IT’S THAT time of the year when football fans across the country are booking their holidays with one eye on the World Cup fixture list.
Thousands of wives and girlfriends across England can be heard asking their partners: “why do we have to go to Majorcca in October?”.
Of course everyone knows that diary re-jigging is a completely thankless task as Brazil 2014 will end in abject disappointment and misery for England’s footy following.
Who will miss that vital penalty? Who will see red for violent conduct? And which star player will break a metatarsal bone three weeks before the tournament kicks off? All key questions to be answered in a matter of months.
But in the meantime why don’t we remind ourselves of failures gone-by with News Shopper’s take on England’s Biggest Sporting Losers.
5 – Stirling Moss
Possibly the greatest ever driver never to win a Formula One world title, Moss’ career stretched 10 years from 1951 to 1961 featuring 67 races.
Despite 24 podium finishes for five different teams, Moss could never quite muster enough race points to be crowned champion. In fact he finished runner-up four years in a row with the most heart-breaking season coming in 1958.
Despite four race wins compared to Mike Hawthorn’s one, Hawthorn came out on top, clinching the title by a single point. Cheer up Stirling, there’s worse below.
Photo: Lothar Spurzem
4 – Tim Henman
Not only did Tiger Tim fail to win a single Grand Slam but the poor little fella never even made it to a final. And why should he? Born into a country which treats its tennis facilities like a rabid dog he was always up against it.
But unfortunately for Tim, the rest of the country felt he was destined to win Wimbledon despite competing in an era which featured the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
Year after a year after year we cheered on as Henman whipped the crowds into a frenzy with his limp-wristed fist pumps, but it was never to be.
Despite an impressive six grand slam semi-finals he finally put us out of our misery in 2007. His retirement meant our ear-drums were no longer punished by the futile calls of “Come on Tim”.
Photo: Casio QV-R41
3 – Colin Montgomerie
Loved in Europe and loathed in the US, Colin ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ Montgomerie is one of the best golfers never to win one of Golf’s four grand prizes.
With five runner-up finishes stretching from 1994 to 2005 even the most ardent Monty-sceptic must have been rooting for him on the final day of the 2006 US Open.
But, alas, the Englishman hit a 7-iron for his second shot on the 18th hole and came up short in deep rough. He chipped onto the green and three-putted to miss the play-off by one.
Photo: James Phelps
2 – Jimmy White
Many people would rather watch paint dry than a snooker match but even the biggest of big-break haters would have been close to tears watching Jimmy ’The Whirlwind’ White throw away his sixth and best chance of winning a World Championship Final in 1994.
After world final defeats to John Parrot, Steve Davis and three to Stephen Hendry, the Whirlwind was on course to finally clinch that elusive victory.
However he choked in the deciding frame, missing an easy black and was forced to watch on yet again as his Scottish nemesis polished off the final balls to lift the coveted trophy.
Jimmy, gracious in defeat as always, joked in the post-match press conference that Hendry was “beginning to annoy” him.
Photo: Eigene Aufnahme
1 – Newcastle United FC
A string of ridiculous signings on the pitch and in the dug-out have seen The Magpies flounder in a constant state of mediocrity despite spending hundreds of millions of pounds for two decades.
With a comical owner and a badly behaved manager, Newcastle are showing no sign of halting the trend of total under-achievement or winning their first major domestic trophy since 1955. An easy choice for top spot.