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Six footballing worsts as England prepare to face lowest-ranked team

| 19.03.2013

England travel to San Marino on Friday to face the lowest-ranked team in world football. 

That makes them the worst international team and it’s hardly surprising that Roy Hodgson’s men are overwhelming 1/250 favourites to pick up maximum points in their World Cup 2014 qualifier at Serravalle Stadium.

The subject of ‘best’ and ‘worst’ lists are always hotly disputed by football fans. It’s a game of opinions and supporters rarely see eye to eye on topics such as best players, best signings, worst manager and worst divers.

With San Marino in the spotlight in the build up to this week’s clash with England, it got us thinking about other footballing worsts.

Hours of research paid off as we managed to find some pretty shocking stats, from discovering the worst defence in Premier League history to a player with serious disciplinary issues.

Check it out…

Worst Premier League team – Derby

The Rams hold the unfortunate distinction of amassing the lowest points tally in Premier League history during the club’s ill-fated 2007/08 season.

Derby claimed 11 points from a possible 114 and won just once in the league, a 1-0 home victory against Newcastle in September 2007.

A run of 29 defeats and a leaky defence that conceded 89 goals – that’s an average of 2.34 per game – combined to condemn County to the drop before the end of March, the first time this has happened in the Premier League.

Worst miss ever – Chris Iwelumo

Type ‘Chris Iwelumo’ into Google and the second search result is a YouTube link to his infamous miss for Scotland against Norway in 2008.

It was Iwelumo’s senior debut for the national team, but things didn’t quite go to plan for the powerhouse striker.

Rather than try and describe the moment, though, it’s easier to relive it for yourself here. Sorry, Chris.

Worst debut – Jonathan Woodgate

What looked like a dream move for Woodgate when he joined Real Madrid in 2004 ended up turning into a nightmare for the former England defender.

An injury sustained in training had initially delayed Woodgate’s debut for Real by over a year before he finally got the nod to make his first appearance against Athletic Bilbao in September 2005.

Woodgate first headed into his own net past Iker Casillas before receiving his marching orders just after the hour mark for two yellow cards. He played just over a dozen times for the Spanish giants before returning to England in August 2006.

Worst kit ever – Manchester United

It may seem bizarre to suggest that a football shirt could contribute to the poor form of a team, but Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to blame United’s grey top when his side suffered a slump in fortunes in the 1995/96 season.

United lost four and drew one of the four-and-a-half games they played in the grey shirt before Ferguson’s patience finally ran out when he demanded his players swap strips at half-time during a 3-1 defeat at Southampton.

The shirt was soon confiscated by the fashion police and duly disposed of.

Worst Premier League tackler – Lee Bowyer

It’ll probably surprise very few football fans that Bowyer is the most-booked player in Premier League history.

Bowyer racked up a top-flight record of 101 yellow cards during spells with Leeds, West Ham, Birmingham and Newcastle as he regularly clashed with opposition players and even his own team-mate on one occasion during his infamous on-pitch spat with Kieron Dyer.

The 1999/00 campaign was a particularly ill-tempered season for Bowyer as he was cautioned 18 times in 48 appearances in all competitions.

Worst Premier League defence – Swindon Town (93/94)

The departure of manager Glenn Hoddle on the eve of the 1993/94 campaign hit Swindon hard as they set records for all the wrong reasons defensively.

The Robins conceded a Premier League record of 100 goals in 42 games, shipping five against Liverpool, Southampton, Aston Villa and Leeds, six against Everton and seven versus Newcastle.

Town finished rock bottom with 30 points as goalkeeper Fraser Digby spent most of the season picking the ball out of his own net.



Mark Bowering