Football’s Worst Kits


With the new football season rapidly approaching, a wave of fresh optimism immerses every football fan ‘this season will be better than the last’. It’s at this time of year that our football clubs, the length and breadth of the country launch new kits for the forth-coming season. Star players will be parading the new strips on cat walks and fashion shoots, there will be gimmicks and there will be unique selling points – Arsenal and Aston Villa’s new home shirts are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles, Liverpool’s 3rd strip is controversially blue and Fulham are launching a new skin tight shirt based on the template of recent AS Roma and Italy shirts.

Unfortunately kit makers don’t seem to make shirts anymore that go down in the annals of history as major fashions faux-pas. The home strips remain largely consistent, with minimal creativity being reserved for the away or 3rd strip. Focus is placed on incorporating the name of the sponsor and technology that helps to improve acceleration, explosive power and air flow to the skin.

Although the horror strip has become something of a rarity, fortunately in the 1990’s, the decade of the dungarees, MC Hammer trousers and neon coloured clothing, football kit designers and marketing departments had licence to put any clashing colours together to help flog their wares.

This blog is all about celebrating those ‘horrors’, the monstrosities that still haunt your club to this day, from the ‘decade that style forgot’. There’s also one or two blunders from the last few years for good measure.

So here is 10 of the worst or best in my opinion, and I would love your comments on some others that I might have missed out. (Click on the images to get a better look)

Celtic – away 1991-1992

Celtic, absolutely synonymous with the classic green and white hoops, yet when it comes to away strips they get a little creative. Unfortunately this away shirt from the early 90’s, with the downward zig zag, resembling the fall in Fords stock market value or possibly the outline of the Grampian mountains didn’t match the quality of their home shirt. Combining  pistachio green and brown, this shirt that was due to run for 2 seasons was unceremoniously ditched after just 1 season.

Hull City – home 1992-1993

Designer: “What’s your club’s nickname?” Chairman: “The Tigers.” Designer: “Right, that’ll do.” In a ground-breaking moment in football fashion, Hull unveiled a Tiger-skin shirt in 1992. Nothing of its like has been seen since, although perhaps it inspired some of the outfits worn by Spice Girl Mel B.

Norwich City – home 1992-1994

This early 90’s shocker was affectionately known by fans as the ‘bird poo’ kit, pretty apt considering the team are nicknamed the Canaries. Norwich wore the shirt for consecutive season, which were the first two of the newly formed Premier League giving the shirt and instant place in the collective football memory.

Barcelona – away 1994-1995

Turquoise, a colour rarely seen in football shirts, yet regularly used by Barcelona and often to good effect, but this effort from the mid 90’s, worn under the stewardship of Johann Cruyff and adorned by greats such as Hristo Stoichkov, Romario and Luis Figo did match the quality on the pitch. The turquoise blocks on the front of the shirt resembling some sort of Pablo Picasso tribute, done to poor effect.

Notts County away 1994-1995

Notts County were dropping through the leagues like a stone and this kit did little to improve the morale of fans. A tartan ensemble, with little relation the clubs history did not prove much of a hit on the terraces. Quite why a club 150 miles south of Hadrian’s Wall decided to adopt the Scottish look remains a mystery.

Chelsea – away 1994-1996

Chelsea have had there fair share of stinkers over the last few years. The fluorescent away strip from 2 seasons past, that resembled a cycling jacket was pretty horrific, but this away shirt from the mid 90’s is comfortably their worst. It’s rare you see orange and grey come together – club legends Dennis Wise and Ruud Gullit must grimace seeing pictures of themselves in this shirt.

England (goalkeeper) – away – 1995-1996

The first time an England goalkeeper had worn all red since the glory of 1966 and this was the result – David Seaman looked like a traffic light or a poor mans clown in this kit. In an era where goalkeeper shirts got gradually more and more outrageous, this shirt marked the tipping point with all subsequent England goalkeeper shirts being plain. Only ever worn on three occasions, most famously during England 5-6 penalty shoot out defeat to Germany at Euro ’96, the kit will always be remembered.

