Most loved players – Top 10

by Sam Rider

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

In response to Dexy’s article on the most hated players I have attempted to compile a list of ‘most loved’.

These are not necessarily the ones who are the most influential in scoring/creating goals but are ones that any supporter, whether they follow that club or not, will appreciate simply for their likability. Every club and every dressing room undoubtedly has one. So here goes. Feedback is welcome.


1) Jimmy Bullard

Jimmy’s dressing room antics are well documented. His reaction to Duncan Ferguson thumping a Wigan team mate in the ribs was to stand timidly staring at the fuming Scotsman, half laughing/half terrified. A role in comedy surely awaits the scraggly haired Londoner. Not bad at free kicks either.

Facebook love groups 457


2) Emile Heskey

Possibly the only centre forward in International football to not be selected for scoring goals. Forever being on the brink of becoming a devastating striker his powers of reliability and an abundance of effort must still be working for him as Martin O’Neill has seen fit to bring him into a top four side (sorry Arsenal).

Facebook love groups 238


3) John O’Shea

He burst onto the scene as a marauding left back attempting audacious tricks – how could anyone forget that nutmeg on Portuguese prima donna Luis Figo in 2003. Otherwise he doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body and the look of shock and bewilderment on his face when he scores after those rare forays up field are priceless.

Facebook love groups 123


4) Lee Carsley

Everton’s poor start to the season could be attributed to the absence of the underrated, unassuming baldy. Always willing to do the dog work, he let others around him take the plaudits, and was instrumental in solidifying the Toffee’s status as a top six side. It is of little surprise to see him be the most capped player for his new club Birmingham City as they are pushing hard for promotion.

Facebook love groups 20


5) Shaun Wright-Phillips

He lost his way somewhat with his move to West London but since his return to former employees Manchester City, the wiz kid has been in tantalizing form. Rory Delap ruined his chances of inclusion in this list when he hacked away at the City star last weekend – employing the ‘take on someone half your size’ and the ‘kick him when he’s down’ techniques disgracefully. An International call-up will get the much missed Ian Wright back commentating for England in no time.

Facebook love groups 121


6) Steven Taylor

His displays for the England U21s in the European Finals penalty shoot-out with Holland deserve a mention. Despite hobbling for the majority of extra-time he stepped up to smash home from the spot, showing David Bentley amongst others, how much his national colours mean to him. Also he’s guaranteed to put in a theatrical (I’ve just been shot) performance on the goal line when saving with his hands. Even Newcastle fans must find him comical.

Facebook hate groups 54


7) Linvoy Primus

A long shot at seven is the braided Charlton stalwart. His reliability and heart on his sleeve performances at Portsmouth propelled them up the league under Redknapp and established them as a top flight club. Under the tough façade, Primus has encouraged acceptance and good will in the game. Type his name into Wikipedia and the description “English football player, writer and Christian charity worker” just sings out good natured.

Facebook love groups 78


8) Henrik Larsson

His legs may have carried him away from Britain but they don’t seem to be failing him anytime soon. Establishing himself as a hero of football north of the border, he is the only non-Scottish player to be selected in the greatest ever Celtic team by fans in 2002. Frequently returning to visit his long time conditioning coach and watch his beloved Celtic have meant that he will always stay close to Scotland hearts.

Facebook love groups 178


And a couple from the history books:
1) Gianfranco Zola

The diminutive Italian represents all that was good about the cosmopolitan Chelsea before Abramovich’s riches. His flair and style, playing with a smile on his face, brought all new appreciation to Premiership football the world over and his successes at West Ham in management have so far been achieved the right way with hard work and enthusiasm.

Facebook love groups 567


2) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

He underlined the qualities of commitment and loyalty whilst confined to the Manchester United bench and when called upon put in the most startling performances in Premier League history, scoring 4 goals on more than one occasion from being substitute. Such qualities that are lost in the modern game will see his name forever ring out around Old Trafford.

Facebook love groups 321


Nb. Lee Trundle would have made the cut for the plaudits he has won on Soccer AM and the livening up of League 1 football with his tricks and flicks – but after scanning the Facebook groups and seeing the anger he has incurred from 99% of Welsh football fans while at Swansea, I realised he is more likely to make the most hated wall of fame.



Be Sociable, Share!
  • Martyn

    I’d like to put Gary Mabbutt forward, being generally considered one of the nicest men in football. He was also lauded for the way he dealt with his diabetes and playing football and how he has helped other footballers with it since.

  • Sam

    Indeed he is worthy – this list mainly includes those that have played over the last 10-15 years or so and mainly of the Premier League era but inclusions of the likes of Larsson and Zola do hinder its impact. Players in Mabbutt’s league for on the pitch ‘niceness’ would surely put someone like Walkers’ very own Gary Lineker in there too then.

  • Darren

    I’d actually agree with you Martyn, I’d also have to say Gary Linekar & Alan Smith. I think they received 1 yellow between them!

  • Asif

    Denis Bergkamp
    who didnt love to watch him play???

  • Danny Brothers

    Trundle is more thank likely hated rather than loved by a lot of lower league fans…I have a lot of personal favourites which you would never have heard of but I have to mention Neil “Larry” Grayson as my all time favorite crowd pleaser at Sixfields.

  • Martyn

    Agreed. When you compare strikers like that, who scored plenty of goals and maintained their modest and fair attitude, you have to wonder what Craig Bellamy’s big problem is?

  • dexylongshot

    Don’t get me started on the that taff judas!

    Frank McCavennie must be included in the old skool group.
    Always played with a smile on his face* and very under-rated marksman.

    (Probably still thinking of the night before)

    I like Crouchy as well, he seems like a grin. I was at the last world cup and he came up to the team hotel window in Nuremburg the night before the Trinidad game and did his robot for a couple of thousand of well oiled England fans, happy days!

  • Sam

    Im undecided on the Dutch mastermind that is Bergkamp – all the skill, touch and penache in the world but would never take a plane journey for European games! That must have surely infuriated all the Gunners out there. Fitting that he went when he did for sponsorship purposes – how could fly Emirates have him undermining their new stadium. In terms of modern Arsenal players – Kolo Toure seems like he’s just happy to be there and he never shud have been overlooked for the captaincy when the ungrateful Gallas got it.

  • Matt Quinn

    I hate Steven Taylor- the guys an absolute tit.
    Also, why can Jimmy Bullard do no wrong? He moved to Fulham coz he was a londoner and wanted to be home. Fulham are riding high this year and Hull are plummeting. He moved purely for money.
    Bergkamp was a dirty b@stard.

    The player i like the most is Paul Scholes.

  • Sam

    OK well Steven Taylor may have been more for his comedic value which you have summed up by him being a ‘tit’. As for Bullard, he has let himself down with that one but felt Al Fayed apparently just didnt want him enough. Maybe he also thought Mike Brown might be a bit of a joker and a kindred spirit – having team talks on the pitch and all – and maybe he’s upset with his family in London these days.

    I really wanted to put Scholes and Giggs in coz for all their riches they would still like to return to their local teams (or teams close to their heart) in Oldham and Cardiff City respectively. But felt they may have incurred too much envy with all the silverware spilling out of their trophy cabinets.

  • sammysin

    I would say lol but I don’t want to. I did lol though. John O’shea is a true United legend even if no one actually thinks he’s very good. And Ole goes without saying – I’m glad you said it anyway though

  • sammysin

    Oh yeah and Larsson is a football God if only for all the ahtricks he’s scored for me on Pro

Previous post:

Next post: