Soccer is a very physically demanding sport in the modern era. The stop/start nature of the sport requires high levels of fitness, stamina and pace. Even more so in the Premier League, which is renowned as one of the most physical leagues on the planet, with games often played at a fast and frantic pace, one of the elements that has made it the most popular and most watched league in the world.
As such, there are very few genuinely fat players. The fact that Frank Lampard was nicknamed 'Fat Frank' by some, despite the fact he has never appeared even remotely overweight shows the desperation of some supporters, likewise Wayne Rooney is often attacked in the same manner, despite being very fit the vast majority of the time. It will not surprise you that neither of those players make this list.
This list is reserved only for those who are, or were while playing in the Premier League, genuinely 'fat' or overweight. Some players struggle to keep their weight down during the offseason, while others struggle throughout an entire campaign or career. Several goalkeepers make the list, unsurprising given that it is the least physically demanding position within the game. Here are the top fattest Premier League players of all time.
15 John Hartson
The Welsh striker's time in the Premier League included spells with Arsenal, West Ham United and Wimbledon (who were relegated to First Division in 2000). John Hartson would often hear ""Big fat, big fat John! Big fat, big fat John! Big fat, big fat John! Big fat Johnny Hartson!" This was in affection from the Wimbledon fans, as they would chant this whenever Hartson scored a goal. Hartson didn't always have the ideal weight, but he was a useful player for his clubs back in his day.
14 Benni McCarthy
Benni McCarthy made just 11 appearances while with West Ham, on account of his fitness often being an issue. His struggles with maintaining his weight also caused a heartbreaker in terms of his career, as he was not called up to his native South Africa when they hosted the World Cup back in 2010. For his part, he did score 37 goals while with Blackburn, but McCarthy could have had a far better career had he kept his fitness up. McCarthy retired in 2013, after a stint in the with the Orlando Pirates of his native South Africa.
13 Tom Huddlestone
Tom Huddlestone has trimmed down considerably from where he was early in his career. While with Tottenham, manager Juande Ramos came in and one of his first orders of business was changing the players' eating regimens. The midfielder was often on the receiving end of chants about his weight during his time with Spurs. Huddlestone has since been to Hull City, where his weight no longer appears to be an issue.
12 Mark Bosnich
Mark Bosnich began his Premier League tenure with Aston Villa where he played from 1992 to 1999. Bosnich eventually returned to his original team, Manchester United, where Sir Alex Ferguson said of his fitness. "Mark got off to a real bad start. He turned up for training three hours late. He was overweight," said Fergie. The coach took it a step further in his autobiography, calling Bosnich a "terrible professional."
11 Micky Quinn
Micky Quinn played for several teams in the Premier League, playing for Coventry City. Other clubs of his included Portsmouth and Newcastle United. A common chant towards Quinn was "He's fat, he's round, he scores at every ground." Quinn's fitness was sometimes an issue and possibly one of the reasons he was never called up for the Three Lions. However, Quinn still managed to enjoy a successful club career, scoring 227 goals in 535 games.
10 Brian Jensen
8 Neil Ruddock
7 Kevin Pressman
6 Matt Le Tissier
5 Neville Southall
4 Jan Molby
3 Andy Reid
2 Paddy Kenny
The fourth and final goalkeeper on this list, Paddy Kenny and chants of "You fat b******" are almost synonymous within the English game. Kenny, whose weight fluctuates a great deal but he has indeed appeared at times to be genuinely fat, doesn't always help himself. While some can take the criticism like water off a duck's back, Kenny struggles, and often rises to the bait, one thing you should never do to a crowd of football fans, who love to get a reaction.
1 Tomas Brolin
The most famous fat footballer of the Premier League era has to be Tomas Brolin. Having had great success with Parma and Sweden in the early 1990s, Brolin was snapped up by Leeds United in the hope that he would give them the creative spark and cutting edge they required. But the only thing Brolin cut through was cake, and lots of it by the look of things. He went on to feature in various polls and votes, being named the second worst player in Premier League history and Leeds United's worst ever player on separate occasions.
Brolin suffered a nasty injury in 1994, before his move to Leeds, and never truly recovered or was able to get his fitness up to the required levels. After such heavy criticism at Leeds, Brolin joined Crystal Palace, where he declared that he would prove his fitness. One Guardian newspaper writer wrote that he, "arrived looking like the fat, cardboard replica next to which Slimmers of the Year tend to pose, and played like it". He retired in 1998, aged 28.
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