THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

From some WSC contributors

icon steelcityBest ~ For sheer insanity, there was nothing to beat the Championship over the second half of last season. Hull City somehow managed to get up despite scoring fewer goals than relegated Peterborough, and did so ahead of teams with much bigger budgets, and despite their best efforts to throw it all away in a crazy finish on the final day against Cardiff. That they pipped a Watford side who so gracelessly bent the rules on loan deals made it even sweeter. If only Assem Allam hadn’t gone and spoiled it all with his plans for world domination.

Worst ~ There are few things worse for a football fan than seeing your team slowly implode. Stockport County’s decline from second-tier club to non-League no-hopers over the last 12 years has been a tale of incompetence on the pitch and mismanagement in the boardroom. The ultimate humiliation came in May; relegation to the Conference North with a 4-0 defeat at Kidderminster as the fans disgraced themselves with a pitch invasion that saw a Harriers player punched. County could yet be relegated again this season – and for a club still attracting crowds of around 3,000, that is shameful. Mike Whalley

Best ~ As a supporter, it has to be April 10 when the Pompey Supporters Trust had its bid for Fratton Park accepted in the High Court and could take over the club. More generally, Gareth Bale's run of form in 2013 at Spurs, pulling off incredible feats seemingly every week and scoring spectacular goal after spectacular goal, was a joy to watch.

Worst ~ The grim inevitability of the Vincent Tan situation and a similar thing happening at Hull. It was never going to be just about the shirts at Cardiff, and Hull fans' response to their proposed rebranding does seem to show that lessons have been learned. But to see Cardiff in red celebrating promotion to the Premier League was a pretty sad sight. James de Mellow

Best ~ Rickie Lambert's winning goal for England against Scotland. As a Southampton fan, I remember his first goal for the club, a header in the League Cup against Northampton in 2009. Back then, the idea of him playing in the Premier League, let alone for England, was nothing but a pipe dream. It just goes to show what is possible in life, even if at times it seems like little is.

Worst ~ The news that ITV will not broadcast live Champions League games beyond 2015. I began watching it in 1988 - recording BBC Sportsnight the night before then getting up early to watch the likes of Emilio Butragueño, Marius Lacatus and Dejan Savicevic. It seemed very sophisticated to my ten-year-old eyes. When ITV began televising the competition in 1991, I’d veto homework in favour of watching live coverage. Will ITV’s highlight package cut the mustard? Will I succumb to BT? The future is uncertain. Mark Sanderson

Best ~ While I don't like to indulge in footballing schadenfreude too often (it has a nasty habit of rebounding on one without warning), The Fall of Manchester United has been particularly delightful. Especially since it's coincided with the fall of David Moyes's reputation (cheers, Roberto).

Worst ~ BT Sport's steadfast refusal to put their score bug in the correct part of the screen, despite repeated complaints from viewers. Putting it in the bottom left, and thus constantly covering part of the pitch, is contrary to both decades of established football broadcasting protocol and basic common sense. Seb Patrick

Best ~ The League Cup final. Bradford's run was fantastic but the final was also a great opportunity to celebrate Swansea's reinvention as a (partially) fan-run club that go about their business in an entirely admirable way. See also: Wigan's fans enjoying winning the FA Cup so much that they weren't really that bothered about being relegated.

Worst ~ Every 12 months or so, "talking points" are "floated" by dead-eyed administrators from Premier League clubs specifically to infuriate every other football fan who isn't an idiot. This year it was Manchester United's Edward Woodward enthusiastically backing the idea of B-teams turning out in the Football League as the answer to "a lot of issues". Issue number one presumably being how to instantly turn a 125-year old competition into a glorified version of the Pontins League. Tom Lines

Best ~ The end of League One's "winner-goes-up" showdown at Griffin Park; specifically the 18 seconds during which my team, Doncaster Rovers, went from promotion-squandering inevitable big-game bottlers to delirious champions. Wedged into the packed press box my entire body went numb watching the pandemonium unfold as players ran and threw themselves into the bouncing away terrace in celebration. When you've watched football for a couple of decades you think you've seen it all, but then it goes and chucks a moment like this at you to remind you why you keep going back every week.

Worst ~ The manner in which the FA chose to implement the new second tier to the Women's Super League. Electing to announce the divisional restructure one game into the 2013 season rendered an entire winter of preparations on and off the pitch by Doncaster Belles worthless as they discovered that regardless how all their other fixtures panned out they would be relegated. Only the FA could see crushing the spirit of the top flight's longest-serving club as a way to advance the women's game. Glen Wilson

Best ~ Sitting among a group of resigned and cold Bristol City fans in a recent grim bottom of the table decider with Sheffield United which the City inevitably lost by a late goal. There are a row of boys staring at their smart phones. "Who's 'ee texting, then?" asks Mum. "Childline", Dad replies. A timely reminder that football is all about suffering.

Worst ~ Seeing his very shiny red nose everywhere cheers me as Christmas approaches. But not this year. Spotting Alex Ferguson on the cover of his autobiography in every supermarket makes me feel bereft. Rare United defeats in his day would have been sidestepped with a barrage of accusations and/or dismissed as "blips". Now it's all a bit too dignified... and dull. Joyce Woolridge

Best ~ Atlético Madrid winning the Copa del Rey final at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu in June. This was Atletico’s first win against richer and more powerful neighbours Real Madrid in almost 14 years. The victory [of course] was even sweeter as it came at their richer, more powerful neighbours’ home. It was also a fitting end to José Mourinho’s three seasons in Spain, as Madrid were a sorry mess by the end with Pepe dropped, Iker Casillas benched, Cristiano Ronaldo sent-off and "home" fans arguing among themselves. The more than 30,000 Atletico supporters inside the ground were - by contrast - united in joy.

Worst ~ Sevilla president José Maria Del Nido finally being forced to step down - almost two years after he had been convicted of the "misappropriation" (ie theft) of almost €3 million in public money - was a good thing. But much of the coverage of his exit in Spain focused just on achievements like the club winning two UEFA Cups during his time in charge, while ignoring more recent issues such as the club’s huge debts. Plus Del Nido’s controversial (at best) business practices and political views went pretty much unmentioned. Such coddling of dodgy La Liga presidents (also see Deportivo’s Lendoiro, Atletico’s Cerezo and many others) is among Spanish football’s biggest problems. Dermot Corrigan

Best ~ The Mighty Athletes play in my son’s Under-12 league but are routinely crushed by massive scores. There are no shouting parents and the attitude of the kids - no blame, just get back up and do your best - is humbling. On November 17 after 18 months of heavy defeats, they finally won a league match. That is the true value of football.

Worst ~ A week after what he said was “the best day of his life” the coach of the Mighty Athletes died. Steve Menary

Worst ~ Early season, Tranmere Rovers win with a disputed penalty in the dying minutes of the match, it sends Oldham Athletic fans into despair and drives Latics former manager to perform a demented jig up and down the touch line. It sums up every disappointment over the years.

Best ~ Within seconds of that Tranmere goal, Oldham’s manager Lee Johnson took off his waterproof coat, waived it over his head, threw it onto the ground and kicked it into the third row of the stand. In one absurd moment Johnson had perfectly captured the frustrations of following football, and left an image I can conjure up to deal with future defeats. Fifteen seconds of genius. Brian Simpson

Related articles

WSC 370 out now
December issue available in stores and online The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop....
Editorial assistant vacancy at WSC
The jobThis is an exciting time for WSC, with a major new project on the horizon, and we are looking to expand our team. Working from our central...
WSC 369 out now
November issue available in stores and online The new WSC is out now, available from all good newsagents or to order from the WSC shop....

More... WSC