Take a look at a rogue’s gallery of footballers who have tried to fight the law, but lost.
For a long time now football has had an alarming knack of producing an array of talent who have got into trouble with the law. Here is an all-too-easily-compiled list of names and crimes that range from the predictable to the downright unbelievable.
There hasn’t been a better organiser of a defensive line in the last half century. However, it appears that avoiding garden walls whilst driving a vehicle is a more tricky procedure. The Arsenal and England centre-back was sent to prison for four months following a drunken drive that he describes excellently in his frank and hugely honest book, Addicted:
‘We were in a residential street in Rayleigh near to a main A-road in Southend, but I barely saw that as I drove straight across it without stopping, even though it was a dual carriageway. I remember thinking, ‘What’s that road I’ve just crossed over?’ as I entered another residential street and I turned to look back. It was then that I lost control of the car. I didn’t know where I was going but I was doing about 75 or 80 mph … the lovely old couple whose front wall and garden I had just demolished had come out of their front door. They were probably shocked but were more concerned for me. ‘Are you all right?’ they asked. ‘Would you like a drink for your nerves?’ I’m sure they meant a cup of tea or something, but the first thought that went through my head was a brandy.’
The Great Dane consistently wowed the Anfield fans during his Liverpool career even though he seemed to carry a paunch not befitting a professional sportsman. Former Ajax man Molby was sent to jail for a driving offence but his club stuck by him and the pot-bellied midfielder and he repaid them with a cameo role in their title-winning 1990 season.
This Colombian international was famous on the field of play for his hairstyle (something of an 80s throwback) and inventing the most pointless footballing trick known as the “Scorpion Kick”. He was also equally infamous for his links to crime boss Pablo Escobar. The goalkeeper was sent to prison for seven months for acting as a go-between for some very unsavoury characters and delivering ransom money. Apparently 42-year-old Higuita is now looking to move into politics! If his life story has not already been the basis of a TV movie, then expect a screenplay to be written the day he is elected President of the South American country.
Not a man to be messed with, Duncan can handle himself. Two men who broke into his house can attest to this fact as he managed to hospitalise one of the culprits. The former Rangers man was the kind of player a fan would love to have in his side. One person less likely to be including Mr. Ferguson on his Xmas card list is John McStay, who was the victim of an on-field assault that led to the Scottish international being sent to Barlinnie prison for three months.
Arguably the biggest character ever to come out of the game, the Northern Irishman was a footballing genius. During a tempestuous battle with the demon drink, Belfast boy Best was sentenced to three months in prison for drunk driving in 1984. He played with the kind of verve and grace that has never been replicated and the late Manchester United legend will be sorely missed. His was an amazing talent and he managed to pack an incredible amount into his all too short life. Who else can lay claim to a European Cup and the bedding of four Miss Worlds!
For sheer variety of criminal acts committed, this Arsenal and England man takes some beating. Storey has been involved in all manner of illegal activity including running a brothel, car theft, importing pornographic videos to counterfeiting gold coins (an offence that led to a three-year jail term).
This Welsh wizard was a joy to watch on the field but got in to some very dastardly deeds off it and his experiences of being behind bars are as amusing as they are frightening. His time inside was amusingly summed up by The Guardian thus: “Getting 18 months in jail over a counterfeit currency scam wasn’t the lowest point of Mickey Thomas’s long and controversy laden career. That came when he discovered his cell-mate had killed two people – then cut off their heads.” Mickey has many tales to tell and therefore it is no surprise that he is now an after-dinner speaker par excellence.
What can be said about the Newcastle nutcase that hasn’t already been said? Well, a lot actually! He’s the man who asks for his 12th last chance and then promptly looks for the next willing victim to send to the E.R. Whilst there is no doubting the midfielder’s talent, there is also no doubting his innate ability to punch his way back behind bars. Don’t think for one second that if you are a teammate then you are safe from his fury. Ousmane Dabo’s daily headaches two years after he crossed Joey’s path are testament to this fact. I would happily wager that Mr. Barton will end up doing another stretch in prison before he celebrates his 30th birthday. Once a mindless thug always a mindless thug.