Nigerians with Premier League relegation

Nigerians with Premier League relegation
Photo by Icon Sport

With the 2023/24 season approaching its end, a few Nigerians within the Premier League relegation zone are battling for survival.

Six Nigerians are in the Premier League relegation zone this season and are battling to ensure their clubs do not drop to the Championship.

The clock is ticking fast, while the Grim Reaper is fast closing in on them. 

The clubs with Nigerian players in danger of dropping to the Championship include Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Luton Town.

The Nigerians in the League relegation zone include Frank Onyeka (Brentford), Ola Aina (Nottingham Forest), Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest), Gabriel Osho (Luton Town), Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town) and Elijah Adebayo (Luton Town).

The only Nigerians in the Premier League who are safe from relegation are Alex Iwobi (Fulham), Lesley Ugochukwu, Carney Chukwuemeka and Noni Madueke (Chelsea).

Let's look at all the Nigerians with Premier League relegation to their name.

Premier League relegation: How many Nigerians have tasted it?

By our count, 34 Nigerians have tasted Premier League relegation. Contained in this list are some big names in the Super Eagles.

Of the 34 names, nine have tasted relegation on multiple occasions.

Nwankwo Kanu (2005/06, 2009/10) – West Brom, Portsmouth

Nwankwo Kanu faced Premier League relegation with Portsmouth
Photo by Icon Sport

Papilo is one of Nigeria's most loved players. He is also one of the most decorated, but despite his massive success, Kanu tasted the good, the bad and the ugly.

Kanu made his name with Ajax and Arsenal, but with West Brom and Portsmouth, he found what battling for survival means.

In the 2004/05 season, Kanu helped West Brom to become the first side to avoid relegation despite being bottom of the table at Christmas.

However, in the 2005/06 season, Kanu could not save West Brom and thus was his first Premier League relegation.

Following the expiration of his West Brom contract, he joined Portsmouth. Despite winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth in the 2008/09 season, he could not save them from being relegated the following term. 

The club went into administration and had to terminate Kanu's contract, as they dropped to League One.

Ade Akinbiyi (1994/95, 2001/02, 2006/07) – Norwich City, Leicester City, Sheffield United

Not many people remember Ade Akinbiyi. The former Super Eagles international has been around in England.

He featured for several clubs, including Norwich City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Stoke City, Burnley and Sheffield United.

In his sojourn in England, he was involved in three Premier League relegations with Norwich City, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United.

Akinbiyi has one international cap for the Super Eagles – in 1999 against Greece.

Obafemi Martins (2008/09, 2010/11) – Newcastle, Birmingham City

Obafemi Martins faced Premier League relegation with Birmingham City
Photo by Icon Sport

Obagoal had mixed fortunes in England. He joined Newcastle United in 2006 after five years in the Serie A with Inter Milan.

It was a strange experience for the diminutive striker. He won the Serie A, Coppa Italia and the Super Coppa Italiana with Inter Milan, but at Newcastle, he had to make do with the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006.

He faced Premier League relegation with Newcastle in the 2008/09 season.

After stints at VFL Wolfsburg and Rubin Kazan, he joined Birmingham City on loan to be closer to his family.

Obafemi Martins helped Birmingham City win the League Cup in 2011, but they could not avoid the drop.

Sone Aluko (2007/08, 2014/15) – Birmingham City, Hull City

Sone Aluko faced Premier League relegation with Hull City
Photo by Icon Sport

Sone Aluko is another Nigerian who has been around in the English space. He featured for several low-end clubs, with his biggest sides being Glasgow Rangers and Fulham.

He started his international career with the English youth teams but eventually got a call-up to the Super Eagles, where he made seven appearances and scored two goals.

Aluko tasted Premier League relegation with Birmingham City and Hull City.

Aluko spent most of his English club career in the Championship.

Other top names relegated from the Premier League

Finidi George (2001/02) – Ipswich Town

Finidi George faced Premier League relegation with Ipswich Town
Credit @footballmemorys X

Finito tasted relegation with Real Betis in 2000 and joined Mallorca before arriving at Ipswich Town. However, he could not save the Tractor Boys from a Premier League relegation in 2002. 

Other top names to fall to the sword of Premier League relegation include Seyi Olofinjana (Hull City), John Utaka (Portsmouth), Obinna Nsofor (West Ham), Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Blackburn Rovers) and Victor Moses (Wigan Athletic).

Joseph Yobo (Norwich City), Peter Odemwingie (Cardiff City), Semi Ajayi (West Brom), William Troost-Ekong (Watford), Oghenekaro Peter Etebo (Watford), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) and Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) are also in the list.

Below is a complete list of Nigerians who have gone on Premier League relegation.

Nigerians in Premier League relegation by year

Ade Akinbiyi Norwich City 1994/95
Dickson Etuhu Manchester City 2000/01
Finidi George Ipswich Town 2001/02
Ade Akinbiyi Leicester City 2001/02
Ifeanyi Udeze West Bromwich Albion 2002/03
Carl Ikeme Wolves 2003/04
Isaac Okoronkwo Wolves 2003/04
Nwankwo Kanu West Brom 2005/06
Ade Akinbiyi Sheffield United 2006/07
Danny Shittu Sunderland 2006/07
Sam Sodje Reading 2007/08
Sone Aluko Birmingham City 2007/08
Obafemi Martins Newcastle 2008/09
Shola Ameobi Newcastle 2008/09
Seyi Olofinjana Hull City 2009/10
John Utaka Portsmouth 2009/10
Nwankwo Kanu Portsmouth 2009/10
Obinna Nsofor West Ham` 2010/11
Obafemi Martins Birmingham City 2010/11
Yakubu Aiyegbeni Blackburn Rovers 2011/12
Carl Ikeme Wolves 2011/12
Victor Moses Wigan Athletic 2012/13
Hope Akpan Reading 2012/13
Joseph Yobo Norwich City 2013/14
Peter Odemwingie Cardiff City 2013/14
Sone Aluko Hull City 2014/15
Victor Anichebe Sunderland 2016/17
Josh Maja Sunderland 2016/17
Tom Dele-Bashiru Watford 2019/20
Isaac Success Watford 2019/20
Ola Aina Fulham 2020/21
Ademola Lookman Fulham 2020/21
Josh Maja Fulham 2020/21
Semi Ajayi West Brom 2020/21
William Troost-Ekong Watford 2021/22
Oghenekaro Peter Etebo Watford 2021/22
Tom Dele-Bashiru Watford 2021/22
Emmanuel Dennis Watford 2021/22
Samuel Kalu Watford 2021/22
Wilfred Ndidi Leicester City 2022/23
Kelechi Iheanacho Leicester City 2022/23
Joe Aribo Southampton 2022/23

This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter. Chooka has a passion for football and has been a fan of Enugu Rangers (over 30 years) and Real Madrid (Since 1996).