Paul Fennessy looks at the 5 worst Premiership footballers of the decade and summarises the careers of these incompetent flops
5. Nigel Quashie (Southampton among others)
It was no coincidence that practically every club who signed Nigel Quashie was promptly relegated from the Premiership – he has suffered this indignity on four separate occasions. Moreover, with an uncanny knack of continually giving the ball away, an incredible lack of pace, and a tendency to pose minimal goal threat, Quashie was the complete incomplete player. He even acquired the derisive nickname ‘Quashie well-wide’ during his time at Nottingham Forest in honour of his spectacularly wayward shooting. In a decade in which the Premier League was inundated with awful Scottish internationals (Christian Dailly, Chris Iwelumo et al) it takes an especially poor player to be branded the worst – but Quashie undoubtedly meets all the requisite criteria for this pitiful title.
4. Winston Bogarde (Chelsea)
The starkest example I can think of in relation to the obscene wages footballers are undeservedly paid, Bogarde earned a lucrative contact with Chelsea – reputedly worth £40,000 a week – but only made 12 appearances in four years (all of which came in his first season at the club) before retiring. With the total sum of his alleged wage bill amounting to approximately £8.2m, Bogarde thus earned just under £1m per appearance. Chelsea tried to force the defender to relinquish his contract by demoting him to the youth team, but Bogarde’s persistence was unwavering: after having accusations of greed levelled against him from the English press, Bogarde responded by saying, “This world is about money so when you are offered those millions you take them… I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership, but I don’t care.”
3. Gilberto (Tottenham)
If one player epitomised Juande Ramos’ hapless reign as Tottenham manager, it was Gilberto. After committing a horrific error that effectively ensured Tottenham’s exit from the UEFA Cup on his debut, the veteran left back was banished into reserve team obscurity. His fleeting reappearance at White Hart Lane under Harry Redknapp was all the more inglorious. With Tottenham’s squad severely depleted due to injuries, Redknapp told the player to take off his tracksuit and prepare to come on as substitute. News of his imminent arrival on the pitch was greeted with unanimous booing from the White Hart Lane faithful, thus convincing Redknapp to sympathetically tell the player not to bother.
2. Mario Jardel (Bolton)
At his peak Jardel scored an incredible 130 goals in 125 games for Porto. Apparently, though, nobody had told Sam Allardyce that his weight had since ballooned to such an extent that he made Andy Reid look like a supermodel. Big Sam had admittedly worked miracles in reviving the careers of players such as El Hadji Diouf and Jay-Jay Okocha, but the bulky Brazilian proved a step too far. After an extended period spent largely in the Bolton reserves (he made just seven Premier League appearances in total), Jardel was swiftly shipped off to Ancona, where he made a total of 3 appearances, and was subsequently never heard of again… or until now!
1. Gary Doherty (Tottenham)
Gary Doherty (or ‘The Ginger Pelé’ as he was more affectionately known) fully deserves his title as the worst Premiership footballer of the decade. As a long-suffering Tottenham supporter, your writer can traumatically recall the days when an injury-ravaged squad forced Spurs to play Doherty as a lone striker. Never has a player made the simple task of running look so comical. However, at least Doherty’s role in attack rendered him unable to perform his defensive duties. I lost count of the number of disastrous last minute penalties he gave away, and skewed clearances he endeavoured to commit, when deployed in his more familiar position at centre-back.
Dishonourable Mentions: Eric Djemba-Djemba, Pascal Cygan, Djimi Traore, Jeff Whitley, Jean-Alain Boumsong, and pretty much anyone who has ever played for Newcastle.