Manchester United – away 1995-1996

3-0 to Southampton on an overcast spring morning at ‘The Dell’ in 1996 Sir Alex Ferguson made his team change strip at half time to a blue and white ensemble claiming that the players couldn’t see each other properly, due to colour of the shirt blending in with the crowd. As excuses go, its up there as one of the more far fetched for a poor performance, but it guarantees this shirt a place on in football folklore.

Newcastle United – away 2009-2010

After suffering the humiliation of relegation from the Premier League, Newcastle announced the arrival of their new strip for their promotion push and campaign in the Championship. Most fans expected a classic, understated shirt after the failures of the previous season but this striped, canary yellow was anything but. Fortunately Newcastle went on to win the Championship at a canter so fans will have happy memories to associate with this garish piece. 

Everton – away 2010-2011

Pink or magenta officially is  a colour that doesn’t always find itself translated well in the macho image of football, so it was quite a surprise when Everton released their away strip for last season. The science behind it, is such that Everton believed their players would be more visible to each other in their peripheral vision. It remains to be seen if other teams will copy this approach, yet it is highly unlikely.

WHAT IS THE WORST KIT OF ALL TIME?

Let me know in the comment box below


Advertisements

Premier League – Transfer Flops XI


We’re almost halfway through the transfer window and with hundreds of millions of pounds still burning a hole in the pocket of Premier League managers it is to be expected that there will be some pricey moves ahead of the August 31st deadline.  Every fan loves to see a young player come through the youth set up and force their way into the 1st team, but there is also something uniquely satisfying about the board sanctioning a big money move for a player with an exotic sounding surname or a reputation on the continent.

Unfortunately, for every Peter Schmeichel, there’s a Massimo Taibi, for every Didier Drogba there’s a Mateja Kezman and for every Sammi Hyypia there is a Jean-Alain Boumsong. In this article I will look at some of the most spectacular Premier League flops imported from foreign shores and pick and XI from them.

I would also love your comments on any players you think that I’ve missed out or ones that I’ve unjustly given a bad press.

Gk – Massimo Taibi

£4.7m Venezia to Manchester United

Peter Schmeichel’s gloves were never going to be easy to fill, but Massino Taibi didn’t even come close. After 4 appearances as Manchester United ‘number 1’, in which he conceded 10 including particular howlers against Liverpool  and Chelsea, Taibi was packed back off to Italy never to return to Lancashire. Taibi retired in 2009 playing for Serie B team Ascoli Calcio.

Rb – Per Kroldrup

£5m Udinese to Everton

After qualifying for the Champions League in 2005, Everton manager David Moyes bolstered his defensive options with the acquisition of Danish international defender Kroldrup. After just 1 appearance however, Moyes decided Kroldrup wasn’t quite up to the job and sold him to Fiorentina for an undisclosed fee.

Cb – Marcelino

£6.7m Real Mallorca to Newcastle United

Signed in 1999, Marcelino came with a reputation as a classy centre back, who had been instrumental to Real Mallorca as they established themselves in La Liga and qualified for Europe. Unfortunately, Marcelino suffered injury after injury when he arrived at St. James Park, making just 20 appearances in 4 years, before being released on a free transfer and joining Poli Ejido in the Spanish lower leagues. He retired in 2004 and currently works as an agent.          

Cb – Jean-Alain Boumsong

£8m Rangers to Newcastle United

After just half a season in the SPL with Rangers, Graeme Souness spent £8m bringing the centre back to St. James Park on a lucrative 5 and a half year contract. A string of calamitous mistakes led to Boumsong being dropped, and after just 1 full season he was sold to Juventus for £2.5m. Boumsong currently ply’s his trade in the Greek Super League with Panathiniakos.

Lb – Winston Bogarde

‘Free’ Barcelona to Chelsea

Winston Bogarde, a 20 time capped Dutch international joined Chelsea from Barcelona with a reputation as a powerhouse defender. Unfortunately we never found out what Bogarde was capable of. Early into his time at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri attempted to sell Bogarde, he refused to leave as no one would match his lucrative contract. He spent 3 seasons without making a single appearance before retiring in 2004.  He wrote in his autobiography – ‘This world is about money, so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunates who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don’t care.’

