10 notable football felons: Some lovable, some otherwise

  • Marlon King:

King has vaulted to the top of the rogues gallery with his second conviction. The first one occurred in 2002 for stealing a car and then pretending to the police it was his own. That time too he was given 18 months in jail which was commuted to five, enabling his return to Gillingham. The most recent offense is far more serious and involves assault and battery on a young university girl who spurned his advances at a club. After screaming ” Do you know who I am?” he punched her in the face, breaking her nose and leaving her bloodied. This took place in 2008 while King was on loan to Hull from Wigan and had gone out to drinking after the Middlesbrough game with some friends. Two words. Real classy. He should be given another 18 months for his Jeopardy! question.

  • Joey Barton:

What can one say about Barton? While on bail for assaulting Man City team mate Ousmane Dabo during a training session, Barton goes out drinking with his brother and cousin in a Liverpool bar and ends up in a fight where he punches a man 14 or 15 times in a drunken rage and then assaults a teenager witnessing the fight. The judge gave him six months for his “cowardly and extremely violent” attacks. Barton was to be arraigned next month for the Dabo trial. One redeeming feature, Barton seems to direct his violence against other men. With just one yellow card, he seems to be keeping himself out of trouble while Newcastle is in the Championship.

  • Patrick Kluivert:

Kluivert was convicted of vehicular homicide in 1996 after ploughing into a pedestrian killing him and injuring his wife. The Ajax striker was drunk and driving at twice the posted speed. The judge recommended nine months imprisonment but to the disgust of the Dutch public, he ended with just a two year driving ban and 240 hours of community service. He was then a football god but his career was marked with similar incidences of reckless behaviour and impulsivity leading to a slow decline. He is now looking to jump start his coaching career at AZ Alkmaar. It comes as a bit of a shock that he is only 33 years, and the Dutch top scorer with 40 goals. Ahead of legends like Cruyff, Van Basten, Bergkamp, and Van Nistelrooy. He retired from international duty in 2004.

  • Rene Higuita:

The flamboyant Colombian goalkeeper was imprisoned for 7 months for profiting from kidnapping. He acted as a go in between rival drug lords Pablo Escobar and Carlos Molina when Escobar kidnapped Molina’s daughter. Higuita secured her release by delivering the ransom money and pocketed $64,000 for his services. He was later arrested as under Colombian law such payments are illegal. Higuita was famous by then for his Scorpion Kick and his brilliant but erratic goalkeeping. He holds the record for most number of goals scored by a goalkeeper along with Jose Luis Chilavert, another equally riveting personality.

  • Bernard Tapie:

Even before Florentino Perez dreamed up the concept, Tapie was probably the first person in the world to build a Galacticos team while president of Olympique Marseille. He signed Rudi Voller, Eric Cantona, Fabien Barthez, Klaus Allofs, Abedi Pele, Enzo Francescoli, Chris Waddle, Didier Deschamps and even got Franz Beckenbauer to coach them for a year. Under Tapie, L’Om won four Ligue titles and the 1993 CL title. In 1994, it was discovered that Tapie had paid money to three Valenciennes players to underperform and thus drop the match to L’OM. The club was stripped of its Ligue title and dropped down to the second division following further allegations of financial irregularities. Tapie was convicted of match fixing, subornation of witnesses, and tax fraud. He served 6 months of jail time. In 1996, he acted in Claude Lelouche’s “Hommes, femmes, mode d’emploi” in a character role written for him.

  • Tony Adams:

What is it about English footballers and drinking? The former England captain and number 3 on the greatest Arsenal players list had a huge drinking problem. “Many of those were accrued amid an off-pitch haze of incidents: the day-long benders, the thumping hang-overs, the falling down the stairs, the childish letting-off of fire extinguishers.” In December 1990, Adams drove into a wall while drunk, and was jailed for four months and served two. Adams began climbing back to recovery under Arsene Wenger’s gentle guidance when the AS Monaco coach took over in 1996. Adams with his personal experience has been offering advise to fellow abuser, Joey Barton for his drinking problems.

  • Peter Storey:

Back to back Arsenal players with Tony Adams. But lets break up the monotony of booze addled Brit footballers charged with assault or causing grievous harm to a wall. Lets go to racketeering and pornography. Storey was one of the hardest tackling defenders in his time, an integral part of the 1971 team that won the Double. The hard man stuff could rub of well with the slightly wimpy group that we have at present. The other stuff not so much. “In 1979, two years after leaving the club, he was fined £700 and given a six-month suspended jail sentence for running a brothel in East London. In 1980 he was jailed for three years for financing a plot to counterfeit gold coins. In 1990 he was jailed for 28 days for attempting to import 20 pornographic videos from Europe which he’d hidden in his spare tyre.”

  • Guus Hiddink:

Chelsea wants him. Netherlands wants him. For different reasons. The coach that everyone would love to have was slapped with six month suspended jail sentence for evading £940,000 in taxes by claiming to be a Belgian citizen from 2002 to 2003. Dutch prosecutors want nine months. But Russia could not care less. They have Slovenia to contend with in the repechage to seal a World Cup spot. The Russian FA said that Hiddink had no problems with taxes in their country. Real Madrid are you listening? Pay off the Dutch and get Hiddink on board after his Russian revolution.

  • Luciano “Lucky” Moggi:

The ex-Juventus general manager and in the eye of the Calciopoli storm was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for his part in match fixing and bribery. Juventus was stripped of its 2005 and 2006 title and relegated to the second division. A series of wiretapping revealed that Moggi had conversations with football officials to influence referee selection and achieve favourable results for Juventus. In addition, Moggi has been banned from football for five years. In a tragic twist, Gianluca Pessotto, Juve’s team manager attempted suicide as a consequence of Calciopoli while Italy was World Cup bound. The distractions notwithstanding, Italy was able to win its fifth title. Juve seems to have rebounded smartly from its problems and they look to give Inter a run for this season’s Scudetto.

  • Eric Cantona:

Cantona was last seen parading at Cannes as the star of Ken Loach’s “Looking for Eric.” In February 1995, in a match against Crystal Palace, Cantona went looking for an abusive spectator in the stands and scythed him down with a “kung fu” kick. For that he was fined £10,000 pounds and given a fortnight in jail which was later commuted to 120 hours of community service. But he redeemed himself with a literary gem in his press conference by saying “when the seagulls follow the trawler it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.” This is only a bit less mystifying than Donald Rumsfeld’s “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

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One comment on “10 notable football felons: Some lovable, some otherwise
  1. yeah,
    “Many of those were accrued amid an off-pitch haze of incidents: the day-long benders, the thumping hang-overs, the falling down the stairs, the childish letting-off of fire extinguishers.”

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