Fleeting Appearances

The top ten shortest spells at a football club

The players who didn’t earn their loyalty bonuses

Sol Campbell

As anyone who has ever divorced will testify, sometimes it is necessary to call time on a big commitment. Footballers who sign big money contracts are no strangers to this maxim, but some jump ship a little earlier than expected. With this in mind, Spoiler correspondent Ben Baker has compiled a top ten list of the shortest spells in football club history. And guess who tops the list…

Sol Campbell
After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance at Meadow Lane and a quick team photo, the man whom Spurs fans lovingly refer to as ‘Judas’ picked up his boots and walked out on his £40,000-a-week contract. If he manages to stay fit and win his war with his own metabolism, perhaps a fleeting appearance in the MLS lies ahead for football’s least decisive man..

Ali Dia
A favourite story among football fans who are less than supportive of Graeme Souness (and let’s be honest, there are a fair few): after allegedly receiving a call from former World Footballer of the Year George Weah ‘bigging up’ his ‘cousin’, Souness signed him up without reservation. He even had the audacity to replace Sir Tiss with him. Dia was so dreadful that he was hauled off, lasting about 20 minutes. Oh well, Southampton’s loss was Gateshead’s gain…kind of.

Dietmar Hamann
After it appeared that Hamann was surplus to requirements at Anfield, Sam Allardyce saw the chance to wrap up another deal for a player entering into the twilight of his career. After all, it had worked with Youri Djorkaeff, right? What could possibly go wrong? How about if Hamann then signs for Manchester City only 24-hours after signing a pre-contract with the Trotters. Oh….

Hameur Bouazza
Like any number of Lawrie Sanchez’s purchases at Fulham, Bouazza failed to make the grade in the Premiership. It was clear that he had little future under Roy Hodgson, so Bouazza left for Turkey this summer, joining Sivasspor. He was excited about his new challenge, however, that excitement didn’t last long. After Sivasspor were thumped 3-0 by Shahktar Donetsk, Bouazza flew back to England and signed for Blackpool. The whole thing lasted less than a week.

David Unsworth
After beginning his career on Merseyside with the blue half of the city, you can forgive Unsworth for having a certain amount of loyalty for the Toffees. When he was transferred to West Ham it must have been hard for him, but in fairness, he managed to stick it out for a whole season. He was on the move again, this time signing for Villa for £3m in 1998. However, by this time David was really missing home. Bless. He was brought back to Everton after only a month with the Midlands club for the same transfer fee that they sold him for.

Christian Vieri
The recently-retired Italian once spent just 35 days at Sampdoria before moving on to Atalanta. He didn’t even make an appearance. He left stating that he no longer felt motivated. Has he ever felt motivated? He certainly never looks like it.

Marco Boogers
The only good thing that Boogers did once he signed for West Ham was to bring his slightly humorous name with him. In only his second appearance, after coming on as a substitute, Boogers was sent off for a horrendous challenge on Gary Neville. He never played for the East London club again and, if the legend is true, went back to his native Holland to go and live in a caravan.

David Livermore
After signing for Leeds, it became apparent that Livermore wasn’t going to be needed, with the Peacocks’ management declaring that they already had enough players that could play in his position. After just ten days, Livermore moved to Hull.

Mauricio Taricco
After a five-year spell with Tottenham, Taricco signed for city rivals West Ham. However, with only 27 minutes on the clock in his debut, he tore his hamstring. Taricco then offered West Ham the opportunity to cancel his contract, which they did, signalling the end of his career. Alan Pardew has since said that it was one of the most honest things he had ever seen in football.

Luc Nilis
Prior to his move to Aston Villa, former strike partners Ruud van Nistelrooy and (Fat) Ronaldo spoke very highly of the Belgian striker. Unfortunately, Nilis broke his leg after colliding with the Ipswich goalkeeper in only his third appearance for the Villains, and his career came to an abrupt end. He did manage to score a wonder goal against Chelsea in that brief time though. Aston Villa fans are left wondering what might have been.

Has Ben left anyone out? Let us know below, but don’t say Mikel John Obi because he doesn’t count…

5 responses so far
  • Sean // September 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    :-D Yeah, Taricco was our very own Trojan Horse COYS
    Felt very sorry for Nilis, he looked a good player.
    Boogers – everytime I hear the name I am reminded of a song by The Fall: “Tuff Life Boogie” :-D
    But the best has to be the Souness story – Ali Dia classic, and typical Souness :-O

  • SkyBlueSam // September 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Robert Jarni – Coventry City

  • all praise peyroteo // September 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Niall Quinn and Frank Rijkaard, both in Sporting CP for a few days.

  • AlMac // September 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Mo Johnston – he appeared in a Celtic shirt saying he had signed, then changed his mind and signed for Rangers.

  • Couriant // January 12, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Not sure of the length, but Robbie Keane from Tottenham to Liverpool, and then back to Tottenham from what i heard was a season.

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