Down, Down, Bring Me Down


Aren't we just the lowest, unluckiest set of fans in the world right now? No one's got it as bad as us right now, have they? Maybe not - but we’re not the only club to fall spectacularly, as Francis Todd Malone highlights here. There are some big clubs in the roll call of shame below. And a common theme with the majority of them – the fans didn’t desert their club.

RANGERS

In 2012, things went badly wrong for the SPL champions. Placed into administration, they lost their place in the top flight and had to start again in Division Three. After successive promotions, their progress stalled as they missed out in a play-off against Motherwell. Although they got it right the following year to take their place with Scotland's elite, it was a damaging time for the Ibrox club as Celtic moved some way clear of them as the dominant force north of the border.

WOLVES

Top flight champions three times in the 1950s, Wolves were a top flight club in 1984. They then suffered three successive relegations – and when they looked to have bottomed out, missed out on automatic promotion by one point and were beaten by Aldershot, a Micky Mouse club who had finished nine points behind them in the play-offs. Fans watched from two stands as the other two were dangerous and the club didn’t have the money to do anything about it. 'Out of Darkness Cometh Light' is the city’s motto – and the Molineux club have proved that since.

PORTSMOUTH

Another team with an impressive history. Pompey were a Premier League team and FA Cup finalists in 2010 but it was all built on shifting sands and massive debts brought administration, changes of ownership and successive relegations in 2012 and 2013. Promoted from League Two last year at the fourth attempt – we will be playing them next season at a ground which has hardly changed since I first went there in the 1970s.

LEEDS

Ken Bates, John Carver and Dennis Wise, all much loved on Wearside, played their part as Leeds entered administration and were relegated to the third tier of English football for the first time in 2007. Despite starting the following season with a 15-point deduction, they made the play-off final – only to lose to Doncaster. They got back up in 2010 but the arrival of Massimo Cellino meant the fun and games continued, including seven managers in just over three years.

COVENTRY AND BRISTOL CITY

In 1977, these two stayed in the top flight up at our expense, aided by a cheating Jimmy Hill-assisted late kick-off. I’ve spent most of the following 40-odd years ranting and moaning about this – but there was karma. The West Country side hung around there for a few more years but three successive relegations and bankruptcy later meant they started the 1982-83 season in the bottom division. They’re on the way back now mind – with a better owner than we’ve got. It’s not the same for Coventry – they hung around til 2001 but are in League Two now and had a spell playing home games at Northampton. One of my favourite stats in the game is that the Sky Blues haven’t finished in the top six of any league since 1970. That's really shit – and a sobering reminder for us that things don’t always get better.


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