Date:Friday January 5 2007
A national survey carried out by Littlewoods Football Pools shows that Swansea City are the 26th worst club to support out of the 92 in the Premiership and Football League.
They conducted their results based on stats such as number of relegations, average league position and so on.
Here's the full list:
1. Notts County
It's largely been 'one for sorrow' for the Magpies. The oldest club in the Football League have been through more managers (35) since 1945 than any other team except Wigan Athletic (36). Previous holders of the post include Sam Allardyce, Neil Warnock and Howard Kendall. Through promotion or relegation, the club have switched divisions 29 times - a Football League record. The last 10 years have brought two relegations and an average league position of 14th, and last season their Football League survival was only assured on the last day when they drew at home to Bury, while Oxford United lost at home to Leyton Orient. One of their most (in)famous fans was serial killer Harold Shipman. Need we say more.
2. MK Dons
From the Premiership to League Two in just six years. The Dons (formerly Wimbledon) have certainly put their fans through the wringer over the years. If upping sticks from south London and moving to Milton Keynes (losing a huge chunk of their fan base in the process) isn't enough, they also manage to stress out their fans by having the worst home record in English football - since the War they've failed to win 44% of their home matches. Add to that three relegations in 10 years - plus a narrow escape on goal difference - debts of more than £20m and a period in administration, and you can see why the Dons rate so highly (or should that be lowly?) in our league. AFC Wimbledon, on the other hand, have gone from the Combined Counties League to the Premier Division of the Ryman League in just four years, winning five trophies along the way. How long, we wonder, before they meet in the Football League?
3. Carlisle United
If you're a Cumbrians fan, you'd be advised to get a check-up before the start of every season. The Brunton Park side's average league position over the past 10 years (15th) was the worst in the English game, and in that time they were relegated twice and promoted twice . During that period they lost an average of 18 points a season in games where they scored first. In recent times they've been in administration and fallen out of the Football League completely. In fact, that should have been the second time they'd dropped into the Conference, but in 1992 Carlisle (who finished 24th and bottom) were saved from that fate by Aldershot (23rd) going bankrupt. Oh, and in the 1990s former chairman Michael Knighton appointed himself manager. Never a dull moment in Cumbria.
You need a strong constitution to be a Quakers fan. A convicted criminal as chairman, a period in administration and one of the worst defensive records in football are just a few of the reasons why fans' loyalty has been stretched to the limit over the years. Only MK Dons are less likely to win at home than Darlo, and only Charlton and local rivals Hartlepool have conceded more goals since 1946. In that time the club has had more managers than any team except Wigan and Notts County. Two play-off final defeats (both 1-0) are the closest Darlington have come to promotion in the past 10 years. They also made history in December 1999 by losing in the FA Cup second round and then being picked out as 'lucky losers' to replace Manchester United, who went to play in the FIFA Club Championships. The Quakers' 'prize' was a trip to Villa Park, where they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa.
5. Swindon Town
It's only just over a decade ago that Swindon were a Premiership side, but the past 10 years have been tough going for fans at the County Ground. Relegation from the top flight in 1994 was followed by a second successive drop, and although promotion from Division Two was secured a year later, the team struggled in Division One in the next three seasons, finishing 19th, 18th and 17th. In 2000 came relegation, and a year later Swindon avoided another 'double relegation' by just one point. A glimmer of hope came when the play-offs were reached in 2004 - ending in a semi-final loss to Brighton - but last term Town became the first club to drop into the bottom tier of the Football League having once been in the Premiership. We bet Robins' fans can hardly believe it.
Bury's most recent trophy win was the National Black Pudding Throwing Championships in 2005. For the football team, you have to go back to 1997, and the old Second Division title. 'The Shakers' have won the FA Cup twice - in 1900 and 1903 (the 6-0 win against Derby is still a Cup Final record) - but their more recent history is one of mid-table mediocrity. Expectations rose in 1995 when the club reached the Third Division play-off final, but they lost 2-0 to Chesterfield. Their period in the old First Division lasted two seasons, ending in relegation... by one goal. The club went into administration in March 2002 a year after being put up for sale by the High Court due to mounting debts. Relegation followed shortly afterwards.
7. Crewe Alexandra
Two relegations in 10 years, an average finishing position of 14th, the longest run of games without a win (30) in English football, and one of the worst post-War home records in football all add up to an emotional rollercoaster for Crewe fans. They may have been named 'Most Admired Club' in the Football League earlier this year, but they were also relegated to League One, having maintained their status the previous season only on goal difference. The only constant is manager Dario Gradi, now in his 23rd year at the club.
On the field or off the field, hardly a day seems to go by without Portsmouth making the headlines, and rarely for the right reasons. No wonder it is the most stressful Premiership club to follow. The early 1990s started brightly, with the team narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premiership, but the controversial sacking of Jim Smith was followed in 1996, and 1998, by near-relegation to the Second Division. Smith returned as assistant to Harry Redknapp in 2002, and promotion to the Premiership followed a year later. But the last two seasons have seen Pompey come close to relegation, and off the field there have been several changes in the manager's office, and also in club ownership. Unsettling times for supporters widely regarded as among the most passionate in football.
9. Stockport County
Stockport share, with Carlisle United, the distinction of having the lowest average league position over the past 10 years - 15th. That period began strongly, however, with promotion to the top tier of the Football League in 1996-97, the same season County reached the semi-finals of the League Cup, eventually losing to Middlesbrough over two legs. In their first season in the First Division, Stockport came close to the play-offs, but by 2002 they had been relegated. Another drop followed in 2005 to the 'revamped' League Two. That same year, supporters took over the club, after two years under previous owners led to a £4m loss. Last season, relegation to the Conference was avoided on the last day, thanks to a 0-0 draw at champions Carlisle.
10. Grimsby Town
If you're a Grimsby fan, chances are you spend every season biting your nails. In the past 10 years, Town have been relegated three times - including in successive seasons (see position 40 in our table for details of the Mariners most dramatic drop) - and narrowly avoided relegation on three other occasions. They have also been promoted once and lost a Division Two play-off final last term. They won the Football League's Auto Windscreens Trophy nine years ago, but haven't gone beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup since 1996, and it's over 20 years since the Mariners reached the League Cup quarter finals.
11. Crystal Palace
12. Bradford City
One of five clubs to have been relegated three times in the past 10 years, Walsall had actually enjoyed a glory period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a promotion, decent cup runs and a move to a brand new stadium. Then came a series of relegations before fans saw an upturn in fortunes. Promotion in 1999 to Football League Division One was followed the next season by relegation on the final day at Ipswich. The year after came promotion again, via the play-offs, but three years later came another relegation back to the third tier of English football, and in 2006 Walsall dropped into League Two. If ever a club needed to show bouncebackability...
and the rest
14. West Bromwich Albion
15. Coventry City
17. Oldham Athletic
18. Leeds United
19. Sheffield Wednesday
20. Hartlepool United
21. Chester City
22. Queens Park Rangers
23. Shrewsbury Town
24. Northampton Town
25. Manchester City
26. Swansea City
27. Lincoln City
28. Rotherham United
29. Torquay United
30. Port Vale
31. Doncaster Rovers
33. Hull City
34. Brighton & Hove Albion
36. Huddersfield Town
37. Colchester United
38. Derby County
39. Leicester City
42. Charlton Athletic
43. Bristol Rovers
44. Preston North End
46. Leyton Orient
47. Nottingham Forest
48. Wycombe Wanderers
50. West Ham United
52. Cardiff City
53. Southend United
55. Peterborough United
56. Scunthorpe United
57. Luton Town
58. Plymouth Argyle
59. Mansfield Town
60. AFC Bournemouth
61. Bolton Wanderers
62. Tranmere Rovers
64. Stoke City
66. Hereford United
69. Norwich City
70. Ipswich Town
71. Wolverhampton Wanderers
72. Cheltenham Town
75. Wigan Athletic
76. Blackburn Rovers
77. Accrington Stanley
78. Sheffield United
79. Macclesfield Town
81. Bristol City
82. Newcastle United
83. Tottenham Hotspur
84. Boston United
85. Aston Villa
86. Birmingham City
89. Manchester United
90. Yeovil Town
Date:Friday January 5 2007
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|9. Man Utd||15||6||4||5||3||22|
|11. Aston Villa||15||5||4||6||-2||19|
|12. Hull City||15||5||3||7||-6||18|
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