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10 of the Most Embarrassing Football Predictions

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Every new season begins with a fresh sense of optimism. You’ve had the whole summer to reflect on the previous season, analyse new signings and make your verdicts about each team. The football is finally back and you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is – this is surely the year you’ll get your predictions right.

Then Chelsea go three goals down to Burnley on the opening day of the season and its business as usual.

Sometimes players, pundits and fans get their predictions absolutely bob on – it happens to a handful of players almost every week at 7OTB. Other times they’re left red in the face, which is far more satisfying for the rest of us. Here are 10 times they got it very wrong.

Some of the great Pele's worst predictions:

Pele: "Nicky Barmby is up there with Zinedine Zidane, Paolo Maldini and Ronaldo."

If you were asked to put an all-time dream team together, there’s a good chance you’d be able to find room for three of those players. Nick Barmby isn’t one of them.

He was a good player, scoring 80 goals in 490 appearances over the course of a 20 year career. But he never quite lived up to Pelé’s predicted expectations. The only explanation for this one is that Brazil’s all-time top scorer is a secret Hull City fan.

Pele: “Lamptey is my natural successor.”

It feels almost blasphemous to have the great Pele in this list twice, but it turns out the Brazilian legend was much better at playing football than predicting it.

In the early 90’s he hailed Ghanian 17-year-old Nii Lamptey as his successor after he won player of the tournament at the U17 World Cup. But what followed was a string of failures that saw his career sizzle out into obscurity. He failed to score a single goal in spells at Aston Villa and Coventry, before transferring between 9 other clubs and scoring just a handful of goals until retiring.

Pele predicted Lamptey as the next Pele. Maybe Pele was a Numpty.

Pundits worst football predictions

Mark Lawrensen: “I’ll shave off my moustache if Bolton stay up.”

Mark Lawrensen made this bet back in 2001 when Bolton had just been promoted to the Premier League. He was so confident the Trotters would go down that he put his trademark tache on the line.

Sam Allardyce’s men were only galvanised by the comments though, finishing 16th and remaining in the top tier. Poor Lawro lost his lip tickler after 25 years of service.

Lawro’s prediction left Big Sam smiling himself hirsute ever since.

Alan Hansen: “You’ll never win anything with kids.”

The poster boy for eating your own words, Alan Hansen famously predicted that Manchester United had no chance of winning anything after a 3-1 opening day defeat to Aston Villa in 1995. 

By kids, he was of course referring to the fresh-faced class of ’92 –, Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, Butt and the Neville brothers – who went on to win the double that season.

Chris Bascombe: “Leicester's managerial change will end in calamity.” 

The Telegraph Sports writer predicted that Leicester’s appointment of Claudio Ranieri in 2015 could only end one way – with the Foxes finishing rock bottom of the Premier League.

To be fair to Chris, he wasn’t the only one. Plenty of pundits, fans and writers predicted Leicester would be relegated, and the bookies thought their chances of winning the league were about 5000/1. But that doesn’t stop the prediction from being as far from accurate as possible. We all know what happened.

Football Managers worst ever predictions

Ian Holloway: “Huddersfield will finish 23rd.”

“David Wagner is pretty inexperienced and if results turn, then they may struggle to turn things around,” said the QPR manager ahead of last season. He predicted the Terriers would finish 2nd from bottom in the Championship, but a little over 12 month’s later the little Yorkshire club are in the Premier League.

“By the way, Ian Holloway, all the best for next season,” winked Town manager David Wagner after securing promotion.

Wagner had the last laugh after Holloway’s prediction for Huddersfield who are n

Uli Hoeness: “Germany will quite clearly thrash England.”

“How are England going to win in Germany? It hasn't happened for 100 years. I have no doubts whatsoever that Germany will quite clearly thrash England. They will easily qualify for the World Cup with this match,” said Bayern president Uli Hoeness in 2001, before the Germans were thumped 5-1.

A Michael Owen hat-trick, plus goals from Gerrard and Heskey had Uli blushing.

Maybe that scoreboard will forever remind Hoeness to keep his predictions to him

Other bad predictions from the world of football

Mike Ashley: "Have a flutter on us climbing out of relegation trouble and into Europe." 

That’s what the Newcastle United chairman wrote in his matchday programme on December 28th 2008, with the club two points above the relegation zone. But sure enough, the Mags’ form failed to improve and they were relegated the following May after a tragic 1-0 defeat at Villa Park. The bookies thanked Mike for that prediction. We didn’t.

Mike Ashley suitably embarrassed again, predicting the meteoric rise of a club h

Liverpool fan (On Redmen TV): “I honestly think we’ll do the treble.”

After beating Dortmund 4-0 in pre-season, this optimistic scouser predicted that the reds would go on to win the treble in 2014/15.

But having gone out of the Champions League at the group stage, mathematically eliminated from the Premier League title race by April, and knocked out the FA Cup by Aston Villa, the fan’s face was left as red as his LFC bed sheets.

Chelsea Fan (On BBC 5 Live): “We have outgrown the Premier League.”

“If we don’t win all four trophies we’re still in, it will be a disaster… Chelsea have outgrown every single side in England.” They were the words of a Chelsea fan on BBC 5 live in October 2014, and to be fair to the guy, the blues did go on to win the Premier League and League Cup that season. 

But they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford City, and PSG defeated them in the last 16 of the Champions League. It wasn’t until the following season that his embarrassing prediction truly came back to bite him though. Chelsea won just 3 of their opening 12 Premier League games, finishing the season 10th and trophy-less.

Hopefully, you'll do better than the aforementioned with your predictions this weekend. 

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