The Premier League is widely regarded as the best league in the whole of world football; it boasts some of the biggest clubs, with some of the brightest talent, competing in an environment that provides enthralling entertainment on a weekly basis. Still, every now and then a team will come along to make you question how on Earth they manage to have their name mentioned in the same breath as the Premier League. Here are the worst five.
5 – FULHAM, 2018/19
When Fulham won promotion from the Championship – by winning the playoff – they were tipped to do well in the Premier League. Sure, they weren’t exactly the New York Yankees of the competition, highly ranked in the odds to win the World Series, but they also weren’t the Miami Marlins. A midtable finish seemed safe though.
Their manager, Slavisa Jokanovic, was highly rated, they had youngsters, like Ryan Sessegnon, in the team who was raved about and their style of football was rightly praised. Then came the £100m summer splurge that divided the fan base (just bear in mind, for comparison, that Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspurs didn’t make a single signing and ended up 4th).
Some thought it showed ambition, others thought it would destroy their team spirit. We can’t speak for what went on behind closed doors but, whatever happened, it didn’t work and Jokanovic was gone long before the Christmas decorations came out. When Leicester’s title winning coach Claudio Ranieri can’t turn it around then you really are in trouble. To be fair, they didn’t finish bottom but, with their spending – thanks to Huddersfield Town – it was a huge disappointment.
4 – QPR, 2012/13
When the transfers were rolling into at Loftus Road the fans saw bright lights on the horizon after a narrow escape from relegation the year before but, as it transpired, those bright lights blinded their team as they crashed out of the top tier with just 25 points and four wins.
Sure, teams have had worse totals but when you consider their summer arrivals included Julio Cesar from Inter Milan, Real Madrid’s Esteban Granero, Jose Bosingwa, who had won Champions League the season before with Chelsea, and Ji Sung Park from Manchester United, it’s quite a remarkable feat. They do say it’s the hope that gets you.
3 – IPSWICH TOWN, 1994/95
After picking up just four points from their opening six games Ipswich unexpectedly defeated Manchester United 3-2 at Portman Road to give their fans hope for the season. It proved the high point as they only recorded a further five wins throughout the campaign despite changing managers in December – George Burley replaced John Lyall.
The Blues finished rock bottom with 27 points, but the memorable moment was a record 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Man United, who gained brutal revenge for the reverse early in the season. Their Uruguayan forward Adrian Paz was then one of the first stars in the newly reformulated MLS in United States.
2 – SUNDERLAND, 2016/17
It’s a fairly common theme that teams who battle relegation struggle for goals but that’s not something that can be levelled at this Black Cats side as they had Jermain Defoe banging goals in. Oh no, they got relegated in spite of his 15 strikes. David Moyes had a good spell in charge of Everton and then two disastrous stints at Man United and Real Sociedad.
It’s good advice to trust things that have worked well for you in the past, but Moyes took that a little too literally when signing a whopping five players from his Everton days. To make matters worse, as Sunderland were getting relegated with 24 points their bitter rivals, Newcastle United, were lifting the Championship to pass them on their way down. And, even worst, Sunderland have dropped into League One the year after and they still haven’t found their way up. Ouch.
1 – DERBY COUNTY, 2007/08
Derby County made history for all the wrong reasons during the 2007/08 campaign – the lowest ever points total in Premier League history, the first Premier League side relegated in March – and only the second side relegated that early post the World War – and the lowest points total since the rules changed to award three points for a win.
Derby managed just a solitary win throughout the season and eight draws saw the Rams finish with a measly 11 points; to add insult to injury, they managed to net just 20 goals and conceded 89 giving Billy Davies and Paul Jewell an unwanted record to share. The less said, the better.