The Premier League’s Worst Ever Eleven…Does YOUR Club Feature?
January 30, 2018
The EPL is the most watched domestic league in the whole world, with more than £2 billion of the recent, £5.5 billion television deal being generated from the sale of overseas rights to nations such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
The global appeal of the EPL is based partially on an international pool of players, as some of the world’s most legendary performers have graced England’s domestic league during the last 25 years.
Fans of English football will also testify to seeing some of the worst players ply their trade in the Premier League during this time, however, so at BetHut we thought it would be fun to select our worst ever EPL XI. Here’s what we came up with:
- Massimo Taibi, Manchester United
Italian stopper Tiabi was signed by the Reds in 1999, after the departure of the legendary Peter Schmeichel and injuries to Mark Bosnich and Raymond van der Gouw. He endured a mixed debut at Anfield, flapping at a cross that led to a Sami Hyypia goal before producing a number of superb saves to help secure United’s 3-2 win. He then produced an infamous gaffe during a 3-3 with Southampton at Old Trafford, allowing Matt Le Tissier’s weak shot from distance to trundle through his grasp and into the net.
This led to Taibi being dubbed ‘The Blind Venetian’ in the British press, while his misery was compounded during a 5-0 thrashing at Chelsea in October 1999. He played just three more games for the Reds, before returning to Italy in January 2000 as little more than a Premier League punchline.
- Laurent Charvet, Chelsea, Newcastle and Manchester City
Originally a loan signing at Chelsea, Charvet embodied everything that is wrong with full-backs in the modern game. While capable of marauding forward and showcasing silky skills on the ball, his defensive instincts were non-existent and his positional sense incredibly poor.
His attitude also came under the microscope after a permanent move to Newcastle United, where the Frenchman spent much of time overweight and under-used. Incredibly, he still managed to earn a move to Manchester City in 2000, where he struggled manfully to cope with the rigours of the top-flight and ultimately left after a paltry 23 games.
- Khalid Boulahrouz, Chelsea
One of the more expensive flops on our list, Dutchman Khalid Boulahrouz cost Chelsea £8.5 million when they prised him from Hamburg in 2006. Ostensibly a right back, he operated across the back line while failing to establish himself in any of the four defensive positions available. It was at left-back where he was most exposed during his time at the Bridge, however, where his lack of pace and positional sense made him a liability more often than not.
He made just 13 appearances for the Blues before being sold on, while the memory of Aaron Lennon tormenting him during a 2-1 defeat at White Hart Lane will surely stand the test of time.
- Claude Davis, Sheffield United and Derby County
Despite being unable to prevent Sheffield United from being relegated in 2006, promoted side Derby County still paid £3 million to secure his services the following year. The Jamaican international was out of his depth in the EPL, however, contributing precisely nothing as the Rams were regularly humiliated while returning a record low of 11 points during the 38-game season.
Davis made 19 torturous appearances with the Rams, before disappearing into obscurity as one of the EPL’s most notorious performers.
- William Prunier, Manchester United
Frenchman Prunier was so determined to play for Manchester United that he bought himself out of an existing contract with Bordeaux, and this tenacity is probably what convinced Alex Ferguson to offer him a trial in the winter of 1995.
Once-cap wonder Prunier lasted just two games at United, however, performing adequately during a 2-1 win over QPR before enduring an unmitigated nightmare as the Reds were thrashed 4-1 by Spurs at White Hart Lane. Prunier simply could not handle the pace of striker Chris Armstrong, who scored twice as the French centre-back disappeared almost as quickly as he had emerged!
- Jean-Michel Ferri, Liverpool
Ferri was nicknamed ‘The Machine’ during his time at Nantes, although having seen him an action that mind boggles as to the precise contraption that fans were referring to. Signed by Gerard Houllier in 1998, Ferri’s Liverpool career lasted for just 47 comical minutes before he made his way back across the channel.
This infamous cameo was more than enough to seal his fate at Anfield, with Ferri even becoming something of a cult icon from Houllier’s tenure. As holding players go, the Frenchman is arguably the worst to ever grace the EPL.
- Alex Nyarko, Everton
While Ghanaian Nyarko may have looked the part following his £4.5 million move to Goodison Park in 2000, his horrific time in England is summed up by one outing against Arsenal in 2001. After a hapless display, a Toffees fan ran onto the pitch to offer Nyarko his own Everton shirt, showing everyone precisely how he was rated by the faithful.
Nyarko pitiful response was to ask then manager Walter Smith to substitute him, before he was farmed out on loan the next day. This incident has gone down in Goodison folklore, while helping Nyarko to achieve cult recognition as one of the worst EPL midfielders of all time!
- Eric Djemba-Djemba, Manchester United and Aston Villa
It was suggested that Cameron midfielder Djemba-Djemba was so good that they’d named his twice, although this turned out to be as laughable as the notion that he was the air apparent to Roy Keane.
Signed during a period when Alex Ferguson was struggling in the transfer market (Kleberson, anyone?), Djemba-Djemba cost £3.5 million but showed none of the hunger, pace or energy that was on display during his time at Nantes.
Instead, he became one of Ferguson’s most famous transfer flops, going on to underwhelm for Aston Villa before leaving the EPL altogether.
- Marco Boogers, West Ham United
After a decade playing the Netherlands and plundering goals in the second tier, wheeler-dealer Harry Redknapp paid Sparta Prague £1 million for the forward in 1995 despite never seeing him play. The forward subsequently earned a red card on his debut for a horror challenge on Manchester United defender Gary Neville, which the press suggested was an attempt to inflict a serious injury.
While Boogers made three more appearances for the Hammers, he failed to score in any one of them and began to struggle with a chronic knee injury.
Rumoured to be living in a caravan at one point, Boogers ultimately left the club the following summer and remains a source of much mirth among Hammers’ fans.
- Jozy Altidore, Sunderland and Hull City
We reckon that Altidore would operate as the target man in this side, but if we’re hoping for a decent goal return we may be sorely disappointed!
Incredibly, the burly hitman averages a goal every 35 appearances in the Premier League, making him the type of one-goal-a-season man that every club could do without.
With two EPL goals to his name in a total of 70 appearances across three seasons, Altidore is among the least prolific strikers ever to grace the game, and he’s worthy of a place in our staggeringly bad XI,
- Ali Dia, Southampton
We close with a living legend and a man who made almost every single football weep with tears of joy after his debut for Southampton in November 1995.
Incredibly, then Saints’ manager Graeme Souness was hoodwinked into signing the ‘forward’ without seeing him play, after a brief phone conversation convinced the Scot that Dia was the cousin of the World Player of the Year George Weah.
Then came the striker’s solitary appearance as a substitute against Leeds, when he replaced an injured Matt Le Tissier and subsequently produced one of the most inept displays of all time. Lacking any semblance of control, pace or awareness, he ran about like a headless chicken before suffering the ignominy of being replaced himself after 50 minutes.
He was released the following week, while Souness failed to live the incident down for years. Dia suddenly disappeared, briefly popping up at Gateshead before being deemed not good enough to play non-league football!