The should have moved on XI


13th, November 2007


At a time when loyalty to your employer is unheard of in football, Pies ridicules 11 players who have sabotaged their own careers (to varying degrees) by staying put.
Steve Harper
At one point Harper was playing so well for Newcastle that he and Shay Given were rotated game-by-game. Given pushed on to another level and Harper chose to warm the bench when he would have walked into most mid-table Premier League teams.
Gary Kelly
Once one of the Premier League’s most reliable right-backs, long-serving Kelly stayed at Leeds throughout financial ruin and relegation. While he effectively committed suicide in terms of silverware prospects, rumour has it that the former Republic of Ireland international was sitting tight on one of Peter Ridsdale’s mammoth contracts.
Gareth Barry
His years in the wilderness have been overshadowed by his recent revival. The 26-year-old has crept along to 14 caps for England, but he would have had 30 or 40 to his name if he had jumped ship around the time of his first cap in 2000.

Ledley King
Once highly sought after property. Now the injury prone captain of the Premier League’s 14th place side. King constantly finds himself further down the England pecking order and doesn’t have a medal to show for his loyalty.
Kevin Nolan
Once a goalscoring midfielder touted as an England regular and admired by the country’s big clubs. He now seems to have gone off the boil and is stuck in the middle of a relegation fight.
Steven Gerrard
Came so close to leaving Anfield before backing down at the last-minute. Despite regaining his hero status after his change-of-heart, Stevie G is no longer a certain starter for Liverpool and is regularly played out of his favoured position. A backlash has now begun against him even among the Liverpool faithful.
Matt Le Tissier
Le Tiss flirted with Tottenham so much that he nearly ran away and set up home with them. He could never quite ditch his beloved Southampton though and sacrificed his England career to remain an overweight fish in a small pond.
Francesco Totti
Regarded as God around Roma, Totti has gaps on his CV under the section headed ‘European Trophies’. He has drifted along in recent seasons, picking up injuries and looking a shadow of his former self most of the time.
Tom Finney
The great man didn’t have much choice in his decision to stay put. Italian outfit Palermo offered him a £10,000 signing-on fee (hmm, wonder where that Sicilian money was coming from…) to join them. When he handed in his transfer request Preston North End chairman Nat Buck reportedly told the former plumber: “What’s 10,000 quid to thee? Nay lad, tha’ll play for us, or tha’ll play for nobody.” Ah, the days before player power!
The Real Madrid striker is like an old piece of furniture. There is nothing wrong with him per se. He is still performing his function nearly as well as he was a few years ago. It is just that he has become a bit too familiar. He is still adored by the Real Madrid faithful and has started this season in great form, but his elder statesman persona (despite being only 30) means he is being overlooked for the national team.
Alan Shearer
Big Al’s last-minute change-of-heart to join Newcastle rather than Manchester United back in 1996 is well-documented. It could have been very different if he hadn’t stuck it out for 10 years in his hometown. The former England skipper picked up no silverware in his decade at St James’s Park.

Posted in Top 10s & lists

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  1. Andrew II says:

    Hmmm…isn’t that ‘shadow of his former self’ (Francesco Totti) the guy who won the European golden boot last season?

  2. Chris says:

    Regarding Totti, never let the truth get in the way of a good stereotype.

  3. mintox says:

    It’s a bit rich to claim that some of these players should have moved on.
    A player should have moved on if he never hit the heights he could have by staying. Gary Kelly and Steve Harper quite possibly fit the bill BUT names like Gerrard, Raul, Totti, Shearer and Le Tissier are famous because they stayed where they are and did what they did.

  4. John Dykes says:

    i’ve been a great admirer of alvaro recoba ever since he scored 2 spectacular goals on his debut for inter, but he somehow managed to waste 10 yrs of his career sitting on the bench. what a waste of talent.
    crouch, arteta, dunne, sheva, berbatov, gamst… all seem to voluntarily let their careers go down the drain
    there are so many players that could maximize their potential by simply moving to a half decent club in for example the EPL: podolski, schweinsteiger, oliviera, fabiano, baiano, liedson, d’allessandro, v. d. vaart, diego… only a few i’d like to see compete in the same league

  5. Nicky S says:

    I suspect Totti may see a World Cup winner’s medal as some consolation for his lack of ‘European trophies’.

  6. Murfmensch says:

    Staying in a club you like means you become a feature of the club’s history and you enjoy going to work each day.
    None of these players have wasted a thing.

  7. john thoms says:

    i usually really enjoy these lists but this one is absolutely terrible…loyalty is something missing these days from football….yes maybe some of these players could’ve gotten a fat new contract if they moved on, however players such as Gerrard, Raul, and Totti will always be looked at as legends because of their longevity at one club. I’d take any of these players over scum such as Cashley Cole…the loyalty of these players should be praised not looked down on

  8. Are you serious? says:

    I love this site and 99% of the stuff that’s posted, but this list is absolute trash. Totti should have moved on? The man is Roman through and wouldn’t perform at half the level anywhere else.

  9. paul parker says:

    Please add Jermaine Defoe to this list… Thanks

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