World Football: 30 of the Biggest Traitors in Football

Lee ThorpeContributor IIIMay 2, 2011

World Football: 30 of the Biggest Traitors in Football

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    Over the years football has been littered with many traitors, turncoats and dishonest players. From kissing badges to professing their un dying love for the club they’ve ‘supported’ since they were small boys.

    Now, I’m sure football fans take whatever their latest new signings say with a pinch of salt but it’s amazing some of the lies players will say to win over their new fan base only to see them telling the same lies to the clubs arch rivals a few years down the line, and in one case on this list just a few weeks.

    We are also used to the forgetful players that kiss that many badges they seem to forget which team they actually support or the one that gave them their chance in the big time.

    Money does amazing things. How about being paid that much money that you suddenly realize the club you loved as a kid isn’t really your favorite club but it’s actually the one ten minutes down the road.

    There’s a lot more heinous acts players and managers have committed over the years in football, so here’s my list of 30 of the biggest traitors and turncoats in football history!

    I may of missed certain players out who you think should go in, let me know!

30: Craig Gardner. Aston Villa to Birmingham City

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    Now a few players have made this move over time and Craig wasn't really getting a chance at Villa so I can't fault him there for moving, but he basically went from "I love Villa" to "I've always been a Birmingham supporter and hate Villa" in the course of a week. So on the list he goes.

29: Ian Wright. Crystal Palace to Arsenal

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    Palace gave Wright his break in the game and the then young striker was the guy who nearly won Palace the  FA cup with his goals in the final against Manchester United, he was already establishing himself as a Palace legend at such a young age. So naturally, like many other gifted youngsters he moved on to a bigger team in Arsenal, but one year on after his move he scored a goal against Palace which relegated them and he shamelessly celebrated it. Short memory.

28. Teddy Sheringham. Millway Indirectly to West Ham

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    Teddy was a Millwall legend from when he played there at a young age but the Millwall faithful didnt revere him as so much as a legend when he moved to arch rivals West Ham late in his career.

27: David Bentley. Arsenal Indirectly to Tottenham Hotspur

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    I don't blame David for making the move to Tottenham when he was on the top of his game, but he's another player who needs to know just when to keep his mouth shut. He makes my list for saying he's an Arsenal fan. Then saying he's a Tottenham fan.

26: Iain Dowie. Crystal Palace to Charlton Athletic

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    The first manager on this list. Dowie claimed he wanted to quit Crystal Palace to be nearer his family up North in Bolton - and joined south London rivals Charlton instead.

25: Michael Owen. Liverpool Indirectly to Manchester United

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    Liverpool hero during the late 90's early 00's, he was still a legend even after he left the club to play for Real Madrid and Newcastle, but when in 2009 he joined Manchester United, Liverpool fans turned their back on their long standing hero.

    Rumors have it that Michael was actually on the phone to someone at Liverpool on the day of the transfer asking them to make a move for him, he must of known the backlash that awaited him at Anfield.

24: Fernando Torres. Liverpool to Chelsea

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    A hero at Anfield he was the darling of the Kopites, naturally so many hearts were broke when he moved to rivals Chelsea for a British record of £50 million. A fan hero soon turned into a traitor.

23: Pierre Van Hooijdonk. Refusal to Return to Club

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    In 1998 Pierre was so desperate to leave Nottingham Forest that he refused to turn up for the new season. He was Forests main attacking threat at the time and they missed him when he wasn't there. Fans and teams mates were disappointed and criticised his lack of commitment. He did return in the November but to no avail, Forest were relegated at the end of the season.

22: Steve Bruce.

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    Another manager on the list. For early on in his managerial career, Bruce moved between clubs with little regard for players or fans, as he sought to improve his own situation. After taking over at Wigan in 2001, he stayed at the club for less than two months before walking out on them to join Crystal Palace. He then managed to stay at Selhurst Park for three months, before ditching them to take over at Birmingham.

