The 8 most frustrating teams to support in Britain right now
For all of Harry Kane’s goalscoring feats, Dele Alli’s creativity and Christian Eriksen’s midfield majesty, Tottenham's fan base is frustrated. The Lilywhites’ summer transfer business (or lack of it), coupled with their delayed move to a new 62,000-capacity home, has led to increased disgruntlement on the Wembley terraces.
In Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham have an ambitious manager who has elevated the club to the status of Champions League regulars within four years. The Argentine has assembled one of the most talented squads in the English game, and most of the club's stars are tied down to long-term deals.
Yet annoyance prevails. Tottenham are as good as anyone in the country on their day, but they've repeatedly fallen short in their bid for silverware. Fans of the north Londoners are troubled by the realisation that their side is more than capable of ending a decade-long trophy drought, but that their best chances to do so may have already passed. And when will it change?
Newcastle were everyone’s second team (unless you happened to be a Sunderland fan) during the swashbuckling days of Kevin Keegan in the 1990s. Not only were the Magpies great entertainers, they were underdogs with enough bite to challenge Manchester United’s domestic domination. For Magpies, that period was a rollercoaster ride of thrilling football and heartbreaking collapses.
The St James' Park faithful were no doubt dejected when their team failed to win the title in 1995/96, but that was nothing compared to their frustration today. Toon followers certainly don't expect Rafa Benitez’s modest crop of players to emulate the feats of the Keegan generation, but they do crave progress and have been left exasperated by a distinct lack of it under current owner Mike Ashley.
The last decade has been a mire of underinvestment, controversial managerial sackings, relegations and protests. Most supporters are united in the belief that the blame lies at Ashley’s door, and the many failed takeover bids in recent years have only furthered their misery.
6. Dundee United
REMEMBERED... When Dundee United beat Barça in 1987… twice
Only one British team have a 100% record against Barcelona in competitive fixtures, and it’s not Manchester United, Liverpool, Celtic or Rangers. That honour goes to Dundee United, who cemented their place in Scottish football folklore by defeating the Catalan behemoths home and away en route to the final of the UEFA Cup just over 30 years ago.
The mid-1980s were heady times for the tangerine army, who - along with Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen - posed a major threat to the Old Firm duopoly. But fast-forward to 2018 and the mood at Tannadice is a far cry from that of the Barça-busting era.
Since dropping out of the Scottish Premiership in 2016, United have found life in the second tier tougher than anticipated. The expectation for the last two seasons has been to challenge for the title, or at least achieve promotion via the play-offs, but both objectives have gone unfulfilled. The Tangerines are now on their fifth manager since relegation, and currently find themselves six points adrift of top spot in the second flight (albeit with a game in hand).
5. Aston Villa
If there’s one game that epitomises Aston Villa’s time in the Championship, it’s the 3-3 home draw with Preston earlier this season. It played out like this: the Villans were 2-0 up at half-time, down to 10 men by the 54th minute, and pegged back to 2-2 by the 79th. Soon after that, Preston were 3-2 ahead. If that wasn't dramatic enough, the hosts then went on to equalise and win a penalty in stoppage time, only for Glenn Whelan to fluff his lines from 12 yards. Oh, and manager Steve Bruce had a cabbage thrown at him pre-match. Yeah, that.
At times during their Championship life, Villa have been their own worst enemy. Despite having one of the most talented squads in the division, the West Midlanders' stay in the second tier has so far been a tale of underachievement and heartache, as exemplified by a gut-wrenching play-off defeat by Fulham last term. Throw some financial turmoil and a change of ownership into the mix, and Villa fans have really been put through the meat grinder since their team bowed out of the top flight in April 2016.
Bruce was relieved of his duties a day after that cabbage pelting, and former Brentford boss Dean Smith is now the man charged with steering the claret and blue ship back to Premier League waters. A club of Villa’s stature belongs in the top flight, but their journey since exiting the division has been far bumpier than the club's fans were anticipating. At least things look to be getting better.