When the summer comes around, one place the newspapers will be looking for a story is Anfield. The question is going to be - will Luis Suarez be staying or will he be offloaded? The most talented player Liverpool have has been instrumental in turning them into the Premiership's biggest target for hatred and his position at Anfield may have become untenable. My question is then - hand on heart, if he agreed to go to your team, would you say no? Likewise Carlos Tevez, his mercenary behaviour has resulted in much derision, but he is so good that he could still walk into any Premiership side. City fans seem to have forgiven him already for his outrageous behaviour this season and it is because he is the business on the pitch.
I have been thinking about Premiership players (past and present) you hate, but you would love if they were on your team.
When Robbie Savage was in his Birmingham days he would consistently run opposing midfielders into the ground. He is an easy target these days for jokes about being someone who speaks his mind and being a prima dona with ridiculous girly hair. As a player he was just as unpopular. He was often thought to be a cheat and once held the all-time record for the most bookings in one season. He was a classic love-to-hate player, yet in his pomp he was fantastic. He covered every inch of ground, had boundless energy and put his heart into every performance. He would chase the ball for 50 yards so his team didn't concede a throw-in. Someone you loved-to-hate but worked so hard you would have him on your team in a second.
He was a classic love-to-hate player, yet in his pomp he was fantastic
The type of abuse reserved for Ashley Cole is usually more vitriolic. His move to Chelsea from local rivals Arsenal was perceived as an unforgivable cash-in. He was involved in a series of shocking tabloid scandals, one involving another Premiership player and a vibrating mobile phone and then upped the stakes by making the whole nation envious when he married Cheryl. However, the semi-final miracle win against Barcelona proved yet again that Cole is a superb player, and would have been unthinkable without him. His personal integrity is constantly questioned and yet his off-the-line clearance on Wednesday typified his spirit and showed again that he does have a solid spine when it comes to on-the-pitch matters. He is often saving Chelsea like this and although not many would admit to liking him as a man, I would have him in my team in an instant.
He might be getting on a bit now but one of the revelations of this season has been the form of Craig Bellamy. Despised by many for his hot-temper and seemingly volatile character, he has had a string of high-profile disgraces and has found it hard to settle at most of the teams he has been at. On the other hand, if the Carling Cup is to be Liverpool's highlight of the season then they have a couple of high-octane performances by Bellamy to thank. For Manchester City he was berated and reviled by opposition fans, yet constantly during the 2009-10 season he was putting in world-class performances and scoring mouthwatering goals. He has a deft touch and the kind of pace that terrifies defenders, he can cause problems for most teams he faces.
one of the revelations of this season has been the form of Craig Bellamy
Even if you hate Bellamy, you have to admit he is a fearsome addition to any squad.
This choice is going to be more controversial for several reasons, but I'm going to throw Joey Barton into the mix. I need not state the multiple reasons for his unpopularity as he seems to wind people up with every step he takes. Even slight misdemeanours are gobbled up by the media and football fans alike. It's likely that his past actions mean he will be lucky to ever get a chance with England, and this is regrettable because whenever I see him play he looks like one of the best central midfielders in the league. He is an underrated football player who can pull the strings as well as score from distance. Is he just too controversial to have in your team?
Roy Keane and various other double hard b**tards
Finally, I can't finish up here without talking about the type of player that personifies what I've been talking about – the hard man. Roy Keane is the archetype, someone whose penchant for psychopathy meant that at every away game people hated him. He earned his reputation for being the hardest tackler in the league and he jeopardised; even completely finished, a few careers. As well as a psychopath, he was a born winner who inspired his team to numerous honours including the famous Champion's League fightback against Juventus. His never-say-die attitude also inspired United's comeback in the final, and the fact United retain this attitude years after he left shows how influential he was. He has a just claim on being the best player the Premiership has yet seen, and at the same time he is comfortably one of the most hated.
The list that this category could produce is endless. Alan Shearer, Julian Dicks and Duncan Ferguson also spring to mind. However, this type of player usually comes with a win-at-all-costs mentality that their own fans love, and often they are loyal to their teams which will always make them legends. You hate them if they aren't in your team (mainly because they break your players legs) - but you love them if they are.
I know I've missed out loads of players here, so can you give me any more suggestions?
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