Football's Halloween Xl

From 'Dracula' Leighton to 'Hell Razor' Ruddock, this team of ghoulish footballers would be good to have alongside you in a pumpkin carving competition...
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From 'Dracula' Leighton to 'Hell Razor' Ruddock, this team of ghoulish footballers would be good to have alongside you in a pumpkin carving competition...

With a face that even his mother wouldn't kiss, Manchester City's erstwhile striker could frighten a blind man. But who joins him in this Halloween themed team of ghouls and hell raisers?

1. JIM ‘DRACULA’ LEIGHTON

He may have crucially lacked the fang power of Drac, but gummy Man Utd keeper Jim Leighton was at the scene of many of a bloodbath as the blunder-prone keeper almost single-handedly prevented the Reds from progressing into serious title contenders. Nicknamed ‘Dracula’ because he didn’t like to come out for crosses, United never looked back once Leighton was given a splash of holy water in 1990.

2. NEIL ‘HELL RAZOR’ RUDDOCK

A deceptively talented player, Razor Ruddock was still a beast of a man during his 90s heyday. As painfully slow as Dr Frankenstein’s Monster he may have been, but what he lacked in speed he more than made up for in unbridled aggression and a deft prowess with a dead ball. Even his goal celebrations were known as the ‘Ruddock Stomp’ as this behemoth with donner kebab thighs marched towards a slightly fearful support. Andy Cole broke two legs in a tussle with Razor in a reserve game, Peter Beardsley received a fractured jaw and Eric Cantona has his collar turned down by the man’s giant paws.

3. Andoni ‘THE BUTCHER OF BILBAO’ Goikoetxea Olaskoaga

A nickname that wasn’t awarded for his ability to stuff sausages, the former Bilbao and Athletic Madrid centre half did however carve hunks out of the opposition during the 70s and 80s. Not only did he hack Maradona to pieces when playing for Athletico against Barca, but he also famously preserved the boot that snapped the young Diego’s ankle. A suitable name for this bastard’s life story would be Mr Hyde And Mr Hyde.

4. PETER ‘FLYING MONKEY’ REID

Not a dirty player in the slightest, the former Everton midfielder did however look like one of those flying monkeys that helped out the Wicked Witch in the Wizard Of Oz. Sorry, but he does.

5. KEVIN ‘THE AXEMAN’ MUSCAT

Possibly one of the most violent players to play in the English top flight in recent times, Kevin Muscat – who had all the grace of a bailiff – had a varied repertoire of hacks and scythes. Seriously injuring Craig Bellamy, Christophe Dugarry and Stan Lazaridis as well as elbowing Grimsby’s Michael Boulding and stomping on Wolves’ Danny Webber, Muscat even signed off his career in Oz this year with a disgusting two-footed lunge in the Melbourne derby. Muscat even once knocked his coach off his chair in a career that produced123 yellow cards and 12 reds.

A deeply ugly-looking individual, Gates resembled a tragic Rod Stewart hued from a parnsip.

6. BILLY ‘THE SMASHING PUMPKIN’ BREMNER

With a face like a fist topped off with a ginger rug, midfielder Leeds captain Bremner (just 5ft 5”) was as hard as they came in an era dominated by fairly grim reapers. Whether the 70s Leeds side were deserved of the ‘dirty’ tag is debatable but one thing is for certain, only the bronze bust of Bremner standing outside Elland Road would have beaten the real thing in a tackle; just ask some of them men who got tangled up in what the Sunday Times described as “10st of barbed wire”.

7. TERRY ‘THE MUMMY’ BUTCHER

Not a violent player, but the subject of one of English football’s most horrifically endearing images, with those manic, bulging eyes sitting ’neath the bloodied bandages wrapped around his swede in a World Cup Qualifier against the Scandinavians in 1989. With almost a pint of blood lost, Butcher never shirked an aerial challenge as they crowd winced with every nut of the bloodied bonce.

8. VINNIE ‘PSYCHO’ JONES

A defensive midfielder with no small amount of skill, Jones will always be remembered for the physical part of his game. Whether it was biting noses, squeezing testicles or extracting lumps of leg with his boots, he was a hard player to like, receiving 12 red cards during his career. Jones was once booked after just three seconds for a tackle on Sheff Utd’s Dane Whitehouse in 1992. The real ugly side to Jones however was the way he celebrated his extremely dangerous side in the video ‘Soccer’s Hard Men’ which prompted Wimbledon owner Sam Hammam to brand Jones a ‘mosquito brain’.

9. ERIC ‘THE WITCH’ GATES

The former Ipswich Town and Sunderland midfielder from the 70s and 80s, with his pointy conk and straggly mane, was as witch-like as it got. A modern-day Matthew Hopkins would have branded Eric a witch within seconds and had him sitting atop some burning twigs. A deeply ugly-looking individual, Gates resembled a tragic Rod Stewart hued from a parnsip.

10. DENNIS ‘CHUCKY’ WISE

Millwall had an endearing song for then player-manager Dennis Wise in the mid Noughties. “He’s only five foot four, he’ll break your fackin’ jaw. Ooh Wisey…” The little Chucky-esque Wise was loved by his own, but generally loathed by the football public at large. A wee man who made up for his diminutive stature with an often violent approach to the game, Wise’s star seemed to rise during a particularly depressing era for English football as his appearances in Graham Taylor’s England team proved. Not the kind of man you’d want in the back of your cab either.

11. CARLOS ‘THE WEREWOLF’ TEVEZ

With a face like old Fang Face, Tevez now only seems to appear on the football pitch with the frequency of a full moon. Cursed by his primitive features and pea brain Carlos Tevez has become the hideous, living embodiment of everything that is evil with the modern game. Even Teen Wolf actually played the sport that made him a name. Not so, this wretched soul.

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