21: Nicolas Anelka. Arsenal to Real Madrid

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    Wenger gave Anelka his chance at Arsenal as a kid and he delivered, scoring a lot of goals as Arsenal won the double. Come the end of the season and he was desperate for his big money move to Madrid and he jumped at the chance, leaving many disappointed Arsenal fans behind.

    Also a bit of a mercenary, apart from Chelsea he didn't normally stay at clubs long always moving on. He has played for PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG again, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbache, Bolton Wanderers and now Chelsea.

20: Frank Lampard. West Ham to Chelsea

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    A few players have made the move across the years, but none with the hatred that West Ham feel for Frank. When at West Ham He was given a tough time by the fans they even cheered when he broke his leg and often sang songs about him being fat, but he has forgotten his roots. He was a West Ham boy through and through and has always had family connections at the club but now he's Chelsea through and through and hard to imagine him ever playing anywhere else.

19: Carlos Tevez. Manchester United to Manchester City

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    I really debated where to put Carlos on this list. If he deserved to be put higher or even lower. True he swapped over on one of the biggest footballing rivalries in the world but lets not forget United didn't really make any attempt to keep him till the end of his tenure.

     For months they pondered whether he was worth a contract and made him wait, and often keeping him on the bench for big games it's no wonder he wanted to move on. But to Manchester City you say? He has young kids and he didn't want to uproot them from the area and City were offering a lot of money. Everyone will have their opinion about that one, so you can decide.

18: Eric Cantona. Leeds United to Manchester United

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    Having led Leeds back to the summit of English football it came as a great shock to Leeds fans when their greatest player at the time, Eric Cantona, joined their bitter rivals Manchester United for only £1.2 million. The rest as they say, is history.

17: Kris Commons. Nottingham Forest to Derby County

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    Helped Forest gain promotion and gave an interview declaring his love for the club and how he wanted to stay for life. A few weeks later he had signed for their bitterest of rivals, Derby County. Now that's loyalty

16: Abel Xavier. Everton to Liverpool

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    Was a really good full back for Everton and was showing great potential. He hadn't scored in four years for Everton then scored on his Liverpool debut. Against Everton

     Makes this list for leaving Everton for a place on the Liverpool bench. And for having ridiculous hair.

15: Nick Barmby. Everton to Liverpool

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    Another player who made the jump across Stanley Park. A really promising skillful English player, but suffered the same fate as Xavier. Was also the first player to make the move since 1959 and became a hate figure at Everton.

14: Luis Enrique. Real Madrid to Barcelona

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    Most people forget that he was a once promising young player at Real Madrid who let his contarct run out then moved on to Barcelona where he had a really good career. Madrid never saw a penny. Someone else who made this move takes the spotlight off him.

13: Ronaldo. Many Clubs

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    One prolific season at Barcelona for the Brazilian and Inter Milan paid a world record £18 million to take him to Italy. After one full season there he picked up the first of many major injuries of his career which took him four seasons to fully recover, and then he went to Spain to play for Real Madrid. Barcelona's arch nemesis, and that's not forgetting his huge wage he picked up at Milan whilst he was out injured for four years. After a few seasons at Madrid he went back to Italy to play for AC Milain. Inter Milan's arch nemesis.

    Expect him one day to come out of retirement and play for Argentina.

12: Wayne Rooney. Everton to Manchester United

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    A boyhood Everton fan, seen wearing a shirt saying 'once a blue, always a blue'. Always stated how playing for Everton was a dream come true. So after only 77 games he thought it was time to move on when Manchester United made a big money bid. What makes it worse when he scored at Everton for United he was seen kissing the United badge in front of Everton fans. What a boy hood fan.

11. Roberto Baggio. Fiorentina to Juventus

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    He insists he was “compelled to accept” the offer and said: “deep in my heart I am always Purple (the colour of Fiorentina).” However, the deal wasn’t well received in Florence and two days of full scale riots broke out in which fifty people were injured.

