Worst Teams Ever!

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS -

There are some shock­ing tales of in­ter­na­tional losers out there...

Stoke and West Brom may have had a turgid 2017-18 sea­son, but com­pared to this hap­less bunch of record-break­ing goal ship­pers and fire­work-hurl­ing car torchers, they’re Brazil 1970

THE ATOM MEN BOMB

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the Jasper Car­rott gag about Birm­ing­ham City (“You lose some and you draw some”) as re­al­ity would have been dream­land for Berk­shire berks AFC Al­der­mas­ton in 2010. The un­for­tu­nate Wes­sex League Divi­sion One out­fit couldn’t even man­age a stale­mate over 40 fix­tures be­tween May 2009 and April 2010, un­til they fi­nally scraped a 1-1 with Warmin­ster Town. Dur­ing a sick­en­ing cam­paign, they con­ceded more than 150 goals. While the team claimed morale re­mained pretty high, two key fac­tors had con­spired against the side nick­named The Atom Men: un­able to pay play­ers, they’d lost 10 squad mem­bers to ri­vals Tadley that sum­mer, and over a hor­ri­ble win­ter their train­ing pitch was dec­i­mated. At least gaffer Adie Heath took things with down­beat good grace. “I didn’t know about the record un­til last week,” he said. “I sup­pose it’s given the club a bit of at­ten­tion.”

NOT QUITE BUSBY OR FERGIE STAN­DARD...

Twenty years af­ter mov­ing into Old Traf­ford, Manch­ester United’s 1930 vin­tage were merely a mod­er­ately suc­cess­ful north­ern out­fit with two ti­tles and an FA Cup win to their name – as well as two rel­e­ga­tions from (and pro­mo­tions back into) English foot­ball’s top tier. Not the pow­er­house of post-war Eng­land, then, but still – los­ing all of their open­ing 12 games was a spec­tac­u­larly bad show. The slip­shod Red Devils shipped 49 goals dur­ing their dread­ful dozen (start­ing 3-4, 1-3, 2-6, 0-6, 4-7), and fin­ished the sea­son with 115 goals con­ceded, in dead last. The record re­mained the most dis­mal start to a sea­son by a top-flight side in Europe’s big five leagues for nearly nine decades, be­fore fi­nally be­ing bro­ken by Serie A strug­glers Ben­evento in 2017. United’s fi­nal fix­ture – a 4-4 at home to Mid­dles­brough – drew just 3,969 souls. Man­ager Her­bert Bam­lett some­how kept his job, but was axed the fol­low­ing Novem­ber.

“IN GOAL, NO.1, FIDEL CASTRO…”

“If this club was a horse, we’d have been taken down the knacker’s yard and sold for dog meat by now,” a fan called Bob told FourFourTwo when we paid a vul­ture-like visit to Ewen Fields dur­ing 2013-14, and lit­tle won­der. Through­out their only term in Eng­land’s fifth tier (then the Skrill Premier), the Greater Manch­ester out­fit won just once, drew seven, and lost 38, get­ting rel­e­gated with a mi­nus 81 goal dif­fer­ence. They did so, how­ever, with a mag­nif­i­cent gal­lows sense of hu­mour, with their Twit­ter feed be­came a must-fol­low (“Hyde 2-3 Wrex­ham. Arses”/ “Hyde 2-4 Wrex­ham. Bollocks”/ “Hyde 2-5 Wrex­ham. Can’t win ‘em all”), and they named tri­al­ists af­ter left-wing rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies (“Thewlis, Brizell, Fidel Castro, Vladimir Lenin, Karl Marx, Leon Trot­sky, Hughes, Max­im­i­lien de Robe­spierre, Thurston, Tony Benn, Tames”). The trauma of amass­ing the league’s record point low lin­gered on, though – they got rel­e­gated again the year af­ter.