Rw – Sergei Rebrov

£11m Dinamo Kiev to Tottenham Hotspur

In 2000 George Graham broke Spurs transfer record to bring the striker come winger to White Hart Lane. The move failed spectacularly, with Rebrov netting 9 goals in his first season and just 1 in 32 appearances in his second and final season in North London. He was sent out on loan for 2 years with Fenerbache, before being released on a free transfer. Rebrov retired in 2009 playing for Russian Premier League side Rubin Kazan.

Cm – Juan Sebastian Veron 

£28.1m Lazio to Manchester United

Still regarded as a wonderful player, but ridiculously unsuited to the Premier League, Veron joined Manchester United for a then British record transfer fee. During his two seasons at Old Trafford, Veron failed to cope with the pace of the Premier League as well as dislodge Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt from their central midfield berths. He joined Chelsea in 2003 for £15m where he made 7 league appearances in 4 years before being released on a free transfer to play for Argentinian club side Estudiantes, where he remains today.

Cm – Bruno Cheyrou

£4.5m Lille to Liverpool

The ‘New Zidane’ as he was hailed by Liverpool manager and French talent spotter Gerard Houllier only lived up to that mantle due to their shared ‘Capuchin monk esque’ hairstyle. Cheyrou lasted 2 years at Anfield from 2002 before being farmed out on loan to Marseille, then Bordeaux, eventually being released in 2006. He currently plays for French Ligue 2 side Nantes.

Lw – Albert Luque 

£9.5m Deportivo La Coruna to Newcastle United

Graeme Souness makes his second appearance for buying a stinker on the list. In 2005 he purchased Albert Luque for a whopping £9.5m on a 5 year contract, Unfortunately, Luque seemed unable to deal with the robust, physical nature of the Premier League and after 2 seasons in which he made a sum total of 21 appearances he left to join Ajax for an undisclosed fee. Luque is currently without a club after being released by La Liga side Malaga.

Fw- Bosko Balaban

£6m Dinamo Zagreb to Aston Villa

Croatian international striker Balaban was signed by Aston Villa Manager John Gregory in 2001. He lasted 2 and a half years at Villa Park, in which he never started a Premier League game. In 2003 he received a £1m pay off and left to join Club Brugge on a free transfer. He is currently playing for Panionios in the Greek Super League.

 

Fw – Andriy Shevchenko

£30.8m A.C. Milan to Chelsea

Bought by Chelsea, reportedly because he was good friends with owner Roman Abramovich, the former Ballon D’or winner looked like a shadow of the man who twice won the Serie A golden boot with A.C. Milan. In 3 seasons from 2006-2009 Shevchenko managed a meagre 9 goals, before being released on a free transfer to join Dinamo Kiev, where he remains to this day.

Euro ’96 – Then and now?


Euro ’96. In the collective English psyche it was the summer when football came home, when the Three Lions roared and Britannia seeped Cool from every pore.  Britpop snuggled up incestuously with Baddiel and Skinner, who topped the charts with ‘3 Lions’. Every England game at Wembley, inevitably, a sell-out and the loyal fans treated to a feast of beautiful, exciting football. Under the stewardship of Terry Venables, this was an admirably enlightened, flexible and relaxed England side, one for the modern age; they even played a genuine 3-5-2 with Darren Anderton and Steve McManaman marauding the wings, Paul Ince providing bite in midfield, the creativity of Paul Gascoigne feeding the lethal finishing of Alan Shearer.

But what became of the XI who started that semi final against Germany? All are now retired, sitting in dugouts or on comfy coaches offering their pearls of wisdom to a television audience. In fact, from the 22 man squad only Nicky Barmby, Sol Campbell and Phil Neville, comfortably into their twilight years, are still playing professional football. In this piece I take a look at England’s 11 Lions from that day and where they are now.

