11 Football Teams That Fell From Grace

Parma football teams that fell from grace
MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Parma’s players celebrate with their trophy after beating Olympique de Marseille’s 3-0, 12 May 1999 at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow in the 28th UEFA soccer Cup final between Olympique de Marseille and Parma AC. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP via Getty Images)

In the not-too-distant past, there were football teams who were the big dogs when it came to world football.

These teams, whether clubs or national teams, were once feared and regarded as one of the best teams of that era.

Unfortunately, with the passage of time, these teams declined and have been struggling to make it back to the top echelon of football ever since. 

Here are a few football teams that have fallen from grace.

1. Hungary 

Ferenc Puskàs best soccer players of all time
(Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Hungarian national team was a force to be reckoned with from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The Magyars were an exciting team that wowed football fans in those days. The Europeans had in their ranks some of the best players in world football, like Ferenc Puskás. 

Ferenc Puskás, who is considered to be one of the best soccer players of all time, was a legendary Hungarian striker known for scoring spectacular goals.

Hungary, during their era of dominance, won 3 Olympic football gold medals in 1952, 1964, and 1968 respectively. 

They are also two-time FIFA World Cup runners-up in 1938 and 1954. They also finished 3rd at the 1964 Euros.

However, just like the Georgian national football team, the Hungarian national team are one of the football teams on the rise, with the emergence of the best football players in Hungary.

2. Deportivo La Coruña

Deporting de La Coruña was once one of Spain’s most dominant clubs.

La Coruña was a team to be feared, especially in the 1990s, as they used to consistently battle Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Athletico Madrid for domestic titles like La Liga and Copa del Rey.

The White and Blues won the Spanish La Liga for the 1999-2000 season and also added successes in the Copa del Rey, which they won twice in 1995 and 2002.

Many great players like Bebeto and Diego Tristan have played for the Turks in the past. 

The Turks’ fortunes have sadly declined over the years, and they are currently languishing in the lower rungs of Spanish football.

3. Parma

Parma football teams that fell from grace
(Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Italian Serie A club FC Parma enjoyed a dramatic rise to the pinnacle of Italian and European football from the 1990s to the 2000s but have now suffered a significant fall from grace.

The club won eight trophies between 1992 and 2002 and achieved their best-ever league finish, as second-place in the 1996/97 season.

Parma also lifted two UEFA Cups, one European Super Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

Parma were declared bankrupt in 2015 after racking up debts of approximately €220 million.

A phoenix club was established, called Parma Calcio 1913, and currently competes in the Serie B, the 2nd tier of Italian football.

It is such a bad fall from grace from Parma, who are the 11th most successful team in Italian football history by the number of major trophies won.

4. FC Kaiserslautern

The German club side was once one of the biggest clubs in European football.

The Red Devils once upon a time dominated football in Germany and were very difficult to beat.

Kaiserslautern has won the Bundesliga 4 times in their history in the 1951, 1953, 1990-1991, and 1997-1998 seasons, respectively. 

They have also won the DFB-Pokal two times in the 1989-1990 and 1995-1996 seasons. 

They currently play in the second German lower division Bundesliga 2.

5. Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers Football Clubs That Used To Be Good

From 2001 to 2012, Bolton Wanderers FC were one of the hottest Premier League clubs. 

They even qualified for the UEFA Cup (Europa League) twice and made it to the last 32 in 2005/06 and the last 16 in 2007/08.

Bolton Wanderers also attracted top football stars like Iván Campo, Gary Cahill, Youri Djorkaeff, Nicolas Anelka, and Jay-Jay Okocha.

Between the 2003/04 to 2006/07 Premier League seasons, Bolton recorded consecutive top-eight finishes, a record of consistency that was only bettered by Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, and Arsenal.

However, Bolton were relegated in 2012 and entered into serious financial difficulties by 2015.

Now, Bolton Wanderers are languishing in the EFL League One, the third tier of English football, and are one of the football teams that have fallen from grace.

6. Saint Etienne

This historical French club was once one of the best teams in Europe.

They dominated the French Ligue 1 in the 1960s and 1970s. They currently hold the joint record (10) for the most league titles in France.

The Greens have also won the Coupe de France on six occasions. Last season they were relegated from Ligue 1 after a dramatic playoff loss to Auxerre.

They currently compete in the French Ligue 2.

7. Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth FC football teams that fell from grace
(Photo by Nick Potts – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

This south-coast English side competed in top-level football for a good number of years, from the early 2000s to the early 2010s. 

Pompey were a mainstay in the English Premier League between 2003-2010.

They also won the FA Cup in 2008 along the way, beating favorites Manchester United in the semifinals.

Portsmouth fell into administration in 2010 and were subsequently relegated to the Championship. 

Their decline has continued as they currently play in League One.

8. Hamburger SV

Another German football club that have fallen from grace is Hamburger SV.

The Red Shorts are one of the oldest sports clubs in Germany, as they were founded on September 29th, 1887.

Hamburg has a proud history of success in football, winning six Bundesliga titles and three DFB Pokals.

The golden era of the club was in the 1970s and early 1980s when they achieved success in European club competitions like the European Cup, now Champions League, in the 1982/83 season, and Cup Winners’ Cup, now the Europa League, in the 1976/77 season.

Since reaching those heights, Hamburger SV have experienced a gradual decline until their eventual relegation from the German top flight in the 2017/18 season.

Until their relegation in the 2017–18 season, Hamburg was the only club to have played continuously in the Bundesliga since its foundation. 

Since then, Hamburg have unsuccessfully tried to gain promotion back to the German Bundesliga and are now regarded as one of the football clubs that used to be good.

9. FC Magdeburg

FC Magdeburg is a German football club based in the city of Magdeburg, and competes in the German second division.

The club is the the only East German club to have won a European title.

Magdeburg won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1974.

However, after the German reunification, the club suffered financial difficulties and fell down to the non-professional German leagues.

However, they recently re-entered professional football in 2015 when the side was promoted to the 3. Liga.

10. Notts County

Notts County are the oldest professional association football club in the world, and the first football team to play in black and white stripes.

The club won the FA Cup in 1891 and 1894.

Notts County played in the English First Division in the 1991/92 season but were relegated that season so missed out on the first-ever Premier League campaign.

Today, the teams competes in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league.

11. Auxerre 

AJ Auxerre is a French football club founded in 1905 and based in the commune of Auxerre in Burgundy. The club has a rich history, having won the Ligue 1 title once in 1996, as well as the Coupe de France four times.

However, since their relegation from Ligue 1 in 2012, the club has struggled to regain their former glory. However their were promoted in the 2021/22 season.

In the current 2023/2024 season, AJ Auxerre is in 16th place in Ligue 1 are are currently facing relegation again.

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