In case you have not been paying attention, these are the elite athletes who tend to cost their bosses their jobs and a lot more besides…
Thankfully no club has been spared at least one of their own, so once again no apologies for gratuitously singling this lot out for further argument’s sake as Alex G points out.

1 Fernando Torres
So they say 5,000 minutes and 15 goals in blue won’t do. But has he really lost his mojo for good? Compare his stats to those of far more seasoned shooters of blanks and his 2012 Euro Golden Boot – having started only two Spain games – starts to look a little less shabby.

Joint 2 Hernan Crespo, Andriy Shevchenko, Chris Sutton and Tony Cascarino
For the tedious sake of perspective these were all the Torres figures of their day – not that any of them quite cost 50 million smackers, mind.

3 Garry Birtles
Grimsby Town player of the year 1990 he may well have been but Birtles will forever be synonymous with jokes about Iranian hostages and the Phil Collins classic “I missed again” for his agonising accumulation of 11 Manchester United goals.

Joint 4 Stephane Guivarc’h, Michael Owen, Ian Rush and Andy Carroll
The latter being the odd Newcatle striker out here, given that he cost the club nothing and left as a 35 million thoroughbred. One yet to score for West Ham, at time of writing.

Joint 5 Mark Hately, Luther Blissett… and Ian Rush
But then even Denis Law and Jimmy Greaves failed to make a success of their respective Italian transfers. Rush it was who described representing Juventus as “like playing in a different country”. Maybe the same went for Leeds and Newcastle, his subsequent boltholes. Refer to Pierluigi Casiraghi, Andrea Silenzi and Massimo Maccarone for the reverse experience.

Joint 6 Jeff Astle, Emile Heskey, Darius Vassell and Michael Ricketts.
All endured the slings and arrows in an England shirt – yet were spared the ignominy suffered by the current Tranmere manager who inspired the manufacture of “I saw Ronnie Moore score” badges as a Cardiff striker in 1980.

Joint 7 Nicklas Bendtner, Tore Andre Flo, Jon Dahl Tomasson and Tomas Brolin
Prominent exceptions to the rule that Scandinavians make the most reliable imports.

8 Jason Lee
Nicknamed Pineapple Boy by Forest fans after being lampooned regularly on telly by Skinner & Baddiel, Jason shaved off his dreads and clocked up 21 clubs before taking the managerial reigns at Boston United.

9 Drewe Broughton
Who, you say? If anyone deserves the number one slot it is in fact 22-club man Drewe, who was still plugging away at Darlington last time LTW checked but should arguably have stuck with first club Norwich. Compare his 80-odd goals in 450 career appearances to Fernando’s 222 in 572.

10 Martin Palermo
An honorable mention for he who missed three penalties in one very competitive Argentina Copa America group fixture versus Colombia in 1999: the Boca Juniors talisman never did let it define him.
That said, missing penalties is another story (and another ten) altogether…

5 COMMENTS

  1. Surely Jeff Astle doesn’t deserve a place on here – didn’t cost a fortune, ok missed that one chance against Brazil but misfiring when he scored 130 odd goals in less than 300 games for West Brom?

  2. Jeff Astle EXPENSIVE FLOP ? He cost £25,000 and won us the FA Cup ! You CAN have him in a list of strikers that didn’t transfer his club form onto the International stage, and he will always be remembered for that miss in Mexico 42 years ago, but he was hardly a flop. Boing ! Boing !

  3. As a Glasgow Rangers fan I can honestly say that after Mark Hateleys goal against Leeds at Ibrox in the 1992 Battle Of Britain and his assist for McCoists goal in the Elland Road leg he will always be a legend for 1 half of Glasgow(fashion faux pa’s aside).

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