Banned from Driving XI
While Manchester City might not win the Premier League this year, they do have one achievement to boast about – after receiving a six-month driving ban last week, Micah Richards has now made City the first team to have three first-team players disqualified from driving.
Both Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri are also not allowed on UK roads for driving offences. But they’re not alone amongst their fellow footballers. Many players have found themselves on the wrong side of traffic laws.
So what would a team compromised purely of players who have been given a driving ban or been on the wrong side of traffic laws at some point look like?
If this squad ever came into existence, a team bus would be more needed than ever.
GK Jan Mucha
Our first-choice goalkeeper is Jan Mucha. Being a first-choice goalkeeper is an alien concept to Mucha.
At Everton, Tim Howard makes him sit on the bench.
But on the road, a British judge makes him sit in a taxi.
The Slovakian keeper was originally banned from driving for accumulating too many penalty points, but was last month caught driving in Cheshire while disqualified and claimed he didn’t know he was banned because he doesn’t read his post. (He probably didn’t have time with all that first-team football).
Mucha was given 250 hours of community service and a further six-month ban.
RB Micah Richards
Micah Richards became the third member of the Manchester City team to be banned from driving last week.
Richards was handed a six-month ban after failing to respond to two speeding notices. Richards' defence said he was having trouble with his post as his house was being renovated.
CB Rio Ferdinand
Micah Richards lives in the same city as Rio Ferdinand, so given Micah's recent driving disqualification, perhaps Rio can trade public transport tips with him.
Ferdinand was banned for six months in September after he was caught speeding on the same stretch of road three times in five weeks.
But once his ban was lifted in March, days later he was fined £200 for speeding again.
CB Jamie Carragher
LB Andre Santos
RM Jeffrey de Visscher
Jeffrey de Visscher isn't here due to being a quality player.
He's here because of the originality of his road offence. Footballers are usually banned from driving for speeding, but not de Visscher.
The Dutch winger was fined by police and released from his club, FC Emmen, after "going number two" by the roadside. Or, as it's known in Dutch, "wildpoepen".
CM Michael Ballack
Despite being on a reported £120,000 a week while at Chelsea, Michael Ballack tried to get out of speeding fine in October by claiming he is currently "out of work" and "doesn't have any money coming in."
Ballack ended up paying the full £8,000 fine for driving at 131mph and fired his lawyer.
Even Jan Mucha's "I don't read my post" excuse was better, Michael.
CM Samir Nasri
Nasri's defence solicitor blamed Nasri's "poor system of administration" for failing to pay the fine in the first place.
Which is probably legal talk for "doesn't read his post."
LM Jermaine Pennant
If Jermaine Pennant was as dangerous on the football pitch as he was at being a danger on the roads, he wouldn't be on loan to a team on their way to League One as we speak.
In February 2004 Pennant was given a 16-month driving ban for driving down the wrong side of the road in Paddington, London.
In March 2005 (despite still being under the previous ban) he was jailed for three months after crashing his Mercedes around a lamppost, whilst intoxicated.
Pennant would then go on to achieve the Barton-esque record of becoming the first player in Premier League history to play a game of football with an electronic tag on his ankle, as part of his parole conditions.
When told by Real Zaragoza that the car was waiting for him (by the time he’d already signed for Stoke City) he claimed he couldn’t remember the car. Even though it had the personalized registration plate “P33NNT”.
In May 2012. Pennant avoided a second jail term by pleading guilty to drink driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving without insurance.
And let's not even mention the chrome wrap on his Aston Martin. It's no wonder he wanted to forget his car, if it looked like that.
ST Karim Benzema
ST Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez was given a further six-months driving ban for driving whilst disqualified in Cheshire earlier this month.
Car-less Carlos was originally disqualified for failing to provide information after his car was caught speeding in November.
The offence is almost identical to that of Banned From Driving XI goalkeeper, Jan Mucha. They were both caught driving whilst disqualified in Cheshire (which, judging by the amount of players in this list who committed the road crimes in the county, seems to have nothing but law-breaking footballers on the road).
In fact the biggest difference between Mucha and Tevez is Mucha would kill to come on as a substitute. Tevez, not so much.