Everybody loves it when a great player returns to their former club. The fans affectionately remember the glory years of old and expect the player to bring the same success with him second time round. The player thinks the setting can rekindle his talent and take him back to former heights.
It feels like a good idea all round, but by and large players aren’t quite as good as the first time. There are of course exceptions, great players who’ve come back and added to their previous legend, players such as Peter Beardsley at Newcastle or Ian Rush at Liverpool. But this list is not about successes, this list is far more concerned with the players who should never have come back. Players who should have resisted the wave of nostalgia that swept over them.
Some of these players are greats, and their return was not a complete disaster but just an unnecessary extra, a softening of the legend they left at the first attempt. Others just didn’t work out at all the second time round. In every case though there is an element of something lost, the feeling that this second spell need never have happened for both club and player.