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Football Traitors Hall of Shame – Where Are They Now? PART 2

Five more of the most treacherous players ever to walk the planet, a pox on them!

5. Alan Smith (Leeds United -> Manchester United)

Over the summer of 2004, Eminem’s English twin was linked with every club under the sun – including big spending Chelsea, Champions League qualifiers Liverpool, and their then traumatised rivals across the park, Everton.

Of all places though, Smith was eventually coaxed to Old Trafford, inciting fury amongst his people in Leeds. He truly was Leeds’ jewel in the crown, and had forged exceptional partnerships upfront with Michael Bridges and Mark Viduka during Leeds’ Champions League adventure of 2000/01.

The good news is, Smith’s career went on a very steep downward spiral – almost ‘effing vertical’ some might say. His first season at United wasn’t half bad, with Smith scoring 10 goals, but was shut out by Wayne Rooney (see below) and Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Injury then severely affected his chances from 2005-06 onwards. He went to Newcastle United in 2007 in an attempt to revitalise his career, but scored no goals, and was relegated with The Magpies in his second (2008/09) season.


4. Luis Figo (Barcelona -> Real Madrid)

It says much when a player returning to an old club gets a pig’s head thrown at him, but moving from one of the ‘El Clasico’ rivals to the other is really asking for it.

In 2000, Figo was one of football’s hottest properties, arguably the pride of Portugal after experiencing fair success with Barcelona since signing in 1995, and had endeared himself to the Nou Camp faithful – but then the deal of a lifetime came from Real Madrid, and everything changed.

A then-record £37 million move went ahead. With Real, he won the La Liga title in 2001 and 2003 as well as the Champions League in 2002. Figo left Real Madrid in 2005 on a free transfer and finished his career there in 2009.

On the international scene, Figo was a consistent fixture in the senior squad for fifteen years (1991-2006). His finest hour in this capacity came during the 2006 World Cup, captaining the side to third place – their equal best finish.

Indeed, Figo has made anything but a pig’s ear of his career – he was an assistant coach in 2009/10 and is currently a UNICEF ambassador, but will his do-gooding save him from joining Judas Iscariot and Brutus in the lowest circle of hell?


3. Wayne Rooney (Everton -> Manchester United)

The blue eyed boy wonder became a hated red devil overnight, as Everton fans looked on in disbelief as Rooney posed next to The Theatre of Dreams on 31st August 2004. After an abysmal season, cash-strapped Everton were the worst team not to be relegated, with only 39 points to show for their so-called ‘efforts’.

This was the cue for useless toads such as Tobias Linderoth, Tomasz Radzinski and Scott Gemmill to desert a club in disarray – Radzinski even advised Rooney to leave. However, as misfiring, lazy and unlikeable as Fulham-bound Radzinski was at that time, he was absolutely 100% correct. Everton were undeniably a one man team in the days of Rooney, with hapless long balls constantly belted to young, pressurised shoulders.

In 2003/04, Rooney was booked more times than he scored, put on significant weight, and was at loggerheads with Moyes backstage, but since moving, he has gone from strength to strength. His skill and talent unbounded by an incorrigible sense of confidence, as developed and honed under Sir Alex Ferguson, and he is now scoring goals galore, with potential future England captaincy on the cards.


2. Frank Lampard (West Ham -> Chelsea)

Big Fat Frank Junior is at number three, and another example of a treacherous move being spot on – just like his penalties…

Lampard joined his father’s club West Ham United as a fresh faced 16-year old in 1994, and was an ever present in the squad who qualified for the UEFA Cup with a 5th place finish in 1999. However, things didn’t move quickly enough at Upton Park for Lampard’s liking, and quicker than anyone can say “11 million pounds”, he was off to Chelsea at the end of the 2000/01 season.

What more can be said about his time at Chelsea? Since the move, he has become a midfield mainstay for England and Chelsea, forging an effective partnership with John Terry along the way. He has become a highly decorated player, winning three Premier League medals, three FA Cup winner’s medals, two League Cups, and two Community Shields, and is extremely well pedigreed in the Champions League.


1. Sol Campbell (Spurs -> Arsenal)

Although Campbell always craved Champions League football, he stated that he would never join Arsenal. It was therefore a major shock when he did just that in the summer of 2001, made worse by the fact that he left on a free after he ensured his contract expired and the Bosman ruling was brought into effect.

Again, this was a shrewd move – he enjoyed his time at Arsenal, justifying in some small part his decision to cross North London, winning a league and cup double in his first season at Highbury. And things continued to improve for Campbell, who was to be a recognised contributor towards Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003/04 season after forging something resembling a wall made of diamond with Kolo Toure in central defence.

His move to Portsmouth in 2006 came as a surprise, but the onus at Arsenal was clearly on youth and the “next generation”. His performances were generally good as Portsmouth ascended the table and eventually dabbled with the UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, Campbell has shown no indication of aging gracefully, signing for free with Notts County last year – but walked away after just one appearance.

He re-signed with Arsenal after the walkout, and was surprisingly good. But he was never going to be there for long, with William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen soon returning from injury. He has been a strong performer thus far for Newcastle, who have begun the season encouragingly. All in all, quite a player – and it was indeed Arsenal with whom he found home and abundant success in a golden age for The Gunners.


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Article title: Football Traitors Hall of Shame – Where Are They Now? PART 2

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