Top Ten Greediest Footballers

We hear every week from some source that footballers are overpaid, undeserving, greedy… you get the picture. Yet some are far greedier than others. So greedy in fact, they make a banker’s bonus look like change in a beggar’s hat. In the wake of Asamoah Gyan’s astonishing move to the UAE, it is worth revealing ten of the greediest players ever to play our beautiful game.

  1. Asamoah Gyan – Given the article is based around his move, it seems sensible to start there. I used to like Asamoah. Who didn’t? You couldn’t help but feel sorry for him when he missed that penalty in the World Cup Quarter Final, or even cheer when he scored the late equalizer against England at Wembley in March. Maybe it was his infectious dancing celebrations or the sensational yellow boots. Either way,Sunderland fans thought they had a ready-made replacement when Darren Bent left, a man to fire them to mid table glory. Ah. Not quite the case. It shocked me to hear then, that he’d secured a loan move to little known Al-Ain for the rest of the season. Maybe he’d fallen out with Steve Bruce, much in the same way Tony Pulis and James Beattie had a naked changing room brawl over a Christmas Party. Or a need to be near relatives like Carlos Tevez’s supposed excuse for leaving Man City. Wrong. Gyan’s excuse is “I’m here to see how Asian leagues are.” A valid reason for swapping the greatest league in the world for something possibly akin to the Blue Square North. That and £200k a week…
  1. Harry Kewell – To say Harry Kewell left Leeds United under something of a cloud would be a slight understatement. Kewell and his slime-ball of an agent, Bernie Mandic, managed to engineer themselves a mere £2 million quid out of the £5 million Liverpool paid for him. Not bad for a day’s work. Apart from almost financially crippling the club who set him on his way, Kewell then turned out to be rubbish. Absolutely useless for the Reds. More people probably remember that Scott Carson was on the bench for Liverpool in the Champions League Final of 2005, than that Kewell started it. He still didn’t learn. On leaving Liverpool, he rather unwisely chose Galatasaray over Italian giants Roma, the Turkish side being the club involved with the stabbing of two Leeds fans during Kewell’s time with the Yorkshire outfit. According to Kewell, the Turkish League was “up and coming.” As was his wage packet. Not content with screwing over two clubs for big wages, upon his release from Turkey a move home to Melbourne Heart seemed a likely option. That is until Kewell demanded at least $2.5 million a season as well as bonuses such as a beach house, a percentage of gate takings, two luxury cars and even a role for his actress wife, Sheree Murphy, in a local soap opera. Some people never learn…
  1. Jimmy Bullard – No way I hear you shout! Jimmy Bullard! The hero of a wash and go advert? YouTube sensation, starring in a number of hilarious videos? Feature of a campaign to get him on the front cover of Fifa 11? It seems Jimmy; fans favourite for so many years has captured the public’s imagination with his comic antics, yet this can’t be the case for those who have studied the details of recent transfers. It was suspicious enough Jimmy signing for Hull City from Fulham, given the Hull side looked odds on for relegation and there were loud clamours for Jimmy to get an England call up. As it turned out, the four and a half-year contract on £45k a week turned out rather handy when Hull were relegated. With his salary burning up 21% of the club’s wage budget, and Hull staring down the barrel of a proverbial financial gun, you’d have thought he’d gratefully accept a wage cut, especially to join an illustrious club like Celtic on loan. But no, Jimmy demanded a cool £20k more on top of his Hull wage to join, an offer funnily enough Celtic refused. So Jimmy sat on his fat wad of cash until finally Hull ripped up his deal this summer. So next time you chuckle at Jimmy’s amusing antics, remember he’s as slippery a customer as that shampoo he advertises.
  1. Sol Campbell – Big Sol’s 73 Englandcaps mark him down as a recent England legend. After all, his performances for club and country have been superb over the last decade. As for greedy, well his move from local rivals Tottenham to Arsenal were based on ambition as well as financial motivations. Not enough to qualify him in the list alone. However a remarkable thing happened in July 2009 after Notts County had been the subject of a Middle Eastern consortium takeover. They signed this English hero on a 5 year contract. Sol claimed he was there “as a footballer, to keep on winning promotion and getting them up into the Premier League.” Pull the other one Sol… Incidentally Campbell left, playing just one game, after the takeover proved to be phony. Funny that.
