Where are they now ?Posted: June 20, 2011
In this article we take a look at some one time stars of the top flight in England who have maybe disappeared from the English League or maybe even the football world altogether.
10. Darren Anderton (Playing career: 1990-2008)
We start with with former Totteham Hotspur and England striker Darren Anderton. Anderton joined Spurs in 1992 after an impressive season at Portsmouth, in particular his FA Cup form which included a goal against Liverpool in the semi-Final. He struggled to fit into the Spurs team initially, but he eventually found his feet and started to form a strong striking partnership with Teddy Sheringham.
Anderton was in fine form for Spurs, and he finally got his big reward in 1994 when Terry Venables called him up to the England squad. His form also saw Alex Ferguson try to sign the striker in 1995, but he turned down the move. Last year however, Anderton revealed that Gerry Francis refused to lose anymore key players, having lost Jurgen Klinsmann and Gheorghe Popescu that summer.
As time went by, Anderton began to suffer injury setbacks on a regular basis, cutting his appearances with Spurs and England considerably. Despite clubs like Portsmouth, West Ham and Leeds offering him First team football despite his injuries, Anderton constantly turned down offers to stay loyal to Tottenham.
Anderton did eventually leave in 2004 to join Birmingham City, where he scored just 3 goals in 20 appearances, his only real goal of note coming in a 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield. He was released by the club before Wolverhampton Wanderers signed him on a Free Transfer, but it was just a repeat of his Birmingham stint, scoring just one goal before departing, this time for Bournemouth. He spent two seasons there before retiring midway through the 2008-09 season, scoring 12 goals.
After taking a short break from football, Anderton is now trying to get his badges to become a coach.
9. Duncan Ferguson (Playing career: 1990-2006)
Ferguson signed for Dundee United in 1990 Carse Thistle. He was an impressive striker, scoring 28 League goals in 77 games for United and as usual with any well performing player in the SPL, one of the big Glasgow sides were interested. Rangers confirmed the signing of Duncan Ferguson in 1993 for a then British record of £4 million.
Ferguson endured a tough spell at Rangers however as he could only managed 2 league goals in one season before being sold to Everton after an impressive loan spell. His time at Rangers will be remembered for all the wrong reasons however as he was given a three month prison sentence for headbutting Raith Rovers defender John McStay.
His first season after joining Everton on a permanent contract saw ‘Big Dunc’ pick up his first and only honour, coming on as a sub in Everton’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the 1995 FA Cup Final. Although a consistent hernia problem severely reduced his playing time the following season, he continued to be a focal point for Toffee’s after having that problem corrected.
Ferguson was sold to Newcastle in 1998 for £7 million. Despite a terrific debut, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Wimbledon, his time at Newcastle was hindered by further injuries and found himself back at Everton after just one season, with injuries still plaguing him, he spent six years at Goodison Park before retiring.
Since retiring, the big man has shown he has a big heart as he proudly does a lot of charity work for Alder Hey’s Children’s Hospital.
8. Massimo Taibi (Playing career: 1987-2009)
This kind of article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a couple of flops, and Massimo Taibi certainly falls into that category. Massimo is one of a number of failed goalkeepers for Man United since the departure of Peter Schmeicel, but this disastrous failure was undoubtedly the worst.
In Italy, he failed to really settle at a club early on, playing for 6 different club’s before joining United, including two spells with A.C Milan. The last of the 6 Italian clubs, Venezia, was where he finally settled and played in nearly every League game for them. This was obviously enough to persuade Alex Ferguson to splash out £4.5 million for the keeper in 1999.
In his debut, he made his first mistake as he flapped at a free-kick which Sami Hyypia was able to get on the end of the to score. It wasn’t all bad though, as Taibi managed to pick up the Man of the Match award as United went on to beat Liverpool 3-2.
After this however, came his most comical goalkeeping moment as he managed to let Matt Le Tissier’s tame effort from distance slip under him and into the goal. We’re sure you’ve all seen it by now, but its still worth another look:
Watch as all the United fan’s behind the goal simultaneously hold their heads in disbelief. A 5-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea was the final straw for Ferguson as he quickly shipped the now dubbed ‘Blind Venetian’ back to Italy.
