Andy Dawson: Don’t call it a comeback – football’s worst ever chokes

The Profanity Swan is never one to spare anyone’s feelings and he’s back to examine some of the worst bottle jobs in the game’s history…


Some are saying that Spurs were unlucky last night against Juventus, while others point out that they were merely outsmarted tactically by their more experienced Italian counterparts.

Then there’s those who are saying that they choked. Shirked it. Screwed it up. Chucked in the towel.

Maybe we’ll never know the real truth, but it’s a great opportunity to look back at some of the greatest ever bottle jobs in footballing history…

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Barcelona 6 PSG 1 (2017)

Historically, the French have been regarded as a nation of cowards, something which is probably untrue and almost certainly racist.

But as recently as last year, Laurent Blanc’s PSG lads folded like a house of cards in the Nou Camp after marching in all proud with a 4-0 first leg lead in the Champions League semi-final.

After wilting under the force of a Barca battering, they even managed to get what you’d think would be a precious, tie-winning away goal but no – they then carried on caving in, with the final nail in their Gallic coffin rammed home in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Liverpool 3 AC Milan 3 (2005)

No one will ever know what went on in the Milan dressing room at half time in that legendary Champions League final in Istanbul.

Maybe the players indulged indulged in a conga or similar traditional Turkish dance or perhaps they passed around a hookah, huffing away in celebration at what they thought was an unassailable lead.

Whatever went on behind closed doors, it drastically affected them, and their arses dropped massively in the second half, allowing Liverpool to draw level and eventually win on penalties. Pathetic.

Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4 (2011)

If there’s one thing that Geordies are brimming with it’s pride, and the Toon Army had their pride thoroughly walloped in the first half of this scintillating Premier League match, as Arsenal strolled to a 4-0 lead by the break.

But of course, we all now know that the Gunners are as spineless as they come, and perhaps this was the first indication of their eventual descent into the godawful team of lily-livered no-hopers that so many of us enjoy laughing at today.

Yes, somehow Newcastle pulled back four goals in the space of 19 minutes in the second half, a stat that is even more incredible when you consider that their manager was the woeful Alan Pardew.

Reading 5 Arsenal 7 (2012)

Yes, it’s the Gunners again, but this time they weren’t the ones responsible for the hideous collapse. It was plucky Reading, whose 4-0 lead was pulled back slightly by a Theo Walcott goal in first half stoppage time.

The rest of the match was a goal-filled farce, with a horrific capitulation from the home side seeing them crash out of the League Cup after extra time. Hang on – League Cup?

Oh, so it doesn’t really count as a proper match, so we can laugh at Arsenal as well for such a dramatic victory in what is a meaningless competition.

Tranmere 4 Southampton 3 (2001)

Leading 3-0 at the break, Southampton’s heroes turned to villains in the second half as lowly Tranmere, led by John Aldridge, flipped this FA Cup replay right on its head and dumped the useless, useless Saints right on their fat arses.

Best of all were the post match comments of Southampton boss Glenn Hoddle, who went from resigning himself to the cup upset to actual personal upset and then rage in the space of a few seconds.

“If there are any lessons to be learned from that we’ll make sure we never do it again. But it’s too late – the horse has bolted and we’re out of the Cup … this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with … the players are a disgrace to the club.”

Too f***ing right, Glenn!

Bayern Munich 1 Manchester United 2 (1999)

The Germans are renowned for their efficiency and ability to succeed, but their premium Bundesliga team fell to bits like a hotel made out of crisps in the Nou Camp in May 1999, just when the ultimate prize was in sight.

Perhaps they thought that with minutes to go, the goal they had scored in the sixth minute was the footballing equivalent of the early morning towel on the sun lounger of this Champions League final.

But, they got a massive shock when they returned to said lounger at 11am, only to find that the English lads had taken their towels and set fire to them, and were parading around the perimeter of the pool, necking lager and waving the trophy in the air. Or something.

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