Dreadlocked centre forward Benjani must be one of the luckiest guys to ever kick a leather sphere in anger. French club Auxerre took a punt on him in 2002 after the forward had netted a paltry 3 goals in 32 games for Grasshopper in Switzerland. After an underwhelming stint in France where he scored about once every 5 games, Harry Redknapp decided to gamble on the Zimbabwean “hitman” in 2005; a transfer that was investigated as part of the Stevens inquiry into corruption in English football. Good old Arry (it wasn’t me Guv).
Benjani was pretty underwhelming for his first two seasons at Fratton Park, but then he had one of those “Papiss Cisse” type streaks and battered in enough hit and hopers to earn a move to Man City under Sven Goran Eriksson in 2007.
Despite a debut goal in the Manchester derby, it turned out that Benjani was actually pretty shit. To his credit he hung on in there at City like a young Winston Bogarde, collecting his enormous and completely undeserved pay packet until 2010.
Blackburn signed him upon his release, but alas his continued uselessness prevented him from succeeding. In 2011, Pompey took him back for another year where Benjani “wowed” supporters, smashing in a solitary strike in 18 games.
That was enough for Benjani and he fecked off to the South African league in 2012 where he has been at his consistent best. One goal so far and counting….
Hleb was actually pretty nifty wasn’t he? I really used to enjoy watching him at Arsenal and so did Barcelona, who signed him from the Gunners in 2008 for €15m. He really was THAT good.
There is no shame in failing to nail down a regular place at the Nou Camp, but it looks as though Hleb’s failure to make an impact there shattered his self belief and the Belarusian has tumbled down football’s rabbit hole via loans at Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg, before making permanent moves to Krylia Sovetov Samara (who the flip?), BATE Borisov and finally Konyaspor in Turkey.
I never liked saying his name out loud; it always resembled the noise you make when trying to clear phlegm from your throat…”hchchchcleb”.
I remember Geremi being shit hot on an old version of Football Manager. He was one of those players who had outstanding physical attributes in the game and those guys were monsters in FM.
He wasn’t half bad in real life either playing admirably for Real Madrid and Chelsea winning two Champions League titles and plenty of domestic hounours, although he started to fade badly aged 30 in his second season at Newcastle in 2008.
Look, I don’t really want to open this can of worms, but I think Geremi just might have been a little bit older than his passport says. Rumours that his breath smelled like Fixident are unconfirmed. (Would I lie about my age to play professional football? Hell yes. Unfortunately I can’t lie about my actual ability)
After leaving Newcastle in 2009, Geremi moved to Ankaragucu in Turkey, where he struggled to find any form. The Cameroonian then signed for Greek club Larissa on a two year deal, but was released after just 6 months.
Crafty Brazilian schemer clichés aside, Elano was a talented midfielder who joined the early Man City financial revolution in 2007 following an impressive stint in the Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk.
Elano enjoyed a productive first season in Manchester, reaching double figures for the campaign and although his second season was less impressive, he was still a regular for Brazil and his career looked in pretty good shape.
Elano moved to Galatasary in 2009, but by his second season in Turkey, he was beginning a steady downward trajectory. In 2011, he separated from his wife and moved back to Brazil and it was the same year he made his last appearance for his country. That bitch must have wrung poor Elano out.
Between 2011 and 2014, Elano club hopped between Santos, Gremio and Flamengo before moving to India to play for Chennaiyin last September, signing a 3 month deal for a reported $1m.
Most will remember Baros from his spells at Liverpool and Aston Villa between 2002 and 2007, where the Czech striker spent most of the time looking at his socks and running down blind alleys.
Baros never really cut it at Premier League level despite fleeting moments of quality, but he did give it a decent shot and even came back to stink the place up for a third time at Portsmouth after a short stint at Lyon in France.
After bashing in a phenomenal zero goals for Pompey, Baros moved to that famous Istanbul retirement home: Galatasaray. Baros found his scoring touch in Turkey, netting 25 times in his first season and 16 in his second.
After Euro 2012, Baros didn’t kick a ball until the following February and then proceeded to return to the club where he started his career: Banik Ostrava. That Summer, Baros returned to Turkey with Antalyaspor, where he stayed for just one year, before rejoining Banik Ostrava again. Make up your mind Captain Indecisive.
“Sunday, Monday Habib Beye…..Tuesday, Wednesday Habib Beye…..” Yes, fans did indeed serenade Beye with this catchy chant to the tune of “Happy Days” – quality chant.
The Senegalese full back forged his reputation in France with Strasbourg and Marseille respectively before being snapped up by Big Sam Allardyce at Newcastle in 2007 for what seemed like a bargain at €3m.
Beye proved to be a massive hit in his first season, winning the club’s player of the year award for his accomplished performances down the right.
The following season was a disastrous one for the Toon Army and they crashed out of the Premier League. Beye endeared himself to the people of Newcastle even further by claiming he would stay at the club to help them return to the top flight at the first time of asking. A few weeks later he joined Aston Villa. Not cool Habib…..not cool.
After two and half underwhelming years at Villa, Beye’s contract was cancelled. With little interest shown in his services, Beye settled for a stint a Doncaster where he played a couple of dozen games before retiring in 2013.
by Simon Winter