Crio’s Question: Who are the perennial losers?

St Kilda has lost another AFL Grand Final. Glenelg has again bowed out early in the SANFL finals. South Africa is out of the Champion’s Trophy.

Who are the other perennial losers?


  1. Used to be England cricket team.
    All Blacks at the World Cup
    Greg Norman
    and Collingwood of course…none have lost more GFs than they have(25?)

  2. I barrack for the Doggies so have confronted this dilemma “full-screen”.
    Nevertheless, there are indications that cultures can change.
    Centrals in the SANFL were basket-cases, but are now invincible, whilst South remain anchored by lack of any success.
    Queensland were jinxed in the Sheffield Shield but, once the habit was broken, have become a “powerhouse”.

  3. Dont know if it counts as a sport, but Mark Webber?
    And Port Power seem to be on the brink of starting a dynasty to rival that of Freo [but that could be classed as self imploding not perennial losing]. Cheers

  4. Carringbush, Footerscray and the environment.

  5. Collingwood have to play Bullies or the Saints in the play-off for the perennial loser. There are different types of “losers”. Collingwood represent those who put themselves in a position to win but snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (G. Norman a classic example of the genre as are South Africa cricket team). Then there are those who don’t often get the opportunity but manage to butcher it when they do (refer last week’s GF and Bulldogs form in Prelims).

    In racing, the nominees are the Sydney boom horses that come down year after year and go back with their tails between their legs. I’m thinking TIE THE KNOT and FILANTE for a start. Both excellent horses but when they stepped up to the big league were found wanting. Having said that, would love to own a horse half as good!

  6. Filante lost two Cox Plates by a collective margin of your dick…I backed it both times. Ouch! That probably qualifies me to this category (Bulldogs, Glenelg, Cronulla…).
    Surprised no spiteful correspondent has mentioned Buckley, who took his curse from Brissie to Wobbleland.

  7. Boston Red Sox would be the most famous.

    Won several World Series before selling Babe Ruth to the NY Yankees in 1920. Habitually lost World Series thereafter because of what was called the Curse of the Bambino.

    The Sox only broke the curse in 2004 when they defeated the Yankees to win the American League title (having come back from 0-3 down) and then beat St Louis Cards in the World Series.

    This from Wikipedia:

    The curse had been such a part of Boston culture that when a road sign on the city’s much-used Storrow Drive was vandalised from “Reverse Curve” to “Reverse The Curse”, officials left it in place until after the Red Sox won the 2004 Series.

  8. Rocket Rod Gillett says


    I think the Red Sox losing run is well and truly superseded by the Chicago Cubs.
    The Cubs have not won a World Series since they went back-to-back in 1907-08.
    That’s more than 100 years ago!

    The Cubbies won the National League Central series in 2007 & 2008, but lost in the NL play-offs to Arizona and the Dodgers respectively.

    They last won a NL East title in 1989 but lost the NL title to the Giants, who lost to the Oakland A’s in the World Series. I had the great pleasure to see the Cubs sweep the NY Mets 3-0 in a regular season series at Wrigly Field that year. Got to see the famous radio commentator Harry Carey sing Take Me Out to The Ball Game during the 7th innings stretch.

    The Cubs are still getting over the Miracle Mets miraculous come from behind winning sequence that denied them the 1969 NL title after the Cubbies had led by 8 1/2 games in mid-August.

    They are perennial losers.

  9. Rocket,

    You’ve certainly trumped me there!

    The Mets were only dreamed into existence in 1962. To win a World Series seven years later must have been a big deal.

    I think the Florida Marlins did a similar thing a few years ago.

    I saw the Chicago White Sox play the Detroit Tigers at Comiskey Park in 1993. Very unmemorable.

    Wish I went to the Cubs’ home, Wrigley Field, which sounds like a national treasure.

  10. Wrigley Field is considered to be one of the most attractive sports grounds in the world. Radio announcers at the ground refer to it as “beautiful Wrigley Field.” The Cubs have been there since 1926 (or thereabouts). Which means that in over eighty years Wrigley Field has never hosted a successful World Series bid. Wrigley Field is possibly the second oldest baseball ground in the MLB (the Red Sox’ Fenway Park would be older but I think with the Yankees recent move Wrigley Field would now be the second oldest).

