Leicester City
Leicester were crowned Premier League champions last May. Getty


  • Only one English club have ever dropped down a division a year after their title success.
  • Foxes have admitted they are in a relegation battle in sacking Claudio Ranieri.

Champions Leicester City celebrated perhaps the greatest ever triumph in the history of English football last May, breaking the Premier League's cash cartel to complete modern sport's great fairytale story.

After that dream season, the 2016-17 campaign has acted as a firm reality check. The Foxes are now in a genuine relegation battle with the club deciding to sack manager Claudio Ranieri, the man who led them to that title triumph, to help address their dramatic drop.

That sacking is the club admitting they are in real danger of going down. Relegation back to the Championship a year on from winning the title would be disastrous - but they wouldn't be the first team to fall from grace so dramatically.

Herfølge Boldklub – Danish Superliga champions 1999-00

Herfølge Boldklub, a club based in the suburb of Køge approximately 28 miles outside of Copenhagen, shocked Danish football at the turn of the millennium, clinching the Superliga at the expense of domestic giants Brondby and Copenhagen. While they seldom kept the opposition out during their extraordinary league campaign, Herfølge Boldklub kept scoring and finished the season with a +3 goal difference, 16 goals behind runners up Brondby.

Their reward was qualification for the qualifying stages of the Champions League where they were pasted 6-0 on aggregate to Rangers. Domestically, things dipped dramatically as the club finished second bottom at the end of the 2000-01 season, nine points adrift of safety having shipped 65 goals in their 33 league matches.

Their slide would continue over the next years, slipping into deep financial trouble. In 2009, they merged with bankrupt side Køge BK to form HB Køge, who currently play in the second tier of Danish football.

FC Nürnberg - Bundesliga champions 1967-68

Post-war football in Germany was reorganised in 1963 with the introduction of the new 16-team Bundesliga. Nurnberg were one of its founding members and after a couple of seasons of mid-table obscurity, they leapt to the top of the league during the fifth week of the 1967-68 season. That's where they stayed, clinching the German title.

Nürnberg's relegation the following season saw them sink below the top flight for the next nine years. Behind that fall from grace was head coach Max Merkel. Sir Alex Ferguson famously showed the door to a number of Manchester United's first-team players in 1995, with Paul Ince, Andrei Kanchelskis and Mark Hughes moved on to make way for David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. Merkel tried something similar, but with slightly different results. After their 1968 league success, Merkel brought 13 new players into his squad, shipping out the experienced heads who had led the club to glory. The 11 players who left included Franz Brungs, whose 25 goals during the title-winning season earned him a move to newly promoted Hertha Berlin. August Starek, a midfielder integral to their title triumph, was sold to Bayern Munich, who won the Bundesliga for the first-time in their history the season Nürnberg went down. They are now the most successful team in German history.

Manchester City – Division 1 champions 1936-37

No matter how many Premier League titles City win, they will forever have the tag of being the first English team to be relegated from the top flight as defending champions. Following a Boxing Day defeat to Grimsby Town, Manchester City didn't look back as they stormed to the summit of English football during the 1936-37 season. With a team decorated by Frank Swift and 32-goal striker Peter Doherty and managed by the superbly named Wilf Wild, they saw off a challenge from Charlton Athletic by three points, netting an extraordinary 107 goals along the way. The icing on the cake saw Manchester United relegated to the second tier that same season.

Frank Swift
Goalkeeper Frank Swift was part of the Manchester City side to win the title in 1937. Getty

Defending their title, City continued to terrorise defences, scoring 80 in 42 games but conceding 77 to put a slightly different spin on things. A thrilling 6-2 win over Leeds United gave them hope of surviving the drop in their penultimate match of the 1937-38 season but a 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town on the final day consigned them to the most unwanted achievement in English football. Neighbours United also bypassed City on their way down as they clinched promotion from Division 2 to rub salt in the wounds.

Hapoel Tel Aviv - Liga Leumit champions 1987-88

After winning the 1987-88 league title, Hapeol, a giant of Israeli football, were relegated for the first time in the club's history the following campaign. The club were hit by a four-point deduction for breaking the league's budget rules to help send them on their way. While their return to the top flight the following season was by the skin of their teeth on goal difference, their stay in Israel's Liga Artzit – or their second tier – was short-lived.

Fluminense - Campeonato Brasileiro Série A champions 2012

In December 2013, Fluminense became the first-team in Brazilian football's illustrious history to be relegated while still reigning champions. On the final day of the season, Flu did all they could do in beating Bahia 2-1, but results elsewhere conspired against them with Coritiba's 1-0 win over Sao Paulo sending them down.

Violence broke out in the stands with rival fans brawling with each other before and after the game, but that was just the beginning of the story that eventually saw Fluminense's relegation wiped out at the expense of Brazilian minnows Portuguesa.

In a hugely controversial decision by Brazil's Superior Court of Sporting Justice, Portuguesa were deducted four points for playing suspended midfielder Héverton in a national championship match, meaning the Sao Paulo club took the drop instead with Flu reinstated in the top flight. The decision angered Brazilian football, with Portuguesa pleading it was a genuine mistake. Governing bodies didn't listen.