From the archives, here’s a story we originally published in December 2010…but thought we’d share it one more time.
Think you’re having a bad season? Think again. The goalkeeper for Madron FC of Britian’s Cornwall Mining League, on average, picks the ball out of his own net once every 4.36 minutes. After losing its opening matches by the relatively modest margins of 11-0, 4-1 and 16-0, the team slumped to 27-0 and 27-1 defeats before succumbing, two sorry Saturdays ago, to a monumental 55-0 thrashing.
The squad did rebound last Saturday, as it were, losing just 22-0.
In 11 matches this season, says stand-in team manager Alan Davenport, Madron have scored two goals and conceded 227. It’s a degree of sporting incompetence that has won the team admiring mentions not just in the national press, but in sporting newspapers as far afield as France, Italy and even Brazil. Madron plays in the U.K.’s 13th-level league. (Think Premier League, then go down 12 notches.)
Davenport, who’s also the club’s secretary, treasurer and chairman, is not letting it get him down. “Morale’s high,” he says. “Heads are up. We’re getting better.”
A dispute over money lies at the root of the club’s troubles. At the start of this season, its newly promoted first team walked out en masse when Davenport informed them they had to pay their subs. “Fourteen players – guys who hadn’t lost a single match the whole of last season – just upped and left,” he says. “Their manager had told them that they needn’t pay, but we’re a very small club . . . So I then had to put a scratch team together. For the first division.”
The coach decided it would not be fair to plunder the club’s second team, which could win its division this season. “So we played with who we could get,” he says. “Unfortunately, that mostly means lads of 16 or 17 who haven’t really played football before and can’t get a game anywhere else. Often there aren’t enough of them, either. In 11 games, we’ve fielded three full teams.”