FIVE DAYS, THREE MATCHES, 114 GOALS CON­CEDED

The odds were stacked against the Fed­er­ated States of Mi­crone­sia, a coun­try with a tiny pop­u­la­tion dot­ted across 607 is­lands, as they rocked up for the 2015 Pa­cific Games. The play­ers had never been on an 11-a-side pitch be­fore, and many had only been play­ing the game for around 18 months. “Most have never been out their vil­lages, let alone to an­other is­land,” said Aussie coach Stan Foster. “I took them to Guam and it was the first time they’ve been on an el­e­va­tor or es­ca­la­tor. It’s kinder­garten.” At least kinder­garten is fun: Mi­crone­sia en­dured three of the most hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feats in foot­ball his­tory. They opened up with a 30-0 de­feat by Tahiti, whose nine dif­fer­ent goalscor­ers rubbed salt into the wound by per­form­ing a haka af­ter­wards (“They beat us and then they made fun of us,” com­plained player Do­minic Gadad). A 38-0 drub­bing by Fiji fol­lowed, but it was Van­u­atu who would de­liver the killer blow – run­ning out 46-0 win­ners, with 16 goals for Jean Kal­tack. “The mark­ing was a bit slack,” ad­mit­ted the gaffer.

EL SAL­VADOR FLOORED BY KISS

The Cen­tral Amer­i­can min­nows weren’t that bad at Spain 82 – they only lost 1-0 to Bel­gium and 2-0 to Ar­gentina in their other meet­ings – but their open­ing fix­ture, 10-1 against Hun­gary, was a hor­ror show. Cir­cum­stances, alas, had con­spired against them. The Sal­vado­rans were the fi­nal squad to get to Spain, af­ter a three-day odyssey (“Our itinerary seemed as though it was planned by the en­emy,” pon­dered

de­fender Jaime Ro­driguez). Rid­dled by jet­lag, they didn’t even re­ceive any balls to train with un­til 24 hours be­fore the game was due to start. The ex­hausted play­ers were also ham­pered by some un­wise tac­tics. “They weren’t as bad a team as the re­sult sug­gests,” said Hun­gary cap­tain Ti­bor Ny­i­lasi. “They just went for­ward naively.” Luis Ramirez Za­p­ata did score, mak­ing it 5-1 – and go­ing wild – only for Hun­gar­ian sub Las­zlo Kiss to fill his boots. “The poor sods prob­a­bly thought they could beat us,” said Kiss af­ter­wards. It re­mains the worst shel­lack­ing in World Cup his­tory.

RE­MEM­BER RE­MEM­BER TO PARK IN THE GARAGE

You know your sea­son’s s go­ing awry when the team can’t even have a Christ­mas din­ner with­out po­lice be­ing sum­moned to pro­tect play­ers from 100 furious sup­port­ers who spat at them, kicked cars and threw fire­works at the restau­rant. That isn’t the only rea­son Pescara pres­i­dent Daniele Se­bas­tiani will never for­get 2016-17 – fans also set two cars alight on his drive­way and cherry bombed his house. The dis­con­tent was un­der­stand­able: af­ter the first half of the sea­son, the Dol­phins had won one match – Serie A had awarded them a 3-0 vic­tory af­ter Sas­suolo fielded an in­el­i­gi­ble player – and, de­spite the sack­ing of coach Mas­simo Oddo, things didn’t get much bet­ter. Pescara languished at the bot­tom of Serie A for 14 weeks, leaked 81 goals and ac­cu­mu­lated 18 points on their way to Serie B. Their only away win was that 3-0 vic­tory over Sas­suolo, a game they had orig­i­nally lost 2-1.

