Marlon King and 10 Footballers Who've Been to Prison

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

Marlon King and 10 Footballers Who've Been to Prison

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    Marlon King was released by Sheffield United last year, but the journeyman striker probably won't be picking up a new employer anytime soon as he's just been awarded his third prison sentence.

    According to Press Association (via The Guardian), King will serve 18 months for dangerous driving, having caused a crash after driving his Porsche while eating an ice cream.  

    The former Hull forward has an exceptionally long rap sheet, which includes time in jail for receiving stolen goods, and another period in lockup for sexual assault and actual bodily harm on a 20-year-old university student. 

    King's predilection for being a burden on society inspires our list of footballers who've spent time in the clink... 


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    In September 2011, Bayern Munich defender Breno ended his career when he was arrested on suspicion of arson—for burning down his own luxury home.  

    The Brazilian was handed a three-year sentence and was eventually released in August 2013, at which point Die Roten gave him a job as a coach

Lee Hughes

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    While a member of West Bromwich Albion in November 2003, Lee Hughes lost control of his Mercedes and crossed lanes to cause a head-on collision with an oncoming car, killing one of the passengers.

    Hughes left the scene and only turned himself into the police 36 hours later. He served three years of a six-year sentence and now plays for Forest Green Rovers. 

Joey Barton

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    He may be a Morrissey-loving social media philosopher-come-hipster these days, but Joey Barton committed some disgracefully violent acts early in his career. 

    In May 2008, the inexplicably angry midfielder was sentenced to six months behind bars for punching a teenager 20 times outside a McDonald's in the early hours of the morning after a night out. 

    He served 77 days of his sentence, and three days after his release he was slapped with a suspended sentence for violently assaulting his Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo. 

Duncan Ferguson

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    Duncan Ferguson earned the name "Duncan Disorderly" for his repeated scrapes with the law, which resulted in four separate assault convictions. 

    In 1994, while playing for Rangers, the Scottish hard man headbutted Raith Rovers defender John McStay and ended up with a three-month prison sentence for his troubles. 

    Amazingly, Ferguson wasn't even booked for the incident. 

Jan Molby

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    Liverpool midfielder Jan Molby was famous for hardly ever running on the field, and he couldn't run from the law when he overturned his car outside a nightclub during the 1988-89 season. 

    The Great Dane was imprisoned for three months for reckless driving but managed to find his way back into the Reds' squad before the season had concluded. 

Jermaine Pennant

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    As a man who once left his car at a Spanish train station because he forgot about it, Jermaine Pennant isn't renowned as being the sharpest tool in the box.

    In 2005, while on loan from Arsenal at Birmingham, the tricky winger was arrested for drink driving, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance. 

    Pennant served 30 days of a three-month sentence and had to wear an electronic tag when he returned to action. 

Tony Adams

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    Arsenal legend Tony Adams had a long, storied history with alcoholism, which reached its low point in May 1990 when he crashed his car into a wall near his house while allegedly 27 times over the drink-drive limit. 

    The Gunners defender served 57 days of a four-month sentence. 

Ian Wright

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    In the days before he launched his career at Crystal Palace, Ian Wright had two cars but neglected to tax or insure either of them.

    The authorities caught up with him and awarded him a 14-day stint at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

    "The sound of those prison doors closing and the nutters inside taught me: I can't live my life like this," he later told Michael Odell of The Guardian

George Best

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    George Best might have been football's first superstar, thanks to his incredible talent and his rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

    In 1984, shortly after hanging up his boots, the Ulsterman went to prison for drink driving, assaulting a policeman and failing to answer bail. 

Rene Higuita

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    There are a lot of bold personalities on this list, but Rene Higuita is almost certainly the boldest. To put it mildly, the Colombian goalkeeper was (and still is) madder than a box of frogs.

    The eccentric scorpion-kicking goalie missed out on the 1994 World Cup as he was serving time for his part in a kidnapping organised by drug baron Pablo Escobar.

    Apparently, Higuita was paid to help kidnap the daughter of a rival drug lord and served seven months behind bars. "I'm a footballer, I didn't know anything about kidnapping laws," he later said, as if he was astonished that something like this was illegal. 


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