THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

From some WSC contributors

icon badgekissBest ~ Germany’s 7-1 victory over Brazil. There was a morally complex issue in deriving pleasure here owing to the similarity of the event to watching a chap get beaten up in front of his girlfriend, but Germany were playing excellent football and if this result went any way towards a decrease in the number of British blokes wearing Brazil shirts in beer gardens in the five hot days in August, talking about "The Beautiful Game" and how they support any team that plays good football, then this was a result that must be good for the planet.

Worst ~ The hounding of David Moyes at Manchester United. The spectacle of a man drained of his mojo, week by week, becoming gradually greyer and stiller until he finally resembled a pink-eyed elderly cove who had just stopped on the touchline to stare for a bit on his way to the allotment, was not pleasant for anyone. I got a big kick out of Manchester United’s failure of course but the suppressed glee with which commentators speculated on Moyes’s future from early October until his dismissal, was strictly unedifying. Cameron Carter

Best ~ St Johnstone winning the Scottish Cup. After 130 years of trying, including eight exits at the semi-final stage, the victory in the final against Dundee United at Celtic Park on May 17 was truly wonderful. Goodness knows how much time I used to wile away looking at the list of previous winners and on seeing the likes of Airdrieonians, East Fife and even St Bernard’s among them find myself asking "why the hell can’t we do it?" While the joy has been all ours, I hope we have just maybe inspired fans of other unfashionable Scottish clubs.

Worst ~ I have to be parochial again if only to emphasise that in following a muddling, middling club through thick and thin, sometimes the darkest hour really is right before the dawn. Barely two months before our greatest moment, Saints were comprehensively thrashed to the point of humiliation in a League Cup semi-final against Aberdeen. It was rock bottom. It rained a lot. And we vowed we would never go back. Archie MacGregor

Best ~ The news that SV Hamburg had wasted €8.5 million on Pierre-Michel Lasogga, thus ensuring that their entertainingly incomprehensible financial policy - imagine a child destroying somebody else's piggy bank with a hammer and then spending it all on chocolate toothpaste – will continue for another year. Although he had a good run last season, Lasogga is basically a 2014 version of HSV idols Uwe Seeler and Horst Hrubesch – and by that, I mean if they were to play now rather than in their prime.

Worst ~ Mario Götze's winner in the World Cup final. My season-long glee at Götze's mediocre first year at Bayern; confirmation of the "Reus can function without Götze, but Götze can't function without Reus" theory, the endless rows in the pub, which usually ended with my declaring that Mario Götze is the "Samantha Fox of German football", even though that doesn't mean anything – it all came crashing down round my ears the moment the little runt scored what was admittedly a cracker of a goal. Matt Nation

Best ~ Germany's destruction of Brazil in the World Cup semi. Mainly because of all the weeping at the shrine of Neymar ahead of the match. It was important that such disturbing behaviour shouldn't be seen to bring rewards.

Worst ~ I think it was just a couple of days ago, when I read Paul Wilson's "ten memorable moments [of 2014]" feature on the Guardian website. Included among them was MK Dons' 4-0 League Cup defeat of Manchester United. "Here was a [giantkilling] the whole country enjoyed," says Wilson. Further evidence that you can be a broadsheet football journalist, while having zero understanding of football. James Baxter

Best ~ Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid reaching the Champions League final and winning La Liga ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Their second half performance in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final victory over Chelsea was truly superb. Realising that their opponents had little left to offer, they went for their throats, producing, for me, the most viscerally thrilling 45 minutes of football this year.

Worst~ Lionel Messi’s recent complaints about being forced to give both urine and blood samples at a post-match drug test showed that football is still not taking drug testing as seriously as it might. His comments were particularly irresponsible as they seemed to suggest that his status as one of world’s most prominent players should have freed him from such scrutiny. Followers of cycling would no doubt warn of the dangers of assenting to such a belief. Nick Dorrington

Best ~ Liverpool 3-2 Man City. From the Hillsborough tribute onwards, the atmosphere and spirit on display both on and off the pitch was among the best I've ever seen - and it was accompanied by one of the matches of the season. If only it had actually been the title decider. If only.

