Ade Akinibiyi and the Worst 11 in EPL History

Lawrence McNeelaContributor IIIOctober 28, 2011

Ade Akinibiyi and the Worst 11 in EPL History

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    If hapless Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean selected his dream eleven, it would probably contain at least a handful of the names found here.

    Every team has their fair share of flops, the players fans still have nightmares about, but who are the worst eleven of the Premiership era? Lawrence McNeela makes his suggestions here in a bravely attacking formation but please add your own "favourites" to the hall of shame.

Massimo Taibi

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    Many of the players in the list arrived at their Premier League clubs with very good reputations. Bizarrely, when selecting a replacement for Danish legend Peter Schmeichel, Alex Ferguson decided to skip that stage altogether and went straight for rubbish.

    Massimo Taibi had already gone a decade as a very mediocre professional before signing on at Old Trafford. He lasted four games.

    I remember his debut against Liverpool FC very well. Although he received the man of the match award, Massimo Taibi spent most of the game hopping around the penalty area like a schoolboy with itching powder down his pants. It wasn't so much that he made saves as that the ball somehow hit him as he bounced around his box.

    Still, it was for his mistakes against Southampton and Chelsea that the blunderer is best known, his performances earning him the name "The Blind Venetian" before he left Manchester United.

Frank Sinclair

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    Former Chelsea defender Frank Sinclair makes this list for his habit of scoring hilarious own goals for Leicester City.

    Incredibly, as the video shows, they are even laughing at him in Greece! The clip also shows how highly Leicester goalkeeper Ian Walker thought of his teammate.

Torben Piechnik

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    Mark Walters, Paul Stewart, Julian Dicks and Istvan Kozma take a back seat; Graeme Souness' worst signing as Liverpool FC manager was the dreadful Dane, Torben Piechnik.

    A Danish international and European champion in 1992, Piechnik should have proved a good signing in bolstering the Anfield giant's leaky defence. He didn't and a paltry 17 appearances in two seasons speaks volumes about the odd-looking centre back's performances in a red shirt.

    He was named by local newspaper, the Liverpool Echo, as one of the eleven worst players ever to play on Merseyside.

Titus Bramble

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    Whilst managing Newcastle United, Sir Bobby Robson paid old club Ipswich Town £6 million to secure the services of promising central defender Titus Bramble.

    Strong, tall and fast, Titus Bramble looked the complete package. At the end of his second season with the Magpies he was voted the worst player in the Premiership.

    Steve Bruce must think he sees something in bumbling Bramble as he has signed him twice, for Wigan Athletic and Sunderland AFC. He probably wishes he hadn't since the defender is currently suspended after being arrested for alleged sexual assault and possession of a Class A drug.

    Astonishingly, it is the third time Bramble has been arrested over allegations of sexual crimes.

Winston Bogarde

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    Just look at this guy's CV! Winston Bogarde played for Ajax Amsterdam, AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea and was capped 20 times by the Netherlands.

    However, and despite being on £40,000 per week, Winston Bogarde managed just eight appearances in four years at Stamford Bridge. He refused to leave Chelsea, preferring to sit on his (by the looks of things, considerable) backside for the duration of his contract.

    Of his refusal to find a club where he'd actually play football, Bogarde said, "This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them... I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don't care."

Eric Djemba-Djemba

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    Eric Djemba-Djemba was so bad they named him twice.

    The big Cameroon midfielder managed just 31 appearances in four years in the EPL, being kept out of the Aston Villa first eleven by such world-class 'talents' as Gavin McCann and Steven Davis. Yikes!

Terry Hurlock

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    The media like to claim the EPL is the best league in the world, but how can it be when the likes of Terry Hurlock earnt a decent wage playing there?

    Man-mountain Hurlock, an untidy combination of Bryan May hair, flailing elbows and thuggish tackles, rampaged through The Dell when playing for Southampton between 1991 and 1994.

    The former Millwall man had all the elegance of a warty toad and grace of a rabid dog.

    But I wouldn't say this to his face, obviously!

Marco Boogers

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    Marco Boogers is a West Ham legend for all the wrong reasons.

    Signed for £1 million during the summer of 1995, Dutch striker Boogers is infamous for getting sent off during his second game for the Hammers and fleeing to Holland to live in a caravan. He only played two more games for West Ham before being sent away on loan to Groningen.

    1995 was a very hot summer. Perhaps the heat got to wheeler-dealer Harry Redknapp when he signed him.

Jason Lee

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    Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee had a pineapple on his head. Well, according to Three Lions songwriters Frank Skinner and David Baddiel anyway.

    Mercilessly ribbed for his inept performances in a Forest shirt, Jason Lee managed a measly 14 goals in 76 appearances for the club. Whilst his own supporters may not have thought so highly of him, Jason Lee's performances, and the Fantasy Football skits by Skinner and Baddiel, brought tears of laughter to fans the length and breadth of England.

    As he dropped down the divisions, I'd like to say that Lee found his level, but it seems he never did! One goal in 28 appearances for Chesterfield, eleven in 65 for Peterborough United and three in 21 for Mansfield Town prove that he was really no good at all.

Ali Dia

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    So imagine you're Graeme Souness and manager of Southampton FC. When Liberian ace George Weah rings you up and tells you his cousin, who is nearly as good as the African superstar himself, is looking for a new club, do you...

    a) Tell the great man where to get off?


    b) Sign him up without even watching him play?

    Hilariously, when Souness chose the latter option he found himself in possession of arguably the worst player in the history of English football. For the phone call was a hoax, Ali Dia a charlatan and his one performance for the Saints ended in tragic farce. Coming on as a 32nd minute substitute for the great Matt Le Tissier, he lasted a meagre 21 minutes before being hauled off.

    Le God later recalled the match saying, "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice. It was very embarrassing to watch."

Ade Akinibiyi

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    With pace, a muscular physique and an ability to score goals proved at lower league clubs Bristol City and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leicester City thought they'd snapped up a rising star in Ade Akinbiyi when he signed for £5.5 million in 2000.

    They hadn't.

    Poor old Akinbiyi became a figure of fun for his rotten goal-scoring record (11 goals in 58 appearances) and ability to miss strings of gilt-edged chances.

    Akinbiyi later joined Burnley, where he was sent off two minutes into his debut. He even managed a stint in the MLS, registering 14 consecutive blanks for Houston Dynamo before being let go.

The Bench

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    Dishonorable mentions must also go to:

    Sean Dundee (Liverpool FC), Pascal Cygan (Arsenal), Juan Sebastion Veron (Manchester United and Chelsea), Sergi Rebrov (Spurs), Tomas Brolin (Leeds), the entire Swindon Town team of 1992-1993, and Gareth Southgate for missing that penalty!