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The Worst XI To Have Ever Won The Premier League

by Alex Woo
22 February 2015 28 Comments

David Ginola & Gianfranco Zola never won the Premier League. Somehow, both Jérémie Alliadiere and David May did...

del horno

Chelsea’s Asier Del Horno and Paulo Ferreira both feature in our worst ever XI to have won the Premier League.

Stuart Taylor

Fending off stiff competition from Alex Manninger, Tomasz Kuszczak and Raymond Van Der Gouw for this prestigious honour, Stuart Taylor picked up a Premier League winner’s medal by the skin of his teeth, making nine league starts and a cameo off the bench for Arsenal in the 01-02 season to just gain eligibility for by making ten appearances. In a career spanning well over a decade, Taylor has made just 61 competitive first team appearances, and is unlikely to ever go on and become a number one ‘keeper anywhere unless he drops down a division or two.

Paulo Ferreira

He is by no means the worst player on the list, but Ferreira has picked up three winner’s medals during his time at Stamford Bridge despite only really being a regular in the side apart in his debut season. I honestly didn’t realise he was still under contract at Chelsea, or that he’s been there for eight seasons, and he’s seemingly happy just training and picking up his wages; the Portuguese Winston Bogarde, if you will. Chelsea have had such a high turnover of right-backs over the past decade, and Ferreira has had ample opportunity to make the position his own. At least John O’Shea and Wes Brown actually played!

David May

Whenever I put this question to someone, nine times out of ten their first answer is David May, which speaks volumes for the man’s footballing legacy. May left Ewood Park for Manchester United the summer before Kenny Dalglish won the league won with Blackburn, but then won two successive Premier League titles with United in the following seasons, but was only really a regular for one. He is fondly remembered amongst Man United fans for his celebrations in the treble season, particularly in the Champions League where he was at the forefront of all celebrations despite not playing a single minute in the competition that season.


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Pascal Cygan

“He’s bald, he’s sh*t, he plays when no one’s fit” may not be the words etched on Cygan’s tombstone, but they accurately summate the towering Frenchman’s time in England. Deputising for Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell, he picked up a winner’s medal during Arsenal’s invincibles 03/04 season, but that was as good as it got for Gunners fans. In his final season he did an admirable job as a makeshift left-back due to injuries to both Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy. He was sold to Villareal in 2006, somehow for £2m, which is what Arsene Wenger paid to sign him from Lille four years earlier.

Asier Del Horno

Signed for £8m to try and solve Chelsea’s left-back woes, Del Horno featured regularly in the 05-06 season as they won the league under Mourinho, but was unceremoniously shipped out at the end of the season, and Abramovich pushed the boat out to sign Ashley Cole. His lasting impression at Stamford Bridge will be getting sent off against Barca as they knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League. After enjoying a brief spell in the Spanish national team around the time he moved to England, Del Horno was never the same player once he returned to Spain, largely due to injuries. Disappointing spells at Valencia, Valladolid, Levante and Bilbao followed, and he’s now a free agent despite still only being 31. A medium sized fish in a small pond, as they say.

Luke Chadwick

That there are so many Manchester United players in this eleven is testament to Ferguson’s ability to still win the league with some utter dross. It is often the case that players who come up through their youth system but fail to establish themselves at Old Trafford go and get the chance to play regularly in the Premier League at a smaller club, but Chadwick wasn’t good enough and had to settle for life in the lower leagues. Now a regular for MK Dons in League One, the Premier League winner’s medal from 2000-01 is the only thing Chadwick has ever won – apart from countless beauty pageants, of course – and he’ll never come close to achieving anything like that again.

Alexey Smertin

They did claim that Ranieri was losing the plot a little, and he must have been mentally ill when he decided to spend some of Abramovich’s oil money on his compatriot Alexey Smertin. Granted, at £3.5m he wasn’t particularly expensive, but he loaned the Russian straight out to Charlton after he signed for Chelsea, and then never got the chance to play him as he lost his job the following summer. He did well during his loan spell at The Valley, but was on the periphery of the first-team once Mourinho took over, but did play enough times to pick up a winner’s medal in the 04-05 season. Smertin is now enjoying a career in politics back in Russia, as an MP in Altai.


