The mixed fortunes of five Premier League stars to move down the divisions

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Shola Ameobi has recently switched to the third tier of English football after signing for Fleetwood Town.

The ex-Newcastle striker should be beware, however, as moving down the football pyramid doesn’t always work out – as some of this lot know only too well.

Here are five examples of players giving up the Premier League life for a shot at lesser glories.


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Swayed by the promise of Premier League football, the ex-Tottenham and Arsenal centre-back joined the League Two side in their “long-term project” after an ambitious takeover. The Magpies had previously hired Sven-Goran Eriksson as technical director.

The takeover was a disaster. Sven left, the criminals fled, and Campbell was out the exit door after just one game – a 2-1 defeat to Morecambe. Bizarrely, Sol would turn up at old club Arsenal in the January window. At least, his nightmare was over.

Verdict: Disaster!

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Former Premier League hotshot Beattie spent time at Rangers, Blackpool and Sheffield United before settling down at Accrington in England’s fourth tier.

After six goals in his year at what is now called the Wham Stadium (yes, really), the ex-Southampton striker became manager and guided the team to 15th place in his first year – before leaving early the season after. He can now be found in the dugout at Swansea.

Verdict: Not too bad!

Accrington Stanley v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League Two


When unable to save his boyhood club from relegation in 2009, Downing sought pastures new as he looked to nail down his England place.

Moves to Aston Villa, Liverpool and West Ham United came with mixed success, and despite performing well for the Hammers last season, he decided to return to the Riverside to get the team back to the top flight.

Downing was welcomed with open arms and has played in every league game this season. And as it stands, Boro are firmly in the hunt for promotion.

Will Stewart finally inspire the team to the Premier League after six unsuccessful attempts?

Verdict: Good decision… so far!

MK Dons v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship


This one came out of the blue, but after nearly 15 years of Premier League football, Nolan was suddenly found at Brisbane Road with a replica shirt being unveiled as player-manager.

So far, Nolan’s side have won three out of his first five games – including victories over promotion rivals Wycombe and Portsmouth. Could this be a sign of things to come?

Verdict: Going well – but it’s early days!

Leyton Orient v Northampton Town - Sky Bet League Two


Whatever happened to Joe Cole? The three-time Premier League winner now looks a shadow of his former self and, after spells at Liverpool, Villa and back at boyhood club, West Ham, the former England international now finds himself at League One Coventry City.

Despite scoring in his initial loan spell at the Ricoh Arena, the sad reality is that his illustrious career looks to be coming to a bit of an anti-climax.

Verdict: Never mind, Joey. We’ll never forget THAT strike at the World Cup.

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James Beattie
Premier League
Kevin Nolan
Shola Ameobi
Joe Cole
Sol Campbell
Stewart Downing
Newcastle United

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