Halloween Special - Scariest Footballers
Halloween Special: Football's Scariest Personalities
You do not have to look hard to find inspiration for your Halloween costume during the ongoing nightmare that is 2020. Social media will soon be awash with pictures of people dressed as Dominic Cummings, Carole Baskin, Joe Exotic and Donald Trump. Yet there are also some truly terrifying sports stars that you might consider, so we have taken this opportunity to shine a jack-o’-lantern on some of the scariest personalities in football:
The former Man Utd captain was a master of frightening the life out of his rivals with a dead-eyed stare and a scowl that would make Vlad The Impaler blush. His worst moment came in a clash with Leeds Utd, in which Keane ended Alfe Inge Haaland’s career with a pre-meditated tackle. He was initially fined £5,000 and suspended for three games, but the FA increased the fine by £150,000 and banned him for another five matches after he admitted in an autobiography he tried to hurt the Norwegian. Nowadays Keane can be found frightening fellow pundits in the Sky Sports studio if they ever have the temerity to disagree with his analysis. Rumour has it that Death once had a near-Roy-Keane experience.
Two men broke into the Everton striker’s home in Rufford with the intention of burgling him back in 2001. Ferguson called 999 to report the break in. The operator asked whether they should send the police. “Aye, you better send an ambulance too,” said Ferguson. Turned out he had grabbed one of the burglars and beaten the daylights out of him, forcing the man to spend the next three days in a hospital bed. Feguson has four convictions for assault – two arising from taxi rank scuffles, one following a punch up with a fisherman in an Anstruther pub, and one for an on-field headbutt to Raith Rovers defender John McStay in 1994. That made him the first and only footballer in Britain ever to be jailed for an on-field offence. Apparently, he is the reason Where’s Wally is in hiding.
The Colombian defensive midfielder is widely regarded as the dirtiest player to ever step foot onto the pitch. He racked up an outrageous 46 red cards over the course of his career, and he was notorious for chopping down opponents with wild tackles. Whenever there was a hint of a scuffle, Bedoya would wade in all guns blazing. The player with the second most red cards in history – a French defender called Cyril Rool, who had a penchant for karate kicks – had just 27 red cards in his career. Bedoya later became a manager, and was sent off into the stands in his first game in charge. Some say he once beat the sun in a staring contest.
Jones cemented his status as the craziest member of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang when he grabbed an unsuspecting Paul Gascoigne by the crown jewels in a match against Newcastle. The combative midfielder was sent off 12 times in his career, and later became a famous Hollywood hardman. Arguably his most iconic scene sees him repeatedly slam a taxi door into a man’s head in Guy Richie caper Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. Spooky indeed.
The former Sunderland midfielder was renowned for scything down opponents with gleeful abandon. He was booked 32 times and sent off on four occasions in his first 73 games for the Black Cats. Cattermole continued to face disciplinary issues on and off the pitch. He was hit with a four-year ban from every single pub in the Stockton borough, and he was later arrested for smashing up five cars on Stowell Street in Newcastle on a night out. Cattermole had to pay £4,000 in damages. Yet for all his escapades, the most terrifying thing about Catternole was the sight of him flying in studs-up for a tackle that could break ankles. Some claim there is no such thing as the theory of evolution; there is just a list of creatures that Cattermole allows to exist.
The Uruguayan striker has been performing his Count Dracula shtick for many years, so he would make a fantastic Halloween costume. He first sank his teeth into PSV Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal during his time at Ajax, earning a seven-game suspension. Suarez was at it again when his Liverpool team clashed with Chelsea in the Premier League. He was banned for 10 matches after chomping down on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm. His most high-profile attack came at the 2014 World Cup, when Suarez gnashed on the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, landing another nine-match ban and sparking a million memes about him confusing Chiellini for cannelloni.
Sir Alex Ferguson
This week comedian Jason Manford confessed that he finds neighbour Sir Alex to be supremely terrifying.“Sir Alex Ferguson lives around the corner and I see him every so often,” he said. “He’s absolutely ¬terrifying. Even when he’s walking his dog, he’s ¬terrifying.” It is easy to see why Fergie has Manford quaking in his boots. He hit headlines around the world when he kicked a boot into David Beckham’s face, causing Golden Balls to suffer a nasty gash, and former player Mark Hughes revealed that Man Utd stars used to fear his “hairdryer” treatment. Others say he can make onions cry.
Shawcross is reviled among Arsenal fans for breaking Aaron Ramsey’s leg with a horror tackle in 2010. Teammate Dave Kitson later revealed that manager Tony Pulis loathed his opposite number, Arsene Wenger, and instructed his players to kick lumps out of the Gunners. “I would rather not be a footballer at all than have to play that way,” said Kitson, but Pulis found his perfect on-field lieutenant in the form of Shawcross. The defender savaged Ramsey with a bone-crunching tackle, and spent the ensuing years talking about his hatred for Arsenal. He is now plying his trade in the Championship, frightening the life out of opponents. Urban legend has it that before the Bogeyman goes to sleep at night, he checks to make sure Shawcross is not in the closet.
This list would not be complete without the pint-sized philosopher, who alternated between sharing aphorisms from Nietzsche and trying to maim opponents. He was sentenced to six months in prison for assault in 2008, and charged with violent conduct three times by the FA: once for assaulting teammate Ousmane Dabo, for punching Morten Gamst Pederson in the stomach and for attacking three players on the final day of the 2011-12 season.