“WELL, I ONLY CON­CEDED 226 GOALS”

There are two ways to re­spond to a 10-0 open­ing-day loss. Stiffen your spine. Or, if you’re Long­ford in the 2016-17 Glouces­ter­shire North­ern Se­nior League Divi­sion Two, back it up with a 13-0 re­verse. Things didn’t im­prove for the 13th-tier side. By Christ­mas, Long­ford had lost ev­ery match and racked up 15-0, 16-0 and 17-0 de­feats, so they did what any­one would… re­cruited Stu­art Pearce on a one-game deal, 14 years af­ter his last ap­pear­ance as a player. The pub­lic­ity stunt for an in­sur­ance com­pany was a mi­nor suc­cess, re­sult­ing in just a sin­gle-goal de­feat against Wot­ton Rovers, their best re­sult of a har­row­ing cam­paign: P30; W0, D0, L30; F10, A226. “I’m one of those peo­ple who is never down,” in­sisted 25-year-old in­sur­ance ad­min­is­tra­tor Ir­shad Ba­dat, the keeper. “I think I’ve played all right this sea­son. I’ve cer­tainly had quite a bit to do.”

DAR­WEN FAIL TO EVOLVE

Dar­wen FC, based just a cou­ple of miles south of Black­burn, were one of north­ern English foot­ball’s pi­o­neers: they were the first English club to sign pro­fes­sional play­ers, reached the semi-fi­nals of the 1880-81 FA Cup, and were Foot­ball League mem­bers from 1891 to 1899. But that fi­nal term (1898-99) in the Sec­ond Divi­sion was truly calami­tous. Af­ter be­ing sued and fi­nan­cially crip­pled by one of their ex-play­ers, the Sal­moners lost on 18 con­sec­u­tive oc­ca­sions – and de­ployed 63 dif­fer­ent lo­cals (in­clud­ing a writer from the pa­per) across the year in a bid to ter­mi­nate the tor­ture. They suc­cumbed 10-0 three times, and let in a record num­ber of Foot­ball League goals (141 over 34 games). The down­ward spi­ral never re­ally ended, ei­ther: Dar­wen failed to win re-elec­tion and cur­rently play in North West Coun­ties League First Divi­sion North (tier 10).

NO­BODY FEARS THE BASH

A 0-0 draw isn’t usu­ally a cue for wild scenes of cel­e­bra­tion. The 71 hardy souls at Bash­ley Road were deliri­ous, how­ever, af­ter ‘The Bash’ picked up their first point in the South­ern League Divi­sion One South & West af­ter 27 games in Fe­bru­ary 2016, against Man­gots­field United. The sea­son hadn’t com­menced well for the fi­nan­cially strug­gling New For­est mob: hav­ing not won any match since Septem­ber 2014, they had sacked boss David Stride dur­ing pre-sea­son, and then axed his suc­ces­sor Steve Ri­ley. “We don’t want to look back in April as this be­ing our only point of the sea­son,” said new Bash­ley boss Tom Prodomo. And in­deed it wasn’t: they man­aged to eke out one more point – thanks to an­other 0-0 against Slim­bridge – fin­ish­ing the year with 40 losses, 201 goals con­ceded, and a goal dif­fer­ence of mi­nus 188. They are now in the Wes­sex League.

POR­TUGUESE PUMMEL PUM­MELLING

The sleepy south­ern Luxembourg town of Dude­lange has al­ways been bee the Grand Duchy’s foot­ball pow­er­house: Stade won the Na­tional Divi­sion 10 times be­tween 1939 and 1965, while its suc­ces­sor club F91 Dude­lange – formed by a merger in ’91 – has won 14 ti­tles since the turn of the mil­len­nium. How­ever, the big fish from the lit­tle pond got them­selves a ter­ri­ble maul­ing from the sharks of two-time Euro­pean Cup win­ners Ben­fica in 1966. At the Stade Emile Mayrisch, they lost 8-0 with Por­tuguese mid­fielder Pe­dras hit­ting a hat-trick. And things were even more trau­ma­tis­ing in the re­turn fix­ture at the Es­ta­dio da Luz: Euse­bio, in his ab­so­lute pomp, scored a hat-trick in­side 32 min­utes, while fel­low Por­tu­gal ledge Jose Au­gusto also helped him­self to three. The match ended 10-0. The 18-0 ag­gre­gate gub­bing re­mains a record in the com­pe­ti­tion.

