It is easy to name the best players in the Premier League but it is not so easy to name the worst. Any fan would be able to tell you all kinds of crap players that have (dis)graced their team with their presence but who overall were the true worst?
All of us have thought time and again that they could do better than so-and-so but which players were you probably right?
Now, before every single person shouts Ali Dia at his or her monitor I’m not going to include players who only made one or two games before being found out (so no Istevan Kozma or Antunes or Dia), but those who despite being useless, actually managed to sustain a career in the top flight.
Also, these players had to be crap throughout their career; they cannot have been successful elsewhere only to flop at a certain club (no Jon-Dahl Tommasson, Jean-Alain Boumsong or Stephane Guivarc’h then), as many players have been good elsewhere only to fail to adapt to England or playing in a better standard of League.
Here’s my list
25) Andy Dibble (Manchester City and Middlesborough): In my opinion, he was the worst keeper ever to play in the Premier League. He was hapless and conceded such soft goals, usually due to his poor positioning and technique. At Boro he played 2 games and conceded 9 goals!
24) Stewart Nethercott (Spurs): Yet another hapless Spurs fullback. He was prone to making terrible lapses of judgement and was forever getting burned by opposition wingers and was about as graceful as a rollerblading Hippo.
23) Jimmy Carter (Arsenal): Yes, I know he played for Liverpool but he left before the Premier League started. He was mediocre on his best days and sort of hung around the fringes of Arsenal. Think the president would have made a better midfielder!
22) Danny Cadamarteri (Everton): He was touted as a top prospect and became a fan favourite scoring 4 goals in his first 3 months and Cadamarteri wigs (he used to have dreadlocks) became visible all over Goodison Park. He then only scored 4 more in the next 4 years. He was lightning fast but that was all.
21) Stewart Castledine (Wimbledon): A player who was touted for great things and never fulfilled his promise. He ended up becoming a model and a TV presenter.
20) Mikkel Beck (Middlesborough): Consistently Middlesborough have bought some total crap, especially up front. Beck fitted right in. The Beck who released ‘Odelay’ would have been better.
19) Julian Watts (Leicester, Sheffield Wednesday): Another defender who seemed to have no idea of positioning or anticipation. He was regularly caught in possession and was a total liability. Another player who makes the ‘worst-ever lists’ of every club he played for!
18) Peter Fear (Wimbledon): I can only ever recall this player putting crosses into the box, not always a bad thing, except from what I remember he hit them almost vertically! He was the kind of player that would not have cut it at a better team and did well to play the 70odd games he did. Anyone remember in Match magazine the ‘what if Peter Fear was’ feature?
17) Ashley Ward (many teams!): This guy was about as mobile as the Statue of Liberty and couldn’t finish his dinner. However, he did score for 5 Premier League teams and has suffered 4 relegations. Usually hearing your team has signed Ashley Ward meant it was gonna be a long season!
16) David Kerslake (Spurs): Lets be honest here, Spurs have had some awful fullbacks. Kerslake is definitely in the Spurs hall-of-shame!
15) Michele Padovano (Crystal Palace): Signed for a pretty big fee and a contract to match, and was expected to fulfil some of the promise he showed in his early years in Italy. Instead he failed to string 2 games together and was a complete waste of space, only managing one goal. After bleeding the club dry he then took them to court over money he was owed when the club were on the brink of bankruptcy.
14) Jason Lee (Nottingham Forest): He’s got a Pineapple, on his head! Lee was a striker who would have struggled to finish his dinner. His being ridiculed regularly on TV show ‘Fantasy Football League’ permanently destroyed his confidence and led to the Pineapple chants (due to his haircut).
13) Bjorn Tore Kvarme (Liverpool): A personal choice for me. Kvarme failed to master the basics, such a running. Imagine Maggie Simpson but 6 feet tall and Norwegian and that’s Kvarme as he was incapable of taking three steps without falling over. Famously fell flat on his face in the Merseyside Derby allowing Danny Cadamarteri to score.
12) Ysrael Zuniga (Coventry City): Scored a stack of goals in Peru but only managed 4 for Coventry in over 2 years. He failed in Argentina too and quit football to work in the Dental industry!
11) Ade Akinbiyi (Leicester and Crystal Palace): Ade Akinbadbuyi, as he became known signed for Leicester for £5.5.m and was terrible. He was regarded as the leagues worst striker and was sold off to Crystal Palace. He ended up training by shooting at an empty net in order to help him remember where the goal was. It didn’t work.
10) Igors Stepanovs (Arsenal): I think his performance when Man Utd beat the Gunners 6-1 is the worst individual performance I have ever seen by a top flight player. Seemed a bit too fragile to really be a top player.
9) Brett Angell (Everton): Now, Everton weren’t sure about Angell (a defender converted to a striker) so they took him on loan, twice, in a try-before-you-buy sort of deal. He made two substitute appearances in those spells combined. They bought him anyway and lived to regret it as he scored 1 goal. He had a reasonable goal scoring record in the lower divisions but didn’t cut it against good opposition. Mention his name to an Evertonian and they will either burst out laughing or squirm uncomfortably.
8) Carl Leaburn (Wimbledon): I can remember reading a football magazine as a kid and someone asked a fan to sum Leaburn up. All he said was “gangly oaf” and he was spot on. He only managed 4 goals in over 60 games for Wimbledon. He did score 75 goals for Charlton in the lower leagues but it took him over 11 years!
7) Andrea Silenzi (Nottinhgam Forest): He was the first Italian in the Premier League and may be the worst. He came on a massive (at the time) contract but looked completely disinterested the whole time at Forest. He lost his place to Jason Lee (which is the equivalent of a financial adviser being replaced by Bernie Madoff) and was sent back to Italy on loan. He refused to return and his contract was torn up by Forest.
6) Torben Piechnik (Liverpool): Mention this guy to a Liverpool fan and they will wince. One of Graeme Souness’ transfer masterstrokes that set the club back almost ten years, Piechnik didn’t seem comfortable on a football pitch, never mind one of the worlds best leagues. He basically was signed after being part of the Denmark EURO 92 winning squad, but like John Jensen, he was total rubbish.
5) Eric Djemba-Djemba (Man Utd and Villa): So bad they named him twice. He was meant to be Roy Keane’s replacement but was truly awful. Failed to make the grade at Vila too.
4) Ian Ormondroyd (Leicester): Imagine Peter Crouch but slower, with less ability and worse finishing and control. That’s Ormondroyd. For some ungodly reason he was regularly deployed on the wing.
3) Lee Dong Gook (Middlesborough): Beats off many, many contenders to be Boro’s worst-ever striker. He managed a whole 0 goals in the league (still more than Jeremie Aliadiere!) and was so far out of his depth he had to play with a lifebelt on. He seemed unable to read the game and his finishing was terrible. His confidence was pretty much at rock-bottom for the entirety of his spell in England.
2) Junior Lewis (Leicester): Regularly voted Leicester’s worst ever player, Lewis was a midfielder who was a Peter Taylor project, having taken him to Gillingham from non-league football and 2 years later to Leicester. Lewis was very ungainly and his limited technique was exposed quickly at the highest level.
1) Gareth Farrelly (Everton): A truly awful midfielder for Everton who could run for 90 minutes but that was it. His passing was bad, tackling erratic and his shots used to trouble the crowd more than opposition keepers. He did however score a 25-yard screamer that preserved Everton’s Premier League status, his only goal. Still crap though.
Who would you include?