Arsenal and the 17 Lengthy Waits for Silverware in European Football

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

Arsenal and the 17 Lengthy Waits for Silverware in European Football

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Arsenal's long trophyless run has been well documented, as has the fact that they have a chance to end that barren spell with an FA Cup final against Hull City later this month.

    It's been nine long years since the Gunners last picked up silverware, during which time their rivals have gone on to win league championships, domestic cups and European trophies. Contrary to Arsene Wenger's protestations, fourth place is not a trophy.

    However, Gunners fans can at least rest a little easier knowing that they do not have the longest streak without winning silverware among Europe's bigger sides. In fact, they're not even in the top five.

    Here are 17 of the longest current waits for clubs seeking to recapture that trophy-winning feeling.


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    Marc Mueller/Associated Press

    We're looking here at current big sides, not the fallen greats or perpetually pretending.

    Everybody knows that Newcastle United's last trophy was presented to them by a Tyrannosaurus Rex and that more than an entire generation of Chelsea fans never saw their team win a trophy, but this is about the top teams around in the here and now.

    To adjudged to have been "big" enough for consideration, a team must be challenging to finish in the top quarter of their domestic league—top five in English Premier League, top four in Germany, etc—this season or at least managed the feat recently.

    The major European leagues were considered, including the likes of Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey and France.

    Big clubs who have won a trophy since the start of this decade—so all the Bayern Munichs, Real Madrids and Manchester Citys of the world—are not adjudged to have been on a drought at all, as that would only imply a maximum of three seasons without silverware.

    Hardly a drought for most clubs.

    Finally, silverware refers to major trophies: domestic leagues, cups and established European competitions. The Intertoto Cup is not classed as silverware, nor the European Railways Cup or the Zenith Data Systems Cup, and other such almost-forgotten, largely insignificant competitions. Lower-league titles for clubs who suffered relegation are also not counted as major titles.

=16. Sevilla, 2010

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    MANU FERNANDEZ/Associated Press

    Disounting a second division title in the late '60s, Sevilla hadn't won a single title since the 1940s before a period of success in the mid-to-late 2000s.

    Two UEFA Cups, two Copa del Rey titles and a couple of Super Cups arrived at the end of the last decade, with the most recent success being the Copa del Rey win of 2010.

    They beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 on that occasion, meaning they are now four years without a trophy following that glorious half-dozen years of repeated success.

=16. Trabzonspor, 2010

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Turkish club Trabzonspor haven't won the league title in 30 years, but they have been fairly regular winners of the Turkish Cup along the way, with eight successes in that competition in total.

    In 2010 they won both the Turkish Cup and the resulting Super Cup, beating Fenerbahce 3-1 in the final of the former.

    They were runners up last year, missing out on a chance to break what is now a four-year run without a trophy.

15. Wolfsburg, 2009

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    Frank Augstein/Associated Press

    Bundesliga club Wolfsburg have won just one single major title in their entire history.

    Having never even won a German Cup final before, Wolfsburg finished two points ahead of Bayern Munich to claim the 2008-09 Bundesliga title, having finished fifth the season before and eighth the season after.

    No team has won the German league title with a points tally as low as Wolfsburg's 69 since that astounding season. They have since reverted to type and are without a trophy in five years.

=10. Roma, 2008

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    GREGORIO BORGIA/Associated Press

    You'll notice a bit of a jump from 15th to joint 10th now, with no less than five of our featured teams having not picked up a trophy since 2008.

    First up is AS Roma, the Italian Serie A club who won the Coppa Italia in 2008.

    That's another theme: several of these sides' trophies were the domestic cups in their respective nations.

    Roma beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the fourth consecutive Coppa Italia final between the sides. Inter won in '05 and '06, with Roma winning '07 and, of course, '08.

=10. Sporting Lisbon, 2008

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    Armando Franca/Associated Press

    Sporting Lisbon of Portugal have won 18 league titles, but they have been waiting more than a decade since their last one.

    Just as well, then, that they have won a couple of Portuguese Cups in the meantime, with their most recent coming in 2008.

    They won the Taca de Portugal in extra time, defeating Porto 2-0, to lift their 15th such title overall. They also won the Portuguese Super Cup that same year.

=10. Valencia, 2008

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    Fernando Bustamante/Associated Press

    Staying on the Iberian Peninsula, Spanish side Valencia have traditionally been seen as one of the top teams in the country, though they have struggled for success of late amid financial difficulties.

    Having won two league titles and a UEFA Cup in three seasons at the beginning of the century, they've won just one trophy since then: the Copa del Rey in 2008.

    They defeated Getafe 3-1 in the final.

=10. Feyenoord, 2008

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    ED OUDENAARDEN/Associated Press

    Dutch club Feyenoord haven't won a league title since before the turn of the century, having spent a long time in the shadow of PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.

    That barren spell has been broken just twice since 1999: a 2002 UEFA Cup win and, most recently, a 2008 Dutch Cup victory.

    Feyenoord won the KNVB Cup by beating Roda JC 2-0 in the final.

=10. Tottenham Hotspur, 2008

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Our final class of 2008 member comes from England.

    Tottenham Hotspur picked up their only trophy since the turn of the Millennium by beating Chelsea 2-1 in the first League Cup final to be played at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium.

    Chelsea actually finished as runners up in four competitions that season—Premier League, Community Shield, League Cup and Champions League—but have gone on to have considerably more success than Spurs since then.

9. Lokomotiv Moscow, 2007

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    Dima Korotayev/Getty Images

    To 2007 now, and into the top 10 longest trophyless streaks.

    Lokomotiv Moscow are perhaps only the fourth most-renowned side in the Russian city, but they can at least take solace in the fact that two other sides from the city feature later on in this list.

    They won the Russian Cup in 2007 thanks to a 1-0 extra-time win over FC Moscow, a club which only existed for around a dozen years.

8. Arsenal, 2005

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    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

    And so we arrive at Arsenal.

    The Gunners are closing in on a full decade without a trophy, with their last success coming in the 5-4 penalty shootout success over Manchester United in the FA Cup final of 2005.

    Wenger will be mindful of the criticism that will head his way if he fails to end that nine-year run against Hull City in the FA Cup final later this month.

7. Spartak Moscow, 2003

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    MISHA JAPARIDZE/Associated Press

    Our second Russian side, Spartak Moscow have gone a full 11 years without a trophy, and they are the first of our sides to be the wrong side of a decade without lifting silverware.

    A Russian Cup win in 2003 was their last taste of success, when they beat FC Rostov 1-0 in the final.

    They did make the final again in 2006, but were beaten by city rivals CSKA. Spartak have finished as runners-up in the Russian Premier League five times since their last trophy win.

6. Fiorentina, 2001

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    Grazia Neri/Getty Images

    Italian side Fiorentina are somewhat romantically seen as a big club, perhaps on account of the great players to have represented the side down the years, but actually have a very short list of trophy wins.

    They've won just one trophy since the turn of the century, the Coppa Italia in 2001, as they defeated Parma 2-1 on aggregate in the two-legged final.

    "Fiorentina" won the Serie C2 league title in 2003, which came after their demotion to the fourth tier of Italian football, but the side was essentially dissolved and reformed in 2002, playing as ACF Florentina Viola when they won that title, before reclaiming the ACF Fiorentina name ahead of the 2003-04 campaign. 

=3. Dynamo Moscow, 1995

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    Dima Korotayev/Getty Images

    Our top five now for the longest runs without a trophy, and we have three clubs all without a single success since the turn of the century. The end of this current season will mark 19 full years without silverware for these three teams.

    First up is our third and final Russian side, Dynamo Moscow.

    Once one of the biggest challengers in the old Soviet league, Dynamo have won just a solitary trophy since the 1980s, a Russian Cup victory in 1995, when they beat Rotor Volgograd 8-7 on penalties after a 0-0 draw. Their best league finish in recent seasons was third place in 2008.

=3. Everton, 1995

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    MAX NASH/Associated Press

    Arsenal may well be almost a decade without a trophy, but Everton's last win came in the same competition as the Gunners—10 years beforehand.

    In 1995, they won the FA Cup courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Manchester United, before winning the Charity Shield against champions Blackburn later in the year.

    They reached the FA Cup final in 2009, but were unable to break their streak, making it 19 seasons without silverware for the blue half of Merseyside.

=3. Borussia Monchengladbach, 1995

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    PAULUS PONIZAK/Associated Press

    Borussia Monchengladbach had a big spell of success in the 1970s, but little either side of that.

    Their one domestic success outside of that decade came in 1995, when they won the DFB-Pokal, the German Cup, by beating Wolfsburg 3-0 in the final with such stars as Martin Dahlin and Stefan Effenberg in their ranks.

    'Gladbach actually won the 2. Bundesliga in 2008 following relegation the previous season, but lower league titles do not count toward our ranking.

2. Bayer Leverkusen, 1993

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    Harald Tittel/Associated Press

    Number two on our list now and our final German club, with Bayer Leverkusen's recent challenging for major trophies not managing to mask an almost complete dearth of trophy success during their history.

    They've never won the Champions League, they've never won the Bundesliga—but have been runners up in both an accumulated six times.

    Just a single UEFA Cup win and another in the DFB-Pokal is their haul of silverware, with the latter, the most recent, coming after a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin's reserve team in 1993.

    That's 21 years and counting without a trophy.

1. Athletic Bilbao, 1984

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    Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

    As a club that continues to field only Basque players in an increasingly cosmopolitan football world, it's perhaps not surprising that Athletic Bilbao do not rack up the honours, given their relatively small pool of talent they have to choose from.

    However, Athletic can still boast more trophy wins than most in Spain, with eight La Liga titles and 23 Copa del Rey successes.

    Their last, however, came way back in 1984, when they clinched a league and cup double, with the latter being as memorable for the end-of-game fight started by Diego Maradona as for Bilbao's actual victory.

    They reached the final of both the Copa del Rey and Europa League in 2012—but were unable to end their barren run in either competition, and their trophyless run now stands at a rather dismal 30 years.

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