Thursday, 5 March 2009

Inglorious Bastards - Part 1

Heya folks,

Well, here’s ODF’s batch of rejects Mark One (see yesterday’s blog for more details) – the keeper and shambolic defence are first up on the wasted potential watch…

Beginning with the goalkeeper there’s a case for at least two ex-Liverpool shot stoppers – David James and Chris Kirkland. In both cases there are qualifiers; for one, most people seem to view James’ career as a success due to the amount of Premier League appearances he’s racked up in the last 15 years but then again he has blown a title for Liverpool (1997) and screwed up all manner of times for England. Then there’s Kirkland who could be seen as an unfair addition due to his persistent injuries. In both cases, it’d be harsh to say they’re the biggest goalkeeping wasters to grace the Premier League. Elsewhere, lest we forget, there’s Massimo Taibi, who began Premier League life as some manner of Superman versus Liverpool only to end up doing this.

However, all things considered I’m going for a man who had every opportunity and was shown up to be just plain not good enough for the Premier League. Richard Wright I’m looking at you. The man who famously had it written into his contract at Ipswich, that he would only leave if Arsenal came in for him. Arsenal did indeed come in for his signature and frankly he was appalling. Soon he was shipped off to Everton where he racked up 60 appearances in five seasons. Could have been Arsenal’s number one for a decade or more had he lived up to early promise he’s now back at Ipswich. I doubt he had that Arsenal clause written into his present contract during negotiations though.

Now for the back four and I’m going for an old favourite in Darren Peacock. Bought for a huge chunk of change at the time by Kevin Keegan Peacock initially looked solid enough in beside Philippe Albert only to fall to pieces in the famous 95/96 run-in and never recover. Soon enough he was at Blackburn and as injuries took their toll he went down the divisions.

Joining him at centre half well… if this was a piece on over-achievement we’d have David May in immediately but unfortunately there was never any raving about his talent, just amazement that United signed him followed by years of derision. Winston Bogarde could also get it but he was shit on a point of principle (according to him), valiantly fighting the powers that be at Chelsea whilst downing Bacardi and coke all day after training and picking up £40,000 a week (which kinda makes him our hero at ODF). Instead, the place in this team goes to Phil Babb.

I hate to say it (as he's supposed to be a decent bloke) but the man came to Liverpool for a record fee and spent the rest of his career meandering about the ‘Pool defence with none of the authority he had shown for Coventry or, in particular, for Ireland during the 1994 World Cup. For a man who once shared a pitch with Baresi and McGrath and looked the part, he would soon become one of the weak links which led to Roy Evans’ downfall.

At left back of course there’s the case for Roberto Carlos who scored that goal before moving to Real Madrid and generally fluffing free kicks for a decade. But, the fact of the matter is the guy won the Spanish League on four occasions and Champions League three times. He’s out on pure achievement. There’s no such problem when it comes to Ian Harte (okay there’s an Irish theme building here but maybe we over-hype them too much, anyway psychology debates another day).

He was Ireland’s Roberto Carlos of course after a blistering start to his Leeds career. He was there in the good times and he was more evident in the bad. He missed that penalty against Spain (so tragic there’s no clip on YouTube, only a montage of highlights from the 2002 World Cup and I won’t inflict that upon ye), then he went to Spain and played halfway decent whenever I saw him at Levante though was often in and out of the side. All this was before returning to Blighty and the embarrassment of being unable to find a club after a brief stint with Sunderland. Once wanted by Europe’s elite (or so his agent said), now forced to refute rumours he’s going to St Johnstone. Nice.

Finally at right back and giving the whole thing a little continental flavour it’s Paulo Renato Rebocho Ferreira. Come on, the guy cost Chelsea £13.2 million and a season and a bit later would find his boss, Jose Mourinho, saying

“What can you do with Paulo? Nothing”

He also said the same thing about Geremi, yet picked the Cameroonian midfielder consistently ahead of Ferreira at right back. All this for a player who was considered one of Europe’s top defenders after Porto’s Champions League win in 2004.

I’m sure there’s some I haven’t thought of and indeed some of the above who ye think don’t warrant their place so feel free to jeer/cheer/mock/correct information or just send on general ramblings in the comments section.

‘Til tomorrow folks, JJ

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