He played with 4 different club’s in Italy before retiring in 2009. The Premiership may just not been for him, maybe he wasn’t an all round terrible keeper, as he made almost 140 appearances for Atalanta between 2001 and 2005.
Little is actually known of Massimo since he hung up his boots, so we can only assume he’s kicking back and enjoying retirement.
7. Luis Garcia (1997-Present)
I’ve often heard people ask “Where is Luis Garcia playing now ?”, your question will no longer go unanswered as you will find in this piece about the Spaniard.
A product of the Barcelona Youth academy, Garcia failed to break into the First team even after few successful loan moves, Tenerife in particular where he scored 16 goals in 41 games. In 2002 he was sold to Atletico Madrid for €3.6 million.
He had an outstanding season with Athleti, scoring 9 goals in 30 games. Barcelona were so impressed with his form that they activated a buy back clause in his contract with seen him return to the club for €1.4million. He enjoyed a good with Barca, scoring 4 goals in 25 games to help the Catalan club finish 2nd in the table.
Newly appointed Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was looking to bring some new faces in, and he made Garcia one of those new players when he paid £6 million for the winger. He was just one of 4 Spanish players to sign for Liverpool that summer, with Xabi Alonso, Josemi and Antonio Nunez also joined The Reds. Fernando Morientes also arrived at Liverpool 6 months later.
It was a successful debut season for Luis Garcia as he finished joint top scorer with Milan Baros and Steven Gerrard on 13 goals and played a crucial role in the club’s journey to the Champions League Final with a marvelous goal against Juventus and the infamous ‘Ghost goal’ in the semi-Final against Chelsea which sealed Liverpool’s place in the Final against A.C Milan, which they of course went onto win in style, pulling off the mother of all comebacks, coming back from 3-0 down to make it 3-3, then going on to win it on Penalties.
Garcia spent two more seasons with Liverpool before re-joining Atletico Madrid, and during his time he ranked 43rd by the fans in a list of Liverpool’s 100 Greatest Players in 2006. He was so appreciative of this he wrote a letter directed to all Liverpool fans, thanking them for all the votes and the continued support he’s gotten. He’s still a popular figure for all Liverpool fans and there are many who would still love to see him return to the club. He donned the Red jersey once again last September for Jamie Carragher’s testimonial, and scored in the second minute.
Garcia is currently playing for Greek side Panathinaikos, who he signed for last summer.
6. Mark Viduka (Playing career:1993-2009)
Australian striker Mark Viduka has enjoyed a fine career, with a terrific goal to game ratio with a number of clubs. With his first club, Melbourne Knights, he scored 40 goals in 47 appearances, 40 goals in 87 appearances for Croatia Zagreb, 30 goals in 37 appearances for Celtic, 59 goals in 130 appearances for Leeds, 26 goals in 72 games for Middlesbrough and 7 goals in 38 appearances for Newcastle, the latter saw his playing time reduced by injuries. In total he scored 202 goals at club level and scored a further 11 goals for Australia.
Although his time at Celtic saw Viduka in his most prolific form, he isn’t a very popular man amongst the fans of the Glasgow club. He admitted during his time there that he wasn’t playing as good as he could be. In 2007, Ian Wright was talking about his time at Celtic on his own Talksport show. He revealed a striker, who he decided not to name, refused to come out for the 2nd half of Celtic’s Scottish Cup defeat to Inverness and expressed his disgust at the player’s unprofessional attitude and also said he himself was substituted for the striker, indicating that Viduka was the unnamed striker.
He enjoyed a great first season with Leeds, his finest hour coming against Liverpool when Leeds beat the Merseyside club 4-3, Viduka himself scoring all 4 goals. However a few seasons later when relegation loomed for Leeds, Viduka is often considered at fault for the club’s defeat which sent them down. He had scored to give them a 1-0 lead, but got himself booked twice as Leeds went onto lose 4-1. They were leading 1-0 until he was sent off.
Up until recently, it wasn’t known what Viduka was doing, but he has recently confirmed his retirement from football and is taking a break from the game to spend time with his family.
5. Dennis Bergkamp (Playing career: 1983-2006)
One of the finest strikers to ever play in the Premiership, and only for Thierry Henry, would be Arsenal’s greatest striker of the Premiership era.
