Personal Demons

Football’s Most Troubled XI

The Spoiler presents the best of the angry, drunk and depressed


The main issue that footballers have is that once away from the pitch, what is there to do? God forbid they have to pick up a book and read! The lucky ones play golf and hang out with Gary Neville, while the rest of them stare blank-eyed into the depths of their tortured souls.

How about this team for a freaky dressing room!

GK Mark Bosnich
There was a time when the Australian looked set to become the greatest goalkeeper the world had ever seen, but then he set eyes of silly Sophie Anderton, and went about shoveling cocaine up his nose instead of training. He then became a little bit weird.

DL Ben Thatcher
A horrible man, Thatcher will be remembered mainly for his revolting use of his elbows – most notably on Pedro Mendes of Portsmouth, who took such a wallop that he had a seizure. Serious violence issues, he makes the line-up in front of Ashley Cole, who isn’t so much troubled as just a total bastard.

DC Tony Adams
Forget the straight-faced gentlemanly MOTD2 demeanor, there was a time when Adams would hurl back the beers and set off fire extinguishers in Pizza Hut – all because he was drunk, the idiot. Then there was the time he smashed a Ford Sierra into a wall, shortly before going to prison. Oops (hic!).

DC Paul McGrath
McGrath had the look of a man who would silently strangle people in alleyways, but as defenders go, he was brilliant. Problem was, he was so addicted to drink that he once thought it wise to wolf down some lighter fluid (apparently). Euch.

DR Sol Campbell
With the quality of the centre backs, Sol has had to do a Carragher and move out wide. His issues are less booze/drug related than most of his team mates – he is just such a sensitive/troubled soul. He thought it fine to flounce off at half-time during the Arsenal game against West Ham, before bemoaning his problems with stress. Has a footballer ever been so intense?

ML George Best
In his heyday Best could do everything, beat a man, score with both feet, down vast amounts of alcohol and have sex with beautiful women. Sadly, his legacy appears to be a prat called Callum, whom he once sired when pissed.

MC Zinedine Zidane
Zizou had anger issues, which saw him sent off fourteen times in his career, twice at World Cups. Though blessed with amazing feet, his most effective weapon was a headbutt of absolutely breathtaking ferocity.

MC Paul Gascoigne
Probably the best English player of all time (bar Peter Beardsley), he made thundering past players his thing on the pitch. Off the pitch, he was more likely to be gurning at people, being hugely drunk, and blabbering. Now officially insane, bless him.

MR Garrincha
Possibly even better than Pele, Garrincha was part of the Brazil teams that won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. He also lost his virginity to a goat, spent his whole life drinking heavily and having sex (fathering AT LEAST fourteen children), crashing cars in a number of serious road accidents, and eventually dying prematurely when his liver stopped working.

FC Eric Cantona
For all his skills, Cantona was a brooding nonsense speaker – seagulls, trawlers etc. Add the fact that he thought it necessary to launch himself two-footed into the crowd at Crystal Palace, and he just pips Collymore to the second striker role.

FC Diego Maradona
The best player of all time, he won the 1986 World Cup pretty much by himself. Unfortunately by the 1990 World Cup he was taking far too much cocaine to make it as a decent footballer. He has since retired, taken even more drugs, got fat, dyed his hair blonde, then kicked the drugs, lost the weight, and wandered the world in a tracksuit. Go on Diego!

The Bench
Paul Merson (alcoholic), Jermaine Pennant (criminal), Collymore (dogger), Dicks (angry), Bowyer (prat)

2 responses so far
  • Squee // April 11, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    What?! No Joey Barton?

  • dante // April 13, 2008 at 12:21 pm


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