Tal Ben Haim: one of Manchester City’s worst. So, as the Premier League champions look to extend their dominance this summer with some clever additions this summer, we’ll be analysing one of their poorest transfers in recent memory in our Look at him now feature.
Remember Tal Ben Haim, City fans? We doubt it, and to be honest we don’t really blame you. He was a relic of an age gone by; a time when City’s fanbase was far slimmer, their global status far smaller and their success far less regular.
Indeed, for Ben Haim, such a lukewarm, moist environment probably suited him down to the ground, a bit like mould, really.
And like that tricky little pile of mucus, the defender was about to face a big old cleaning wipe, in the form of new owner Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan bin Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, whose filthy (we’re just jealous) oil money was about to cleanse the drivel from City’s squad and fire the club towards unprecedented levels of dominance.
”They clearly want to invest huge sums of money into making us much bigger and much better,” said (per the Guardian at the time) Ben Haim in 2008, clearly holding back the tears that he would soon be replaced. “And there is the potential here. Look at the fan base, the stadium, the facilities. I just hope the new owners can give this team a real push. The club is trying to build something very special. There are great players here already and the gaffer [Mark Hughes]is not going to buy players just for the sake of buying them. He wants to buy the best players. It’s exciting for everyone.”
Less than five months after uttering these hopeful words, he was flung off to relegation-embattled Sunderland. And it got worth, so much worse (if you can believe it).
Ah, what a shame that the Israeli international wasn’t at the club long enough to enjoy the newfound riches, or even to discover Manchester City fans voted him Mark Hughes worst ever signing in a 2009 Vital Football poll.
After leaving City, Ben Haim boarded sinking ship Portsmouth in 2009 before pursuing a nomadic career around England – stopping off at West Ham, Queens Park Rangers and Charlton along the way. And how could we forget about his disastrous loan spells at Toronto and Standard Liege in between?
We think it speaks volumes that the longest period of time he managed at any club before joining Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2015 was two years.
Rather impressively Ben Haim is still kicking about in the Ligat ha’Al for Beitar Jerusalem at the tender old age of 37. Although six games in the relegation round play-offs this term would suggest things aren’t exactly going to plan.
Manchester City fans, what are your standout memories of Ben Haim? Let us know in the comments below…