BY CHRIST­MAS, LONG­FORD HAD LOST EV­ERY GAME AND RACKED UP 15, 16 A ND 17- 0 DE­FEATS, SO DID WHAT A NY­ONE WOULD... SIG NED STU­ART PEARCE

PETRIE’S DISHY FIN­ISH

Ar­broath 36-0 Bon Accord nearly wasn’t a record at all. On Septem­ber 12, 1885, else­where in the open­ing round of the Scot­tish Cup, Dundee Harp beat Aberdeen Rovers 37-0. When Harp’s of­fi­cials said they’d only recorded 35 goals, the ref­eree re­alised his er­ror and amended the fi­nal score ac­cord­ingly. Ar­broath’s win could have been more em­phatic. They had seven goals dis­al­lowed for off­side and, with no nets in the goals, much time was lost re­triev­ing the ball. Ar­broath goal­keeper Jim Milne Sr had so lit­tle to do, he stood un­der a spec­ta­tor’s um­brella to keep dry. Arriving with­out proper kit couldn’t have done much for Bon Accord’s morale and at half-time they were 15-0 down. Teenage Red Lichties winger John Petrie fin­ished the drub­bing with 13 goals – a record that stood for 116 years.

“AND YOU CAN BRING YOUR DIN­NER!”

When Ori­ent chair­man Tony Wood lost most of his money and busi­ness in­ter­ests in Rwanda in 1994, East Lon­don­ers Ley­ton Ori­ent de­scended into chaos. Youth team boss John Sit­ton and se­nior pro Chris Turner took the reins, also tak­ing part in Chan­nel 4 doc­u­men­tary Ori­ent: Club for a Fiver. The nadir came in Fe­bru­ary with the O’s trail­ing 1-0 at half-time against Black­pool. Sit­ton sacked his cap­tain Terry Howard in the dress­ing room break and, in full view of the cam­eras, un­loaded on his team. “You, you lit­tle c**t,” he be­gan, “and you, you big c**t, when I tell you to do some­thing, do it. We can have a right sort out in here. You can pair up, if you like. And you can bring your f***ing din­ner – by the time I’m fin­ished with you, you’ll f**king need it.” Ori­ent won one of their fol­low­ing 15 matches, Sit­ton and Turner were sacked by in­com­ing chair­man Barry Hearn and the O’s fin­ished bot­tom of Divi­sion Two. Sit­ton is now a Lon­don taxi driver.

HELL FOR APOEL

Some con­text: Sport­ing were a truly daz­zling team in 1963-64, and de­feated Ata­lanta, Manch­ester United, Lyon and MTK Budapest (in the fi­nal) en route to lift­ing the Euro­pean Cup Win­ners’ Cup. APOEL (short for ath­letic foot­ball club of the Greeks of Ni­cosia), were Cypriot Cup win­ners, beat­ing Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta in the fi­nal. APOEL had handed out a hu­mil­i­a­tion of their own in the first round, tonk­ing Nor­way’s Gjøvik-Lyn 7-0 to be­come the first Hel­lenic team to progress in the com­pe­ti­tion. Their re­ward? Sec­ond round destruc­tion. Sport­ing blitzed them 16-1 in Lis­bon, with Mas­caren­has smash­ing a dou­ble hat-trick: still a record de­feat for any side in Euro­pean ac­tion. Un­able to host the sec­ond leg back at home, APOEL had to play that in Por­tu­gal, too – but kept the score down to 2-0.

