Woeful Football moments that shaped your youth

Mine had to be Iain Dowies disasterous own goal for West Ham against Stockport.

I remember watching the highlights of match on “Match of the Day”. It was an F.A. cup game, and West Ham were one nil up.

A corner was swun in by the Stockport midfielder, and cleared the near post. No one jumped for it, until a claret and blue clad body rose salmon like from the penalty spot, connected perfectly with the floated ball, and sent a bullet-like header in to the back of the net.

The Crowd, and the players were in awe of the move, and for a brief second silence filled the ground, and the T.V. sets, and living rooms of the people watching.

The way that Dowie rose to meet the ball, it was as if he was claiming the ball, claiming his place in the hearts of football fans worldwide.

I remember thinking to myself that this was something I would be telling my grandkids, as Dowies neckmuscles tensed, building up the force to direct the ball with power into the top forner of the net.

The only problem with this scenario of now legend, was that, Although Stockport took the corner, Iain Dowie was playing for their opposition, West Ham.

He had scored the most beautiful goal he would ever score into his own net.

15 minutes later, Brett Angel rose with Dowie-like aplomb to put Stockport into the lead from another corner, which ended up being unassailable by the Hammers.

Stockport won the game 2-1, knocking West Ham out of the F.A. Cup in the second round.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever, Even if it came off the gratuitous forehead of Iain Dowie.

…now manager of my team.

For me, Leslie “Mark” Hughes’ undeserved 120th-minute volley past a despairing Jon Hallworth that gave Manchester United a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup semi-final against Oldham Athletic.

The match had been a passionate but unattractive affair. Players like Hughes and Keane were up against home-grown talent, veterans sliding down the career pole and promising lower-division signings like Paul Bernard, Chris Makin and Neil Pointon.

Tenacious defending put Oldham into extra time at 0-0, when the unexpected occurred and Neil Pointon’s facial hair distracted the United side just long enough for the ball to hit the back of the net. At 1-0 Graeme “I Used To Be Good, Me” Sharp missed a sitter that would undoubtedly have won the game, before a sudden United counterattack broke Lancashire hearts.

We lost 4-1 in the replay. Pointon scored again, but nobody cared.

The whole of Euro 96. Being stuck in a girl’s school, it was the first time I realised how incredibly exciting football can be, and how many people were into it. The whole country felt different for a little while. It was also when I learnt to hide behind the sofa if the game goes to penalties. When we lost I slid off the sofa, head in hands, and bumped my head on the coffee table. It was a woeful moment.

  1. I’m Scottish. I was 10 years old. I really believed that we were going to win the World Cup.

I thought of another one.

England vs Argentina, 1998.

I watched this at three or four in the morning, half-dressed from bed in a flat in Sydney. The moment Batty’s penalty went awry I had to rush for an express bus to work, to spend the entire day fielding the delightful Aussie sense of humour…

…“Don’t worry mate, you’ve still got the Falklands.”

That’s when I realised sympathy in football is for the weak.

Ah! Good thread. Two stand out, and I wasn’t even big enough to see them live. One happened when I was one, and the other when I was five. I was born in 1973.

Any takers yet? :slight_smile:

It’s become part of growing up in Holland: we could have been world champions!

Cruyff is brought down by Vogts: this was a penalty.
Then, Holzenbein went down. Was it a penalty? We’re still not sure - I don’t think it was. Scroll down to see how Mueller sealed our fate.

A lot simpler. Rensenbrink hit the post in the 89th minute or so, missing the chance to go 2-1 up. Hosts Argentina were ruthless in overtime, and Mario Kempes sealed our fate this time. It was possibly the most violent final ever - and there is speculation that the referees may have been “bought” by the Junta of Videla, who desperately needed this world cup on home ground: his popularity was on the decline.

It’s all moot, of course - Beckenbauer now says Holland should have won in '74, and Kempes says that if Rensenbrink had scored, it would have been over for sure.

Doesn’t matter - we had a chance twice, and failed on both occasions.

I really though we had a go at the final in 1998 - we were SO close, and outplayed Brazil. But if you don’t score enough and draw, you’ll end up taking penalties. Only Englishmen can commiserate with the Dutch here: both teams suck at shoot-outs.

Dutch national coach at the time, Guus Hiddink (now the coach for South Korea): “You can’t train for penalty shoot-outs”.

Fact 1: Brazil have never lost a penalty shoot-out at an end tournament.
Fact 2: Holland have never WON one.


For me it’s the Mexico World Cup of 1970. England, as World Champions and with probably their best ever team, were beating West Germany 2 0 in the Quarter Finals with 22 minutes to go. It was also the first time substitutes were allowed in the tournament.

Second-string Bonetti in goal, Bobby Charlton and Martin Peters substituted…extra time…Muller gets the winner.

BTW, I missed most of the '98 World Cup and was mid-Atlantic on a 35’er and with nothing nothing on short wave when England played Argentina. It drove me totally nuts !

I also remember the Dutch of '74 with great fondness. And sadness.

Kordell Stewart throwing the Hail Mary pass to beat my beloved Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan losing two different Rose Bowls on bad calls by the officials.

Oh, wait…you are all talking about that other “football.”

duck and run…

My country’s WC campaigns are one woeful tale after another really (apart from '74, how many times has that year come up). Probably the most painful and disappointing for me (and most Oz soccer fans) was the campaign for Spain '82. For the only time, Oceania had direct entry to the finals, and on the 16th of May '81 we lost 2-0 to New Zealand to be eliminated from qualifying. This was the first time we had lost to NZ for more than 25 years. Why did it have to be that game?
Our best shot and we blew it, boy that hurt.

Where do I start? I don’t remember so much about Scotland’s 1978 campaign (which in fact acheived as much as England did in 1998*), but it had a huge impact on my youth in that it affected the mood of the country (and even, some would argue, the political scene) for years.

The 1982 campaign did cause me direct emotional trauma, with a horrendous defensive mix-up getting us a 2-2 draw with the USSR and putting us out.

As an Aberdeen fan, the next few years were superb, but the bad times started after Ferguson left, and Rangers caused us no end of grief. The incidents that stand out are
1 Rangers making it 3-3 near the end of the 1987 league cup final, to take it to eventual shoot-out victory (I was there), and
2 Aberdeen losing first place to Rangers on the last day of the 1991 league championship (technically I was no longer a youth then though).

I’m sure there are others that I’ve repressed, but for childhood trauma no team inflicted more misery on its fans than Hearts did in the final week of the 85/86 season; do we have any Jambos in the house?
*Scotland got to the last 16 in the world, lost only one game, beat the best team in Europe, and scored one of the greatest goals in the history of the competition. I know that if we’d had a more sensible manager we might have done better, but I think it’s time we stop seeing this as a major humiliation.

Football??? Sounds more like you guys are talking about Soccer.

(We won the war, shouldn’t we get to name all the sports?)

When you say you won the war, which one do you mean? Because if it’s that little spat between 1939 and 1945 there might be a few million Britons, Canadians, Poles, Russians, Indians, Australians, New Zealanders, Dutch, Free French [etc] wanting to teach you some history.

Of course, if it’s that earlier thing (something about independence, if I recall correctly) then obviously we let you win (!).

First of all, I apologize to the OP, my intent was not to hijack his thread. I just wanted to make a wiity comment about the subject line, 'cause I was all ready to tell my (American) football story based on his title, and when I got here the thread was about soccer.

With that being said…


I was not referring to the '39-'45 thing. My Grandfather served with the British in France in '45 (taught them how to drive tanks), and he spoke very highly of them. If I wanted to start a thread titled “Would any of the abovementioned countries have done DIDDLY SHIT against the Krauts without our help?”, I don’t think I would have been lacking for support on that point. That was not my intention.

I was, of course, referring to the earlier incident where a bunch of humble colonists HANDED YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE (very well dressed and neatly-marching) ROYAL ARMY YOUR POMPOUS ROYAL ASSES. A topic, I think, that would be equally supported by historical record.


God save the Queen,


You know, I was about to come into the thread to post a little “And cue the American amusingly mistaking this thread to be about American football…”, but I see I am too late. Alas.

[sub]Up early tomorrow for the match![sub]

Failed on both counts then oh 133+ one :stuck_out_tongue: