15 Footballers Who Spent Time in Jail

Pauly Kwestel@pkwestelWFAN Correspondent ISeptember 22, 2011

15 Footballers Who Spent Time in Jail

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    There are many people who believe that professional footballers live above the law. When they get into trouble with the law, they seem to get away without barely a slap on the wrist.

    Just recently Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was involved in an altercation at a nightclub that left him facing assault charges. If convicted, Gerrard could have been looking at time in prison, which would put his glory days at Anfield behind him. However, as many people expected Gerrard got off unscathed, with many people citing that he is a professional footballer as one of the reasons why.

    However, as footballers are punished on the field with yellow and red cards, they are not actually above the law off the field either. There have been a few who have been caught breaking the law, and have been made to pay the punishment.

    Here are 15 footballers who have spent some time of their life in jail, in no particular order.

15. Adam Chapman

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    In 2009 Chapman pleaded guilty to causing the death of another man because of reckless driving. He was sentenced to 30 months in a Youth Offenders Institute.

    The young Irishman has just been released from prison earlier this month and is set to resume his career with Oxford United. He has scored five goals in his Oxford United career.

14. James Cotterill

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    In a twist to what's usual Cotterill was jailed for something that happened ON the pitch. In a 2006 FA Cup match, while playing for Barrow, Cotterill punched Sean Rigg of Bristol Rovers. The shot left Rigg with a double fracture of the jaw, forcing him to eat with a teaspoon and drink through a straw.

    After the incident was seen on Match of the Day that night in England, Cotterill was banned from all football by the English FA until March of 2007.

    In January of 2007 Cotterill was sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to grievous bodily harm. 

    He would be released just a few weeks later in February, however he was put on house arrest, forcing him to wear an ankle bracelet around his home.

13. Ian Wright

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    The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace star simply thought he could get away with something totally avoidable.

    At one point in time Wright owned two cars but decided not to pay his insurance or his taxes on the two automobiles. While this probably worked out dandy for a while, eventually the government found him out, and he was sentenced to 14 days in prison for his actions, or lack there of.

12. Stig Tofting

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    After a successful career in Germany the Danish footballer moved his career to the Premier League's Bolton Wanderers where he would run into trouble.

    In a celebration with his Danish teammates following the 2002 World Cup, Tofting head-butted the owner of a restaurant in Copenhagen. After trial, Tofting was convicted for assault and sentenced to four months in prison. 

    Following his conviction, his contract at Bolton was reduced until of the end of 2003 and he finished the 2003 campaign serving his prison sentence.

11. Peter Swan

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    Peter Swan was one of the greatest players to ever play for Sheffield Wednesday. He will not be remembered for that though. Though he was a potential world class player, Swan had eight of his best years stolen from him as he was banned from Football by the FA.

    In 1962 Swan and two other Wednesday teammates bet on Wednesday to lose their final match of the season to Ipswich Town F.C. Ipswich won the match 2-0, and while Swan says they won the match fairly, he also said he does not know what he would have done had Wednesday been winning.

    When the gambling ring had been found out, Swan was banned from football and was later sentenced to four months in prison.

10. Nizar Trabelsi

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    Trabelsi spent one season in Germany with club Fortuna Dusseldorf, and boy what a cover that was. He made just one league appearance for the club, scoring a goal, a pretty big accomplishment for someone that will not be remembered as a professional footballer.

    Just after his first match, Trabelsi was arrested for having connections to Al-Qa'ida. Trabelsi was convicted of plotting an attack against American soldiers stationed at a Belgian airbase. He was also suspected of plotting the Paris Embassy Terrorist Plot, and was allegedly supposed to be the suicide bomber who would carry out the attack.

    In 2003 Trabelsi was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

9. Lee Hughes

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    The West Bromwich Albion striker's life took a turn for the worse in 2004. One night Hughes was behind the wheel when he crashed his Mercedes with another car, killing a passenger in the other car. 

    To make matters worse Hughes and his passenger fled the scene, amid reports that Hughes had been driving drunk. The following day Hughes turned himself in and was released on police bail.

    In 2004 Hughes was convicted of death by dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison and banned from driving for 10 years.

8. Joey Barton

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    It's no shock that a man who plays the way Joey Barton plays would get himself into off the field trouble as well as on the field trouble.

    Barton has twice been convicted for violent charges. The first incident came when he drove his car into a pedestrian at 2 a.m. in the Liverpool City Centre. Barton was convicted of assault and served 77 days in prison.

    Barton was released from prison on July 28, 2008. However, during his sentence, on July 1, 2008, Barton received a four month suspended sentence after admitting assault occasioning actual body harm against his former Manchester City teammate Ousame Dobo.

    Violence seems to run in the Barton family as well. Joey's half-brother, Michael, was given a life term in prison for his involvement in the racial murder of Anthony Walker in 2005.

7. Mickey Thomas

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    The Welsh footballer seemed to have quite a thing going for him at Wrexham, until he was found out.

    In 1993 Thomas was arrested and convicted of counterfeiting and money laundering, where he laundered the money through Wrexham's trainees. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. 

6. Peter Storey

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    Storey first won the double with Arsenal in 1971, and then did a prison double later on in his life.

    In 1980 Storey was sentenced to three years in prison after financing a plot to forge gold coins. Ten years later Storey was given an additional 28 days in prison for attempting to import 20 pornographic videos.

5. George Best

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    One of the greatest players to ever play for Manchester United, Best's career and life, was marred by a crazy lifestyle off the pitch.

    Best was a well known alcoholic, which often interfered with his footballing career. In 1984 Best's life began hitting rock bottom. He was convicted of drunk driving, assaulting a police officer, and failing to answer bail and was thus spent some time in jail.

    Best's crazy lifestyle would get the best of him though, as his alcoholism would catch up to him, leading to his death in 2005 at the relatively young age of 59.

4. Duncan Ferguson

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    In Liverpool, Duncan Ferguson may be fondly remembered for leading Everton to their 1995 FA Cup victory over Manchester United, and for helping them navigate through the qualifying stages of the 2006 UEFA Champions League.

    However off the field Ferguson had a whole bevy of problems, including four assault charges. Three of these charges simply resulted in fines, with two of them between taxi drives and one altercation with a fisherman.

    The charge that stand out though is when while playing for Rangers in 1994, Ferguson headbutted Raith Rovers defender John McStay. Despite this being an on-field incident, Ferguson was sentenced to three months in prison for the headbutt.

3. Rene Higuita

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    While Higuita will be remembered as a terrific goalkeeper who brought a different style with him making him a very exciting player to watch, it is not so shocking that a Columbian footballer from the 1990's somehow ended up in the middle of some shady business.

    In 1993 Higuita was imprisoned for being involved in a kidnapping. The kidnapping involved famous Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar. While Higuita's job was simply to deliver the ransom money, he was paid for his services, and it is against Colombian law to profit from a kidnapping.

2. Jan Molby

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    The Liverpool defender missed three months of the 1988-89 campaign due to being imprisoned for drunk driving. Earlier that year, Molby had crashed his car outside of a Liverpool nightclub while drunk.

    His sentencing did not come until October, but Liverpool decided to stand by their player. When he got out of jail he was placed right back into the first team until an injury in March kept him out.

    The following season he helped Liverpool win their 18th league title.

1. Tony Adams

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    The terrific Arsenal defender went through his whole career battling a problem with alcoholism. In May of 1990 this caught up with him, when Adams crashed his car into a wall near his house. Upon testing he was found to be 27 times over the legal limit.

    Adams was sentenced to four months in prison in December, though he was released early in the sentence in February. 

    During the mid 90's Adams publicly admitted that he had a problem with alcoholism and began treatment to begin his recovery.


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