Top 5 Transfer Villains: Controversial Football Moves That Left Fans Gnashing Their Teeth

Martin Cloake

31st, August 2015



There’s only one thing worse than seeing one of your best players transferred away, and that’s seeing one of your best players transferred away after smehow disrespecting your club.

Here are five transfer villains who fans of their former clubs love to hate…

Paul Ince

Ince was a popular product of the West Ham youth team, but when the Hammers were relegated in 1989 a move to a top-tier team seemed inevitable.

Irons’ fans may have accepted that, but when pictures emerged of Ince in a Manchester United shirt long before any deal had been agreed, the Hammers weren’t happy.

Ince claimed the pictures had been leaked early – not a great defence – but his name was instantly mud down on Green Street.

Of course, Ince then went on to play for United’s bitter rivals Liverpool, technically making him a double Judas.

Ashley Cole

Cole cleverly capitalised on the growing dissatisfaction with spoilt, overpaid footballers in 2006 by announcing he’d been left “trembling with anger” by Arsenal’s meagre £55,000-a-week contract offer.

He met with Chelsea reps without telling Arsenal, the club he’d been playing for six years (which led to Cole, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea being fined for their transgressions) before trousering £90,000-a-week to play for the Blues instead.

Carlos Tevez

Tevez has been involved in more than one controversial transfer, but his move across Manchester from United to City in 2009 really ramped up a deep-seated rivalry that had recently been rejigged by a Sheikh-bankrolled City resurgence.

Tevez was hugely popular at Old Trafford but United dawdled over giving him a new contract. When he scored against City, United’s fans urged Alex Ferguson to “Sign him up”.

However, when City eventually swooped, they publicised the deal with a billboard that said ‘Welcome to Manchester’ plonked in the middle of Piccadilly Gardens – winding up United’s fans and Ferguson, who famously branded City “noisy neighbours” and “a small club with a small mentality”.

Luis Figo

Figo had been a star for Barcelona for two years before making a then-world record £37million move to Real Madrid in 2000 – thus crossing one of the fiercest divides in world football.

Barca’s fans were appalled. In the first Classico back at the Camp Nou, Figo had to avoid his usual corner-taking duties because of the hail of oranges, bootles, cigarette lighters, mobile phones – and even a pig’s head.

Said pickled pig’s head is currently on show in a museum of Barcelona memorabilia – and yes, it’s still disgusting.

Sol Campbell

Moving from one side of north London to another rarely works – unless you’re Pat Jennings – but it was the manner of Sol Campbell’s move that really rankled.

Having let his contract run down without discussing a new one, and after months of public statements saying he’d never leave for Arsenal, the man who had captained Spurs for four years did just that in 2001 – leaving Spurs with no central defensive colossus and no money by way of recompense.

Not that Sol is massively delusional or anything (*cough cough*), but he still claims not to understand what the fuss was about.

Posted in Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Transfers & Rumours, West Ham Utd

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  1. Camel says:

    Surely this list could not be complete without Celtic great, Maurice Johnston, signing for Rangers in 1989, also holding the honour of being the first high profile catholic to sign for the staunchly sectarian protestant club. He pissed off supporters of both clubs in doing so.

  2. Inno says:

    Maurice Johnston, forever known as either Judas or Le Petit Merde ;)

  3. Bob says:

    Harry Redknapp

  4. Dude says:

    Maxi Pereira did that just this season; after years of telling Benfica fans he would never play in another Portuguese club, his contract was up and he rejected Benfica’s offer for Porto’s. Now Benfica fans call him Mini Pereira.

  5. Terry says:

    Actually Pies, Sid Lowe suggests in Fear & Loathing in La Liga that Luis Figo was forced into it because Real met his release clause and Barca couldn’t afford to keep him on behind the scenes so the President/Board at the time goes. Course, they turned it around to say Figo wanted the move and make him the scapegoat.

    Least thats what I remember from my late night reading sessions of it…

  6. AJ says:

    Surely William Gallas needed to make this list. Three different London in a row.

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