    You can’t quite compare the situation to the VFL/AFL because most Grand Finals have been held at the MCG, but I would guess that the Junction Oval would hold the record for the least successful homeground in terms of Premierships. St Kilda won its only flag in 1966, two years after it left the Junction Oval. Fitzroy spent nearly twenty years there, but it arrived in 1970 (?) over thiry-five years after its final Premiership. Can anyone name other Football grounds that have hosted comparable losing streaks?

  11. Jimmy White aka “the people’s champion” was 6 times runner-up in the World Snooker Championships.
    He led at various stages in nearly all of these finals from memory and I reckon Stephen Hendry beat him in 3-4 of those finals.
    Much loved in the UK.

  12. The Chicago Cubs have a weekly haiku column as well….haiku must be the refuge for the perennial loser…

    Jimmy White. My favourite player (me being a lefty and all) Masterful at times, but you just knew it was going to go pear-shaped at some stage.

    A lot like Collingwood.

  13. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    Wrigley Field and the Red Sox’s ball-park, Fenway, were the only two baseball grounds with real grass, which are the only two I’ve been to. I think the Baltimore Orioles new stadium, Camden Yard, might be turf – Dave Warner can confirm.

    When I went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field I stayed with my American mate on the corner of Waveland and Sheffield – that’s the address given by Jake to the police in the Blues Brothers movie – we watched the first two games from the bleachers but for game 3 we watched from the roof of his apartment – a total hoot!

    Wrigley Field is fully embedded in the neighbourhood on the north-side and is serviced by the “el” (elevated rail) – bars and restuarants surround the ball-park – fantastic atmosphere!

  14. I’ve got a book, Sightlines by Simon Inglis, in which the writer goes to sports stadiums around the world.

    He loves Wrigley Field more than any other.

  15. Jimmy “The Whirlwind” White – now he could lose in style!

    Nathan Buckley – forgot about him. Left Brisbane cos he wanted to play in finals! He finally got his Brownlow though.

  16. Damian Watson says

    St George Dragons in the NRL, finished this season as minor premiers and were widely tipped to win the flag but were bundled out of the finals in straight sets.

  17. Damian,

    St George won 11 premierships in a row, from the mid’50s to the mid-’60s.

    I reckon they’ll have a reputation for a winning culture as long as they exist.

    This is not the right thread (I should ask it on the BF thread), what did you think of the Carlton BF votes?

    Jordan Russell finishing sixth is interesting. The coaches seem to like him more than the fans.

  18. Damian Watson says


    Yeah I agree that St George side would be one f the greatest of all time although the club have not won a flag for about 30 years and they have failed to deliver in recent times, they have lost a fair few Grand Finals since.

    Juddy was a deserved winner again in the count. Yeah I never expected Jordan Russell to finish in the Top Ten let alone sixth. Having said that he did show some good signs in the latter part of the season running across half back. Over the past few years we have tried to turn him into a key forward but that plan didn’t come to fruition.

  19. Tony Roberts says

    Largely because of their looser salary and trading arrangements, European soccer and US baseball (probably most American pro sports) are littered with lovable losers. Just about about every Scottish soccer team outside of the Glasgow Old Firm qualifies, and I’d guess that most other European leagues are similar, with the situation worsening each year under the malign influence of the Gang of Fourteen (or whatever they’re called now).

    Boston was not the only American League baseball team to wilt before the Yankees. The Chicago White Sox had to wait even longer than the Red Sox to redeem their own mistakes (crimes, actually) of 1919, and the Cleveland Indians can match it with the Saints and Dogs. Among newer clubs, both Texas teams have been title virgins (all to the good) over 30 years or more, as is Seattle (sad). In the National League, the Dodgers had much of the Colliwobbles about them before they moved from Brooklyn to LA, and all teams representing Washington, in both leagues and in any era, have been more or less useless.

  20. Peter Flynn says

    Shadow King ran in six Melbourne Cups.
    2nd in 1931 and 1933.
    3rd in 1930 and 1932.
    He also finished 4th and 6th in 2 other Cups.

  21. Good one, Peter.

  22. Was Shadow King the people’s favourite?

  23. Peter Flynn says

    In the ’35 Cup, the VRC allowed Shadow King (saddlecloth number 7) to lead the field out on the track, ahead of the 2 previous winners, Peter Pan and Hall Mark.

