The Premier League loves a record, fans love a stat, we all love to compare our teams to others, cutting the numbers in a way that spins light onto our own beloved.
However, there is one honour that simply cannot be cut another way – somebody has to bear the record low points tally in Premier League history.
Many fans rashly claim that their team is the worst in living memory, few can actually justify it.
They say 40 points is the magic number for Premier League survival. Six campaigns have resulted in points tallies below 20.
Sheffield United are the latest side to have a crack at setting the benchmark for abject failure, but where are they currently on course to finish in the list of all-time worst campaigns?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up the lowest ever Premier League points totals, and reveals where Sheffield United are on course to finish in the all-time rankings.
Lowest points totals in Premier League history
6. Portsmouth (09/10) – 19
It feels mildly unfair to kick-start this list with Portsmouth as they actually earned 28 points during their fateful 2009/10 campaign but were docked nine points for entering administration.
Frederic Piquionne was their top scorer with 10 goals that term under Avram Grant as they made it to the FA Cup final.
Pompey have failed to recover from that crushing blow around the turn of the decade and currently reside in League One.
5. Sunderland (02/03) – 19
A couple of impressive seventh-place finishes, courtesy of one of the Premier League’s all-time greatest striker partnerships, had Sunderland flying at the turn of the Millennium.
However, by 2002/03, age caught up with Niall Quinn, robbing Kevin Phillips – still the only English winner of the European Golden Boot with 30 goals in his stunning Premier League debut season – of service.
Quinn’s mega-money £7million replacement Tore Andre Flo failed to make an impact and the Black Cats faded into the abyss with a then-record low points total.
4. Aston Villa (15/16) – 17
Villa’s Class of 2016 had a jolly good shot at being the most shambolic unit to ever grace a Premier League football pitch, but only rank fourth on the list.
Three managers tried and failed to stabilise the club across the season to no avail. Tim Sherwood kicked off the season of misery and doom, but it was former Lyon boss Remi Grade who appeared from obscurity in early November to try and steer the ship.
He won three of 23 games and interim Eric Black was left to lower the coffin into the Championship once Garde had been sent packing.
3. Huddersfield (18/19) – 16
It’s actually quite shocking when you realise just how bad Huddersfield were during their debut Premier League campaign.
Jurgen Klopp disciple – and doppelgänger – David Wagner was a darling of the media who expected his team to play like an Aldi Liverpool, but his team simply couldn’t handle the step up.
The Terriers sat in 20th place for every week of the season beyond the halfway mark, winning just three games. Remarkably, they managed to do the double over Europa League-bound Wolves.
2. Sunderland (05/06) – 15
Premier League football is all about consolidation. Taking a firm foundation and building on it. Sunderland noted their 19-point debacle just three seasons prior and knew they could dig deeper in their quest for eternal misery. And they nailed it.
Mick McCarthy guided his team back to the top flight after two seasons out, but instead of Quinn and Phillips, they were armed with Jon Stead and Anthony Le Tallec in a display of truly impressive commitment to The Banter.
Sunderland spent 37 of 38 weeks with their heads submerged below the relegation water line as their seven recognised forwards scored just 12 goals in 150 combined appearances.
Sunderland almost became the only team in the Premier League era not to win a single home game in a season but were denied the honour by a freak incident.
The Black Cats were losing 1-0 to Fulham when the game was abandoned due to snowfall. Sunderland won the rescheduled encounter which started from 0-0, their final home game of the season.
1. Derby (07/08) – 11
Just when you didn’t think Sunderland’s unparalleled awfulness couldn’t be topped, along came the Derby County Class of ’08.
Billy Davies and Paul Jewell conspired to plumb new depths, to go where no team had ever gone before – single digits. And my word, did they come close.
Their league top scorer was Kenny Miller with four measly strikes, and if that doesn’t make you want to leave home and hug the Derby fan in your life right now, nothing will.
Derby were a 66/1 shot for promotion in the year they achieved it, and were relegated from the Premier League less than a year later in March, the earliest a team has ever been sentenced to the drop.
Paddy Power paid out on a number of bets for Derby to relegated after just five games following a 4-0 defeat to Spurs and 6-0 thrashing by Liverpool.
Davies was out by the turn of the year, and Jewell came in. He once recalled that his friend David Moyes warned him off the job, saying: “Do yourself a favour and don’t take it. We beat them 2-0 and that’s the worst team I’ve ever seen.” It’s fair to say Jewell regrets making the decision.
Sheffield United (20/21) – on course for 10.55 points
Derby’s extravagantly incompetent season record has withstood several challenges, but it has proven itself to be impressively stubborn to best. Enter Sheffield United.
The Blades went into lockdown last March firmly in the conversation for Champions League football. Yes, Champions League football. Champions. League. Football.
At the time of writing (15/1/21) United boast just five meagre points, and three of those came in a recent victory over Newcastle. Prior to that game, their expected points total was just 4.47 from 38 matches.
Relegation is surely a given now, but pride is very much at stake. Without a crowd to lift spirits, Wilder faces a near-impossible task to motivate his men.
Derby’s record is under threat, this could be the year…
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