The end of a football season is a simply magical time of year for some fans. Their club has just pipped their rivals to win the league title, secured their place in next season’s continental competition, or pulled off a miraculous last-ditch recovery to save themselves from what had seemed to be certain relegation.
For others the occasion isn’t so enjoyable, as they sit back and watch their fellow clubs celebrate while they prepare for life in a lower division, having missed out on safety by a matter of points.
Yet, the relegation battle isn’t always decided by the narrowest of margins. In fact, some clubs know well in advance that they have lost their place in their respective division, providing their fans with plenty of time to get used to the idea of competing at a lower level. However, these six team took that to the extreme.
If you thought your team performed badly, just take a look at the lowest points totals recorded in the history of six of Europe’s top league competitions. With a total of 114 points available in most leagues, these incredibly low points totals really are shameful.
Ligue 1: Troyes AC/Stade Brestois 29 (1960/61 & 1979/80)
French club AS Troyes-Savinienne, now known as Troyes AC, set the record for the lowest points tally in the history of France’s top flight way back in the 1960/61 season, when they managed to pick up a mere 15 points throughout the 38 match season.
Despite a brief spell of success in the late 1950s, the club suffered relegation down to the second tier in the 1955/56 season, recording just 19 points throughout the campaign. Troyes would spend the next four seasons playing at a lower level, before eventually regaining their place in the top flight. However, they had snatched a promotion spot by just one point and, given the disastrous campaign that they had the last time that they played in the top flight, things didn’t look promising for the club.
All in all, they managed to claim just five wins and five draws throughout. Given that a win was worth just two points then, their tally would have equated to 20 points in the modern era. Yet, having suffered 28 defeats throughout, conceding 108 goals in the process, the club cannot be excused for their poor performance.
However, while 1961 was an embarrassing year for Troyes AC, they aren’t alone in their humiliation, as their unwanted record has since been matched by Stade Brestois 29, who also amassed just 15 points during the 1979/80 French Division 1 season.
After rising from the bottom of French football, Stade Brest eventually made it to the top flight after finishing at the top of Division 2. Of course, their first ever season in the top flight didn’t go quite so well, as they managed just four wins throughout the campaign. While hardly a consolation, the club didn’t perform quite as badly as Troyes AC did some 20 years earlier, as they only suffered 27 defeats and conceded just 87 goals.
La Liga: Sporting Gijón (1997/98)
Sporting Gijón made history back in 1998 for all the wrong reasons. While Barcelona were powering their way to the 15th La Liga title in their history, Sporting Gijón were already preparing for life in the Segunda Division. In fact, the club had taken the crown as the worst team in La Liga history by becoming the first side ever to have their relegation from the top flight confirmed in March.
Their exit from the top flight had been coming for some time. They kept their place in La Liga by the skin of their teeth in 1994/95, claiming a narrow 5-4 victory over second tier side UE Lleida in the relegation play-offs. Yet, nobody could have predicted just how disastrous the 1997/98 season would be.
In total, Gijón claimed just 13 points throughout the season, finishing with just two victories from the 38 matches that they played. Their poor performances saw them end the season a whopping 26 points behind CP Mérida, La Liga’s second worst performers. While they eventually regained their place in the top flight in 2008, the relegation meant that they had dropped out of La Liga for the first time in more than two decades.
Thankfully for Sporting Gijón, there is one team that managed to record a lower points total throughout a La Liga campaign - Real Betis, in 1942/43. The club ended the campaign with a grand total of just 10 points. Yet, as that shambolic campaign took place when just 26 games were played and a victory was worth only two points, it doesn’t quite rank as badly as Gijón’s record.
Serie A: Brescia (1994/95)
While Brescia rank as one of the most consistent and successful teams in Serie B, their record in the top flight doesn’t quite stand up.
Despite their strong finish in the 2000/01 season, in which they finished seventh in Serie A and earned a place in the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup, life in the top flight doesn’t usually go quite so well for the Italian club. Since gaining promotion to Serie A in the 1968/69 season, Brescia have achieved promotion seven more times since. They have managed to survive in the top flight beyond their first season on just one of those occasions.
Yet, regardless of their various failures, the 1994/95 season stands out as the worst in the club’s long history.
