Tony Blair once shot himself in the foot by saying ‘history will be my judge’ when defending his decision to bow to American pressure and invade Iraq. He’s not the only man who that phrase has come back to haunt as seen so blatantly in the case of these three former Birmingham signings who once had the audacity to call themselves professional footballers.
Jim Smith followed in Tottenham’s footsteps when he gambled £295,000 to sign himself an Argentine World Cup winner in 1978. Alberto Tarantini must have been the weakest leak in Maradona’s side, however, as he proved to be completely ineffectual at left back and the Blues were relegated from the top flight. His time in England was marked for his fiery temperament and famously ending his short spell at Birmingham by wading into the crowd and punching a heckler.
Daniel De Ridder arrived at St. Andrews in 2007 with plenty of promise from Celta Vigo. The Dutch attacking midfielder injured his ankle within minutes of making his Premiership debut though and could not play for the next three months. The only blessing was the Birmingham had not paid any kind of fee to bring him to England but were left to rue the huge waste of time and wages they had invested in this substandard player once they had cancelled his contract after just one season.
Giovanny Espinoza was one of Alex McLeish’s biggest mistakes in the transfer market. The Ecuadorian defender was signed from Barcelona SC in June 2009 but was not even tested in the Premier League after his woeful displays in training. He promptly had his contract terminated after making just two appearances in the Carling Cup during an uninspiring six month stay in England.
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