Worst ~ I'm aware that this may well appear in other writers' "Best" lists, but the Steven Gerrard slip is the obvious one. Whatever you might think of Gerrard, it's hard to argue that a career such as his deserves to have that as its defining moment. Worse, it was a moment that gave vindication to the tactics José Mourinho had brought to Anfield, a stark contrast to Man City's a fortnight earlier. Seb Patrick

Best ~ The Germany v Brazil World Cup result somewhat overshadowed the dethroning of Spain by Holland on the second day of the tournament. But it was the game the tournament needed and was the kind of thrilling collective moment that the World Cup can provide. Looking back, Arjen Robben's first goal to put the Dutch 2-1 up might be the great overlooked goal of the summer and as the fourth and fifth go in you can see the "anything can happen now" looks on the players' faces. Which it did, just not for the Dutch.

Worst ~ Manchester City winning the Premier League by default in May - I can't be the only Premier League-watching neutral who is just left numb by them. It was a shame that a group of players operating at its very maximum in Liverpool were ultimately undone by City's policy of buying a shed-load of pretty-good players (basically the ones who aren't good enough for Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid) and functionally grinding their way to the title. James de Mellow

Best ~ The blind faith which Louis van Gaal inspires which defies rational thought and led me to predict publicly a 3-0 win over Liverpool to howls of derision and diagnoses of insanity from large numbers of relatives gathered at a recent Manchester wedding.

Worst ~ It has to be that outrageously bad defeat by Leicester City - and being reminded about it every time Leicester lose (very frequently) on the lines of: "They've been unable to replicate the form they showed in beating Manchester United..." Probably because they've never come across opponents since so utterly bent on throwing a game away. Joyce Woolridge

Best ~ For a decade now watching Wales at home, toiling to inevitable defeat in front of more seats than fans, has become something of a test of endurance. That changed with the match against Bosnia in October. It may have been a goalless draw, but the atmosphere was incredible as belief seemingly returned en masse. We have a “this could be our year” moment every campaign, but such is the current spirit of togetherness between players and fans, it finally feels like this time it genuinely could be.

Worst ~ September's transfer deadline seemed to reflect the vulgar largess of the game's top flight more than ever. Like new-moneyed city traders bragging over obscene bar bills, it seems to no longer matter where the money goes, just so long as it is spent in inflated sums. “The biggest day in football” Radio 5 Live called it. It's surely just the most overpriced day of admin. Glen Wilson

Best ~ I very much enjoyed Armando Iannucci's landmark YouTube satire “Keys & Gray's World Cup Diary”. Some critics found it too dark, but for me its complex portrayal of two desperate men exiled to the remotest margins of popular culture marked the series out as a genuine masterpiece.

Worst ~ The World Cup offered up its traditional selection of bleak scenes from football's rotten heart. Just pipping the rolling news coverage of the armoured convoy transporting the $1.3 million in cash that Ghana's squad had demanded in order to fulfil their group fixtures was the sinister phalanx of Emirates stewardesses who turned up with the medals at the closing ceremony. A grim reminder of the tournament's petro-dollar-powered future. Tom Lines

Best ~ Boavista returned to the Primeira Liga, parachuting in by administrative decision after their enforced relegation in 2008 due to alleged pre-match intimidation of referees. The cash-strapped club's squad is made up of cheap or free signings and players from last season's third-tier campaign; it hasn't been pretty but the aim of survival this season, consolidation next, should be doable.

Worst ~ Portugal's worse-than-dismal showing in Brazil. Everything about the campaign was wrong: selection, preparation, tactics, players' fitness and form – you name it. Coach Paulo Bento – with a little help from Cristiano Ronaldo – had dragged the Seleção through qualifying but was hugely unpopular by the end; he was replaced by former Greece coach Fernando Santos in September. Phil Town

Best ~ A month in the World Cup venue of Salvador (Spain 1-5 Holland, Belgium 2-1 USA, etc) was a memorable experience. A highlight of the tournament was the platform it presented for unsung teams such as Costa Rica to shine – while some European players struggled in the humid conditions. The next time someone asks whether a foreign player can handle a freezing night in Stoke, we might remember the efforts of “our boys” in Brazil.

Worst ~ The sight of Harry Redknapp’s FFP-busting team of Premier League has-beens beating Steve McClaren’s young Derby side with their only shot on target in the last minute of the Championship play-off final was pretty depressing. The news that the spiralling cost of the Olympic Stadium’s roof conversion will take the venue’s overall cost to £600 million, meanwhile, left me scratching my head once more at the knowledge West Ham will be paying just £15m to set up home there. Simon Hart

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