David Seaman

75 caps (1988-2002)

Arguably England’s finest ever goalkeeper and rated as Arsenal’s 7th best ever player, David Seaman called time on his illustrious career in 2004, after spells with Peterborough United, QPR, Birmingham City, Arsenal (564 appearances over 13 years) and Manchester City. Over his career Seaman won 3 League Championships, 4 F.A. Cups, 1 League and 1 Cup Winners Cup, all of which with Arsenal and was named goalkeeper of the tournament during Euro ’96.

He currently takes part in occasional reality tv shows and also hosts a “Safe Hands” charity golf event annually. Seaman has released two football themed dvds entitled David Seaman’s Goalkeeping Nightmares in 2003 and Jeepers Keepers in 2004.

After scoring 'that penalty' against Spain

Stuart Pearce

78 caps, 5 goals (1987-1999)

Stuart ‘Psycho’ Pearce retired from football in 2002 at the  ripe old age of 39 years old after a distinguished  career  which saw him make over 1000 club and international appearances. His most successful period  being his 13 years at Nottingham Forest where he made an impressive 522  appearances. Pearce’s  career defining moment came when he dispatched his spot kick in the Euro  ’96  shoot out against Spain, avenging the memory of his infamous miss at Italia  ’90, six years earlier. In a  2010 Daily Mail  poll, Pearce was voted England’s greatest ever.

Pearce is currently England U21 manager and assistant to Fabio Capello at senior level. He is also rumoured to be in line to manage the GB football team at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Tony Adams (captain)

66 caps, 5 goals (1987-2000)

Tony Adams spent his entire playing career of 22 years at Arsenal and is considered one of the club’s greatest players of all time by the club’s own fansIn a 2008 poll by the clubs website he was voted their 3rd best ever player behind Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp respectively. Adams is the only player to win the English League Championship in 3 decades (1989, 1991, 1998, 2002) as well as 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners Cup. In total Adams made 669 appearances for Arsenal.

Adams is currently managing Gabala FC in Azerbaijan, where he guided them to 7th in his first full season in charge. This was preceded by unsuccessful stints as manager of Wycombe Wanderers and Portsmouth.

moments after missing England's crucial 6th penalty

Gareth Southgate

57 caps, 2 goals (1995-2004)        

Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate he will always be remembered for his tame penalty miss  against Germany that sent England crashing out of Euro’96, but he enjoyed a successful playing  career with Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. Notable achievements were League  Cup triumphs with Aston Villa in 1999 and Middlesbrough in 2004 (their 1st and only major  trophy).

Southgate was handed his first managerial role at Middlesbrough in June 2006 after  Steve  McClaren had left to manage England. He held the role for 3 three years, in which they suffered  relegation from the Premier League. He was sacked in October 2009 and replaced with Gordon  Strachan. In January 2011, Southgate was confirmed as the FA’s head of elite development, as  well as this he is co commentator and pundit for ITV’s football coverage, a role which he shares  with his Middlesbrough successor (also fired) Gordon Strachan.

Paul Ince

53 caps, 2 goals (1992-2000)

Paul Ince was one of the most tenacious and talented midfielders of his generation. One of a handful of successful English players to ply their trade abroad, where he had a very productive spell with Inter Milan and one of the few to play for, and be loved, by the fans of both Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Ince was the first black player to captain England and was the first black Briton to manage a team in the top flight of a British league.

Since hanging up his boots, Ince has enjoyed a mixed bag when it comes to management. Successful spells with Macclesfield Town and MK Dons have been tapered by a poor showing at Blackburn Rovers and a second less successful stint with MK Dons. Ince is currently out of work after being sacked by his latest club Notts County for losing a club record 9 nine successive games.

Darren ‘Sicknote’ Anderton

30 caps, 7 goals (1994-2001)

Darren Anderton will always be remembered as a player with huge potential, that unfortunately suffered constant injuries that have become the stuff of legend. Multiple torn groin muscles, repeated torn Achilles tendons and hernia issues being his main and most repeat ailments that limited his career, but fortunately he often managed to get fit for major international championships and had successful tournaments for England during Euro ’96 and World Cup France ’98.

