There is light at the end of the tunnel. The work is nearly complete and normal blogging should be resumed very soon. In the mean time, while watching part of the Sunderland vs Newcastle game today I gained inspiration for a possible post. Seeing Joey Barton triggered the idea of constructing another one of my Premiership XI's.
Having done the best and worst signings last month, I have now put together a team of Premiership villains. The players that are widely hated by fans at every other club other than their own. The ones that are booed in every away stadium they play in. The footballers we love to hate. So here is my team of the XI most hated players currently featuring in the Premiership, playing an unorthodox 4-3-3:
GK: Manuel Almunia (Arsenal)
DEF: Gary Neville (Manchester United) - captain
DEF: John Terry (Chelsea)
DEF: William Gallas (Tottenham)
DEF: Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
MID: El-Hadji Diouf (Blackburn Rovers)
MID: Joey Barton (Newcastle United)
MID: Nigel De Jong (Manchester City)
ST: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
ST: Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
ST: Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City)
So let's run through the team quickly. Almunia has been given the gloves because he is a player who neutrals seem to love see fail. He has a tendency to whine and make a fool of himself. As far as goalkeepers go, he is the only real pantomime villain we have and has continued in the proud tradition that Jens Lehmann left behind.
The defence was far more straight forward. Gary Neville may well be the most detested man in the Premiership. He is the face of the most strongly opposed team in the league and has never been shy of ruffling the feathers of opponents and their fans. He also an an uncanny knack for getting away with very bad challenges. In the centre of defence we have John Terry - the man who was stripped of the England captaincy for his adulterous behaviour with a team-mates ex-partner. Alongside him we have quite possibly the most temperamental players in the country William Gallas who is never shy of a good sulk and a moan. He has also moved to rival clubs twice in his career which does not help either. Completing the back-line, Ashley Cole – a well-documented money grabbing tit. Enough said.
In the midfield we have a fine selection of controversial players. On the right of the three we have the abuse-hurling, saliva-spitting, simulation expert himself, El-Hadji Diouf. In the centre of the park is De Jong. The Dutchman has split fans, some enjoy his physical approach to the game while many accuse him of being reckless and dangerous. On the left of the three is Joey Barton - a man who has had brawls with strangers, opponents and his own team-mates (although it seems those days are behind him).
Finally the three up top. Firstly we have Wayne Rooney. Rooney was exposed in September for having an affair. The saga that then followed involving his contract renegotaitions did little to help his cause. Add to this the fact that he also has had to carry a weighty majority of the blame for England's woeful World Cup due to his dismal performances. Alongside him is Didier Drogba. Drogba seems to embrace his villainous role. He has never shied from going to ground easily for such a strong man and rarely bites his tongue when it comes to letting the referee or other players know what he thinks. The last of the strike trio is Emmanuel Adebayor. His celebration when he scored for City against Arsenal did little to help his cause but his over-sized ego and under-sized work-rate had already earned him a reputation as one of the league 'baddies'.
So there it is. I think if this team did ever play together, there would be such rage that the heads of football fans across the country would probably implode. Other players who failed to make the cut include Bendtner, Nani, Balotelli and Lee Bowyer.
These teams always spark a bit of debate as inevitably our opinions and views of certain players vary so much. So let me know who you think did or did not deserve to make this team.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...