Would Everton's relegation be the most shocking recent example of a big club going down?

Everyone loves a shock relegation - until you support one of the clubs it happens to, of course. Planet Sport looks back on some of the biggest recent examples.

Two points adrift of Premier League safety, Everton could be about to become the biggest club to suffer relegation in recent times.

But would they be the biggest? That is debatable, but it would certainly be a huge shock given they were not on anyone's radar for the drop at the start of the season.

What it definitely wouldn't be, though, is unprecedented, as fans of the following clubs will attest.

Note: Clubs relegated as part of sanctions are not considered.

Atletico Madrid 1999/2000

Atletico Madrid relegation squad of 1999/2000

Modern fans will likely be unable to even process the mere possibility of Atletico Madrid being relegated from La Liga. Diego Simeone has made them absolute staples of the La Liga title race and the Champions League.

Indeed, just four years before their relegation they were La Liga champions and spending heavily in an attempt to build upon it.

That improvement never materialised, but they still had a highly talented squad with players including Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Jose Molina, Juan Carlos Valeron, Joan Capdevila and Santiago Solari.

Ultimately, it wasn't enough as they finished the campaign 19th of 20 clubs, seven points adrift of safety, following a nightmare run which saw them fail to record a win in their 15 games between the end of January and their final game in May. 

River Plate 2010/11

River Plate relegation in 2010-11

Trying to imagine the Argentine Primera Division without River Plate used to be pretty much impossible. In 2011, it became a reality.

The relegation system in Argentina is a little unusual, with a co-efficient system in place. However, River Plate started the season as one of three clubs to have never been relegated from the division.

They struggled, though, and lost a play-off against Belgrano, who were in the division below.

It wasn't due to a lack of talent, either, with the likes of Erik Lamela, Roberto Pereyra and Manuel Lanzini all part of the only River Plate squad ever to be relegated.

Leeds 2003/04

Leeds relegated 2004

Perhaps 'shock' is the wrong word when it comes to Leeds' relegation in 2004. 'Sad' may be a better one, although it was entirely a consequence of the club's design.

Just three years earlier Leeds were in the Champions League semi-final against Valencia, but instead of that being the start of something special, it proved to be the beginning of the end.

Leeds had vastly overspent to get into Europe's elite and their ability to sustain it was dependant upon staying there. They failed to do so, leaving the club unable to cover loans taken out in anticipation of Champions League income that never actually arrived.

That forced them to sell their stars instead. Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane, Jonathan Woodgate and Robbie Fowler were just some of those sold off to raise funds. It was too much from which to recover. The decline was rapid and relegation inevitable.

Newcastle 2008/09

Newcastle relegated 2009

Newcastle spent most of the 1990s and early 2000s battling it out at the top of the Premier League table. In 2007, Mike Ashley breezed into the club as the new owner, complete with ambitious plans to get them back to those levels.

The Magpies started the season with Kevin Keegan back in charge, but he quickly saw through Ashley's empty promises and walked away. Joe Kinnear took over, then left due to medical grounds. Chris Hughton had a go next but he was replaced by Alan Shearer for the final eight games.

Shearer was only able to win one of them, though, and despite having the likes of Michael Owen, Nicky Butt and Damian Duff among their ranks, Newcastle were relegated into the Championship.

West Ham 2002/03

West Ham relegated 2003

West Ham going down is not necessarily a shock in itself, but no one expected it to happen when it did.

Not only did that Hammers team boast the likes of Paolo Di Canio, Frederic Kanoute, Trevor Sinclair and David James, but they had a richly talented group of youngsters - Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson - just starting out.

In truth they were very unfortunate to go down. While 40 points is usually more than enough to guarantee Premier League survival, West Ham accrued 42 points that year and still finished in the bottom three.

Schalke 2020/21

Schalke relegated 2021

The German second tier always seems to have an abundance of big clubs you think really shouldn't be there, but it was a division no one ever expected to see Schalke in again.

Schalke are a club with 160,000 members - the second most in Germany - have produced talents such as Manuel Neuer, Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler, Mesut Ozil and Leon Goretzka and were Bundesliga runners-up and Champions League semi-finalists as recently as 2018.

All of that counted for nothing in the 2020/21 season, though, when they were meekly relegated after at one stage enduring a 30-match winless run.

They are currently in the mix to return to the Bundesliga next season, but with clubs like Werder Bremen, Hamburg, Nurnberg and Hannover in the Bundesliga.2, that's far from an easy task.

Werder Bremen 2020/21

Werder Bremen fans in relegation fight

Speaking of Werder Bremen, for them to be relegated at all was nearly unheard of. For them to do it in the very same season as Schalke was remarkable.

Bremen have featured in more Bundesliga seasons than any other club having being one of the founding fathers of the league. Only Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach have won more titles than the Green-Whites and only one club have finished runners-up more frequently.

They won the double in 2004 and were regulars in the Champions League for the rest of the decade, but a slow rot seemed to have set in since. Relegation was ultimately confirmed after they won just seven matches in 2021/22 - the fewest in their long Bundesliga history.

Real Zaragoza 2007/08

Real Zaragoza relegated 2008

Until recently, Real Zaragoza have been a staple of Spain's top tier. Between 1956 and 2008, they had spent just three seasons outside of La Liga.

The 2007/08 season started out with a huge amount of optimism too. They had finished sixth the previous year and had enjoyed a summer of spending. That spending was funded by selling Gabriel Milito to Barcelona, but it looked like the money had been spent well.

Matuzalem, Carlos Diogo, Ricardo Oliveira, Roberto Ayala and Andres D'Alessandro had arrived, with the latter, in particular, a real coup.

A horrendous campaign ensued, though, with Zaragoza going through four managers and finishing rock bottom. Their expensively assembled squad couldn't wait to get out of the club and Zaragoza have been stuck in the Segunda Division ever since.

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