Anderton retired from professional football in 2008 with home town club Bournemouth after spells with Portsmouth, Tottenham Hotspurs, Birmingham City and Wolverhampton Wanderers. He has currently just finished working on his autobiography ‘Takenote!’.

David Platt

62 caps, 27 goals (1989-1996)

David Platt will be remembered as a goal scoring midfielder with a record at international level of nearly a goal every other game. His performances for Aston Villa and England earned him a move to Italy, where he had successful stints with Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria. When Platt came back to England to join Arsenal in 1995, the total fees spent on him surpassed £20m, making him the most expensive player in the world at the time.

Platt currently works as part of Roberto Mancini’s coaching team at Manchester City. The two played together at Sampdoria, where they forged a friendship and Mancini offered Platt a role shortly after getting the Manchester City job. Platt has had unsuccessful spells in management with England U21’s, Sampdoria and Nottingham Forest.

Steve McManaman

37 caps, 3 goals (1994-2001)

Steve McManaman is the most decorated player to play at any foreign club, in terms of trophies won overseas. Coming through the ranks at Liverpool, where McManaman spent 10 years winning an F.A Cup and a League Cup, McManaman moved to Real Madrid on a Bosman free transfer to join up with the ‘Galacticos’, playing alongside, in his time their – Zidane, Figo, Raul, Ronaldo, Beckham and Anelka. Although not always a regular starter ‘El Macca’ won over the Bernabeu and managed to pick up 2 La Liga titles, 2 Spanish Super Cups and 2 UEFA Champions League Winners medals. After 5 years in Madrid McManaman left to join Kevin Keegan at Manchester City where he spent two season before retiring.

After his retirement as a player in 2005, McManaman became a football pundit for Setanta Sports and was an associate producer on the film Goal 2. He currently works as an analyst for ESPN on their UK and US coverage where he covers Premier League, MLS and the international football.

Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne

The dentist chair celebration after 'that wonder goal' against Scotland.

57 caps, 10 goals (1988-1998)

Paul Gascoigne’s finest moments often came in an England shirt at major tournaments. At Italia ’90 he set the tournament alight with his vision, passing, skill and technical ability. Then later at Euro’96, where he scored the goal of the tournament his performances in central midfield were key to England’s progression in the competition. Gascoigne came through the ranks at boyhood club Newcastle United, before a move to Tottenham Hotspur in 1998, where he picked up a winners medal in the 1991 F.A.Cup final. Gascoigne received his medal in a hospital bed as he ruptured his knee ligaments early on in a ridiculous challenge on Nottingham Forest’s Gary Charles. In 1992 he moved to Lazio, before a successful spell at Glasgow Rangers from 1995-1998. In his later career he spent time at Middlesbrough, Everton, Burnley, Boston United and Gansu Tianma in China. Gascoigne had short, unsuccessful stint in management with Kettering Town, but vows to take his coaching badges and return to management at some point.

Gascoigne is currently fighting mental health and numerous addiction problems. In March 2011 In February 2011 Gascoigne was given six weeks to pay back £28,000 in taxes or face bankruptcy. No player has captured the hearts and minds of the British public before or since, not just because of his undoubted ability, but his charisma and vulnerability to match.

Teddy Sheringham

51 caps, 11 goals (1993-2002)

Teddy Sheringham played for 9 different clubs during his 26 year stint in professional football. Sheringham played as a forward, effortlessly linking the midfield and the forward line. He had a successful career at the club level, winning almost every domestic honour available with his clubs, most notably ‘The Treble’ with Manchester United in 1999. The pinnacle of his career came when he scored the equaliser and provided the assist for Manchester United’s winning goal in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern Munich. Sheringham retired in 2008 after spells with Millwall, Aldershot, Djurgardens IF (Sweden), Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur (twice), Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham United and Colchester United. In his career he scored 354 goals in 898 appearances.

In 2009, non-league Kent side Beckenham Town announced they were in talks to sign Sheringham on a short term deal. The signing went through, but Sheringham never played a game, with the club later admitting that it was merely a publicity stunt.

