Nearly every football fan in the world knows the feeling: frustration.
From the great teams of all time to the lowest level of amateur squads throughout the world, our favorite teams have an innate propensity to frustrate us to no end, if only for brief periods.
Here are the 10 most frustrated fanbases in world football as of 2011; those dedicated diehards who suffered bouts of great woe in the wake of the 2010-11 campaign.
The New York Red Bulls boast the international talents of Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez, each arguably his nation’s best active player.
Henry leads Major League Soccer in goals with 11 on the season, while Marquez showed his usual stellar form in the 10 games he’s played thus far in 2011.
Despite this, the Red Bulls sit in third place in the Eastern Conference of MLS with only 30 points—12 less than league leaders LA Galaxy and fewer even that Colorado Rapids, the fifth place Western Conference squad.
Why so few points and so much frustration from Red Bulls fans? The team induced 12 draws in its 23 games on the season thus far.
New York has drawn more than half its fixtures, robbing the team of a potential 24 points. It has a mere six wins, and five losses.
Add this to last season’s frustrating third place finish and you have a recipe for fan anguish.
The Panama national football team looked poised to break onto the national stage in the summer of 2011.
The team that never once reached the World Cup handed a besotted USA side a 2-1 defeat in the first round CONCACAF Gold Cup play. In the first round of the tournament, Panama managed to rack up six goals.
Everything looked smooth sailing as Panama beat El Salvador in a harrowing and heroic penalty shoot-out in the quarterfinals and prepared to face the United States once more in the semifinals.
Panamanians around the world excitedly anticipated a repeat of the team’s previous victory over the United States and a trip to the Gold Cup finals for only the second time in the nation’s history. Surely if Panama could prove itself a power in its group, it stood a chance of making the next World Cup.
The United States showed vigor, gall and fortitude on a day that saw all of Panama’s hopes end in disappointment. Despite a few rousing performances, the side ultimately showed its frustrated fans that years more suffering lay ahead.
Birmingham became the first team ever to win the League Cup and face relegation in the same year.
After winning its first major trophy since 1963, Birmingham spiraled ever downward in the league, facing the crushing fate of relegation on the final day of the season.
Despite playing admirable defense, Alex McLeish’s side created very little going forward and failed to score the goals required to remain in the top flight.
To add insult to injury, McLeish retired not long after the team’s relegation and signed quickly to arch-rival Aston Villa, where he is busy rebuilding the team for another season in the Premiership.
After a full eight seasons in the top flight, most of which saw the side finish in the first half of the table, Italian side Sampdoria slipped out of Serie A and into Serie B in May of 2011.
To be blunt, the side had a horrible season. Sampbodira finished in 18th place with a mere 36 points, four points behind 17th place Lecce. The team managed only eight wins and faced a staggering 18 losses.
Sampdoria boasted a much longer top flight run than either Brescia or Bari, the other sides relegated from Serie A during the same season.
To make matters worse, Blucerchiat competed in the Champions League for the first time since 1990 in 2010-11 season, after coming fourth in the league during the 2009-2010 campaign.
The horrible decline in form and endless frustrations of Sampdoria fans can be partially attributed to January departure of Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini, and the fact that no one on the team managed to score more than six league goals during the season.
German giants Bayern Munich made it all the way to the 2010 Champions League final, took top honors in the 2009–10 Bundesliga campaign and won the 2010 DFB-Pokal and DFB-Supercup.
How quickly fates change. Fans of the club fell into a state of immeasurable frustration early in the 2010-11 campaign, as Bayern fell out of the Champions League in the first round compliments of Inter Milan.
Der FCB failed to win any trophies in the 2010-11 season and came in third place in the Bundesliga—a full 10 points behind league winners Borussia Dortmund.
The team suffered the prolonged loss of talisman Ajern Robben and saw a number of key players, including Franck Ribery and Miroslav Klose, drastically underperform.
In fact, were it not for the admiral efforts for Mario Gomez, who scored 28 goals in league competition, the team would have had nothing to cheer for at all amidst the intense frustrations of the 2010-11 season.
