By Chris Wright
Just a covering note up top: while it says ‘Top 10 Prima Donnas’ on the tin, we’ve gone with less stellar (mostly Premier League) players that arguably have no right to act like such preening, precious mimsies given their relatively ‘meat and taters’ standings.
As such, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba, who would otherwise be shoe-ins for the run-down, have been omitted in lieu of players altogether less entitled to the odd over-pampered hissy fit…
10. James Collins – Not a name you’d expect to find on the list, but the grizzly, ginger-fuzzed centre-half once flat-out refused to take his hat off for Villa’s team photo in October of 2010 because it was too cold. Villa’s phalanx of computer drones then had to use Photoshop to copy and paste Brad Friedel’s hairless scalp over Collin’s be-hatted pate. From the looks of things, they didn’t do a particularly convincing job.
9. Adel Taarabt – Despite being molly-coddled to within an inch of his life and even made club captain (ridiculously so) by Neil Warnock last season in a desperate bid to pander to his incredibly disproportionate ego and keep him at QPR, Taarabt has well and truly failed to launch this season – providing his usual shtick: a few flimsy flicks and touches interspersed with long, long periods of complete anonymity – without doing anything of note on the big stage.
Of course, it won’t be his fault and he’ll piss off to PSG on a vastly inflated contract in the summer because life owes him that much, but the fact remains that Taarabt has registered over 60 shots in the Premier League so far this season without scoring once. He scored 19 goals, topped the assists chart (with 15) and won Championship Player of the Year last term.
The logic may be a little simplistic, but his ‘level’ looks blatantly obvious to us.
8. Paul Pogba – “Forty five f**king thousand pounds A WEEK?! He’s bobbins! A kid with three long-range goals for the reserves! New f**king Scholes?! He’s the new Momo Sissoko if he’s anything!” came the plaintive cry of a United-hued acquaintance of mine when the news broke that 19-year old Pogba was fishing for a huge new contract after playing roughly eight cumulative minutes for the first-string a month or so ago.
While the actual nuts and bolts of the astronomical wage demand had all the hallmarks of being the work of a pie-eyed agent on the make, we’re inclined to agree with the sentiment. Sit down, shut up and get on with actually proving your worth.
7. Zlatko Zahovic – We’re taking a brief detour from our Anglocentric list to include the Diana Ross of Slovenian football (he’s even got the hair!). After becoming a bit of a star in Europe following an eye-catching shift at Euro 2000, Zahovic and Slovenia then went and qualified for their first ever World Cup in 2002.
After being substituted after an hour of the first group game against Spain, Zahovic told coach Srecko Katanec: “I could buy your house, I could buy your village, I could buy you,” duly storming out of the stadium and back to his hotel. Katanec sent Zahovic home with ne’er a second thought before resigning immediately after the tournament.
For the record, Slovenia finished bottom of Group B with nil points.
6. Charles N’Zogbia – Every time Monsieur Insomnia has thrown a wobbler about not getting picked or stated his intent to sign for one of Europe’s big willies in the not-so-distant future over the past few seasons, we’ve always been left thinking: “C’mon, honestly? Do you really think you’re that good?” and, you know what, we reckon the answer, terrifyingly, is liable to be a resounding ‘Oui!’
He’s 25 now and, for all his pissing and whining so far, his middling CV reads thus; Le Havre, Newcastle, Wigan, Villa – though you can’t help but think in his mind it reads ‘Le Havre, AC Inter Milan, Real Barcelona, God’s Own Fantasy XI.’
5. Jermaine Pennant – Regardless of all his other dickishness over the years, Geez Louise! Would you just look at the car he drives? No danger of forgetting where he parked that chrome monstrosity unless, as previously mentioned, he pulls up in a house of mirrors.
4. Amr Zaki – After coming racing out of the traps during a decent debut half-season on loan at Wigan in 2008/09, in which he racked up five goals in his first six games (including a couple of true beauts), Zaki made the fatal error of buying into his own hype. At one point in late September, the slab-faced Egyptian was top of the Premier League goalscoring stable with seven goals in two months but his form soon bottomed out as Winter set in and the goals dried up faster than a puddle of piss in the middle of the Atacama.
This lull, however, didn’t stop Zaki from swanning back from international duty whenever he bloody well felt like it four times in three months, once turning up 10 – ten – days late from one of Egypt’s World Cup qualifiers without so much as an apology. Naturally, Wigan manager Steve Bruce fined him ‘more than the average British person makes in a year’ on several occasions, before branding Zaki ‘the least professional person’ he’d ever worked with.
Unsurprisingly, Wigan didn’t take up the option to sign Zaki permanently in the summer of 2009. An offer from Portsmouth came in, but Zaki vehemently refused to move to a club with Israeli and Algerian players on their books, before finally returning to England the following January with Hull City – where he did little of note, making just six appearances before pissing off back to Zamalek.
3. Ashley Cole – You could feasibly argue that Cole indeed possesses the footballing conkers to earn himself a bit of ‘diva room’, but that whole sordid “£55,000-a-week? Are you taking the piss?” hoo-ha is going to haunt him for the rest of his days.
Still booed wherever he goes – principally for being a prissy, self-entitled princess and then having the temerity to brag about it.
2. Sam Allardyce – Big Samuel often doesn’t get the credit he deserves for the advances in player fitness screening he championed while at Bolton, but little discrepancies like that tend to fade when this happens:
“I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time.
“Give me Man Utd or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s not where I’m suited to, it’s just where I’ve been for most of the time. It’s not a problem to take me into the higher reaches of the Champions League or Premier League and would make my job a lot easier in winning it.”
More recently, Sam has publicly told West Ham fans to shut their collective waffle holes for daring to suggest that, despite him vowing to ‘play the West Ham way’ on his arrival, the Hammers have since resorted to the kind of agricultural long-ball slurry that he’s peddled his entire managerial career.
Even today he’s claiming that West Ham have ‘created, inspired and fulfilled people’s dreams by playing like Swansea‘ this season. The delusion is strong in this one.
1. Lee Trundle – After pootling around on the non-league scene with Burscough, Stalybridge Celtic, Southport, Bamber Bridge and Chorley, Trundle gained a modicum of fame after signing with Swansea in 2003 at the age of 26, when he himself began sending Soccer AM footage of his largely superfluous step-overs and flicks – such was his introverted modesty.
Convinced he was on the verge of great things, he then became the first player outside of the Premier League to sign an image-rights deal (presumably worried that SPAM were jigging up for a new ad campaign and were looking for a suitable model) though his career thereafter stalled.
That said, he did date one of the Atomic Kitten bints for a while after apparently telling her he was a Liverpool player in a Merseyside nightclub. He was on the books (but out of favour) at Championship side Bristol City at the time.
Trundle quite obviously yearned for the big time though, aside from all the largely flaccid showboating and an admittedly decent goal-return in the lower leagues, he just didn’t have the necessary stones for the Premier League. Indeed, he never got out of the football league and is currently – or at least was – the poster boy of the Welsh Premier League, signing with Neath FC in 2010.
Shortly before his woeful stint at Aston Gate came to an end, Trundle called manager Gary Johnson a ‘f**king prick’ for telling him to take his hat off during a heading drill in training. Johnson duly responded by curtailing the striker’s first-team appearances at the 19 mark for the rest of the season, knowing full well that Trundle was due to receive a hefty bonus once he reached 20.
Agree/disagree? Any we’ve missed? Hands up, there are hundreds! Let rip with your suggestions…