Shearer celebrating scoring the opener against Germany in the Euro '96 Semi Final

Alan Shearer

63 caps, 30 goals (1992-2000)

Alan Shearer, widely considered one of England’s greatest ever strikers, finest moment came during Euro’ 96. Shearer finished the tournament as top goalscorer, winning the coveted ‘Golden Boot’. His 5 goals at the tournament led to boyhood club Newcastle United investing a world record fee of £15m, to take Shearer from Blackburn Rovers back to the North East. Shearer spent 10 years with Newcastle, unfortunately never managing to win the trophy he dreamed of for his local club. Shearer is the Premier League all time record goalscorer with 260 goals, a cool 73 clear of his nearest rival Andy Cole and 111 clear of the next player still playing Michael Owen. He is also the record goalscorer for Newcastle United with 206 goals. During his career he won 1 Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers in 1995 and won the ‘PFA Players Player of the Year’ award twice, as well as the ‘Football Writers Footballer of the Year’ award once.

Shearer currently works as a pundit for the BBC, regularly appearing on Match of the Day, although he is actively looking for management work since his short spell as Newcastle United boss. He has been heavily linked over the past year with vacancies at Sheffield Wednesday and Cardiff City.

Please leave your comments below

One Cap Wonders


International friendly week can often throw up an odd inclusion or a player drafted in as a stop gap. In most sports the pinnacle is representing your country and every young English footballer must dream that one day they’ll represent England and wear the famous ‘Three Lions’. But, there is one exclusive club that nobody wants to join, the ever growing list of ‘One Cap Wonders’, with that in mind, I decided to look at some of the players who appeared once for their country and then never again.

 

Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock (1/0)

vs Nigeria; 1-0; Nov’ 1994

Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock was at the heart of Liverpool’s defence during the mid 90’s and it was at this time that he got his first and last call up to represent his country. Ruddock says he was at a funeral when he received word that he had been called up to one of Terry Venables pre Euro’96 squads and “believed it to be a wind up”. Ruddock played well in the game, getting a full 90 minutes and helping England keep a clean sheet against a talented Nigeria side, but it wasn’t enough to earn him another chance with the national team.

Throughout his career he battled with weight problems and was often criticised for being unfit, as well as disciplinary problems, which saw Ruddock break both of Andy Cole’s legs in a reserve fixture and Peter Beardsley’s cheek bone in a testimonial match. The emergence of Gareth Southgate and Sol Campbell at centre back led to Ruddock being marginalised.

Ruddock went on to make 115 appearances for Liverpool and had spells at QPR, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Swindon Town. Ruddock retired from football in 2003 and he currently makes regular reality tv appearances.

Seth Johnson (1/1)

vs Italy; 0-1; Nov’ 2000

 Seth Johnson, a tenacious young central midfielder, plying his trade in the lower leagues with Crewe  Alexandra, began to win plaudits for his role in the clubs survival in the Championship by a single point  in the 1998/99 season. Part of Dario Gradi’s fantastic production line at the south Cheshire club, which  had produced England internationals such as David Platt, Danny Murphy, Rob Jones and fellow one   cap wonder Dean Ashton, Johnson’s potential led to him being recruited by Premier League outfit  Derby County for £3m.

A year into his stay with Derby, Johnson was called up to the England squad by Peter Taylor (caretaker manager for one game) to face Italy in a friendly. England suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Azzurri on a wet and windy night at a 30% full Stadio delle Alpi in Turin. The game being noted as David Beckham’s first as England captain and for Gennaro Gattuso scoring what is still his only goal for Italy in 73 caps. Johnson came on as a 73rd minute sub for Gareth Barry, making his 17 minutes in and England shirt one of the shortest international careers in history.

There is an interesting anecdote allegedly about Seth Johnson doing the rounds from his £7m move from Derby to Leeds United in 2001. In his personal terms negotiations with Peter Risdale (Leeds Chairman) Johnson and his agent agreed in advance to hold out for £16k a week. So Risdale opens up the talks with “We are willing to pay you £26k a week”. The flabbergasted agent replies “Well that wasn’t quite what we were expecting”. “Right so, £32k a week is my final offer” said Risdale. Seth Johnson is reported to have fallen of his chair.

