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Top 10 ex-famous football clubs that went broke

Updated on August 30, 2016

10) AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth is perhaps one of the best examples of bring broke, but again managing to stand on its own feet. In 1997, AFC Bournemouth were almost forced to close the club, had it not been for its fans, who literally went around the city, raising money for the club. And now, they’ll be playing in the richest football league of the world, the Premier League. Then-youth-player Eddie Howe and current manager of AFC Bournemouth was quick to thank fans for their efforts to keep the torch lighted. They were almost relegated to the fifth level of football, had it not been for their fans.

9) Coventry City

Coventry City faced financial troubles as well, and it was due to the fact that the owners had not paid the rent of the ground, to their landlords. Known as the Sky Blues as a nickname, Coventry faced glory when they managed to beat Tottenham Hotspurs in an FA Cup final in 1987. Their financial troubles took them down to leave their home stadium (Ricoh Arena) and play their home games at Northampton. What’s ironic, is the fact that Northampton was more than a 100 miles away from their original stadium. This is a classic example of how a callous administration can bring down a football club to its.

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First logo of Wimbledon FCAFC WimbledonMK Dons
First logo of Wimbledon FC
First logo of Wimbledon FC
AFC Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon
MK Dons
MK Dons

8) Wimbledon FC

Wimbledon FC were the underdogs when they came to contest for the FA Cup title in the 1988 finals against Liverpool and they managed to do the unthinkable- defeat Liverpool. Yet, Wimbledon also had to see a fair share of troubles as they were left without any funds after a controversial transfer.

This meant that they had to give away their home stadium and play their home matches at Milton Keynes, which was more than 50 miles away from their home stadium. The club renamed themselves to Milton Keynes Dons. This club broke into two pieces namely AFC Wimbledon and themselves, with the former being formed by a host of Wimbledon FC supporters. AFC Wimbledon now plays at League 2 of the English Football League

7) Parma FC

Italian clubs have a reputation to be one of the most corrupt clubs of the world and there are many examples to cite, such as AS Roma, Juventus and many more. However, Parma faced their downfall due to a financial crisis at the end of the 2014-2015 season. Parma has a golden history, which they are proud of, but that couldn’t save the club from having to leave players. Most players played without being paid for a single match this season. Players also had to drive their manager to games as the club couldn’t afford a car. They’ve been forced to be relegated from Serie A, and they cannot enter Serie B due to crippling debts. The only option they have is to start life again as an amateur club in the fourth tier of Italian football.

6) Fiorentina

Fiorentina have won the Serie A title twice in their lifetime and they had to be disbanded in 2002 after revealing their financial condition to the world. When you see the club playing in the pitch, they seem to be just fine but the reality though was completely different. The club was in £32 million in debt and could not manage to pay wages to their players, and had no other choice but to be relegated at the end of their season. Like Parma, their bankruptcy meant that they couldn’t be eligible even for Serie B and had to start life all over again as an amateur club in Italy’s fourth tier of football. However, their luck was so good (and perhaps had the hand of the lord on their shoulders) that they managed somehow to return to the top flight by the end of the 2003-2004 season! A bankruptcy story with a happy ending, now that’s hard to come by these days!

5) Borrusia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund were once at the brink of shutting down the club because of financial problems. In 2003, with rising player salaries and low revenues from the league, the club were forced to consider shutting down, when Bayern Munich came to the rescue. Munich had offered a loan of €2 million without collateral to Borussia Dortmund. It is often said that perhaps this was one of the main reasons why Mario Goetze was allowed to leave for Munich from Dortmund. However, things aren’t going too well for Dortmund at the present as they have dropped their form down considerably. However, it isn’t the only time that the Bavarians offered to help a club through financial crisis.

4) Glasgow Rangers

Glasgow Rangers were one of the top clubs of the Scottish Premier League. Now, the thing with SPL is that it isn’t considered as a major league by Europe, and even though there are clubs such as Celtic in it, the winners don’t usually get a sturdy amount as the prize money. Mike Ashley, the owner of Newcastle FC, was also a part owner of Rangers and apparently, Rangers had to comply with Her Majesty, and pay around $60 million in taxes and customs. A combination of high player salaries and low income from the League, along with the taxes and customs hit the Scottish club really hard.

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Peter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale
Peter Ridsdale

3) Leeds United FC

Leeds United FC was perhaps one of the best clubs in the 20th century. The likes of Rio Ferdinand had played for them and they were one of the top clubs of Premier League as well. Leeds however, had to see their fair share of financial trouble over the years and have been forced to sell big names from their club due to salary issues and similar matters.

After appearing in the 2001 UEFA Champions League Semi Finals, they haven’t seen the limelight since then. It was mainly the lavish lifestyle of Peter Ridsdale that caused the ball to roll downhill.

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Ken BatesRoman Abramovich
Ken Bates
Ken Bates
Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich

2) Chelsea FC

Perhaps, what many Chelsea fans might already know, it that Chelsea had declared themselves to be bankrupt hardly 30 years ago. In the late 1980s, Chelsea were on the verge to close themselves, and it wasn’t Roman Abramovich that saved them, it was a man named Ken Bates, who bought Chelsea for a price of $2.

Had it not been Ken Bates, Chelsea would never have existed today and that tells you a lot about how much people of England love football. Now, they’re the Premier League winners and are contending for every major trophy in European football!

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Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp

1) Portsmouth

Times have been very harsh upon Portsmouth FC. Back in during the early 2000s, Portsmouth was playing in the Premier League tier as well. They even won the 2008 FA Cup by defeating Cardiff City and their fans knew that they were in debt to then Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp.

Just a couple of years later, Portsmouth would be so heavily burdened by increasing player salaries, that they had to sell off players, change manager and play in the 2nd division of English football, and narrowly surviving relegation in this level as well. We wish Portsmouth to regain the strength to stand on their feet.

Do you think any of these relegated teams will make a comeback, or is their time to shine already over?

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