Jack Grealish’s latest drinking antics last month, which have set another question mark over his Aston Villa and international careers, was just another example of Footballers Behaving Badly.
The young midfielder’s latest lurch off the rails saw him stay behind in the North-West to go out clubbing after a 4-0 drubbing by Everton.
This followed previous exploits when he was seen with a six-litre bottle of £1000 vodka on holiday as well as being spark out on a street in Tenerife.
But people who insist footballers should be role models to youngsters really need to think again.
No matter what people feel his responsibilities should be in their eyes, Jack Grealish has only just turned 20 and, despite his very special talent, is is only human and is currently acting his age.
We decided to knock together a list of nine Footballers Behaving Badly to show Jack is far from alone in being irresponsible as a top professional footballer. It has always happened and always will – from George Best and Robin Friday to the present day.
If you are looking for well behaved role models for your children, avoid footballers!
1) Rahem Stirling’s Laughing Gas: While still at Liverpool, England and Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling was twice alleged to have been seen inhaling laughing gas. Often known as ‘hippy crack’, nitrous oxide has become fashionable among young party-goers, despite worries over its effects. The 20-year-old was warned in April by Liverpool about his responsibilities as a role model after he was caught on video sniffing it from a balloon. Photographs also emerged at the same time which purported to show him smoking a shisha pipe. Four months later he was reported to have been at it again with the gas. Click HERE to see Sterling in breathtaking action
2) Jack Wilshire spitting at a taxi driver: Arsenal’s 23-year-old England midfielder Jack Wilshire has a history of getting into trouble. In 2010 Wilshere received a police caution for common assault following a brawl on Kensington High Street. In 2011 he was arrested for a spit-spat with a taxi driver, who alleged he was the victim of verbal abuse and was threatened with physical violence by a group of men, which included Wilshere, when the men had flagged down the taxi and got angry when the cab driver explained to the them that he was off duty. Wilshire was accused of lurching at the taxi and spitting at the window after seeing the driver was wearing a Spurs hat. Wilshire eventually accepted a police warning.
3) Duncan Ferguson in prison: Big Scottish striker Duncan Ferguson - nicknamed ‘Duncan Disorderly’ – was also never far from controversy on or off the pitch. He was shown nine red cards in his career and also handed a three month prison sentence following an on-field assault of Raith Rovers’ John McStay in 1994. The head butt was his fourth conviction, two of the others for taxi rank scuffles and the other for a pub fight. The first incident led to a fine for head-butting a policeman while the second resulted in another fine for punching and kicking a supporter on crutches. He was sentenced to a year’s probation for the third offence. With his reputation and temper then pity the burglars who picked the wrong place to break into when they forced their way into his house only to find Ferguson home. Ferguson confronted the pair and was able to detain one of them who subsequently spent three days in hospital. Click HERE to see Duncan’s head in butting action.
4) The Dentist’s Chair: Prior to Euro 96, several England players - among them Paul Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham - partied in Hong Kong where they took turns to sit in the ‘Dentist’s Chair’ while comrades poured drinks into their mouths. After then scoring against Scotland in the tournament, Gascoigne lay on the ground as his team-mates squirted water into his mouth, in a re-enactment of the drinking game in as controversial a celebration as Robbie Fowler’s infamous coke-snorting mime - click HERE to see the moment again.
5) Suarez biting/handball: Barcelona’s former Liverpool striker Louis Suarez has the finish of a genius and the smile of a crocodile, having bitten three opponents, the latest being Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup. The Uruguyan won few friends for a red card after keeping out what would have been a Ghana winner at the 2010 World Cup with his hands, Uruguay then progressing on penalties. He has been accused of and admitted to diving and the English Football Association found him guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra. He is not remembered fondly by Mansfield Town either, having knocked them out the FA Cup while at Liverpool by handling the ball over the line at Field Mill. Click HERE to see Suarez dine out on his opponents.
6}Cantona Kung Fu kick: One of the most famous – or infamous – moments of footballers behaving badly was when former Manchester United star Eric Cantona lost his rag with abuse being shouted at him by Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons in 1995 and shocked the crowd by launching a Kung Fu kick at him. The Frenchman leapt at the fan, aiming both feet at his chest. He then threw several punches, before police, stewards and other members of the crowd managed to pull him off. Cantona was sentenced to two weeks in prison, reduced to 120 hours community service for the attack, fined £20,000, banned from playing for nine months and lost the French international captaincy and his place in the team. However, 20 years on the maverick star said: “I didn’t punch him strong enough. I should have punched him harder.” In 1987 he punched his own team’s goalkeeper at Auxerre, leaving him with a black eye. Cantona was also suspended by Marseille for kicking a ball into the crowd and throwing his shirt at the referee after being substituted. Click HERE to see Cantona’s Kung Fu kick.
7) Joey Barton stubs cigar out in young player’s eye: Dogged by trouble all his life, midfielder Joey Barton was in hot water for stubbing a cigar in team mate Jamie Tandy’s eye at a Christmas Party in 2004 organized by Manchester City. Barton was fined £60,000 and Tandy later went on to sue him and won £65,000 in damages. Barton has been convicted twice on charges of violence. In 2008 he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for common assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool City Centre and served 77 days of this prison term. Later that year Barton was also given a four-month suspended sentence after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm on former team mate Ousmane Dabo during a training ground dispute which effectively ended his Manchester City career. Barton has been charged with violent conduct three times by the FA - for the assault on Dabo, for punching Morten Gamst Pedersen in the stomach and for attacking three players on the final day of the 2011-12 season. Click HERE to see Barton’s brawl with QPR players.
8) Lee Bowyer’s fight with team mate Keiron Dyer: In 2005 the volatile Lee Bowyer stunned everyone with he began brawling with Newcastle United team mate Keiron Dyer during their game with Aston Villa. Dyer later claimed that Bowyer had lost the plot after Dyer insulted his ability following complains he wouldn’t pass the ball to him. Once capped by England, from 2010 Bowyer held the record for most yellow cards received in the Premier League and by the end of that year he had 98 yellow cards in the competition as well as five red. He first drew attention in 1995 when he failed a drugs test for cannabis use at Charlton. In 1996 Bowyer was convicted of affray and fined £4,500 following an incident in a McDonald’s restaurant in London in which CCTV footage showed chairs being thrown and a staff member of Asian origin racially abused. Click HERE to see Bowyer and Dyer go at it during the game.
9) Balotelli fireworks: There are usually fireworks when Italian striker Mario Balotelli is involved, getting himself in bother on and off the pitch. The former Manchester City and Liverpool Balotelli man celebrated his goal against Manchester United in October 2011 by unveiling a shirt with the words ‘Why always me?’ on it – seemingly disputing the accuracy of newspaper reports on his antics. The day before the match, Balotelli and his friends had set Balotelli’s house on fire when a firework was let off in it - later that week Balotelli was unveiled as Greater Manchester’s ambassador for firework safety! In 2011/12 when Balotelli was red-carded four times, his manager Roberto Mancini said: “The problem is because of his age, he can make some mistakes. He’s Mario. He’s crazy – but I love him because he’s a good guy.” Of Ghanian origin, Balotelli has also had to withstand some disgraceful racism down the years, particularly from fans at Juventus, which at one stage saw them suffer a partial stadium closure as a result. Click HERE to see 10 unforgettable Balotelli moments from his chequered past.
Who do you think should make the Footballers Behaving Badly list? Let us know who and why via firstname.lastname@example.org