Dennis began his career with his local club Ajax in 1983, and was then promoted to the senior team in 1986. He was in blistering goalscoring form for the Amsterdam side, scoring 103 goals in 185 appearances before joining Inter Milan in 1993 for £12 million, making him the 2nd most expensive signing in the world at time, second only to Gianluigi Lentini, who joined A.C Milan from Torino for £13 million in 1992.
His time at Inter was a lot different to his time with Ajax, he struggled for goals in Serie A, scoring just 11 goals in 50 appearances over 2 years, but did pick up a second UEFA Cup in 1994. He was an unpopular player in Italy, and recieved some harsh treatment from the Italian media who renamed their ‘asino della settimana‘ (Donkey of the week) award as the ‘Bergkamp della settimana’ award.
Bruce Rioch saved Bergkamp from his Italian nightmare when he brought him to Arsenal for £7.5 million. He would go on to be a truly great addition to Arsenal side for 10 years, playing a key role in three League Titles, four FA Cups and three Community Shields. He was also very success on the individual front, most notably a quadruple scoop as he won the PFA Player of the Season, FWA Player of the Season , Players’ Player of the Season and BBC Goal of the Season awards in 1998. He was also named in 1998 World Cup Team of the Tournament. His biggest honour of all came in 2007 when he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. £7.5 million for Bergkamp turned out to be a bargain if anything!
Dennis is currently a coach at Ajax and up until recently was the manager of the newly formed Netherlands ‘B’ Team.
The non-Flying Dutchman (Affectionately named due to his fear of flying) scored 87 goals for Arsenal, but the best of the lot came against Newcastle in 2002. Rather than describe it, just watch a genius at work here:
4. Rob Jones (Playing career: 1987-1999)
Rob Jones is one of the best right backs in Liverpool’s history and one of the best players to never have scored for the club.
Rob began his career with Crewe Alexandra, who were playing in the 4th Division at the time. He has been deemed an ‘accidental signing’ for Liverpool when it emerged that when Graeme Souness first saw him play, he was actually at a match scouting a totally different Crewe player.
In his first season for the Reds he helped them reach the FA Cup Final, which they won 2-0, beating Sunderland. He also picked up his first England cap, but was ruled out of the Euro 92 campaign with an injury.
Jones career began to take some unfortunate turns due to injuries, and manager Roy Evans became concerned advising him to take a 6 month break after the 1996 FA Cup Final defeat to Manchester United to get his back problem treated.
Jones took his advice, but upon returning the following two seasons were plagued by further back injuries and a fresh knee injury. He joined West Ham in 1999 and played just one game for them before opting to retire at the age of just 27 to avoid doing any serious damage to himself given his injury record.
Since retirement, Rob opened a creché with his wife in Warrington and they still own and run it today.
3. Ali Dia (Playing career: 1988-1997)
Although I use the term ‘Playing career’ loosely for Ali Dia, this man simply couldn’t be left out of this list. When he was unleashed on the pitch he looked like someone who’d entered a ‘Buy 10 Packets of Crisps and become a Premiership footballer for the day’ competition. If you look closely in the picture he appears to have even failed to tie the laces on his boot.
The plan to get Ali Dia to Southampton was as simple as it was stunning. Pretend to be George Weah, ring up Grame Souness and recommend your ‘cousin’ to him. To this day, we don’t know what exactly sealed the deal for Graeme Souness, but in saying that, this is Graeme Souness we are talking about, you could make up about 3 teams of hopeless players who were all signed by him for various clubs.
Now when Dia arrived, Souness thought he had the next big thing on his subs bench for the next match as he genuinely believed he was capped 13 times for Senegal and played for Paris St. Germain, when in fact he was never capped and the biggest club he played for prior to Southampton was Blyth Spartans. His big chance came in a match against Leeds when he came on for the injured Matt Le Tissier after half an hour. His performance was spectacularly bad, so bad he had to take the dreaded walk of shame as the ‘subbed sub’, with Ken Monkou coming on for him in the 52nd minutes. In Ali’s defence, he did manage to get a shot on target!
He’s been dubbed as ‘Bambi on Ice’ after his cameo appearance and often Top’s the Lists of the Worst Players to ever play in the Premiership. Dia returned to training the following day for treatment on an injury, but was then never seen again.
