The 10 Worst Ever Football Debuts

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2014

The 10 Worst Ever Football Debuts

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    It's always important to get off to a good start in a new job. But in the world of professional football, many footballers have had a pretty dreadful first day at the office.

    Swiss defender Gaetano Berardi joined the Terrible Debut Club this week, when he received a red card in his first competitive start for Leeds after a dreadful flying challenge.

    Berardi leads our list of the 10 worst football debuts, which may give him some solace as he serves his suspension... 

Gaetano Berardi

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    Swiss right-back Gaetano Berardi was brought to Leeds from Sampdoria over the summer and made his competitive debut against Accrington Stanley in the League Cup on Tuesday.

    With just two minutes left to play, Berardi pulled off a hilariously bad two-footed flying lunge on a stunned opponent. 

    Suffice it to say, he's not off to a great start in Yorkshire—and the gaffer isn't too happy, as per Sky Sports. 

Emmanuel Frimpong

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    Emmanuel Frimpong was pretty unhappy with his transfer to Barnsley in January 2014. The former Arsenal midfielder sulked when he was pictured with his new strip and tweeted a complaint about being unable to "draw girls" with his new team. 

    The midfielder's fortunes in South Yorkshire took a turn for the worse on his debut, when he was sent off within half an hour after fouling the same player twice within seven minutes

    He was released after just four months with the club, which isn't very "Dench." 

    It should also be noted that Frimpong was sent off in his Premier League debut for Arsenal when he picked up two yellow cards.  


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    After joining Arsenal in July 2011, Gervinho scored twice in the first 15 minutes of his first match, a pre-season tie with FC Koln. The Ivorian's competitive debut a few weeks later, however, didn't go quite as well.

    The current Roma forward was enjoying a decent first outing at Newcastle up until the point where he made the mistake of tangling with Joey Barton.

    He raised his hands and ended up earning a red card and a three-match ban for violent conduct

Tomas Repka

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    Tomas Repka earned a reputation for his physical approach during five seasons at West Ham, and he certainly nailed his colours to the mast from the outset. 

    Shortly after joining the Hammers for a club record £5.5 million, the Czech defender made his debut against Middlesbrough. He was sent off for two bookable offences and showed his predilection for suspensions by earning another red card in his third match for the club. 

Garry Flitcroft

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    Garry Flitcroft played over 250 games for Blackburn over the course of a decade, but the former club captain didn't get off to a fantastic start.

    The Lancashire-born midfielder made his debut for the reigning Premier League champions in the 1995-96 season in a game against Everton. However, he lasted only three minutes of the match after receiving his marching orders for an elbow on—of all people—Duncan Ferguson.   

Glenn Keeley

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    Glenn Keeley spent the majority of his career at Blackburn, but he was given a loan move to Everton in 1982. Any chance of the deal becoming permanent was scuppered on his debut, a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

    Thirty-two minutes into the game, the centre-back fouled Kenny Dalglish and received a straight red card. Liverpool ended up winning the game 5-0 and Keeley was duly sent back to Blackburn.   

Stanley Milton

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    This debut happened over 80 years ago, but it still stands the test of time for its awfulness.

    Goalkeeper Stanley Milton made his first start for Halifax Town in a match against Stockport in January 1934. Milton went in at half-time having conceded two goals, which isn't too unorthodox. However, after half-time, he conceded 11 more and Halifax were defeated 13-0

    It still stands as the heaviest defeat in English league history. 

Jason Crowe

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    Journeyman right-back Jason Crowe started his career at Arsenal, but he struggled to break into the first team on account of Lee Dixon's omnipresence.

    Crowe was finally given his debut in October 1997, when he came off the bench in a League Cup match against Birmingham.

    He lasted exactly 33 seconds before referee Uriah Rennie showed him red for a high tackle.

    It still stands as the fastest sending off in English football history.    

Ali Dia

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    Ali Dia entered football folklore in 1996 when he somehow managed to earn a Premier League start with Southampton—despite being a university student with no professional experience.

    Saints manager Graeme Souness was told that Dia was a cousin of George Weah, who had played at Paris Saint-Germain. With absolutely no due diligence, Souness decided to snap him up and throw him straight into a Premier League game against Leeds, where he came on as a substitute for Matt Le Tissier. 

    He was so terrible that he was substituted out after 21 minutes on the field.

    "It was all a bit embarrassing," said Le Tissier

Jonathan Woodgate

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    The watermark for terrible debut games was set exceptionally high by Jonathan Woodgate.

    The defender moved to Real Madrid in August 2004 for £13.4 million, but thanks to his battles with various injuries, he didn't make his debut until a league game with with Athletic Bilbao in September 2005. 

    In hindsight, the debut wasn't worth the wait. 

    Not only did Woody score a brilliant diving header own goal after 24 minutes, but he was sent off in the 66th minute for a second bookable offence. 

    Accordingly, readers of Spanish daily Marca voted him the worst signing of the 21st century

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