Down the drain

Real Betis yesterday became yet another high profile European club to get relegated, reflecting the competetiveness in the big leagues. A few days earlier, Newcastle United and Middlesbrough went down in the English league, something you would not have expected a few years back.

Newcastle finished third upon getting promotion in 1993-94, since when the club has seen 6 top 5 finishes, the most recent being in 2004, thus managing to qualify for the Champions League. This 15 year period saw the then record signing of Alan Shearer from Blackburn, who ironically was the manager when they went down. Ironically again, this club transfer record was broken by Real Betis, who signed Denilson from Palmeiras for an excess of 30 million euros. Betis finished fourth in the 2004-05 season, thus qualifying for the champions league, where they were drawn with Liverpool and Chelsea in the group stages. Though they could not proceed further, the campaign is remembered for a victory against Chelsea in Spain. Middlesbrough had been going steady in the Premier League, which saw a 7th place finish in 2004-05, and made it all the way to the finals of the UEFA Cup in 2006-07, where they were thrashed by Sevilla.

These teams have been going through turbulent last few seasons, finishing in the bottom half of the table. The relegations will see a massive exodus of several internationals, including Micheal Owen, Ricardo Oliviera, Stuart Downing, and the like. Lets hope they manage to win back promotion to the top flight next season!

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