The Best Bits of the Premier League: 11-15
A Big Dunc burglary, the best player of all time ever, and Phil Brown croons
11 - Best bungled burglary of a Premier League footballer’s mansion
There are rich pickings to be had if you choose to burgle a Premier League footballer’s home. But if you were to draw up a list of Premier League footballers houses you might fancy breaking into at the dead of night, Big Duncan Ferguson’s wouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the list. He, lest we forget, is a 6ft+ psychotic former lag with a penchant for ultra-violence. And the only thing more terrifying than finding Big Dunc at the top of the stairs, waving a baseball bat around his head with a murderous glint in his eye is finding Big Dunc at the top of the stairs, waving a baseball bat around his head with a murderous glint in his eye while dressed in just his underpants. In 2001, bumbling and brain-addled Barry Dawson broke in and attempted to lift a number of CDs and some champagne from the Everton striker’s massive pad. Big Dunc awoke, jumped on the hapless tool and sat on him until the police arrived. He got off lightly.
12 - Best manager
The best manager in the classic sense would be Mr Ferguson, ahead of Jose Mourinho. But the best in terms of pure entertainment can only be Hull City manager Phil ‘Broon’ Brown, a man many years ahead of his time. He pioneered the half-time on-pitch bollockings, celebrated staying up by strangling the very life out of Sloop John B and wore the earpiece of a call centre supervisor that was almost certainly never switched on. His face was the shade of a freshly creosoted garden fence. Most nonsensically of all though, he routinely referred to himself in third-person. “It was unacceptable behaviour, an unacceptable performance from a Phil Brown side,” he reflected after the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City, stroking his goatee beard and finally morphing into David Brent. He’s gone now and is never likely to return, but he will never be forgotten.
13 - Best Premier League player of all time ever
The official polls will list Cantona or Shearer at the top of this one, or Ryan Giggs on account of his longevity (as a player rather than adulterer). But we prefer John Terry, the personification of the Premier League. Not for anything he’s achieved as a player but for his ever lengthening list of misdemeanours. Since bursting onto the scene by drunkenly mocking Americans mourning 9/11, JT has achieved so much. Pissing in pint pots, fighting with bouncers, parking his Bentley in a disabled bay to go for dinner, and offering tours of Chelsea’s training ground to an undercover reporter for £10,000 despite being filthy rich. And then, of course, there was doing the dirty with the girlfriend of team-mate and best friend Wayne Bridge, the mother of his child, and all the while dressed in his full kit and shinpads. It’s all in a day’s work for JT, the man who just keeps on giving.
14 - Best Eureka! moment
It was a plan so flawless, the big surprise was that we hadn’t done it before. Instead of playing 38 games a season, let’s introduce The 39th Game and ride this Premier League juggernaut overseas! In his head, playing West Ham v Wigan in Jakarta made perfect sense to Premier League chief Richard Scudamore, and it made his eyeballs rotate like the reels on a bandit. Alas, when the words came out and the world began to boo (particularly those in Jakarta), old Dick realised the error of his ways. He’s since returned to his lair to dream up his next hair-brained, money-making scheme, the maniacal despot.
15 - Best signing
Eric Cantona, Patrick Vieira, Joe Hart - yes, all very worthy suggestions but nowhere near as good - in pure entertainment terms - as Ali Dia. He was George Weah’s cousin, and a real talent. So Weah himself phoned Southampton manager Graeme Souness and suggested he sign him. Souness did as instructed without checking, so didn’t realise Dia was a hopeless case or that ‘George Weah’ was in fact a mate of Dia’s putting on a voice. His Premier League career lasted 53 minutes - he came on to replace an injured Matt le Tissier, and was subbed back off when the penny finally dropped. Dia’s contract was terminated and he shuffled off into non-league football, where he sank without trace. Souness was unrepentant. “I don’t feel I have been duped in the slightest,” he told himself. “That’s just the way the world is these days.” Days later, Souness received an email from the King of Nigeria, asking if he’d let $560m rest in his bank account. He hit reply.