DEV­IL­ISHLY BAD TASMANIANS

In 1965-66, Tas­ma­nia Berlin broke all the wrong Bun­desliga records: they scored the fewest goals (15), con­ceded the most goals (108), suf­fered the worst de­feat (9-0 to Mei­dricher), amassed the fewest points (eight) and recorded the low­est at­ten­dance (856). To be fair, the squad knew they were well out of their depth. Hertha Berlin had been rel­e­gated for fi­nan­cial ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and, purely for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, the Ger­man FA handed Tas­ma­nia a pro­mo­tion, to en­sure that Berlin was still rep­re­sented in the top flight. Play­ers scur­ried back from hol­i­days when they heard the news. Seeking a leader on the pitch, Tas­ma­nia re­cruited West Ger­man in­ter­na­tional mid­fielder Horst Szy­ma­niak. Un­for­tu­nately, all of Szy­ma­niak’s brains were in his feet. Af­ter ne­go­ti­at­ing a share of the club’s gate re­ceipts, he boasted to a Tas­ma­nia team-mate: “They tried to fob me off with a third, but I de­manded at least a quar­ter.” Seven years af­ter be­ing com­pre­hen­sively rel­e­gated with two wins from 34 games, Tas­ma­nia Berlin went bank­rupt.

AR­BROATH’S GOAL­KEEPER JIM MILNE S NR HAD SO LIT­TLE TO DO AGAINST BON ACCORD, HE ENDED UP STAND­ING UN­DER A FAN’S UM­BRELLA TO KEEP DRY

PLOY OF THE ROVERS

The last of a Foot­ball League record 34 de­feats suf­fered by Don­caster Rovers in this train wreck of a cam­paign – a 1-0 loss to Colch­ester on May 2, 1998 – was ac­com­pa­nied by a mock fu­neral, staged by their protest­ing fans. Fans wept as a sea­son in which Rovers con­ceded 113 goals, scored 34, fielded 46 play­ers and earned 20 points ended their 75-year stint in the Foot­ball League. Chair­man Ken Richard­son was still await­ing trial af­ter pay­ing lo­cal crim­i­nals to burn the Belle Vue sta­dium’s main stand to claim on the in­sur­ance (he was later jailed). While await­ing trial, Richard­son sat on the bench and ‘helped’ to pick the team. Not en­tirely co­in­ci­den­tally, Rovers had four man­agers – Kerry Dixon, Dave Cowl­ing, Danny Ber­gara and Mark Weaver, whose pre­vi­ous man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence amounted to run­ning the Stock­port County lottery. De­spised by fans, Weaver com­plained he wasn’t get­ting the same kind of round-the-clock pro­tec­tion as fatwa vic­tim Sal­man Rushdie.

CON­SIS­TENTLY CRAP CROATS

There were only two things wrong with Croa­t­ian cham­pi­ons Di­namo Za­greb in the 2016-17 Cham­pi­ons League: they couldn’t at­tack and they couldn’t de­fend. Pre­vi­ous de­fen­sive of­fences to be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion in­cluded a 7-1 group stage home de­feat against Lyon in De­cem­ber 2011 that was so im­prob­a­ble that UEFA were al­most com­pelled to in­ves­ti­gate. In 2016-17, the bare sta­tis­tics – P6, W0, D0, L6, F0, A15 – don’t re­ally do jus­tice to the comic in­ep­ti­tude of their de­fend­ing, the in­con­sis­tency of their choco­late-wristed keeper Anders Sem­per or the point­less­ness

of de­fender Pe­tar Sto­janovic’s red card, for kick­ing Sevilla’s Vi­tolo when his side were only 1-0 down (they even­tu­ally lost 4-0). In six games they hit the bar three times and had three dif­fer­ent man­agers. The rest of the sea­son was al­most as sham­bolic: Di­namo failed to win the Croa­t­ian league or cup for the first time in 11 years.