    He seemed to always run into a better one(s) and was a fast-finisher.

    Shadow King’s starting prices make for very interesting reading.

    1929 6th at 10/1
    1930 3rd at 50/1
    1931 2nd at 25/1
    1932 3rd at 25/1
    1933 2nd at 33/1
    1935 4th at 100/1

    Seems as though it was ‘one for the ladies’.

  24. Peter Flynn says

    Jack Nicklaus finished 2nd in 19 majors.
    He will point to the fact that he also won a few.

  25. pauldaffey says


    Amazing odds on Shadow King. You’d be on him each-way, wouldn’t you?

    Just come across an Economist article showing us that Chicago is a frequent loser when it comes to bidding for Olympic Games, with four attempts. Detroit has put in six bids and got nowhere.

    Maybe the Olympic Committee heard about Ty Cobb.

  26. Peter Flynn says

    The Obamas might get Chicago over the line this time.
    I wouldn’t have backed Shadow King in ’32 or ’33.
    I would’ve backed him in ’35!

  27. 20/20 hindsight says a quid each way all up from 1930-33. But with my punting flair the record books would now show he ran consectutive 4ths in that period. Which probably allows me to nominate myself in this category. I reckon I could have stopped Phar Lap by punting on the nose!

  28. This list is full of tough calls, so here is another.
    When Shogun Lodge, a 7yo fav in the Emirates, collapsed with a heart attack, I overheard a bookie remark, “Where can we get another like him?”.
    He was not referring to the Sydney Champs excellence and longevity, but rather to a propensity to be “served up short and go over.”
    “Like The Shark in Majors”, he sighed. “I’ll keep a picture on the wall”…my guess is that it covers a big wall safe.

  29. It’s amazing how those who run second get the “perennial losers” label more readily than those who finish last. I guess no-one remembers them!

  30. Rocket Rod Gillett says

    You’re right Daff, St George have a srong winning culture albeit a lack of success in recent years. It is worth noting that since Cronulla-Sutherland came into the competition in 1967 I think Saints have only won one premiership (there are no such things as ‘flags’ in rugby league)in 1977 when like in the VFL there was a draw – I think on the very same day (?)and they won the reply under Harry Bath; prior to that St George had the Shire and Wollongong as recruiting zones. The club is now called St George-Illawarra following a merger post-Super League with the Illawarra Steelers that had come into the NSWRL with the Canberra Raiders in 1982.

    Gee, I used to know a lot about rugby league – as did most Sydneysiders, not really the case anymore; as Peter Fitzsimmons wrote in his column in the SMH a few years ago most sports fans could name the Balmain front row….well, they’re not even called Balmain any more! Only player I can name now is Benji Marshall, and the hooker, nup forgot….

    Wayne Bennett got St George to the minor premiership in his first season, but they were beaten in both finals… Amazingly Bennett has never won a final at Lang Park/Suncorp Stadium, both in his time in charge of the Broncos, and then ironically his team lost to them in the recent semi final. Despite losing at home the Broncos won premierships, so they were good. Mind you for the greater period of Bennett’s coaching the Broncos played out of QEII or whatever they called it.

    Saints are not, however, perennial losers (see Comment posted above on the Chicago Cubs)

  31. Darren Gauci

  32. Peter Flynn says

    A contemporary ‘perennial loser’.

    Youmzain, ridden by Kieren Fallon has finished second in the Arc for a third consecutive year.

    Rolled by Dylan Thomas in ’07, Zarkava in ’08 and the amazing Sea The Stars yesterday.

    Prince Darius finished 2nd to Tulloch 8 or so times.

  33. Was Dylan Thomas drunk when he won the Arc?

    Budge, you’re right about the poor second place-getters. At least they’re up there. Those outside the placings are let off scot free.

  34. Peter Flynn says

    Yes Daff!
    From a report on the ’07 Arc:
    Jockey Kieren Fallon had to endure a half-hour stewards enquiry into interference caused when Dylan Thomas veered sharply to the right halfway up the home straight, thereby coming across two other runners.

  35. John Butler says


    Re Mr Russell,

    He has gone alright the last couple of seasons.

    This sesaon was undoubtably his best. I thought he stood up better in our one final than some more touted team-mates.

    His problem is he dug himself a huge hole with the faithful in leaner times- many of whom are slow to forget.

    And he still chokes near goal.

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