With this seasons antics of footballers such as Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli causing a big stir amongst fans and the media, I’ve decided to look back over the history of the Premier League to find some other hot-headed footballers with the aim of making a team (or army) of 11.
The players I’ve chosen are either highly aggressive, highly unpredictable or just a bit mental. Maybe even all 3. Oh and when I said I’ve decided to look back over the history of the Premier League, I actually mean I’ve thought about it for a few minutes and then wrote down any players that pop into my head – this list is by no means definitive, I’d welcome more suggestions. I’d also welcome praise, but not criticism. Enjoy!
Goalkeeper: Jens Lehmann, Arsenal.
The German keeper seemed to be quite a misfit at Arsenal, usually quite a boring group of players who don’t seem to get involved in much trouble. Wenger certainly picked a character here, and urguably it was much needed when their previous keeper David Seaman seemed to demand much respect from his Arsenal backline.
Left back: Stuart Pearce, Nottingham Forest.
This players nickname was psycho. Probably don’t need to say anything else…
Centre-back: John Terry, Chelsea.
Definitely a bit of a nutter, and a legend amonst Chelsea fans, Terry has not got a good reputation amongst other fans, and some players too, for various reasons which include reportedly sleeping with one of his best-mates girlfriends and then paying her to get an abortion, and also for apparently making racial remarks during a QPR match this season.
Centre-back: Tony Adams, Arsenal.
Not much of a mad-man but more of a troubled individual during his time at Arsenal, Tony Adams was an alcoholic (is now reformed and opened the Sporting Chance clinic to help others troubled with addiction). Adams was a brilliant defender for the Gunners, but one of his lowest points has to be when he crashed his Ford Sierra through a wall near his home, whilst being an incredible 27 times over the legal driving limit. Adams was sentenced to 4 months in prison.
Right back: Vinnie Jones, Wimbledon.
Yes, I know he wasn’t a right back but I was struggling to find another suitable canditate so Vinnie will more than make up for it – he was arguably the craziest defender in the history of the league in my opinion. Now a Hollywood actor, Vinnie was known as the hardman of football, and played for Wimbledon during their infamous crazy-gang era. His antics include grabbing Gazza’s nuts during a match and starring in a controversial video called Soccer’s Hard Men (no, not porn), in which he dished out advice on how to be a hard man (video below). Not the best role-model for kids, one has to agree.
Left wing: Craig Bellamy, Liverpool.
Another highly unpopular player amongst fans and players alike, Bellamy has a real talent of being able to argue about anything at all, which is all too apparent when you watch him play on the pitch. Whether he suffers from small-man syndrome or not, Bellamy has found it hard to settle down at a club and has appeared for 9 clubs so far in his career.
Central midfielder: Joey Barton, QPR.
The QPR hardman is somewhat of an interesting footballer to say the least. He’s obviously had a troubled career, which included highlights such as stubbing out a cigar in a youth team players face, assaulting various people including his team-mate whom was punched in the face which resulted in a suspended prison sentence. Barton is an avid user of Twitter, and has used this medium to communicate with fans very openly. He describes himself as a very philosphical person, and is quite a mad, unpredictable but very interesting person.
Central midfielder: Eric Cantona, ex-Manchester United.
Obviously the French genuis had to be included in this list simply for his unpredictable behaviour and random outbursts (seagulls following a trawler). His inability to control his aggression was there for all to see when he kung-fu kicked a Crystal Palace fan during a match at Selhurst Park, resulting in a criminal prosecution and lengthy ban from football (video below).
(Also he was a striker but will drop off the front 2 in this lineup, to make way for some crazy strikers).
Right wing: Jermaine Pennant, Stoke City.
Seemingly a settled Premier League footballer now, Jermaine Pennant was quite troubled in his early career, the most infamous incident coming when he crashed into a set of traffic lights and when questioned by police claimed to be Ashley Cole. To be honest this probably brought him many fans in the footballing community – just about everyone hates Ashley. But perhaps the police didn’t find the funny side, and spent 90 days in prison due to driving while disqualified. Pennant subsequently played a football match for Birmingham City whilst wearing an electronic tag on his ankle as part of his supervision order.
Attack: Mario Balotelli, Man City.
Balotelli hasn’t been in English football for long but his list of antics is already quite incredible, some of which reportedly include; crashing his car (several times), driving into a women’s prison (for no reason other than to look around), throwing darts at a youth team player, confronting a bully at school, struggling to put on a bib, using an iPad on the bench during an Italy international, turning his garden into a quadbike arena, setting off a firework in his bathroom (before the firebrigade had to be called out), appearing during a press-conference for the unveiling of a new Inter manager… and thats just to name a few!
Attack: Paulo Di Canio, ex- West Ham.
The now manager of Swindon Town, Paulo Di Canio had a reputation for being quite a drama-queen, yet was somewhat of a paradox as he was also loved by West Ham fans. Di Canio was an immensely talented footballer, and some instances of his madness that spring to mind include the time he pushed a referee over having been sent off, or the moment he was set to win a header on goal, when West Ham losing, only for Paulo to jump up and hold onto the ball as he noticed an oppositions player was down injured (video below). Hammers fans may not have been pleased, but just about everyone in the footballing community was shocked by his apparent act of kindness. However, during Di Canio’s time with Lazio he made several facist salutes, and has been accused of facism, which I guess is not the kindest of political views.
Carlos Tevez, Man City – Included on the subs bench as this is arguably where his career with Man City hit its lowest – he refused to come on for his side when they were losing an important Champions League match, and was subsequently frozen out of the club.
Stig Tofting, Bolton Wanderers – This Danish hardman had a reputation for making rash tackles and was involved in several incidents which resulted in a spell behind bars.
Duncan Ferguson, Everton – The big man was feared by just about everyone and anyone on a football pitch. The worst assault of which resulted in a 3 month prison sentence after headbutting John McStay of Raith Rovers in the SPL.
Marlon King, Birmingham City – King made his Premier League debut with Watford which makes him eligible for his position on the bench. Incredibly he has received convictions for around 14 different offences, including assault, theft, criminal damage and fraud.
Roy Keane, Man United – Keane was an infamous hard-man of football, with a lengthy disciplinary record. His most well-known incident came when he published his autobiography, in which he stated that he went out to deliberately hurt Alfe-Inge Haaland whom had accused Roy of diving previously. Keane was subsequently banned for a lengthy period.
Paul Gascoigne, Spurs – More than worthy of a starting spot in this team, sadly I had forgotten about Gazza until now. Think of crazy footballers and you’ll no doubt think of Mr Gascoigne, he was also blessed as being one of England‘s finest footballers.