PAUL JEWELL’S VIDEO NASTY

“This team is not good enough for the Premier League and they know it.” Billy Davies, the man­ager of newly pro­moted Derby, was sacked for say­ing this, but the 2007-08 cam­paign proved his point. The Rams won one just match – a 1-0 vic­tory against New­cas­tle in Septem­ber – drew eight and lost 29, to pick up a pal­try 11 points, the worst tally in Premier League his­tory. Top scorer Kenny Miller man­aged four goals, while the de­fence shipped 89. Book­ies started pay­ing out bets on the club’s rel­e­ga­tion on Septem­ber 1. Paul Jewell, who re­placed Davies in Novem­ber, was so in­fu­ri­ated by a 6-1 de­feat to Chelsea that he la­belled his team a ‘laugh­ing stock’. As, in­deed, was Jewell when the News of the World pub­lished pho­tos from his sex tapes. Rob­bie Sav­age, signed in Jan­uary win­dow, found the cam­paign “soul de­stroy­ing”, ad­mit­ting: “Play­ers hid be­cause the crowd would have a go at them, me in­cluded.”

MORE MAN­AGERS THAN VIC­TO­RIES

Some sea­sons are so atro­cious the af­ter­shocks prove fa­tal. Just five years af­ter be­ing rel­e­gated from the Ere­di­visie with an all-time low of nine points, a record that may never be bro­ken, RBC Roosendaal went bank­rupt and had to start over in the Dutch sev­enth tier. Dur­ing a 2005-06 sea­son in which they had more man­agers – Dolf Roks and Robert Maaskant – than wins – just one, a 2-0 win over NEC Ni­jmegen in Fe­bru­ary – RBC scored 22 goals and con­ceded 90. Af­ter beat­ing the drop through the play-offs in 2004-05, re­plen­ish­ing the squad with free trans­fers and loa­nees looked com­pla­cent. And so it proved, as only three play­ers amassed more than one league goal. Gam­bian winger Ebrima Sil­lah top-scored with seven. The best that can be said for RBC’s play­ers is that they didn’t tor­ture their fans with false hope. Af­ter four games, they were 18th – and last – in the Ere­di­visie, and there they re­mained un­til the end of the sea­son.

DICKS OUT!

Man­ager Alan Dicks had guided the Robins to the First Divi­sion in 13 years in the Bris­tol City hot seat, but rel­e­ga­tion and a dis­mal start to life in the sec­ond-tier meant the boot. Worse, how­ever, was just around the cor­ner. Not even the ar­rival of a young Roy Hodg­son – ini­tially as as­sis­tant man­ager, then care­taker in Jan­uary 1982 – could ar­rest the de­cline. By ’82, City had suf­fered three suc­ces­sive rel­e­ga­tions, were in Divi­sion Four and out of money. Bank­rupt at the be­gin­ning of Fe­bru­ary, the board forced eight se­nior play­ers to can­cel their con­tracts and keep the club afloat. The Ash­ton Gate Eight – cap­tain Ge­off Mer­rick, David Rodgers, Peter Aitken, Chris Gar­land, Trevor Tain­ton, Jimmy Mann and Julian Mar­shall – were all hailed as he­roes. “I had a fam­ily, three kids and a mort­gage,” re­called skip­per Mer­rick. “I think I lost about a stone in weight, it was dev­as­tat­ing. None of us wanted to leave, but ev­ery­body wanted Bris­tol City to re­main.”

THE TEAM WHO HATED WIN­NING

For three glo­ri­ous years and 11 months dur­ing the early-1980s, the self-styled ‘worst club in the world’ failed to win a sin­gle game in the bot­tom divi­sion of Brazil’s Per­nam­buco state cham­pi­onship. To say that Ibis Sport rev­elled in their self-ap­pointed moniker would be an un­der­state­ment. “We used to lose matches all the time: 5-0, 6-0 and 7-0,” laughed hair­dresser-cum-Maradona im­per­son­ator Mauro Sham­poo, the club’s No.10 and best player, who scored once in those four years. When Ibis Sport ac­tu­ally started win­ning in Septem­ber last year – pres­i­dent Ozir Ju­nior’s dream is for the club to win pro­mo­tion to the state’s top flight – Sham­poo be­lieved the club’s iden­tity was at stake. “If we keep win­ning,” he said af­ter a third suc­ces­sive vic­tory, “we’re go­ing to lose our brand.” Sup­porter Nilsinho Filho agreed: “Even if we go on to win the Brazil­ian cham­pi­onship one day, no one will ever be able to take our ti­tle as the worst team in the world.” And who wouldn’t want that on their foot­ball CV?

