The seven teams who disgraced the Premier League with their presence by playing atrocious football and barely being able to scratch a few wins together.
The so-called Best League In The World™ has had some pretty terrible teams in it over the years, but usually there’s just one big stinker in the bunch per season.
Last year we witnessed two of the worst, statistically speaking, in the history of the Premier League, as Fulham and Huddersfield Town battled it out for the title of worst in the division.
By season’s end, Huddersfield won, in a manner of speaking.
These may not necessarily be the very worst clubs we have seen since 1992 — Wolves of 2012 and QPR from 2013 would give these guys a run for their money — but that’s a list for another day. In any case, these teams are in the conversation regardless.
The Premier League clubs with the lowest points totals ever:
7. Watford (1999-2000)
Points: 24 | Goal Difference: -42
Watford’s campaign last season was a bit of a throwback to previous awful stints in the Premier League. Aside from the golden age of manager Graham Taylor and chairman Elton John in the seventies and eighties, they’ve rarely impressed in the top flight.
This is one such occasion, which saw the Hertfordshire outfit relegated with a then-record low points total for a Premier League club. Two 1-0 victories over Chelsea and Liverpool were the highlight of a dismal season that witnessed just six league wins.
6. Norwich City (2019/20)
Points: 21 | Goal Difference: -49
It started out so well for Norwich City last season; two wins from their opening five games saw them get off to a better start than their fellow promotion clubs, who both stayed up, powered by a goal glut from Teemu Pukki which saw them score nine goals – so where did it go wrong?
Despite an impressive 3-2 win over Manchester City in September, the Canaries were just never able to stem the flow of goals going the other way. They invested nothing in their defence last summer, while their midfield were useless at stopping attacks at the source.
On top of that, the tactical approach of Daniel Farke only made things worse. Norwich chose to play attacking football despite their defensive weaknesses, which is fine if you score the requisite amount of goals to counteract the ones you concede. But they didn’t get even close, scoring 26 goals in 38 games.
They played some attractive football at times, but it was of no use to their chances of survival. In fact, it actively harmed them. They do, though, have some talented young players, such as Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons, who will surely find other clubs sharpish.
Norwich were probably the best 20th-placed of the Premier League era, which might be the worst consolation prize ever.
5. Sunderland (2002-03)
Points: 19 | Goal Difference: -44
The best thing about this season is that it’s not even the worst one Sunderland has suffered. Peter Reid was sacked by October, and the recruitment committee, headed solely by Howard Wilkinson, to find a new manager decided on… Howard Wilkinson.
The ex-Leeds boss was gone by March, after winning just two league games, to be replaced by Mick McCarthy, who oversaw the club’s relegation back to the second tier. A brilliant 2-1 win over Liverpool in December was the highlight of the season, but they failed to win another game for the rest of the campaign, setting a Premier League record with 15 consecutive defeats.
4. Aston Villa (2015-16)
Points: 17 | Goal Difference: -49
The Tim Sherwood experience lasted until late October, at which point he had won precisely one league game. Remi Garde took over in November and, to his eternal credit, doubled that record. To be fair to the Frenchman, there was no saving a club that had been rotting from the inside for years thanks to dreadful financial mismanagement over an extended period.
Highlight of the season has to be Joleon Lescott tweeting a picture of a fancy car after Villa were thrashed 6-0 by Liverpool in February. He tried to explain it away by saying he “accidentally” sent it while driving. Sure.
3. Huddersfield Town (2018/19)
Points: 16 | Goal Difference: -54
Following two magical seasons in which the Terriers gained a miraculous promotion, followed by an even more miraculous survival in the top flight, it finally all came apart last season.
Huddersfield didn’t taste victory until November, when they defeated fellow relegation battlers Fulham 1-0 in a god awful contest, and by January David Wagner had left the club he had steered to unimaginable heights.
They managed to avoid the ignominy of being the first top flight team to not score ten or more away goals in a campaign after they secured a shock 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
High point of the season had to be when a Sky Sports reporter made his way through the crowd to greet the club’s new coach, Jan Siewert. Only it wasn’t him at all. It was “Martin from Wakefield”. Awkward.
2. Sunderland (2005/06)
Points: 15 | Goal Difference: -43
If you thought the 2003 version of Sunderland was bad, just wait until you see the 2005-06 model!
The Black Cats extended their record-breaking losing streak to 20 games at the start of the season, setting the tone for the rest of the campaign. By Christmas they had attained one win and a mere seven points. At the time they set a new low for points gained and would only secure their third win of the season against Fulham long after they were relegated from the division.
On the bright side, their relegation led to Roy Keane taking over the following season, leading them back to the Premier League with a record high points total for a second-tier side. His appointment gave much-needed stability to the club, until Ellis Short bought the organisation and ruined it all.
1. Derby County (2007-08)
Points: 11 | Goal Difference: -69
If you google “worst premier league teams ever’, the Wikipedia page for Derby County’s 2008-09 season comes up on the front page of results. That’s how definitive their badness was that season.
The Rams broke a host of records that season, each one more unwanted than the last: the longest run of games (32) without a win; lowest points total (11) since the introduction of 3 points for a win; the record for the fewest wins (1) in a Premier League season; they are also the only team to have been relegated from the EPL in March, and just the second in the post-war era.
That solitary win came in September against Newcastle United, with whom they also drew later in the season, meaning 36% of their points from that campaign were won against the Magpies.