Manchester United vs Chelsea thus afternoon: two teams packed with stars - but if you only picked their worst ever cloggers which would have the feeblest side?
Manchester United Worst Xl
There are quite a few names that spring to mind when trying to name a Manchester United worst 11; Lee Martin, Jordi Cruyff, Liam Miller, Gary Birtles, and even the ever absent Owen Hargreaves, the list goes on. I know people will argue over my selection because there are some omitted players that were quite terrible, but this selection is based on players that I can really remember ruining my day. Weirdly, we’ve always had decent full-backs so it’s into 3-5-2 they go.
GK: Massimo Taibi
Signed for 4.5 million from Venezia in ’99, his debut saw him flap to let in Sami Hyypia but then go on to get man of the match. He only played another three games, before his handiwork, redolent of Homer Simpson in the opening credits of The Simpsons, saw him shipped back to Italy. 0
CB: William Prunier
Was Cantona’s ami, nes pas? He came to Manchester United on a trial and played two games at centre half. I saw him crumble under heat of Spurs (and they were useless) with United losing 4-1. Necromancer? Romancer? Chancer. 0
CB: Pat McGibbon
Signed as the new Paul McGrath, he made his debut against York in the League Cup circa ’95. United lost 3-0, McGibbon got sent off and he never played for the club again. Gibbon by name. 0
CB: Laurent Blanc
Not the worst defender United have had, but he’s one of the worst I’ve actually seen play. We bought him five years too late: he was meant to replace Jaap Stam but at the age of 35 had little mileage left. With Blanc – or his alter ego Larry White from Burnley - at the defensive helm United infamously lost consecutively to Bolton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea. Don’t need to spell it out. 0
I know the poor lad has hardly had chance to prove himself yet but his performances to date have shown that the gaffer must’ve had a night on the Claret. Will he prove me wrong? I hope so. Will he be loaned out with the option to buy? Probably. Will he return to streets that honed his skills? Possibly. 0
Purchased after his performances fro Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, United snapped him up with the promise that he could fill Veron’s boots (incidentally, it was either Veron or Kleberson here). He got injured and played 20 games over a two-year period scoring twice. The worst Brazilian I’ve ever seen play, he makes Darren Fletcher look like Socrates. 0
CM: Eric Djemba Djemba.
So s***e they named him twice, he had Roy Keane’s shadow hanging over him and showed an aggressive edge in the beginning. He won the FA Cup in a red shirt but had all of the on-field presence off a packet of Revels. Now underwhelming at Danish side Odense BK. 0
CM: Darren Ferguson.
Clearly dragged through the youth system by his old man before filling in for Robbo at the dawn of the premiership. Never really at the right level and a perfect example of misplaced nepotism. 0
LM: Luke Chadwick
With a face that his even his Mum wouldn't kiss, Chadwick had a fair crack at playing for United but never opened the Coleman's. He played like a marionette: controlled, lightweight and with his strings visible for everyone to see. He’s now appearing for MK Dons and has to wear a mask, allegedly. 0
CF: David Bellion
Signed from Sunderland under a storm cloud that he never managed to shake off, the new Thierry Henry never settled and treated us to his full repertoire of how not to shoot, pass, tackle and even walk. However he did score against Leeds in the League Cup before leaving soaked to the bone in disappointment. 0
CF: Diego Forlan.
The Sally Gunnell lookalike famously took 20 odd games to score but did have a habit of scoring against the bindippers. Ran around a lot, fell over even more and the fact that he is now feted as one of the top strikers in Europe just adds to the pain of all of those Saturdays spent watching him rifle clear-cut opportunities high into the stands. 0
Chelsea Worst Xl
As a young man I thankfully missed out on Chelsea’s grimmest period (1978-1983), so some of our true stinkers are going to miss out on making this little list of horrors. However I am old enough to remember just how stinkingly mediocre we once were, so just from my own match-going experience have managed to select an impressively poor team. I’ve gone for a flamboyant 4-3-3 formation, and I’m sure that with our comedy keeping, dozy defenders, paperweight midfield and bungling strike force we’d be crushed even by the worst of United’s worst. Bring it on!