  1. Samuel Etoo – Why on earth would one of the greatest strikers in the world leave one of the greatest clubs in the world to go to an unheard of place in Russia where low-level Islamic insurgency has made the republic very unstable, and the players live and train at a training camp outside Moscow for security reasons and travel to Makhachkala for home games, flying about 1,250 miles 15 times a season, whilst Samuel himself is racially abused every week by fans so backward they may as well be living in a pre-Communist era. £8.7 million a season might help…
  1. Carlo Cudicini – Until Roman Abramovitch’s untold fortunes transformed Chelsea into a world superpower, Carlo Cudicini was doing a fantastic job between the sticks to keep Chelsea amongst the Premiership’s top 4. That is until Petr Cech came along. Appearances then became as rare as an Emile Heskey goal, causing the Daily Telegraph to label him as ‘the world’s most un-ambitious footballer.’ He couldn’t complain though, earning around £40k a week. Cudicini though, finally came to his senses in 2009, signing for Spurs to secure regular football…where he has promptly spent the last two seasons sat on the bench behind Heurelho Gomes.
  1. Ashley Cole – Any man with a nickname ‘Cashley Cole’ is going to be somewhere near this list. So here he is. The Premiership’s most hated footballer. On so many levels. Aside from his antics with the ladies and his terrible attitude on and off the field, it is his war of words with former club Arsenal that make him a prime contender for this motley crew of scumbags. Arsenal’s new contract offer of just £55k a week apparently left him “trembling with anger” and feeling like he was being “treated like a slave.” After accepting £120k a week at Chelsea, the next time Arsenal played Chelsea, the Arsenal fans waved fake £20 notes with his face on in the stands. I’m surprised he didn’t jump in to try to grab them.
  1. Samir Nasri – When last season ended, rumours emerged about Nasri’s future at the Gunners. He was linked with Manchester United who needed a creative midfielder to fill the void left by Paul Scholes. Fair enough you thought, Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 6 seasons and United completed their 3rd title in a row. So more than a few eyebrows were raised when Nasri completed a £25million move with huge wages to big spending City. Apparently he was delighted to be joining a club with “more passionate” fans and also claimed he never wanted to join United anyway. Come on Samir, who are you kidding?!
  1. Benni McCarthy – Benni’s career can ultimately be viewed as a pretty successful one, after all, he banged them in for club and country for many a year. That is until he joined West Ham. In two seasons, he made 14 appearances with no goals. Shocker. What happened next was worse. He refused a £1million pay-off, declining to leave in order to earn the £2.7million left on his £38k a week contract, before finally in April accepting £1.5miilion to end his Hammers nightmare. The club vice-chairperson, Karren Brady called him a ‘big fat mistake that cost the club £5million, who was more devoted to filling his belly more than filling the net,” in reference to his weight of 15 stone. He responded by calling her “the devil with a set of tits.” Witty as well as greedy it appears…
  1. Lucas Neill – Upon leaving Blackburn in 2007, it seemed certain that Neill would join Liverpool. Rather surprisingly he chose West Ham, citing the move as purely for ‘footballing reasons,’ a decision which seemed rather odd given West Ham’s love for dicing with the drop zone. When details appeared about his £55k a week wage, everything was easily understood, given that this was twice more than what was on offer at Liverpool. A year later however, he made this even worse, demanding a £20k wage rise to sign a new contract. Fortunately West Ham saw sense, releasing this defender whose best skill is to kick lumps out of the opposition and probably wasn’t worth £15k a week, never mind £70k. He did play a season at Everton but rejected a new contract there to sign for; you guessed it, Australia’s greediest players’ favourite haunt, Galatasaray.

Special regards from this column go to the entire Man City squad, all of whom, let’s be honest, wouldn’t have joined such a previously distinctly average club without the promise of at least tripled wages.

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