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The longest winless starts in Premier League history

Both Newcastle and Huddersfield endured miserable starts to the season, failing to win any of their first 10 matches each, but the tide has turned for both of them.

The eleventh round of fixtures provided both with their first league win of 18/19, each by a 1-0 score line at home. Newcastle followed up that victory with another this weekend against Bournemouth, while Huddersfield picked up another point against West Ham.

If the tide has turned for both of them, it happened in gameweek 11. But is that too late? You may be surprised to hear that their 10 game winless starts do not make the top five in the Premier League era.

In fact, including Newcastle and Huddersfield, 13 teams have failed to win any of their opening 10 games in the 26 years of the Premier league so far.

In this article, we’ll count down the five biggest winless starts in Premier League history. Surprisingly, not all were relegated…

5. Everton 1994/95: Winless start – 12 Games (4D, 8L)

Everton are one of just six teams to play in every season of the Premier League, but things could’ve been very different.

The Toffees scraped survival in 93/94, and despite higher hopes for the following campaign, they began in disastrous fashion.

They opened their campaign with an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Aston Villa, but lost their first four games to slide to the bottom of the then 22-team table.

Goals were scarce, with just seven from the first 11 games, but the Everton board stuck with manager Mike Walker at first.

A win eventually came at the thirteenth attempt against West Ham, but following a disappointing draw against Norwich the following week Walker was dismissed.



Incredibly, Joe Royle came in and immediately steadied the ship. He won his first three games (including a 2-0 triumph over Merseyside rivals Liverpool), to bring the Toffees out of the relegation zone for the first time in four months.

The worries continued however, and it would be many more games before Royle finally put distance between the blues and the relegation zone.

The season ended very positively, a midtable finish brought relief to fans who thought their side was doomed in November, and the Toffees also secured a memorable upset over Manchester United to lift the FA Cup in May.

Final Position: 15th (of 22) – SAFE

 

=3. Norwich City 2004/05: Winless start – 13 Games (8D, 5L)

Having come up as the Champions of the second tier the season before, hopes were high in Norfolk that the Canaries could re-establish themselves as a Premier League club.

Unfortunately for them, Norwich would have to wait until 20th November for their first victory, drawing or losing the opening 13 fixtures.

In many ways the run was harsh. Of the five losses suffered in that run, four were against Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton.

Where they suffered most was the inability to convert draws into wins. Though there were several 0-0s and many games in which they came from behind, they also squandered leads to Crystal Palace and Blackburn, with 10-man Rovers scoring a late equaliser to break Canaries hearts.

The Carrow Road side stuck with manager Nigel Worthington however, and it nearly paid off. Wins did begin to come –  the first of which a comeback against Southampton – and they were up to fifteenth just three games later.

Form slid once again though and despite going into the final day in seventeenth and in control of their fate, a disastrous 6-0 defeat away at Fulham opened the door for West Brom to complete their great escape.

Final Position: 19th – RELEGATED

=3. Derby County 2000/01: Winless start – 13 games (7D, 6L)

Though this Derby side had the same winless start as Norwich of 2004/05, they had less points by that stage, so we will consider them slightly worse.

The Rams had a whirlwind but ultimately disappointing start to the season, scoring at least twice in each of their first five games, but their leaky defence meant that they failed to take three points from any of them.

Fans hoped their attack would keep firing and their defence improve, but the opposite came to be. They did not score twice in a game for the next eight games, while their defence shipped 11 goals in a three-match spell between October and November.

Their win eventually came at the hands of Bradford City, who’d go on to finish bottom that season, but Derby would flirt with relegation until May.

Unlike Norwich of 04/05, Derby scraped survival. In the end an incredible 1-0 victory away at Manchester United in the penultimate game of the season preserved their top-flight status, the Rams finishing in 17th.



2. Swindon Town 1993/94: Winless start – 15 games (6D, 9L)

Swindon Town’s first and (spoiler alert) only season in the top-flight in their history was supposed to be a fairytale. Though fans look back with pride and fond memories, they endured a very difficult season.

Having won promotion to the First Division three years before, they were instead demoted to the Third Division because of financial irregularities, after it emerged as many as 35 illegal payments to players had occurred.

They bounced back however, and eventually secured their top-flight debut by winning the second-tier play-offs.

Player-Manager Glenn Hoddle left in the off-season, and the Robins never recovered. Their disastrous defence combined with a blunt attack meant that Swindon never looked like staying up.

After 15 games they were stuck at the foot of the table with just six points but managed to finally claim their first ever top-flight victory next time out against QPR.

What was hoped to be a springboard turned out to be a mirage, and the Robins finished bottom having collected only four more wins by the end of the season.

Final Position: 22nd (of 22) – RELEGATED

1. Queens Park Rangers 2012/13: Winless start – 16 games (7D, 9L)

The longest winless start to a Premier League season in history.

Having scraped Premier League survival following THAT game against Manchester City in May 2012, the mood was optimistic amongst fans that the Rs could push on and establish themselves as a Premier League club.

A 5-0 home loss to Swansea on the opening day of the season obliterated that optimism and set the tone for a miserable run and season.

Mark Hughes side were dire and picked up only seven points after 16 games. Only four sides in Premier League history have ever had a worse start to a Premier League season (not including Portsmouth in 09/10 as they had suffered a points deduction).

Hughes suffered the ignominy of being sacked without winning a single game by the end of November, and new boss Harry Redknapp was installed as manager a day later.

It took him four attempts, but on December 15th QPR finally won a game, beating Fulham 2-1 at home. The win was celebrated like a Cup final, and who can blame them?

They were of course relegated, finishing bottom of the table with just four wins and 25 points.

Final Position: 20th – RELEGATED

Sam Hanys

Ipswich Town fan and Loughborough University student.

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