Seth Johnson suffered multiple injury problems and returned to Derby from Leeds on a free transfer in 2005, from where he was released in 2007. He is currently without a club.

Michael Ricketts (1/0)

vs Netherlands; 1-1;  Feb’ 2002

The 2001/2002 season started magically for Ricketts, after gaining promotion with Bolton Wanderers the previous season, Ricketts had a blistering start to the campaign scoring 15 Premier League goals by January, including the winner in a 2-1 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. Sven Goran Eriksson called Ricketts up to a pre World Cup’2002 experimental squad to face the Netherlands in a friendly at the Amsterdam Arena, along with fellow debutants Darius Vassell and Wayne Bridge. Ricketts started the match and managed 45 minutes, before being substituted for Kevin Phillips.

Michael Ricketts failed to score another league goal for over a year following his first and last England cap and has subsequently only scored 26 goals in the following 9 years at 11 different league clubs.

Ricketts is currently a free agent after being released by Tranmere Rovers in January 2010, he is also serving a 12 month community order for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

 Lee Bowyer (1/0)

vs Portugal; 1-1; Sep’2002

Lee Bowyer first drew attention in 1995, when he failed a drugs test for cannabis use. Bowyer was dropped from the England U18 squad and suspended by his club Charlton Athletic for eight weeks while he took part in a drug rehabilitation course organised by the FA. The following year Bowyer was signed by Leeds United for £2.8m, at the time a record for a British teenager.

It took some time for Bowyer to break into the Leeds first team, but under David O’Leary he soon made the central midfield role his own, becoming a key player in the side that qualified for the Champions League in 99/00, and which reached the semi finals of the competition in 2001, in which he scored crucial goals against A.C. Milan and Barcelona. He was voted the Leeds player of the year by supporters in both the 98/99and 00/01 seasons.

Bowyer’s form led to calls for inclusion in the England squad; however, the FA ruled that he could not be selected until the court case in relation to an assault on an Asian student was completed.The FA eventually cleared Bowyer for selection following the conclusion of the court case and England manager Sven Goran Eriksson called him into the squad for an international friendly against Portugal in September 2002.

Bowyer started the game, made an assist and acquitted himself well, lasting 62 minutes before being replaced by Trevor Sinclair. England drew the game 1-1, a game in which another one cap wonder made his only appearance; David Dunn coming on as a second half substitute for Steven Gerrard.

Bowyer moved to West Ham United, his boyhood club the following year, before a spell at Newcastle United where he was involved in an infamous on pitch bust up with team mate Kieron Dyer, in which they were both sent off. In 2006 he rejoined West Ham, where he spent 3 seasons before moving to Birmingham City on a free transfer in 2009.

Bowyer is currently without a club after being released by Birmingham City following their relegation to the Championship. He has made over 400 Premier League appearances scoring 58 goals.

 

Francis Jeffers (1/1)

vs Australia; 1-3; Feb’2003

Francis Jeffers was a prolific goalscorer with Everton as a youngster, scoring 20 league  goals in 45 games and earning the coveted strikers nickname ‘fox in the box’. In 2001 he  was recruited by Arsene Wenger to join the Arsenal revolution for £8m, linking up with  strikers Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord. Jeffers time at  Arsenal was dogged by injury, but the youngster who still holds the England U21 goal  scoring record (13 goals in 16 caps) managed a call up to Sven Goran Eriksson’s full  squad for a friendly with Australia in 2003 at Upton Park.

Jeffers came on as a second half substitute, replacing Michael Owen and managed to    score a terrific glancing header, but the game will be remembered chiefly for the humiliating 3-1 defeat and for the England debut of Wayne Rooney as well as Paul Robinson, James Beattie, Jermaine Jenas and Paul Konchesky. Jeffers only made a handful of further appearances for Arsenal before joining Everton on loan and moving on to a further 7 different clubs, including Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers and Australian A League side Newcastle Jets.

In the 8 years following his England appearance he has only managed a total of 14 league goals. Jeffers is currently playing for SPL side Motherwell, where his contract expires at the end of June 2011.