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The Brazilian is still only 24, has never started more than 16 league games in a single season, yet already has three Premier League winner’s medals. A talented player though he may be, he cost Manchester United €30m, and has never looked like a player who would fulfil that price tag. Overweight and unfit – which gives me hope that I could one day win the league – that he has an enviable medal collection at such a young age despite contributing to winning any of them is a travesty, and it’s a shame to see so many players with all the ability and a fantastic attitude not win anything whilst players like this have it all.

Jordi Cruyff

If ever someone benefitted from the family name it was Jordi, son of Johan. He was only handed his debut at Barca because his dad was manager, and once he was sacked Jordi was shipped out; he somehow made it in to the Holland squad for Euro 96, and then signed for Manchester United after that. 16 appearances in his debut season as United won the league were as good as it got for Cruyff, and 26 appearances over the next three underwhelming seasons saw him shipped out. He enjoyed a brief comeback in Spain with Alaves, who got to the UEFA Cup final in 2001 where they lost 5-4 to Liverpool, but to say he failed to live up to the Cruyff name would be putting it kindly.

Mike Newell

I really, really, really wanted to put Michael Owen in this as he contributed practically nothing to United winning the title, but there is no doubt that he was a phenomenal player in his heyday. Instead I’ll go for Mike Newell, who made two starts and nine sub appearances the season Blackburn won the league. He ended up being fourth choice behind Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton and Kevin Gallagher, although he did score the 1000th goal of the Premier League era against Nottingham Forest in 1993. He also held the record for the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history after scoring three goals in nine minutes, but Bafatemi Gomis broke that record last season.

Jérémie Alliadiere

He may have one of the best songs in football (woooooah we’re half way there, wooooooah Alliadiere – I shouldn’t have to tell you what it’s to the tune of) but Alliadiere is arguably the most unproductive forward to have ever won the Premier League, lifting the trophy for Arsenal in 2004. Still just 29, he’s never scored more than 5 goals in a season wherever he’s been – although he’s already on 5 this season at Lorient so here’s hoping for double figures. Another player who just about made enough appearances to earn a winner’s medal, this time in the 03-04 season, he’ll always have something to tell his grandkids about, as any videos he shows them of his playing career are going to be pretty dull.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

gio 3:02 pm, 11-Nov-2012

james milner and gareth barry are missing from your list. they are worse than any of them on it, but your english so your probably blind to that.

Chris 4:11 pm, 11-Nov-2012

If you think Manninger and Taylor were THAT bad, you've clearly forgotten pretty much every Utd keeper between Schmeichel and Van Der Saar. In fact, you could easily make a strictly 'Man Ure' XI to rival this list with very little effort. I do agree with the author though; it's amazing how Old Red Nose manages to win year after year with such a strong element of crap in his squads. Less technical football requires less technique, I suppose.

Alex Woo 4:28 pm, 11-Nov-2012

Your indirectly xenophobic comment aside, Gio, I agree with your sentiment - but there's no way Barry and Milner are getting in over Luke Chadwick and Alexey Smertin.

Best team in England 6:45 pm, 11-Nov-2012

Bitter much Chris? Man utd could make 5 shit XI's and still beat whichever team you support.

Matt 12:38 am, 12-Nov-2012

Do i detect some anti-united sentiment in this list? Well, tbf, Chadwick and Cruyff are fair enough but Anderson is actually a decent player, who's career was set back by a horrible injury in his second season at the club. Before that he was pure pace and power, demonstrating it but bossing Gerrard twice in his first season.

Nick 7:54 am, 12-Nov-2012

There is a really anti United flavour to ST these days. Lucky we thrive on it.

Naz 12:11 pm, 12-Nov-2012

Manninger? Are you serious? You need some DVDs of our 98 title run in to see he very much played a crucial part in the title triumph.

wan* 12:17 pm, 12-Nov-2012

ANYONE who adds 'much' at the end of a statement has no intelligence or credibility... "bitter much". Jesus wept.

Alex Woo 12:48 pm, 12-Nov-2012

It's not meant to be anti-United at all. Granted, I'm a Liverpool fan, but, as I said in the piece, it's testament to United's dominance of the Premier League under Ferguson that they've won so many league titles despite having plenty of awful players in their squads at times; I'd take that as a compliment, personally. As for Anderson: of course he has talent - you'd expect so if you're playing €30m for a player. But he's won three Premiership winner's medals - THREE!! - and was never really a mainstay in the side for any of them, that's why he made it in. But yes, there's a massive anti-United conspiracy going on at ST. *puts on tin foil hat*

Naz 3:40 pm, 12-Nov-2012

A squad player is someone who keeps things ticking over. Its a very important part of football, having people to come in and fill gaps. This is another aspect of football.

