Everyone who loves the game has a certain amount of revulsion for some within it, and here is a top ten list of those who get more than their fair share of hate mail!
TEN) Robbie Savage
No list of this kind would be complete without a mention of Mr Savage! Yes he may be slipping down the football pyramid, but the long-haired caution-loving midfielder is truly reviled by everyone who has ever had the fortune of being within booing distance!
NINE) Sir Alex Ferguson/Arsene Wenger
The first of a few on this list who have undoubted talent, but just seem to rub people up the wrong way. The gruff Scot is of course loved by his own supporters, but he is hated by just about everyone else. The way he manages to see everything that goes against his side but ignores everything his opponents fail to receive from officials is always amusing.
Even this weekend when he admitted Bolton were very unlucky to have a penalty decision go against them, he still managed to suggest that United also get their fair share of bad decisions, which is of course not very accurate. Ferguson shares this place with Arsene Wenger, whose myopic view of decisions by the referee has almost become a parody. When questioned by a post-match reporter about something that went against his side’s opposition, he always manages to have not seen the said incident. Let’s face it, both managers are equally disliked by fans but they are both considered by all fair-minded football fans to be among the best managers of all time.
EIGHT) Marco Materazzi
This unskilled defender brought a horrible end to a fantastic career when he decided to verbally attack Zinedine Zidane. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with abusing a fellow player, it happens every week but it just seems so horribly inappropriate for the lanky centre-back to even deem himself worthy of talking to the great Frenchman, let alone insulting his family. History will thankfully remember the former Real Madrid man far more fondly than the one-time Everton player.
SEVEN) Kia Joorabchian
This guy is not only symptomatic of the damage that agents have done to the game, he is in fact nothing more than a parasite. Kia has damaged many with his money-grabbing actions and the way he seems to own the likes of Carlos Tevez can surely not be healthy for football. Suspected of money laundering in Brazil during his reign at Corinthians, he has since found his way to the Premier League and is still reportedly paid an exorbitant fee by West Ham as a ‘transfer adviser’.
SIX) Sepp Blatter
The Swiss head of FIFA is quite simply crazy! His hair-brained schemes may well be amusing but given the man’s power, it is very worrying that he has his hands on football’s ‘red’ button. This is the man who brought us the golden goal and boy was that a mistake. He has commented on the issue of women’s football that they should “wear tighter shorts” and most recently sparked controversy by claiming that Cristiano Ronaldo (yes he appears on this list as well) is a slave, a comment that is so clearly offensive and inaccurate on so many levels it’s frightening! Oh yes and he also endorsed the idea of booking players who remove their shirts, which is just pointless!
FIVE) Ashley Cole
Cashley Cole was an Arsenal hero up until around January 2005 when he just happened to find himself in the same hotel lobby as Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon and Jose Mourinho, what a coincidence! However, the hatred towards a player so clearly trying to engineer a move only increased when he tried to avoid blame and accused Arsenal of making him a scapegoat over the whole affair, as though they had driven him to leave the club. Since this incident, he has become a figure of irritation for many other sets of fans and his arrogant character was again called into question when he acted with such disrespect to official Mike Riley. The latter had the audacity of wanting to book the full-back for an awful high tackle on Alan Hutton! Oh yes and apparently he was sickened by the audacity of the north London club to only offer him £55k a week, and yes my heart really felt for him as no doubt it did for all of you.
FOUR) Diego Maradona
What a great player but also damn infuriating. Whether it’s the way he has basically killed his body with a lethal concoction of junk food and various drug addictions, or the way he cheated England out of the 1986 World Cup and the way he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup in shame, it does seem that Argentinean has been hell-bent on leaving football fans with a negative image of such a talented individual. Thankfully, he appears to be on the mend but the hatred is still there!
THREE) Mike Ashley
A recent addition to this list, but well worthy of consideration as the current Newcastle owner has managed to enrage the club’s loyal support with his somewhat mindless decision making. Ashley essentially forced Kevin Keegan out of the door and has caused the club to rapidly fall down the table and, unless the billionaire leaves the club, they could well find themselves in a relegation dogfight which considering the size of the club is simply outrageous. The fans of the club deserve so much better than the chairman they have been lumbered with.
TWO) Cristiano Ronaldo
Yes he is probably the best player on the planet but the preening primadonna sure does have some haters out there! He managed to turn his own fans against him this summer by trying (not very subtly) to orchestrate a move to Real Madrid, luckily for him Man United supporters have decided to not boo him for that. Whilst his diving antics have been dramatically reduced, he has decided to increase his petulant behaviour every time he is in some way obstructed to simply turn away and show his disgust with a huge shrug (rather than attempt to win the ball back). Like I said, he is a truly wonderful footballer so his attitude needn’t be so poor. All he needs to do is show those who try to kick him off the ball how to play the game. He should also remember that the club and his manager stood by him after the ‘winking’ incident in the 2006 World Cup. Sir Alex was totally correct to make him stay at the club and the Portuguese international is lucky that the United fans have decided to let him off lightly.
ONE) Joey Barton
Being a convicted criminal doesn’t endear you to many and it’s more the consistency of this guy’s anti-social/ thug-like behaviour that irks so many. I mean one drunken incident would be considered a mistake, but Barton seems to have made disruptive violent acts his sole aim in life. I for one was fooled when a couple of years ago or so ago, he conducted an interview on the BBC and appeared to have a brain in his head, looking genuinely apologetic and about to turn over a new leaf. However, since that incident, he has of course continued to go off the rails with alarming regularity and quite frankly doesn’t deserve the loyalty the likes of Kevin Keegan have shown him. He is in my view currently the most hated person in football right now, and it would take a hell of a lot for him to encourage people to change their view of the midfielder.