IF YOU CAN’T LAUGH AT YOUR­SELF...

When the fi­nal whis­tle blew on the most one-sided qual­i­fy­ing match in World Cup his­tory, on April 11, 2001, some mem­bers of the los­ing team, Amer­i­can Samoa, were laugh­ing with em­bar­rass­ment. As Aus­tralian for­ward Archie Thomp­son, who scored 13 goals in his side’s 31-0 vic­tory, said: “There wasn’t much else they could do.” To be fair to Amer­i­can Samoa, then ranked the 203rd best team in the world, they were de­prived of 19 first-team play­ers fol­low­ing FIFA’s in­sis­tence that the squad had US pass­ports. Most of their Un­der-20 in­ter­na­tion­als were busy do­ing ex­ams and some of the play­ers who ran onto the pitch in Coffs Har­bour, New South Wales, had never even played a 90-minute match. Rangers’ Dutch man­ager Dick Ad­vo­caat thought the Soc­ceroos had been too hard on their lowly op­po­nents – when Craig Moore and Tony Vid­mar re­turned to Ibrox, he de­cided to drop them for one match for un­sports­man­like be­hav­iour.

IN­DONE­SIA’S POINT­LESS BOAT TRIP

Made up from a mix­ture of Dutch oc­cu­piers and In­done­sian lo­cals, the Dutch East Indies spent sev­eral weeks on a boat to France, de­vis­ing strate­gies, train­ing on deck and even play­ing the odd prac­tice match en route and on board. The first Asian coun­try to ap­pear at a World Cup could be for­given for wish­ing they hadn’t both­ered. Four-nil down af­ter half an hour against even­tual run­ners-up Hun­gary, they were stuffed 6-0. The 1938 fi­nals was a straight knock­out event and it re­mains In­done­sia’s only World Cup fix­ture, mak­ing them, sta­tis­ti­cally, the worst team to ever ap­pear at the tour­na­ment (hey, their av­er­age score­line is a 6-0 de­feat). “The team lost, but not be­cause of a lack of skills, en­thu­si­asm or tech­nique,” wrote the news­pa­per Het Vader­land. “The In­dian play­ers, es­pe­cially com­pared to the firm Hun­gar­i­ans, are too small and light.” They also brought with them a con­tender for the most ter­ri­fy­ing mas­cot in foot­ball his­tory. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the play­ers onto the pitch, the bon­net-wear­ing, wav­ing porce­lain doll is ex­actly the sort of crazy wide-eyed crit­ter that goes on a killing rampage around a hith­erto non­de­script Amer­i­can town in a B-hor­ror movie.

A SEX­LESS DERBY

It takes a truly dread­ful sea­son to chal­lenge Derby County’s 2007-08 Premier League vin­tage – com­plete with as many vic­to­ries (one) as man­age­rial sex tapes – but Lough­bor­ough pulled it off more than 100 years ear­lier in English foot­ball’s de­fin­i­tive an­nus hor­ri­bilis. In fin­ish­ing bot­tom of the Sec­ond Divi­sion, then the low­est tier of pro­fes­sional foot­ball, they con­ceded 100 goals in 34 games, win­ning just once and se­cur­ing eight points from a pos­si­ble 68. The nadir came with a 12-0 de­feat at Wool­wich Arse­nal, who paid Lough­bor­ough’s seven play­ers’ trav­el­ling ex­penses, so cash-strapped were the vis­i­tors. Lough­bor­ough ap­plied for re-elec­tion to the Foot­ball League but it was re­jected, so they at­tempted to re­turn to the Mid­land League for the 1900-01 sea­son. They failed to turn up for a fix­tures meet­ing on June 9 and were de­clared de­funct two weeks later. At least they went out on a high.

