Top 10 Footballing Scumbags

We all know football is a sport for the overpaid, the undeserving and the obnoxious. You only have to turn on Sky Sports News to see another footballer has been arrested for various misdemeanours, or flick open the tabloid paper to find another Premiership star’s copped off someone’s wife. But the question is, who is football’s biggest scumbag? Here is the Top 10:

Ryan Giggs – Up until May 2011, the Welsh wizard was the ultimate gentleman of football, a one club man for his whole glittering Manchester United career and a superb role model for all those around him. Ah. How wrong we all were. Whilst we sat admiring Ryan, awarding him BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2009, the toe-rag was busy setting about destroying his reputation. A gagging order was outed on Twitter and Giggs was finally named as the man having an affair with Imogen Thomas. If that wasn’t enough, it also transpired Giggs had been playing around his brother’s wife, Natasha for eight years! Dear oh dear. Who’s been a naughty boy!

Ben Thatcher – Nothing more than an average left-back for the duration of his career, Thatcher went some way to try and gain notoriety  in 2006. Playing for Manchester City against Portsmouth, he went to challenge Pedro Mendes for a loose ball. Except his challenge was more of a forearm smash. Leading with his elbow intentionally, the Welsh international clattered his opponent into the advertising hoardings, knocking him out cold, before standing over him, visibly irate. Mendes required pitchside oxygen and suffered a seizure on the way to hospital, while Thatcher got an eight game ban. A prison sentence would have been suitable.

Chris Morgan – If anyone fancied a cheap shot merchant at the heart of your defence, Chris Morgan is the man. What he lacks in footballing talent, he more than makes up for in unprovoked aggression, as highlighted by a series of incidents throughout his career. He clashed violently with Gareth Taylor, punched Robin Van Persie in the chest and more seriously, fractured Iain Hume’s skull with a vicious swinging elbow that left the striker in hospital with life-threatening injuries. Players all across England can’t wait for the day Morgan retires, or better, meets Ben Thatcher in a 50-50 challenge.

Joey Barton – Ah, Mr Barton. The one everyone loves to hate. Perhaps reformed these days in his role as a prolific Tweeter, but in his early days, Barton had a few, shall we say, ‘moments.’ There was the ‘cigar in the eye’ incident at the Christmas party, the assault of a 15-year-old supporter in a hotel on a pre-season tour of Thailand, not to mention his attack on Ousmane Dabo that saw Joey receive a prison sentence. There is none of that anymore, but you still can’t help but hate Joey, especially when he sports that Hitler haircut.

Lee Hughes – The journeyman striker has been involved in some rather unpleasant incidents throughout his career. In 2003, Hughes was arrested after a fatal hit-and-run accident, for which he served three years inside. He’s also now up in court on sexual assault charges after an incident in a hotel in December. Not a particularly pleasant bloke.

El Hadji Diouf – A man so nasty, even that charmer Neil Warnock once said “I think for many years I think he’s been the ‘gutter’ type of boy. I was going to call him a sewer rat, but that might insult the sewer rats. I think he’s the lowest of the low.” Wherever Diouf goes, controversy follows. Whether it’s spitting at fans (or indeed fellow players), being accused of racially abusing a ball boy or being charged with motoring offences, it’s fair to say the Senegalese star is one of the most hated men in football. West Ham had a look at signing him this summer, but decided not to on the basis of the fans’ opinions. And this is a club who’ve just taken on Ravel Morrison.

Craig Bellamy – He may be a superb player, but Bellamy is also superb at making people take a severe disliking to him. The man appears rather keen on violent incidents, indeed he has been arrested on suspicion of assault no less than four times. His relationships with managers are strained to say the least, hence why Roberto Mancini wanted him out of City despite his excellent form. Not content with this, he also once attacked teammate John Arne Riise with a golfclub after a disagreement. I’ll leave the final word to Nigel Reo-Coker though, who explained the pair’s ongoing feud like this. ‘Craig Bellamy is going to be Craig Bellamy and I’ve got no respect for him.’

Lee Bowyer – Bowyer was one of England’s greatest youth prospects, especially after his form for Leeds in their Champions League run of 2001. It’s not just his on-field demeanour that makes him a scumbag, although his dirty style of play infuriates opposition fans, even scrapping with teammate Kieron Dyer at Newcastle, but he’s not great off the pitch either. His assault on an Asian student in a Leeds nightclub dominated the tabloids for weeks, who showed up Bowyer for exactly what he is. A nasty piece of work.

Ashley Cole – Again, everyone’s favourite boo-boy. No opposition fan in the Premiership likes Cole and I’m not entirely sure the Chelsea supporters are all that attached to him either. Several unsavoury incidents have dogged his career, for instance firing an airgun at a work experience student was rather silly. His money grabbing antics after his move to Chelsea from Arsenal had already singled Cole out for the scumbag label, but then he started cheating on wife Cheryl. The Geordie heartthrob was left heartbroken after Ashley sent pictures of his, ahem, member to other ladies, and sealed Cole’s place in the scumbags list.

Wayne Rooney – Adored by Manchester United, hated by everyone else. Everything about Wazza is unappealing, from his appearance to his disgusting language (especially in front of TV cameras). His personal life has been dragged through the dirt as well, from ‘Grannygate’ as a teenager, to his affairs with the prostitutes that Coleen found out about last year. His petulance on the pitch is very annoying as well; indeed he has single-handedly ruined England’s chances in the Euros thanks to one moment of madness. Great player, terrible human.

Tom Mordey @The_CoinToss

Football Friends bring you the latest Football News
and opinion from football fans around the world.