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Worst Ever Starts to a Football Season


Sheffield Utd have been breaking records all over the place in the 2020/21 Premier League…. but for all the wrong reasons.

Utd officially made the worst ever start to a Premier League season after their 3-2 home defeat to Man Utd in December to lose 12 of their first 13 games (drawing the other).

If that’s not bad enough, they also became the first English side fail to win any of their first 17 games in a season since Bolton Wanderers in 1902-03 when losing at Crystal Palace in January.

Thankfully for the Blades, they quickly beat Newcastle 1-0 after that low ebb to avoid going through a whole season without a win, but Derby’s record low 11-point haul remains worryingly there for the taking should Utd’s fortunes fail to improve in the second half of the campaign.

Here are seven more teams whose campaigns got off to a slippery start…


Crystal Palace – 2017/18 season

Palace unveiled Dutch legend Frank de Boer as their new manager in June 2017, with the new man at the helm promising to revolutionise their style of play.

Unfortunately for him, the Palace board’s confidence in ushering in a bold new era of ‘Total Football’ wavered as the Eagles slumped to four Premier League defeats in a row without scoring a single goal, as de Boer made a quick exit from South London.

Replacement Roy Hodgson took a while to stop the rot, but his more pragmatic approach paid dividends as Palace comfortably avoided relegation.

FC Köln – 2017/18 season

Köln endured a terrible turnaround in fortunes for a side that had finished in fifth in the Bundesliga the season prior to this one.

The Billy Goats registered no wins, three draws and 13 defeats at the start of the 2017/18 season and things didn’t get much better from that point onwards.

A mid-season rally wouldn’t prove enough to save Köln from an inevitable relegation to Bundesliga 2.

Spurs – 2008/09 season

It won’t go down as the worst ever start to a Premier League season, but it probably goes down as the one of the most surprising. For a brief period in 2008, Spurs fans could be forgiven for looking up directions for Rotherham Utd as they briefly flirted with a shock relegation to the EFL Championship.

The future had been looking bright for Spurs in the summer of 2008.

Juande Ramos had steered the club to League Cup glory the previous season, but confidence evaporated at White Hart Lane as his highly-fancied Spurs side slipped to the bottom of the table after eight games having clocked up just two points.

Ramos was replaced by Harry Redknapp, who would go on to make a much greater fist of things in North London.

Man Utd – 1930/31 season

A delve into the history books reveals a surprising record holder for most consecutive defeats to start the season – Man Utd.

It would take until November for the Red Devils to get off the mark. That run of 12 successive defeats at the start of a season remains an English record as they meekly surrendered their top flight status.

Chelsea – 2014/15 season

José Mourinho probably still has nightmares about the alarming slump in form that saw him make a mid-season exit from Chelsea for a second time in his career – only a few months on from his third title success with the Blues.

By the time Roman Abramovich finally lost patience for a second time with his serial EPL-trophy winner, the defending champions had lost nine of their 16 Premier League matches and sat 16th in the Premier League table.

RBC Roosendaal – 2005/06 season

Forget that Premier League season where Derby County finished rock bottom with a measly 11 points – RBC went two better in 2006, finishing up on just nine points and recording one win all season.

Those precious three points came in the 26th game of the season – with fans forced to wait until February for the sweet taste of victory.

Brechin City – 2017/18 season

If RBC saved face with one win on the board, there was no such luck for long-suffering Brechin City fans in 2017/18.

The club didn’t just have a difficult start – they never got going at all.

City became the first club in 126 years to fail to win a league match, picking up just four points from four draws, but finally ended their 38-match, 470-day barren run with victory over East Fife in August 2018.

See, it’s not all bad Sheffield Utd fans.

All image sources from PA Images.

Can you think of any other shocking starts?

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