Football has the ability to drag a fan from a malaise into a moment of unexpected delirium in an instant.

Football also has the ability to beat a fan base into submission with year upon year of mediocrity, disappointment and agony. Below we’ve ranked the Hyundai A-League fan bases who’ve experienced the most pain.

  1.  Western Sydney Wanderers

The bridesmaids of the A-League. Three grand finals appearances and no championships to call their own. This may spark debate about whether or not it’s more painful to get there and lose or to never get there at all but no one can deny the crushing disappointment of a grand final loss. Well how about three?

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The fact the Wanderers have a couple of premierships makes it hard to put them too high on this list but don’t be surprised if the RBB do a 90 minute ‘Poznan’ next time they make the final – another capitulation might be too hard to watch.

Low point: Leading 1-0 in the 2014 Grand Final with six minutes to play (Enter Berisha and Henrique).

  1.  Newcastle Jets

Remember back when the F3 Derby was good? No? Well, it’s been a while. Way back in Version 3 (I’m so glad we stopped doing the “version” thing) is how far you need to go for that. It’s also the year of the Jets’ single championship (remember Danny Vukovic’s Olympic ending high five and Mark Bridge’s Grand Final heroics). The Jets have been pretty ordinary since then, with just one playoff appearance and the worst goal differential in the league to their name. They might be on the up this season but they’ll need something special to wipe away the last decade of mediocrity.

Low point: Nathan Tinkler.

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  1. Perth Glory

There’s nothing glorious about Perth’s time in the A-League. With back-to-back National Soccer League champions in 2003 and 2004, Glory fans grew to expect a certain standard of football from their team. What they’ve gotten in the A-League has been nothing but endless disappointment. The high watermark was a 2011/12 season that saw them lose the grand final in the dying minutes to a rampart Brisbane Roar – that’s how bad it’s been.

Low point: Being disqualified from the finals for breaching the salary cap. They can’t even cheat right.

  1.  Wellington Phoenix

Football in Wellington hasn’t had a lot of high points. The Phoenix’s average league position is 7th and they have just three playoff wins to their name. It’s quietly one of the better away trips in the A-League but that’s cold comfort for the home fans who have to show up in a half empty wind bowl each week to watch their team lose.

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Also, rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of the New Zealand Knights isn’t as romantically poetic as they thought it was.

Low point: Constantly not knowing whether you’re welcome in the league or not.

Dishonourable mentions: The departed trio of the New Zealand Knights, the North Queensland Fury and Gold Coast United. Fans of these three clubs deserve a special mention because losing your team – even if they’re as bad as these teams – is pretty painful.

Low points: New Zealand’s six-point season and Gold Coast’s empty stadium.

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Football fan, writer, and post-grad journalism student at the University of Technology Sydney. Joined the team in 2017 to cover Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.