10 Failed Footballers – Those who didn't live up to the hype.

For every Phil Jones or Chris Smalling, there are many many more, who at one stage in their career, seemed to be up there with the best, only to fall away, drop out of sight completely and end up as water-boy for their local side in the Blue Square North. And that’s if they were lucky. Here is the list of the best 10 players who ‘had it all,’ only to make a complete hash of their careers and fall into obscurity.

  1. Richard Wright – A £6million move to Arsenal had him earmarked as the next David Seaman. However it wasn’t just the ponytail Wright lacked in following in Seaman’s footsteps, but also the ability. 12 appearances for Arsenal later, and Mr Wenger shipped him on to Everton, who rated him so highly they kept him as understudy to 37-year-old Nigel Martyn. Spells in the reserves at West Ham, Ipswich and Sheffield United followed before ending up unwanted on the scrap-heap this summer. All this during a period when England were crying out for an assured pair of hands between the sticks. I think the phrase is missed opportunity…
  1. Matt Jansen – Only a stomach bug kept Matt Jansen from making his England debut in 2002 against Paraguay after impressive form for Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League. Indeed if you play Championship Manager 03/04, Jansen becomes a £20 million striker and an England regular. The real world however, is much crueller. A motorcycle accident severely affected his mental state and he flittered out of the game faster than Usain Bolt runs the 100 metres. He has since attended more trials than a County Court judge and apparently now plies his trade as a property consultant, whilst turning out for Non-League teams Leigh Genesis and Chorley. Who says being a footballer is a glamorous life?
  1. Francis Jeffers – Despite having the largest ears in football, Jeffers had the world at his feet after an £8million move to Arsenal and a goal on his England debut. He turned out to be Arsene Wenger’s biggest transfer mistake (though we haven’t seen the ludicrously priced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain play yet,) and fell faster through the leagues than Ryan Giggs’s trousers once away from his missus. Poor Francis couldn’t even cut the mustard in Australia, where Dwight Yorke and Robbie Fowler banged them in from their Zimmer frames, and now he’s been released from Motherwell, Jeffers looks certain to be included in every wasted potential article written about footballers for the foreseeable future.
  1. Freddy Adu – Drafted by D.C United in the MLS at the age of 14, Freddy Adu was meant to symbolise the rise in quality of the game in theU.S.What a disastrous symbolisation. Enormous hype followed a move to Benfica and Adu clearly crumbled under the pressure, never getting anywhere close to achieving the potential he showed as a youngster. Freddy visited more countries around Europe than Michael Palin in trying to find success at a club, but in the end, he has settled for a move back to Philadelphia Union in what can only be described as the most disappointing career ever, except for perhaps Cheryl Cole’s attempts in becoming a solo artist…
  1. Danny Cadamarteri – Given that he achieved something Wayne Rooney never did, scoring Merseyside Derby, this being in the first 3 months of his career back in 1997, Danny Cadamarteri could have been the darling of Goodison way before Rooney, Rodwell or even new starlet Ross Barkley could graduate from Everton’s academy. Instead he offers a stark reminder to how badly a career can go. A drugs ban and an assault charge have hardly helped Danny achieve the glory he should have done, but alas, the only thing he will be remembered for will be the imitation Jason Lee pineapple haircut when he first burst onto the scene. Now playing for Huddersfield, Cadamarteri has been passed around more than Danielle Lloyd by Premiership footballers and his career seems destined to end without anyone remembering his name.
  1. Lee Sharpe – 193 appearances should have ensured Lee Sharpe enjoyed a long-lasting career at the top-level, despite moving on from Old Trafford. Apart from the fact he thought he was George Best Mark II. He did define the modern era playboy footballer, the looks, the hairstyle and the ladies all belonged to him, ultimately resulting in the end of his Manchester United career. Spells at Leeds and Bradford ended in nothing and Sharpe completely disappeared, appearing for European heavyweights Garforth Townand Icelandic side Grindavik. Lee has now sealed his place as a low-list celebrity, developing a career in reality TV, taking on literally any game show that will come his way. In fact, his ability as a footballer has been forgotten so much that during an advertising campaign for Nourkrin, a baldness treatment, he was billed as ‘Lee Sharpe, of Celebrity Love Island fame!’
  1. Stan Collymore – A former holder of the British transfer record, after an £8.5million move from Nottingham Forest to Liverpool, Stan should have been one of the Premiership’s greatest, only for controversy to dog him throughout his career. Lacking the mental discipline to succeed at the very top, Stan became a disruptive influence, developing addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling and even dogging. Serious depression followed, causing unsympathetic fans to chant ‘You’re mad and you know you are’ at him, yet Stan’s post-career activities, following an early retirement seemed to have proved them right. As well as TV and radio roles, Stan also appeared in the film Basic Instinct II, fancying himself as the new Vinnie Jones, or maybe just fancying the opportunity to watch Sharon Stone unfolding her legs, whilst he has also declared his support for Republic, a group that campaigns for a democratic alternative to the monarchy. You cannot say his life hasn’t been interesting.
  1. Stefan Moore – In 2003, Aston Villa uncovered a pair of brothers, Stefan and Luke, who looked capable of taking the game by storm, offering hope that England would finally have a pair of brothers better, and hopefully more likeable than the Nevilles. Wrong. While Luke’s career hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, at least he is still kicking about at the top scale of English football. Stefan however, either decided he’d become an advertisement for Non-League football, trying to fire a lowly team to glory in a Football Manager esque fashion or he was just plain useless. I’m going to vote for the second one. While Villa supporters bang on about how he was ‘the one that got away,’Mooreis smashing them in for the mighty Halesowen Town and St Neots Town in the lower Southern Leagues. That’s what I call a ruined career.
  1. Jody Morris – Morris originally developed his reputation as a tough-tackling midfielder for Chelsea, rather in the mould of Dennis Wise. Unfortunately, off-field antics didn’t match the feminist nature of his name, as Jody became embroiled in a number of legal battles as his career wore on. Aside from charges for drink-driving and common assault, there were a number of nasty incidents involving sexual assault and allegations that he abused American tourists at Heathrow just hours after 9/11. As his reputation dropped, so did his career, failing to impress at Leeds, Millwall or Rotherham. So he headed where all washed up footballers seem to end. The Scottish Premier League. Except he didn’t quite make it there. He only signed for St Johnstone, of Scottish Division One…
  1. Kieron Dyer – For a man who’s made 33 appearances for England, this may seem a slightly bizarre choice. Not when considering how many caps he should have had. Dyer set the Premiership on fire in his early days at Ipswich and Newcastle and David Beckham must have been genuinely worried for his England place going into the new millennium. Injuries then wrecked his career and set him on the road to rock and ruin. Dyer didn’t help himself mind, with off field antics that gave even Sir Bobby Robson a hard time, highlighted by his infamous on-field brawl with Lee Bowyer. 30 appearances in 4 years at West Ham cost them £450,000 a game and Dyer’s talent seemed long-lost and forgotten. His name resurfaced this summer, upon signing for newly promoted QPR, only to get injured 7 minutes into his debut. What a waste of talent.

3 thoughts on “10 Failed Footballers – Those who didn't live up to the hype.

  1. Nice article! Have to feel sorry for Kieron Dyer. As a Newcastle fan I always felt that we were a stronger team when we had him in it, even after his off-field problems. Without his long term injuries could have been a Premier League superstar…


  2. That’s true, he has to be the unluckiest player the Premiership has seen for a while. Being a Leeds fan, Michael Bridges looked as if he could have set the world alight, but again injuries ruined a potentially brilliant career.

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