It was reported months later that he was playing for non-league Gateshead, and sure enough, he was there. He made 8 appearances and scored 2 goals for them before retiring. He went on to study business in Northumbria University in Newcastle and graduated in 2001, so I can only assume what he is doing now is related to that. Maybe from his experience of conning managers and using his expertise in business, he landed this Portuguese version of Ali Dia a deal at Man United worth £7.4 million:
2. Norman Whiteside (Playing career: 1982-1991)
Speaking of Man United, next up we’ll be taking a look the Red Devils former striker Norman Whiteside, the only non-Premiership era player to feature here.
When Norman broke into the United team in 1982, he became the club’s youngest debutant at 17 years old, and became the club’s youngest goalscorer in a 2-0 win over Stoke City. To round it all off,in that same year,he also became the youngest ever player to take part in the World Cup, overtaking Pelé’s record. He continued his run of becoming the Youngest Player to appear or score in certain competitions when he scored in both the League Cup Final and FA Cup Final.
He was much loved by the United fans for his fantastic work rate, especially when he moved into midfield. He also received much praise for his outstanding performances against teams such as Liverpool and Everton.
Its almost become the running theme in this article, as Whiteside became yet another victim of injury setbacks which affected his performances, not the news Alex Ferguson would’ve wanted to hear when taking over at Old Trafford. He scored his last goal for United against Derby County before eventually being granted his wish to leave United and signed for Everton in 1989.
His career at Everton was short lived however, scoring 9 goals in just under 30 appearances. Whiteside decided to retire at the age of just 26 when his doctor told him he was at risk of never being able to walk again if he keeps playing football, which is understandable after having 13 operations on your knee during your career.
Norman still remains popular with the fans, and what he does now reflects that as he often participates in taking the fans on tours of Old Trafford and regularly attends meet-and-greet sessions on Match days. He’s probably one of the nicest guys in football and always has time for the fans, so don’t hesitate to talk to him if you ever find yourself in the Stadium on Match day!
1. Tomas Brolin (1984-1998)
If you followed football during the 90’s, then you’ll remember Tomas Brolin. A man who arrived in the Premiership with a big reputation, but was ultimately a massive let down.
Brolin was making great strides with Italian outfit A.C Parma. He was looking like a big star for the future, causing much problems for defences and notching up 20 goals in his time there. Somewhere along the line, something went wrong, Tomas struggled badly for form, which may have stemmed from the injury he picked up in a Euro ’96 Qualifier.
Tomas continued to struggle for the form he once showed and eventually dropped down the pecking order, which seen him request for a move away.
Brolin initially had a decent start to life as a Leeds player, but soon he clashed with manager Howard Wilkinson. Despite missing 9 players for the game following his fall out with Brolin, Wilkinson still chose to leave him out of the side. Brolin found himself in a bit of an embarrassing situation when an April Fools Day joke backfired, when he told Swedish television he was going back to IFK Norrkopping on loan. He was forced to apologize to Wilkinson afterwards. The most embarrassing thing of all about Brolin’s time in England was the fact he failed to keep himself in shape, he seemed to continue to put on weight, and was certainly one footballer who didn’t treat his body like a temple.
This article is about where these players are and what they are doing now, so prepare yourselves as iv’e saved the best for last. Since retiring in 1998, Brolin has ventured into different business opportunities in his homeland, the first of which being his restaurant, ‘Undici’, Italian for 11, the number he wore for Parma. He has seen his restaurant fined several times for permitting underage drinking.
Following his disgraced eatery he decided to invest money in real estate and also invested money into a firm selling a new mouthpiece for vacuum cleaners, leading to some public amusement. Tomas then began to play in the World Poker Series and still regularly competes. Even aside from his bizarre business ventures and competing in Poker, he is ridiculed for trying to claim a goal from International team-mate Roland Nillson. In other words he should have 27 goals rather than 26, claiming the ball went in off him, but as the video showed, the ball took a slight touch off his back when he wasn’t even aware Nillson was taking a shot. He’s claiming this 20 years since that game, and Roland only has 2 goals in 116 caps, for the love of god Tomas, let the man have his day!
My theory is he just wants his international tally to match the number of chins he has:
So folks, some of you may have learned something new, some of this might be old information to you, either way I hope you enjoyed reading this article and there will be more like this to come in the future.