10: Jermain Defoe. Many Clubs

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    Loyalty does not seem to be Defoe’s strong point as he handed a transfer request in the day after West Ham went down in 2003 and ended up going to London rivals Tottenham the next season. After falling out of favour with Spurs he went to Portsmouth for a season only to jump that sinking ship to return to Spurs.

9: William Gallas. Chelsea to Arsenal to Tottenham

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    Having now played for all three of those London rivals its fair to say he's one of the most hated defenders in the league. When he was trying to engineer his move from Chelsea he reportedly said if they don't let him move he will stay and score an own goal. A very suprising comment from the charming as always Gallas!

8: Alan Smith. Leeds United to Manchester United

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    A proper Yorkshire lad coming through the ranks of Leeds he often spoke of his natural hate for Manchester United and how he would never play for them, often kissing his badge in front of the Old Trafford faithful. So when Leeds got relegated and Alan said he was leaving it was obvious who he wasn't going to sign for. Wasn't it Alan?

7: Lee Clark

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    Makes this list for moving to Sunderland from Newcastle after six seasons at St James' Park. For being photographed wearing a t-shirt at 1999 FA Cup final bearing the words 'Sad Mackem B******s'. Unsurprsingly, Clarke never played for Sunderland again

6: Paul Ince. West Ham to Manchester United

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    Ince didn’t exactly endear himself to the Upton Park faithful during his time as a player. In 1989 Ince was photographed in a Man United shirt long before his eventual £1 million switch to Old Trafford and has received some stick from West Ham fans for it ever since. The player also played for United’s hated rivals Liverpool after spending a couple of seasons at Inter Milan. He scored a goal for Liverpool which could of cost United the league and he celebrated wildly as if he did.

5: Harry Redknapp. Portsmouth to Southampton

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    How's a manager so high you ask? Well for joining Southampton from Portsmouth. For returning to Portsmouth after taking Southampton down to the Championship. For jumping ship again at Portsmouth to join Tottenham - which in turn upset West Ham fans, where he was a legend. Nice work Harry

4: Figo. Barcelona to Real Madrid

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    Barcelona's best player  at the time, and one of the greatest in their history, made a world record move to Real Madrid, and the fans unsuprisingly clearly weren't happy. On his return to Barcelona for a game the crowd pelted him with all sorts, including a pigs head head, and burnt shirts in the stands.

3: Ashley Cole. Arsenal to Chelsea

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    The player everyone loves to hate. The boyhood Arsenal fan enginered this move to Chelsea. Nicknamed ‘Cashley’ the Chelsea left-back was caught up in a tapping up storm whilst at Arsenal after meeting Chelsea officials in a hotel. He also angered his fans moaning about wages and released a controversial autobiography saying he nearly crashed his car when he heard they were only offering him a measly £55k a week.

Mo Johnston. Both Glasgow Clubs

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    .After a spell at French club Nantes the former Celtic man issued a desire to rejoin the Hoops, in a press conference saying Celtic were the biggest and only club for him, but suddenly made a U-turn weeks later on his decision and joined the Gers instead. As Mo is a Roman Catholic, who went to a protestant club he became equally hated by both sets of fans and has to be considered as one of the biggest Judases in football history.From fear of attack, he had to live in London.

Sol Campbell. Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal

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    So here's my number one. He was a Tottenham legend, one of the best defenders in Europe. He decided not to renew his contract so he could find a more ambitious club, and most fans understood his decision. He could of played for Real Madrid or Manchester United  and that's what everyone was expecting for the last year, so when he joined Arsenal, Spurs fans were livid, he had joined there worst enemies for absolutely nothing. He still isn't forgiven to this day.


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    Don't do it unless you mean it!
    Don't do it unless you mean it!

    So there's my top 30. I'm sure you could all think of some more so let me know! Hope you enjoyed it, and remember, money talks!