Jonny Kay 11:55 pm, 12-Nov-2012

Where did you conjure up Anderson's transfer fee from?

David 12:02 am, 13-Nov-2012

You need 10 appearances to win a medal.Therefore everyone listed above deserves that.Some better players have missed out through injury or being transferred.Some great players have played for clubs that have never won the title.David May would have won his with Blackburn if he had stayed.As for Mike Newell he was a great foil for Alan Shearer for 2 years until they signed Chris Sutton.

rossi72 12:16 am, 13-Nov-2012

This article sounds like you were having a chat in the playground at lunchtime and came back in and wrote this pointless article. If you new anything about football you'd know that eleven superstars don't make a great team. Look at real Madrid for example. Most teams have these fringe players who are their when to be called on, do a job and then back down when other players are fit. It's a squad of all the players that form that great unit. If you were going to name players then Veron,Blomquist,Jérémie Aliadière,Fabien Barthez. Maybe the best eleven never to win the league may have been more interesting to read.

Matt 2:52 am, 13-Nov-2012

@ Alex Woo Fair enough then, i mean i rate Anderson as good player- when he's not over weight. But i suppose 3 titles is probably above his talents. Dunno about conspiracy, although there seems to a be a lot of Liverpool fans who write for the site. And i know you lot hate each other, so....

Jack 2:54 pm, 14-Nov-2012

Anderson? Obviously written by a Liverpool fan as there are MANY worse players to of won the league, Edu from Arsenal could of been used or The great Aussie Robbie Slater from Blackburn

Bartoli 3:47 pm, 14-Nov-2012

Completely wrong on Manninger, As was pointed out above he was vital in the 98 season. I think he went something like 5/6 games maybe more without conceding a goal. He first conceded in a loss to liverpool but this was Arsenals first game after the league had already been won against everton.

mark 1:48 pm, 21-Nov-2012

jordi cruyff was a very gifted player but was injured a lot and never got a regular run in the side, giggs said he was very gifted in his autobiography, manninger was very impressive for arsenal in 98 keeping 5 clean sheets in a row and paulo ferreiria was a very good right back, david may was a decent defender but injury jinxed.

John 2:41 pm, 23-Nov-2012

Ronnie Wallwork, Darren Ferguson and Mark Atkins should be in this side. As pointed out above, 30 million Euros is an exaggeration - and Anderson's probably given United more good performances than Veron or Alan Smith. Scoring in the 2008 CL penalty shoot out is a significant contribution to that particular piece of silverware.

Sean The White 11:03 am, 28-Nov-2012

After the list of the worst players to have won PL medals, how about a list of the BEST players NOT to have won PL medals?

David 1:54 am, 30-Nov-2012

I always thought that Man U looked a much better team when Jordi Cryff played. He just didn't get that many chances.

Harry Harris 7:31 pm, 16-Dec-2012

Woo you tin-foil hat wearing goon. Manninger was my hero growing up. Superb shot-stopper!

Harry Harris 7:31 pm, 16-Dec-2012

Aliadiere was fucking gash mind.

byron 2:02 pm, 18-Mar-2013

fun read- always have a few other options in mind but these are not bad

Steve Martin 9:40 pm, 3-Apr-2013

@Seanthewhite - The best players NOT have to won the PL? That'll be a load of liverpool players then:) Oh and I'm a liverpool fan, make of that what you will!

pertamaxer 12:37 pm, 11-Apr-2013

The entire list is incomplete without Massimo Taibi

mark 11:32 am, 7-Sep-2013

jordi cruyff was a very gifted player he was unlucky with injuries he scored a few goals when he did play gigs mentions him in his book about how gifted he was. david may was not a bad player he was a fairly decent player.

james 10:36 pm, 27-Oct-2013

The author forgot the reason Taylor got enough games to win a medal in 2001/2- namely the total ineptitude of Richard Wright. Wenger might not be the best judge of keepers, but he was quick to admit hed made a mistake by signing Wright. Taylor was much better, but Wright still got a medal and should be on this list.

Ed 7:05 pm, 25-Nov-2013

Jesper Blomqvist won the treble...... He was fucking terrible....

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