers became the kings of English football in 1995 but they quickly descended down the Premier League and they were relegated just four years later in 1999.

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Their demise started with the surprise resignation of manager Kenny Dalglish and the club largely failed to improve on the team that had won the league over the next few transfer windows.

High profile departures followed and stars such as Alan Shearer, Graeme Le Saux and Hennig Berg all joined fellow Premier League rivals within three seasons.

Blackburn endured a disappointing seventh place finish just a year after their title triumph and they found themselves in the bottom half of the table with a 13th place finish in 1996/97.

The former champions looked like they were getting back on track with an encouraging sixth place finish under Roy Hodgson in 1997/98 and the club even qualified for the UEFA Cup.

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Things soon unravelled in the 1998/99 campaign and a disastrous start resulted in Hodgson’s exit in November, the club failed to pick up form under Brian Kidd and Blackburn finished 19th and ended the century in the Championship.

Which other top-flight winners have been relegated?

Blackburn Rovers are the only Premier League champion to be relegated in the aftermath of their title victory but several former champions of the top-tier, formerly known as the First Division have been relegated.

Nottingham Forest achieved greatness during the 1970s and 1980s under the management of Brian Clough but his reign came to an end with a relegation in the inaugural Premier League season of 1992/93.

This made the 1978 title winners the first European Cup winners to be relegated from English football, a feat that was later repeated by Aston Villa who won the league title and European Cup during the early 1980s.

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Leeds United were the final football club to win the First Division title in 1992, before the introduction of the Premier League but their time in the top-flight also came to an end during the 2003/04 season when they were relegated due to financial difficulties.

Everton are another former champion facing the prospect of relegation. The Toffees lifted the league title on two occasions during the 1980s under the guidance of manager Howard Kendall.

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