Nothing went right for West Ham United during the 2010-11 season.
Manager Avram Grant balls up the season from the get go with little communication between himself and the players and a glaring inability to inspire his men.
Despite boasting the likes of Scott Parker, Demba Ba, Robbie Keane, Robert Green, Carlton Cole, Wayne Bridge, Matthew Upson and Thomas Hitzlsperger, the Hammers finished in dead last with a mere 33 points and seven pathetic league wins.
Irons fans got a good deal of good news come the end of the season, when the team hired Sam Allardyce to replace Grant and brought in Newcastle’s Kevin Nolan as the new team captain.
But the hiring of Allardyce served to reiterate a source of great frustration for Hammers fans worldwide. Why didn’t the team sack Grant halfway through the season and bring in Roy Hodgson or Allardyce to save the team, rather than allowing the Hammers to slip from the top flight?
The Gunners frustrated their fans to no end in the 2010-11 season.
Arsenal's trophy drought persisted through a sixth season, and injuries to key players like Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott, coupled with Andrie Arshavin’s drastic dip in form, proved ruinous.
What’s more, when Arsenal played at its best, the team looked unbeatable. Van Persie scored 18 goals in 25 league appearances and Samir Nasri emerged as one of the standout talents of the season.
The team toppled Barcelona at Emirates and threatened United throughout much of the season, looking primed to finally win the league once more.
Yet for every fantastic feat there lurked an ignominious disaster. From blowing a first half 4-0 lead over Newcastle to essentially gifting United the title during its April 17th match against Liverpool, Arsenal torpedoed its own foundation with startling aplomb.
Gunners fans sat frustrated and helpless as its team toppled from second to fourth toward the end of the season. A stellar 2011-12 season may help rectify the smarting wounds inflicting the dismal campaign.
Spain’s Deportivo de La Coruña frustrated fans to no end as it faced relegation after 20 seasons in the top flight.
Since ascending to La Liga in 1991, Deportivo finished in the top 10 16 times, including a run of five consecutive top three finishes between 1999 and 2004. During this time the team made the Champions League quarterfinals twice.
While Deportivo’s fortunes fell since its heyday of half a decade ago, the side managed to finish ninth in 2008, seventh in 2009 and 10th in 2010, leaving fans completely unprepared for an 18th place finish that saw the squad win only 10 games, its fewest number of wins since 1991.
The side started the season with three consecutive draws followed by three consecutive losses, including a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Real Madrid.
Deportivo didn’t win its first game until October 31, by which time its aggregate score for the season stood at 14-3 in favor of the opposition.
It was a dispiriting and supremely frustrating season for faithful fans, who now face the shame of a season in the Segunda Division.
Real Madrid fans suffered even more than Arsenal fans in 2011 thanks to the pesky thorn in their side known as Barcelona.
Unlike Arsenal, Real had no calamitous collapse. The team has no real defects, other than what Jose Mourinho perceives as a deficiency up front.
But striker woes or no, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 40 league goals and 53 across all competitions last season.
In any other league, Real Madrid would claim top honors with little competition. The team boasts Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Gonzalo Higuaín, Kaka, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, among others, and arguably the best manager in the world in Jose Mourinho.
Yet the Bernabeu Boys can’t catch a break. Playing in the same league as Barcelona essentially extinguished the team’s hope of claiming a league title last year or in any season since 2008.
The dumb luck of the Champion’s League draw, meanwhile, pitted Madrid against Barcelona, preventing Los Blancos from reaching the tournament final, despite being superior to Manchester United.
Barcelona looks unlikely to falter. Only incredible mental fortitude, exemplary teamwork and an inextinguishable desire to win can end Madrid’s secondary stature in La Liga and the frustration of its fans.
Fans of French domestic football faced yet another endlessly frustrating season of crap teams and crap leagues.
Last season marked the 79th consecutive season of crap Ligue 1 play. The elderly suffer alongside the infants.
Long frustrated French football fans are often left to wonder how the home of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Just Fontaine produces such deplorable domestic leagues.