“LADS, WE ONLY NEED 72 IN THE SEC­OND HALF”

Goal dif­fer­ence is im­por­tant when you’re chas­ing pro­mo­tion. Plateau United Feed­ers were 5-0 up at half-time against Akruba, but de­cided they needed a few more goals to help their cause to progress up the Nige­rian foot­ball pyra­mid. And they did just that, scor­ing 72 sec­ond-half goals with­out re­ply to win 77-0. Feed­ers’ only prob­lem was that, on the other side of the coun­try, pro­mo­tion-chas­ing ri­vals Po­lice Ma­chine hit 61 sec­ond-half goals past Baba­yaro in a 67-0 destruc­tion. De­spite hit­ting four goals in one minute, Ma­chine lost out to Feed­ers on goal dif­fer­ence. The Nige­rian FA, smelling the fat­test of rats, de­scribed the events as “a mind-bog­gling show of shame” and launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into “this de­spi­ca­ble mat­ter”. Two weeks later all four clubs, the play­ers and of­fi­cials were handed 10-year bans from foot­ball. Akurba, mainly for be­ing crap any­way.

BRECHIN BAD

If win­ning be­comes a habit, los­ing takes root deeper than Ja­panese knotweed. Just ask Brechin City, who went through the en­tire Scot­tish Cham­pi­onship with­out a sin­gle vic­tory last sea­son. Pro­moted the pre­vi­ous cam­paign, Brechin be­gan and ended 2017-18 with 4-1 and 5-1 thump­ings to Queen of the South, 26 points adrift of safety. In be­tween came four draws, 32 de­feats and four points from a pos­si­ble 108, be­com­ing the first Scot­tish club in 126 years to go an en­tire sea­son with­out a win. “I just keep smil­ing,” said 89-year-old fan Mar­garet No­ble. “You’ve got to. I live on my own, my daugh­ter is in Amer­ica and my son is in Dorset. Brechin City is my fam­ily.” Man­ager Dar­ren Dodds has even kept his job. “We’ve never seen the heads go down,” stated chair­man Ken Ferguson. “Dar­ren and his team have done a great job main­tain­ing morale in the dress­ing room.” Or there’s no one else to take on the job, Ken.

P45S ALL ROUND

Los­ing 10-0 is never pleas­ant. But even so, Grenchen sport­ing di­rec­tor Re­nato Brun’s de­ci­sion to pub­licly fire all 11 play­ers who took part in that match seems ex­ces­sive. For Grenchen, rock bot­tom of the fourth divi­sion of Swiss foot­ball in Novem­ber 2014, that dou­ble-digit loss to Lucerne’s youth team was their ninth suc­ces­sive de­feat in a dis­mal run dur­ing which they leaked a whop­ping 66 goals. Pub­lish­ing a list of 11 play­ers who were, in Brun’s words, “no longer wel­come”, at the club, he ac­cused some of mock­ing coach Pa­trick Bosch in train­ing (some pranksters pre­tended not to recog­nise him). De­fender Dedaj Du­gagjin in­sisted that he and his team-mates were more in­fu­ri­ated by the man­ner of their dis­missal than the de­ci­sion it­self: “This bor­ders on char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion. If you lose 10-0, you can’t just blame the play­ers.” That point was proved as Grenchen came bot­tom of the ta­ble with the as­ton­ish­ing record P26, W1, D2, L23, F16, A147.

LOS­ING 10- 0 IS NEVER PLEAS­ANT. BUT EVEN SO, GRENCHEN SPORT­ING DI­REC­TOR RE­NATO BRU N’S DECISIO N TO PUBLICL Y FIRE ALL 11 PLAY­ERS SEEMS EX­CES­SIVE

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