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Fallen From Grace: Part One

by on February 16, 2013

They are just humans after all. Men and women, like you and me, decked by the press in ornaments to make them seem angelic. But even an angel once fell from above the skies and they called him the devil. This article is being written by me, as I come to terms with the disgust I have felt for Oscar Pistorius’s act. A certain Pretorian whom the whole world held in high regard, after he became a Paralympic champion. The story of Pistorius is one to tell, for it will inspire many a disabled us, to overcome our physical shortcomings and walk towards glory. But the deeds of the protagonist would bring shame upon the story teller, if he were to ever recount the glories of the Paralympic hero.

Oscar-Pistorius-leaves-courtroom-Getty

We take a look at some of the nastiest rascals to have ever  graced, tainted the beautiful game.

Sadly, most of the villains to make it to this list are from English clubs or are English citizens. Not that I intend to offend any individual of any nationality with this post, but the most glamorous football league in the world, is also the most maligned league. Thugs, if I were to cut down on the euphemism.

Joey Barton

There are few midfielders in England, who have the skill and aggression of Joey Barton at the heart of the midfield. The fact that he is still playing for a top club in France, explains the fact that Barton is a coveted athlete. Barton’s work-rate and tackling on the field remains unmatched and the former Toon-man is a team player. But the niceties stop at that.

Bartonisms.

Bartonisms.

It’s his temper that sets Joey B apart from the others. The streak began in 2004, when Barton was on the books of Manchester City. Barton was charged for stubbing out a cigar in the eye of teammate Jamie Tandy, when the duo were out partying. Barton defended that Tandy tried to set his shirt alight first. He was charged with misconduct, and was fined £60,000 by the club.

Again in 2008, Barton was was involved in an altercation at a McDonalds in Liverpool, which saw him serve a 74-day sentence for a six month jail term. During the same time, Barton was also charged for an assault on team-mate Oussamane Dabo, for which he was served a four-month suspension, by Man City and a £100,000 fine.

Barton’s antics do not end here. His undisciplined records have earned him a notorious reputation on the pitch, most notably of which was his tussle with Arsenal’s Ivorian forward, Gervinho, while playing for Newcastle United. The incident occurred on the first day of the 2011-12 season. Barton is also known for his funny twitter rants against famous British celebrities and fans of clubs he plays for, with Barton on many a occasion going on to express his dissent for his employers.

George Best

Probably the one name you wouldn’t me to mention on that list, but without Bestie and one another gentleman further in this list, there are hardly anyone who are so easily recognized for their footballing talents, more than their antics.

George Best has been often rated more highly than a number of other legends in the game, including the great Pele and Eusebio himself. The Irishman put up such dazzling performances on the pitch, that he gained admirers worldwide. Starting his career at Man United, he went to make 474 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 181 goals in the process. He also won two league titles and was a part of United’s first ever European Cup success. He was also the 1968 Ballon d’Or winner and was inducted into the FIFA 100 in 2004.

His most well-documented struggles were with alcoholism, which ultimately caused his fall in 2005. In 1984, he served two months of a 3 month sentence, for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer. When behind bars, Best made a few appearances for the Ford Open prison football team in West Sussex. Probably the Best in a way, we cannot describe.

René Higuita

Unarguably one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to come from the Latin Ameria, Higuita is vastly remembered for his gravity defying, scorpion kick save.

Higuita’s notoriety came into public view, when his success was tainted by the tidings of his relationship with drug-lord, Pablo Escobar. Escobar was a patron of  football in Higuita’s hometown of Medellin.

Higuita was sentenced to prison for seven months after being charged for profiting and being involved in a kidnapping case in 1993.

Tony Adams

Mister Arsenal they call him. At a club starved of legends today, Adams is the one man every Gunners fan looks up to, when they talk of the glory days of the club. Tony Adams was a part of the legendary Arsenal defense, that comprised of Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould. Having played for Arsenal throughout his career, some of the fans place the Romford born defender, ahead of the talismanic, Thierry Henry, in their list of Arsenal greats.

Arsenal-Tony-Adams+cropped (1)

The defender almost lost his career to alcoholism, in 1990, when he crashed his car into the garden wall of a Southend home. His breath analysis reports showed that Adams was driving after having consumed almost 27 times more than the permissible limit. The Arsenal captain served two months of a four month sentence for drunken driving at the Chelmsford Prison.

Luckily, the Arsenal man was able to recover from alcoholism and returned to Arsene Wenger’s side, as he captained the Gunner’s to glory for a pair of league title and FA Cup double.

To be continued…

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