While Brescia had performed well throughout the 1993/94 Serie B campaign, they weren’t quite at their best. They eventually finished in third place, snatching the final automatic promotion spot by a single point. Unprepared for life in the first division, Brescia struggled throughout. By the time the season came to a close, Brescia had amassed just 12 points - the lowest tally recorded in Serie A since the league had switched to awarding three points for a victory. The relegated side had recorded an astonishing 26 defeats throughout the campaign, as well as a measly two defeats.
Surprisingly, that isn’t the lowest number of wins recorded in a single Serie A season - that title is held by Varese Calcio in the 1971/72 season, when they won just one match throughout. However, with 11 draws, their final tally of 13 points wasn’t quite as bad as Brescia’s effort.
Premier League: Derby County (2007/08)
The 2007/08 season should have been a year of celebration for Derby County, after the Midlands club regained their place in the top flight. Yet, their campaign quickly went from bad to worse.
Derby County had spent the last five seasons in the Championship after suffering Premier League relegation in 2001/02, but they appeared to be ready to return to the highest level. They pushed Sunderland and Birmingham City all the way in the 2006/07 Championship campaign, missing out on the title by just four points. Regardless, they achieved promotion after dispatching Southampton and West Bromwich Albion in the play-offs and looked ready to cement their place as a top flight side.
However, that wasn’t the case. It quickly became apparent that Derby weren’t cut out for life in the Premier League. By November 24th, with the club’s season falling apart, manager Billy Davies departed with the club in last place, having picked up just one win in their first 14 matches. It didn’t seem possible that their season could get any worse, but it did.
Under former Wigan Athletic boss Paul Jewell, the club failed to record a single victory between November and May, picking up just five points via draws along the way, compared to the six points that they had already secured.
Unsurprisingly, it was confirmed that Derby County would be rejoining the Championship for the 2008/09 season before the end of March, with the club eventually finishing 25 points from safety. Their dire haul of just 11 points was the lowest tally recorded in the top flight since three points were awarded for a victory, while their one win from 38 games was also the lowest number of victories recorded in a Premier League campaign.
Eredivisie: RBC Roosendaal (2005/06)
The turn of the millennium appeared to have heralded great things for Dutch club RBC Roosendaal, as the club achieved promotion to the Eredivisie for the first time in their history in the 2000/01 season. Founded in 1927, the club had made their way from the amateur leagues up to the highest level.
Despite suffering relegation in their first season, the club bounced straight back, regaining their place in the top flight at the first attempt. After securing comfortable finishes in their next three seasons, they seemed to have established themselves as an Eredivisie side.
However, the 2005/06 campaign was where things began to fall apart. In fact, the club performed so poorly that it seemed RBC Roosendaal would become the first team in Eredivisie history to go an entire season without claiming a victory. A shock 2-0 win over NEC Nijmegen in late February saved them from that embarrassment. Although, that was their only victory of the season.
The club eventually finished in last place, having won one, drawn six and lost 27 of their 34 fixtures, earning a total of nine points. Things didn’t get much better for RBC Roosendaal in the years that followed. After a number of years in the Eerste Divisie, unpaid debts of €1.6 millions forced KNVB to revoke the club’s professional license, forcing them to vacate their place in the second tier and start over in the amateur leagues.
Bundesliga: Tasmania Berlin (1965/66)
Despite many attempts from the likes of Wuppertaler SV, who recorded 12 points in the 1974/75 campaign, or Hertha Berlin, who won just 14 points throughout the 1990/91 season, no German club has managed to beat the record set by Tasmania Berlin in the third year of Bundesliga’s existence.
To give Tasmania Berlin some credit, a victory was worth just two points in the 1965/66 Bundesliga season. However, that doesn’t make the disastrous results and statistics that they recorded that season much better.
All in all, the German club managed just two wins and four draws in the 34 matches that they played throughout the campaign, suffering defeat in their other 28 matches, which left them with a final points total of just eight points. Worse yet, the struggling club also conceded a staggering 108 goals, while they scored just 15 times. Some 50 years later, Tasmania Berlin’s unwanted record remains the lowest points tally in the history of Europe’s top six leagues.
Although, Arminia Bielefeld technically did break the record in 1971/72, despite securing six wins and eight draws throughout the season, which should have earned the club 19 points. However, due to their part in the 1971 Bundesliga scandal, in which a number of Bielefeld’s games were found to have been fixed, the club’s tally was wiped and they were removed from the league. As a result, Arminia Bielefeld finished the season with zero wins, zero draws, zero defeats, zero goals and zero points.