By Chris Wright
With Gareth Bale griping that Andorra’s dodgy rubber crumb was “by far the worst pitch” he’s ever played on after Wales 1-2 Euro 2016 qualifying victory, we thought we’d one-up the mollycoddled Welsh whinger and bring you a clutch of photos of some truly appalling pitches from down through the years.
As anyone who’s spent any amount of time playing Sunday League football will be able to tell you, you can do an awful lot worse than Andorra’s plastic paradise…
James Lewis of Walthamstow Avenue FC surveys the pitch, or lack thereof, ahead of kick-off, 1937
Huddersfield Town’s Alf Whittingham (left) cuts past Jock Campbell on Charlton Athletic’s infamously turf-less mudbath at The Valley, 1947
QPR’s Arthur Longbottom (No.8) goes sprawling headlong into the mud at Loftus Road after being stopped in his tracks by Exeter City ‘keeper George Hunter, 1957
What a day to wear white: The Stamford Bridge pitch churns up a treat as Chelsea’s Peter Brabrook swipes mud at Bolton Wanderers’ Ralph Gubbins, 1957
Gillingham officials give the “pitch” at Priestfield the once-over before deciding to call off their FA Cup third-round tie against Port Vale for the tenth consecutive time, 1963
The sodden pitch at Arsenal’s Highbury stadium, circa 1966
Derby County’s Baseball Ground boasted was one of the worst pitches in the history of football
Sadly, this 1975 photo of Archie Gemmill doing his best to dribble on it doesn’t really do justice the full horror
The aptly-named Plough Lane, former home of Wimbledon, seen here in all it’s glory circa 1975
Despite the abysmal state of the pitch, the 1987 Intercontinental Cup Final between Porto and Penarol at Tokyo’s sleet-filled National Stadium went ahead
Tromso fans do their best to clear snow off the pitch ahead of Chelsea’s visit to the Alfheim Stadium, 1997
Never fear, the game went ahead with Tromso winning 3-2 in Norway only to get spanked 7-1 at Stamford Bridge in the return leg
Safe to say your pitch is probably a bit on the damp side if your club mascot (Shrewsbury Town’s Lenny the Lion, in this case) can paddle across it, 2000
Played on worse: Birds perch along the crossbar of a flooded football pitch in Cairo, Egypt, 2006
Again, played on worse: A suitably filthy player emerges from the depths during a “Swamp Soccer” game on marshland in Dunoon, near Glasgow, 2007
An incredibly dirty tackle (in the literal sense) flies in during the final of the Mud Soccer World Cup played on the mud flats of the Elbe River at Brunsbuettel, northern Germany, 2010
Indian boys play football in the water-logged mud in Calcutta, 2010
How about this little beauty, as spotted by the folks over at Nonleague.co.uk?
Seriously Gareth, get a grip mate.