1. Joey Barton
Joey Barton has been one of England’s most controversial footballers in recent years, and the list of his misdemeanours is a long one indeed. When he began his career at Manchester City, he looked like a real talent, but that has gone to waste as his career was derailed by a number of unsavoury incidents. In December 2004 Barton stubbed out a cigar in the eye of Man City youth player James Tandy in a nightclub, for which he was fined six weeks wages. In May 2008 Barton was given a six month prison sentence for assaulting a man and a teenager in the same evening. Barton also assaulted team-mate Ousmane Dabo whilst at Man City, and was given a four month suspended sentence.
2. Tony Adams
Arsenal legend Tony Adams is now a rejuvanated character and is widely respected in the game, but during his playing career he had some serious issues. A one club man, Adams found himself in a battle with alcoholism in the early 90’s, in one incident in 1990 he crashed his car into a wall in Southend, after he was way over the drink-drive limit, and was jailed for four months. After his release Adams still suffered from alcoholism and let off fire extinguishers in a Pizza Hut with Ray Parlour after being taunted by rival fans. Adams has since turned his life around, and set up the Sporting Chance clinic to help other sports people deal with their problems.
3. Marlon King
Marlon King has played for a few player Premier League clubs but he is probably now best known for his 18 month prison sentence. Dating from 1997, King has 14 convictions for a range of different crimes, but his most notorious offence took place in December 2008. King on a night out in Soho, had his advances rejected by a 20 year old student and he was arrested on suspicion of punching her in the face, causing her a broken nose and a split lip. King was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and had his contract cancelled by Wigan. King has since been released but has yet to find a new club.
4. Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy is another controversial figure with a host of nefarious incidents in his past. At Newcastle in 2005 Bellamy fell out with then manager Graeme Souness over selection issues and also sent abusive text messages to Alan Shearer, ending his career at St James’. In 2006 Bellamy was cleared of assaulting two women in a Cardiff nightclub, but his reputation was already sinking. In 2007 whilst playing for Liverpool, it was alleged that Bellamy had attacked John Arne Riise with a golf club and both players were fined for the incident. The Welshman is not all bad however, and in 2008 he set up a football academy in Sierra Leone in which he invested a significant amount of his own money.
5. Jermaine Pennant
The former Arsenal and Liverpool winger had looked like a star of the future, but his career stagnated and was also marred by off the field events. Whilst serving a 16 month driving ban for a previous offence, in 2005 Pennant crashed his car into a lamp-post after he had been drinking, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail but was released after 30, though he did have to wear an electronic tag when playing for Birmingham.
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6. Lee Bowyer
Lee Bowyer was a fine player at Leeds United, but his career there was damaged in 2000 when he and Jonathan were alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm to a student. He was cleared and Woodgate was convicted of affray, Bowyer did however agree an out of court settlement of £170,000 with the individual in 2005. Whilst playing for Newcastle, Bowyer and Kieron Dyer had a fight in the middle of the game and had to be separated, ending the formers career with the Magpies.
7. Rio Ferdinand
One of the world’s best centre backs for the past five years, Rio Ferdinand has been no stranger to controversy. Ferdinand became Britain’s most expensive player when he signed for Man Utd in 2002 for a fee of £30 million. In 2003 though, his United career took a turn for the worse as he failed to attend a routine drugs test, and he was banned for eight months, missing Euro 2004. Since his ban, Ferdinand established himself as one of Europe’s top defenders.
8. Ashley Cole
For a number of years Ashley Cole has arguably been the nations most hated player, and this is down to two different factors. The first instance when Cole became unpopular was when he turned down an Arsenal contract of £55,000, saying in his autobiography that it was “taking the piss”, even though it was a weekly wage most of us can only dream of making in a year. Cole was already widely hated by football fans, and when it was revealed he had cheated on the nation’s media darling Cheryl Cole, he became one of the most reviled figures in England.
9. John Terry
The Chelsea captain was the subject of intense media scrutiny when it was revealed that he had had an affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex wife. At this point John Terry was England captain, but Fabio Capello deemed his misdemeanours as bad enough to justify his removal as captain, and Rio Ferdinand was given the armband in his place.
10. Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney has become the latest England international to be embroiled in a tabloid scandal, with the News of the World alledging that he cheated on wife Colleen on a number of occassions. Rooney was once seen as a loyal family man, yet his latest antics which he has not denied have ruined this image. His form for Manchester United and England has suffered since the World Cup, and he needs to put his personal problems aside before he is able to reach his full potential once again.
Someone missing from the list? Comment below.