Ranked - 5 Clubs That Experienced a Swift Fall From Grace

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​It's an oft-repeated cliche in the world of sports that it's harder to stay on top than it is to actually make it there. However in some cases it's actually been what's happened in real life, a club experiences a sudden decline from which they were then unable to recover from. 

Here are five such clubs. 

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5. Stade de Reims

Stade de Reims are actually one of the most successful sides in all of France, winning a total of six Ligue 1 titles and twice being denied European success by the legendary Real Madrid team of the 1950's, Reims were a sight to behold in that era of football. 

The departure of incumbent manager Albert Batteux in 1963 drastically affected the side, as they ended up getting relegated in 1964, just two years after winning their last league title. They never recovered from the shock relegation and are currently playing in Ligue 2. 

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4. Bolton Wanderers

​Bolton were a stable presence in the Premier League in the early to mid 2000's, particularly under current Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce. They even had some decent runs in the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, the predecessor to the Europa League. However, it all went downhill in 2011. 

The club's form had deteriorated under then-manager Owen Coyle and at the end of 2012 they got relegated to the Championship. Further mismanagement by the top brass as well as growing debt saw them get relegated to the third division of English football, which is where they currently reside. 

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3. Malaga

​Having been promoted back to the La Liga in 2010, then-president Fernando Sanz looked to Qatar for new investment due to money issues faced by the club. This led to Sheikh Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani becoming owner and president. 

Big-name talents like Santi Cazorla and Isco were brought in to make the club competitive and it initially was a success as they made the Champions League in 2012, actually reaching the round 16. However, mounting debts saw them banned from the tournament for a season and they were forced to sell most of their star players, falling back to mid-table status. 

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2. Portsmouth

​Portsmouth winning the 2008 FA Cup final was seen as a sign that the owner's decisions to spend money and compete were paying dividends. Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got for the side as numerous financial problems led them to sell the club as well as several top players. 

What followed was several sales of the club, two instances where they went into administration and relegation all the way to League Two. They were eventually bought by the Pompey Supporters Trust and recently earned promotion back into League One, the third division of English football. 

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1. Leeds United

​The term "Doing a Leeds" refers to a consequences of a club overambitiously spending and then probably being crippled by debt, so who else would be at number 1? Leeds United spent big sums of money in the early 2000's to build a quality side, but ran up a lot of debt in the process. 

As a result, they were forced to sell off all their star players and eventually got relegated all the way to the third division, even entering administration in the process. After years of obscurity, they finally seem likely to make it back to the Premier League sooner rather than later.