Sunday, June 22, 2003

The worst soccer team ever

I've often wondered what the worst-ever soccer team is (or as you non-North Americans might put it, "What is the worst football side (or team) ever?" So, recently I had a boo around the internet to see what I could find.

To begin with, I had once read in passing that Accrington Stanley used to have a reputation for eternally taking the wooden spoon back in the days that they played in English football. However, now all I can find is the website of the now spiffy semi-pro/amateur club of the same name.

Perhaps if I asked nicely, some English soccer fans who read this weblog could let us know why Accrington Stanley was supposed to be so bad. Did they have lots of players with the turning radius of a North Sea oil tanker? Anyways assistance, or your own opinions, would be most welcome.

Let's start our investigation with the The Offical Real Ale Sociedad Club. This squad is a St. Andrews University in Scotland intramural team, and boasts (?) that it has never won a game against a squad that had all 11 men play. They lost all their nine games in one season a few years ago and gave up 45 goals. Says the website: Prospective candidates for players should enquire to the author, and should not be concerned about their elligibility if, for example, they live in Fiji. Absence from matches has not prevented such greats as Sandy and Rob from being integral members of the squad. One player is described this way: "Left-winger of boundless enthusiasm, whose playing-for-the-jersey attitude would have endeared him to the fans had there been any.

And then there's Dunmow F.C., which modestly claims to be the "worst football team in Britain". Although...their coverage of their 2001 season starts with a win, which is never a good omen for this sort of thing. (The other team showed up and didn't forfeit!). As of when the site was last updated, they were playing .500 soccer. Also, they finished second from last in their division the previous year. No, this will not do. But...they had a perfect record of 20 loses in the 1999-2000 season, scoring only 16 goals and giving up 150 before their failed by starting to win. Notes a story from the Herts & Essex Observer, which you read in full here: "Their cause was done few favours by the team's player manager, Simon Gypps, who scored a staggering 16 own goals!" (goals on his own net)

A better candidate for worst ever soccer side is probably Scot FC, a Bletchley amateur team which had a sterling 1 win, 31 loss record, scoring 24 goals and conceding 190. They are profiled in this
article, which has pictures, TV also did a piece on them.

A team with a very slightly better record is the Green Giants. Over nine seasons, the Nottingham amateur team has a 14-92-3 record. One regular player is described this way: "He is distinguished from other regular players in that he has not forgotten everything that he has learnt about football except for how to balance on his feet."

What adds to their bid for the coveted title of worst team ever is their tactics page. It illustrates how your own team can go out in a blaze of inglory. For example, here is their description of how to defend when the other team has a free kick. The page on their website has a helpful diagram too:

"Fig 1: Giants players either congregate on the ball or waddle slowly around trying to gravitate towards each other

Fig 2: Giants Player 1 passes the ball to Opposition Player 1

Fig 3: Opposition Player 1 takes advantage of the general confusion by running up pitch and slotting it past the Giants’ stunned keeper."

The Heidless Chickens, another Sunday league squad, holds the distinction of losing one game 25-3.

Of course, there are non-British teams bidding for the honour of wresting the anti-World Cup. How about Guvno FC of Perth, Western Australia. Their website from a few years ago displays a wry humour: ....Guvno players and supporters were shocked to turn up for their weekly game on Thursday, only to find that they had been promoted to Division Five for the remainder of the season.

I think, though, that my favourite bad soccer team is probably the The Pathetic Sharks of Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, who were immortalized in a TV documentary. Although they finished second from last, they do have a noble history of lovable ineptitude. I'll look forward to when their multimedia page is up and running again. There's lots of dross posted there amongst the gold.

Do you have any nominees of your own? Please let me, and us, know by using my e-mail in the About section at left. Links to websites would be appreciated.