Goals, Goals, Goals: Football’s Biggest Winning Margins

Martin Cloake

4th, March 2016

6 Comments

andy-cole-united-ipswich

Ipswich Town fans, look away now. Exactly 21 years ago today, the Tractor Boys were thrashed 9-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford in what is still the biggest winning margin in Premier League history.

Scorers for United on the day were Andrew (née Andy) Cole with five, Mark Hughes with a couple and Roy Keane and Paul Ince with one each.

All of which prompted us to revisit some other monster scores in world football.

The record for the biggest margin of victory in professional football has stood since 1885, when Arbroath played Bon Accord in the Scottish Cup and ran out winners by the not insignificant scoreline of 36-0. Arbroath were 15-0 up at half-time, and had seven goals disallowed for offside.

The record was surpassed by the astonishing 149-0 defeat suffered by SO L’Emyrne against AD Adema in the Madagascan national championship play-off in 2002. However, SOE threw that game in protest at a refereeing decision in an earlier game that had handed Adema the title. Every single one of the 149 goals was an own-goal.

Similarly dubious goings on led to the scoreline in the match between Plateau United Feeders and Akurba FC in the Nigerian league in 2013 when, with Plateau needing to boost their goal difference to win promotion, they managed to knock in 72 second half goals to win 79-0. Both sides were duly suspended by the Nigerian FA.

The record for largest victory in an international game is Australia’s 31-0 thrashing of American Samoa, the background to which is laid out in the superb film Next Goal Wins.

We thoroughly suggest you give it a watch.

You can follow Martin Cloake on Twitter at @MartinCloake and find more about his books and writing at www.martincloake.com

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6 Comments

  1. rob says:

    I’m trying not to get all “football didn’t start in 1992” but Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 9-0 in the old first division, in 89.

    Also check out the Paul Ince “quick” free kick that he takes while the keeper is getting booked for handling the ball outside his area, the ref allows the goal. I think Ipswich could have come back if not for that goal ;)

    • Geraldo says:

      @rob – I remember both those occasions. I think Liverpool’s 9-0 victory over Palace was their first home game of the 1989/90 season and the Ince free kick resulted in, as I recall, the 8th of the 9 United goals and one of the Ipswich players actually made a tongue-in-cheek comment similar to your own that day – “it’s a shame that goal stood, I got the feeling we were starting to get back into the game at that stage”, i.e. 0-7 down away from home with about 10 minutes remaining…

  2. Jarren says:

    There was the more recent (2013 to be precise) 11-0 thrashing of Ballinamallard by Portadown in the Northern Irish league as well.

    Once you get past 15 goals, the reek of fishiness gets too strong.

  3. Geraldo says:

    I recall Spain needing to beat Malta by 11 clear goals to qualify for the Euros in 1984 on goal difference (from Holland I think). They were only 3-1 up at half time but duly dispatched 9 goals into the Maltese net in the second half to go through (where they lost 2-0 in the final to a Platini-inspired French side).

  4. Anonymous says:

    I recall Spain needing to beat Malta by 11 clear goals to qualify for the Euros in 1984 on goal difference (from Holland I think). They were only 3-1 up at half time but duly dispatched 9 goals into the Maltese net in the second half to go through (where they lost 2-0 in the final to a Platini-inspired French side).

  5. P says:

    I remember Germany sticking 13 past San Marino in a UEFA qualifier a few years back…

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