GK: Dave Beasant
Poor man. He came to us from Wimbledon as a big money signing, a young goalkeeper on the way up. He left as a nervy, rattled man on the edge, always leaving the crowd unsure of when his next blooper was going to be. His calamitous highlight came when he dropped a jar of mayonnaise on his foot, ruling himself out of action for weeks. Rumour has it he was trying to control it after letting it slip out of his hands; thankfully we had long since seen the back of him by then. 0
RB: Graham Wilkins
Amazingly at the club for a decade (72-82), Wilkins senior suffered at Chelsea in comparison with his smooth, stylish younger brother Ray. This is because he was a hopeless clogger, and while Sky pundit Ray would make some fan’s all-time best XIs, Graham is practically the first name on any worst XI team sheet. Chelsea fans begged Ray to stay, but prayed Graham would go. Christmas time must have been awkward in the Wilkins household. 0
CB: Winston Bogarde
The late 90s and early 00s was an uncharacteristic productive time in the transfer market for the club, with some great players being picked up on frees or for next to nothing: Ruud Gullit, Gus Poyet, Tore Andre Flo, Mark Hughes, Gianluca Vialli, Frank Leboeuf, Dan Petrescu, just to name a few off the top of my head. But Bogarde wasn’t one of them. Indentified as the weak link in Barcelona’s defence by then-manager Vialli, he was subsequently bought by the club, despite protests that he was surly, selfish, and not very good. He played nine games in four years, most of which time he spent on the bench, or training with the reserve and youth teams, all the while picking up a whopping £40,000 a week. No matter what the club did to him he took it with a smile, and carried on getting paid, and even got bonus payments when the club won trophies: you’ve got to kind of respect that, really. 0
CB: Jes Hogh
It’s a testament to just how bad the Danish defender was that kids chanting Hoooooooooooogh like Hacksaw Jim Duggan wasn’t the worst thing about his time at Chelsea. The worst thing being that he was made of paper and brushed off the ball like a bobble from a prized polo top. He played nine times in two years, and I can’t remember one of those matches. 0
LB: Doug Rougvie
Another lumbering oaf in the G. Wilkins mould, Chelsea signed him from Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Aberdeen side in 1984. Soon after being a lumbering oaf got him grief from Chelsea’s unforgiving fans, who soon started using ‘Rougvie’ as a synonym for ‘clogger’ . 0
M: Duncan McKenzie
A lightweight nonentity of a player, McKenzie was cut from the same cloth as Peter Rhoades-Brown and Dale Jasper, and was hurried out the door after 16 appearances in which he scored four goals and was nearly blown away by the wind twice as many times. And at least Rhoades Brown scored in that 1982 Cup tie with Liverpool. 0
M: Slavisa Jokanavic
Another cumbersome carthorse, only this time plonked in the middle of Claudio Ranieri’s midfield, where he proceeded to stink up the place to such a degree that the smell of the manure outside Fulham Broadway tube came as a welcome relief. You know a player is straight from Cacksville when the away support ironically take him to their hearts. 0
M: Enrique De Lucas
Nothing summed up the dire financial straits Chelsea found themselves in at the start of the millennium quite like Quique. Signed from Espanyol on a free in the summer of 2002, he was our only arrival that summer, and as the storm clouds gathered in the accounts department he spent a season occasionally taking a place in our midfield. The only notable thing he brought to the team was a dreadful bleached hairdo, five years after it went out of fashion. Those stylish Europeans, eh? 0
ST: Robert Fleck
Sutton, Furlong, Casiraghi, Kezman. Chelsea have a proud tradition of buying strikers for big money and then watching them turn to dust, but their king must be Robert Fleck. Signed from Norwich for a whopping £2.1million, he has become the standard bearer for big-money failure, vying with Wilkins the first name on any worst 11 team sheet. He is a poignant reminder to all that to Fleck is human: one wrong move and you too could find yourself on the scrapheap. 0
ST: Steve Livingstone
When stroppy future England left-back, Graeme le Saux, left the club in a storm of controversy in the March of 1993 (after enraging Chelsea fans by throwing his shirt on the floor at Wimbledon), we signed Livingstone as part of the deal for £350,000. He played 55 minutes, as a sub for Neil Shipperley at Manchester United. We lost 3-0, and we sold him to Grimsby six months later. 0
ST: Dave Mitchell
I asked a few older Chelsea chaps for some of their suggestions. One of them wrote the following: ‘Dave Mitchell. Why? Because he was rubbish.’ No goals in eight games: the stats back up the wizened old man’s judgement. 0
Final Score: 0-0
With Lawrenson and Hansen in the gantry wearing black, this was never going to be one to remember. After Forlan misses seven clear-cut chances in the first five minutes, he gets lucky on the stroke of half-time. As the ball bounces on the edge of the box, Wilkins attempts to smash him, misses, and boots the ball into his face which then loops over Beasant who is prone after being felled by a stray piece of toilet paper.
The second half starts badly. With Lawro weeping into Hansen’s lap on 70 minutes, Prunier and Blanc are caught napping while discussing Cantona as an art form and Robert Fleck lopes between them. Miscuing his shot horribly, he watches with glee as Taibi catches it, drops it and knocks it in off his back. Sensibly, the ref blows up and claims a broken watch. 1-1
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