Footballers are supposed to be icons of the modern era, and people who we can look up to and respect. They are supposed to be model citizens who we can all aspire to emulate, as they strive for increasing levels of greatness...

Erm, or not.

Let's face it, we love the game of football, but often those people who are attracted to playing "the beautiful game" can occasionally be somewhat flawed individuals. Some are a touch arrogant, narcissistic and just too wrapped up in themselves to care about anyone else - and some are just downright criminal.

Looking down the last few decades, I thought it highly worthy to build a football team out of those players who have crossed the line between hardworking law-abiding citizens and dirty, low-down scumbag criminals.

Here goes:

Manager:
I thought I'd start with a manager who is held in high esteem within the football arena; a top quality dutch manager in the shape of Guus Hiddink. The fact that he was also found guilty of tax evasion (story here) is neither here nor there.


Goalkeeper:
There are a couple of contenders for this position. First off we have Colombian Scorpion-kick specialist, Rene Higuita, who lit up Wembley all those years ago with that spectacular save, but who also managed to tarnish his image by being involved with drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and a cocaine problem that saw him fail a drugs test.

But in the end, I've decided to stick closer to home and go with David De Gea, Manchester United's famous shot-stopper, who was caught stealing a Krispy Kreme doughnut out of tescos (story here). Marvelous. A great save by De Gea (of  £1.19).

Defence:
Unfortunately I'm going to have to bring in a couple of old stalwarts to help me fill my defensive positions - so I'm having Vinnie Jones: assault (story here), Tony Adams: drink-driving (story here) and Glen Johnson: stealing a toilet seat (story here). 

I need one more player, of course, but defence is the one position where I've struggled a bit (as you might have guessed from the toilet seat theft), so I've had to cheat slightly and bring in Arsenal's Peter Storey. He spent much of his time as a midfielder, but I believe he did start-out as a defender. More importantly, however, he has a long string of crimes to his name, including running a brothel, car theft, counterfeiting, smuggling pornography and threatening behaviour (buy his book here!). Top job Mr Storey. Thanks for stepping-in for me.

Midfield:
Another dependable player, if something of a cliche - but Joey Barton: common assault (story here) can always be relied on to get himself into trouble. Joey is helped-out in midfield by Gary Charles: threatening a bouncer with a knife (story here) and Jan Molby: reckless driving.

Attack:
Okay, I'm doing well. I just have to sort out my strikers. Happily we have an array of talent up front from which to choose. Do bear in mind that I'm not just looking for football talent here. Weak-willed, inconsiderate and irresponsible are also important qualities in a team like this.

So, to make a formidable striking force, Maradona has to gain a slot: shooting journalists (story here). He can weave his magic and lay it on for either Duncan Ferguson: assault (story here) or Marlon King: multiple offences (story here). I do realise that Marlon King might be considered too mediocre a player to get into my side, but he is arguably our most criminally-minded individual off the pitch and so makes the grade.



So there we have it. I've managed to field an entire team with reprobates and criminals, albeit by having to go across different playing eras to do so. This is of course decidely harsh on my part, as I could pretty much select any profession in the land and manage to find a bunch of crooks amongst them. No problem.

But then again milk-men and plumbers are not held-up as icons are they? They're not looked upon as role-models and put on pedastals. They're not hero-worshipped and treated like demi-gods half the time.

And I suppose the whole point of this is, that neither should footballers. They are just a bunch of twats like the rest of us, and probably more so. Kicking a bag of air around a patch of grass is not a reason to elevate an individual's status, and the real shame is on us for allowing that to happen.

Oh no. Look what you've made me do there. I've only gone and ruined it all by being serious at the end.



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