90min

The Highest Scoring Players to Be Relegated From the Premier League

Ross Kennerley
Jermain Defoe was relegated with Sunderland despite 15 goals in the 2016/17 season
Jermain Defoe was relegated with Sunderland despite 15 goals in the 2016/17 season / Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
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Relegation sucks. Whether as a player or as a fan, it's the lowest of the low. Feeling like you gave everything to the cause, but that it simply wasn't enough? Yeah, that pain doesn't dissipate overnight.

In the case of some players, they must feel even more disappointed that the dreaded drop wasn't avoided when they were enjoying fine individual seasons of their own. Namely, the strikers.

We've seen some most atrocious sides get relegated as well as some more impressive ones, but when you're personally hitting double figures for an individual season, there must be a notion of 'well, it wasn't all my fault'.

That has been the case in a few seasons in the Premier League - take Teemu Pukki's 11 goals for now-relegated Norwich as an example - with a number of good strikers failing to preserve their club's top flight status and left to feel the same anguish as everyone else. But who were they, and who scored the most goals but still got relegated? This lot, that's who.


8. Darren Bent - 13 Goals

Darren Bent's goals weren't enough to prevent Charlton from finishing in 19th
Darren Bent's goals weren't enough to prevent Charlton from finishing in 19th / Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

An impressive 13th place finish for Charlton in the 2005/06 season was largely in part to Bent's 18 goals, but while he maintained an impressive scoring rate the following campaign, the Addicks' woeful defence saw them drop into the second tier.

Bent hit 13 in 32 Premier League outings, courting the interest of fellow top flights sides as well as the England national team.

A move to Tottenham would be just reward for his endeavours in the 2006/07 season.


7. DJ Campbell - 13 Goals

DJ Campbell was part of an exciting Blackpool side who failed to beat the drop
DJ Campbell was part of an exciting Blackpool side who failed to beat the drop / Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Blackpool were actually fun to watch in the 2010/11 season. They lost a lot of games in their debut top flight season, but very few of their matches weren't entertaining for one reason or another.

DJ Campbell was their main source of goals that season - as well as 12-goal man Charlie Adam - at the tip of Ian Holloway's attack. He hit 13 goals on the way to a 19th-placed finish, one that was confirmed on the final day of the season.

Only one point separated Blackpool from Wolves in 17th, but Campbell was to personally remain in the Premier League after being snapped up by QPR that summer.


6. Jermain Defoe - 15 Goals

Jermain Defoe was powerless to prevent a shambolic Sunderland side being relegated
Jermain Defoe was powerless to prevent a shambolic Sunderland side being relegated / Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Sunderland had miraculously avoided relegation the season before thanks to an incredible end to the campaign, one aided by Defoe's potency in front of goal. Playing into his 30s, he showed he could still cut the mustard in English football with some memorable displays and superb goals.

However, the Black Cats were up against it again in the 2016/17 season, winning just six matches all season and finishing rock bottom of the table by a full 16 points.

That gap would have been considerably greater without Defoe, since he scored another superb tally of 15, including a brace at home to Liverpool in a 2-2 draw - one of precious few high points in the season.


5. *Paul Wilkinson & Chris Armstrong - 15 Goals

Chris Armstrong was pretty much the only one scoring for Palace in the inaugural Premier League season
Chris Armstrong was pretty much the only one scoring for Palace in the inaugural Premier League season / Michael Cooper/Getty Images

The Premier League's inaugural season shouldn't quite count since there were more games during a single campaign back then, but it would be unfair to not grant Paul Wilkinson and Chris Armstrong their moment in the limelight.

Wilkinson top scored for Middelsbrough - also netting their first ever Premier League goal - but his 15 goals were no use when Boro boasted the worst defensive record in the division, finishing 21st.

For Chris Armstrong, the striker hit the same number but with a better defence behind him. Yet, he was pretty much the only one scoring, so it was never going to work out; Crystal Palace cruelly missing out on safety by goal difference. If only he scored more, right?


4. Fabrizio Ravanelli – 16 Goals

Fabrizio Ravenelli took the north east by storm in his first dabble with English football
Fabrizio Ravenelli took the north east by storm in his first dabble with English football / Ben Radford/Getty Images

Ravanelli would only play two seasons in the Premier League, starting back in 1996/97, but his debut campaign was certainly a memorable one as he scored 16 goals for Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough.

He announced himself on the English stage with an opening day hat-trick against Liverpool, a feat he managed again with a trio of strikes against Derby on matchday 32.

However, the rest of the team was considerably poor. Boro won only ten games all season and finished in 19th place, in what was to be the Italian's joint-highest return for a single league campaign in his entire career.

Eventually he gave England a go again with Derby, but that too ended in relegation.


3. Yakubu - 17 Goals

Yakubu netted 95 goals in just over 250 Premier League appearances
Yakubu netted 95 goals in just over 250 Premier League appearances / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Was Yakubu underappreciated? He was never the most prolific striker around, but he was certainly consistent during spells with Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester and Blackburn.

It was with the latter where he enjoyed his best Premier League return, but unfortunately his 17 goals in the 2011/12 season couldn't prevent Rovers from finishing six points adrift of safety in 19th.

His best showing that term came during a home clash with Swansea, where he became a member of the illustrious group to have scored four goals in a single top flight match.

After relegation he moved to the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou R&F.


2. Charlie Austin - 18 Goals

Charlie Austin claimed the match ball with a hat-trick against West Brom
Charlie Austin claimed the match ball with a hat-trick against West Brom / Tom Dulat/Getty Images

QPR were a frustrating side in the 2014/15 season. There was talent within the squad, but they were way off the pace compared the rest of the sides and ultimately finished rock bottom.

But blimey, did they have a striker on their hands or what? Charlie Austin was unstoppable, finishing only behind Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa in the goalscoring charts on 18.

He hit a memorable hat-trick in a victory over West Brom and earned plaudits across the country, which is why he didn't stick around long after the club dropped down into the second tier and moved on to Southampton.


1. Andrew Johnson - 21 Goals

Andy Johnson finished only behind Thierry Henry in the Premier League goalscoring charts in 2004/05
Andy Johnson finished only behind Thierry Henry in the Premier League goalscoring charts in 2004/05 / Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Waaay out in front of the rest is Andrew Johnson, who made the Premier League his playground when he got his first taste of it with Crystal Palace in the 2004/05 season.

How a side can be relegated when there is a 21-goal striker in the team is a question only Iain Dowie can answer, as he guided the Eagles to a 33-point haul which wasn't enough to finish above 18th.

Simply put, he was a machine. Only Thierry Henry's 25 goals surpassed Johnson's tally, and he had the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires for company.

Sven-Göran Eriksson called him up to the England squad on the back of his superb individual campaign, going on to feature for the Three Lions on eight occasions.

Johnson followed the club into the Championship for one more season before joining Everton, but he never managed to hit the same heights as he did at Selhurst Park with a string of injuries hampering his career.


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