From time to time, footballers do have a habit of landing themselves in hot water. Whether it is a boozy night up out on the tiles or a misleading tweet, these superstars cannot seem to kick the habit.
Today’s rich footballing kids literally have the world at their feet. Not only do they earn multi-million dollar contracts but they enjoy a wealth of endorsement deals. This is coupled with their ostentatious pads featuring oversized swimming pools, shark tanks and even bowling alleys.
Yet for some, their misdemeanours come back to bite them in the backside. Drunk driving is one of the most recurrent themes that footballers are involved with. Maybe it is a case of boys and their toys but there is simply no excuse for taking risks.
Take for example former Stoke City and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant. In 2012, he was given a prison sentence for two months which was suspended for 12. This was after admitting to drinking whilst at the wheel. He received a further three year punishment and was disqualified from all driving. Pennant had more than double the legal limit as he drove back from Manchester in his BMW.
In addition to this, there have been a number of different players who have felt the need for speed. This includes the likes of Luke McCormick who was charged after tragically killing two boys and West Brom striker Saido Berahino. The latter was arrested just in the last week for a drink-driving offence after being stopped on the highway in the north of England. The highly talented English star is to face further questioning this month at police station.
Unfortunately for some, the long arm of the law has not been terribly kind. Here are the top 15 players who have ended up behind bars.
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15 Tony Adams
In spite of the fact that he was released after less than 60 days in prison, former Arsenal legend Tony Adams knows what it is like. With a string of league titles under his belt during the reigns of George Graham and Arsene Wenger, he was arrested back in 1990. This was thanks to crashing his vehicle into a wall in close proximity to where he lived. It was reported that Adams was allegedly more than 25 times over the legal drinking limit. The ex-Gunner has had recent problems with alcoholism but his cabinet of trophies still includes a league and cup double. One of his finest accomplishments was when he founded the Sporting Chance clinic that aids the rehabilitation of professional sportsmen and women battling addictions.
14 Gary Croft
Former Ipswich Town player Gary Croft has also been in trouble with the authorities, back in 2000. In fact, he has gone down in history as the first official footballer to ever wear an electronic device. This was in a match where the Tractor Boys faced Swindon Town. Croft was banged up for four weeks after drinking whilst he had actually been disqualified from driving a car. He later went on to join Cardiff City but he too was prone to the big dog house.
13 Marlon King
A controversial figure, the former Coventry City, Wigan and Watford striker has had a checkered career on and off the field. He was involved in a sexual assault case in 2009 where he was subsequently jailed for a period of 18 months. This was due to groping a lady as well as breaking her nose which took place at a London night spot. Meanwhile, King was at the centre of another furore in April 2014. This time, it was for causing a pile up on the motorway, whilst consuming ice cream as he was driving. King was later sent down for 18 months which was due to his dangerous driving.
12 Jan Molby
One of the finest midfielders for Liverpool in the last two decades, Jan Molby spent three months in jail. This took place during the 1988-89 season when the Reds were gunning for the League title. Reckless driving was the cause and as high profile as the Great Dane was, he was not spared a prison term either. Molby was one of the main men in the all-conquering Liverpool team of the late 80's but despite his efforts he was unable to overturn the sentence.
11 Duncan Ferguson
'Big Dunc' as he was known, was sent to prison in 1994. He certainly knew how to use his head on the pitch as he was fondly remembered rising like a salmon to score. Yet it also turned out to be his downfall as his head butt on John McStay whilst at Glasgow Rangers saw him doing time. The hard man of Scottish football did time at the infamous Barlinnie prison. The sentence was supposed to be for three months but Ferguson only served 44 days in the end. All in all, the former Everton man has four convictions on the grounds of assault.
10 Michael Kinsella
One man who was destined for glory was Michael Kinsella. This former goalkeeper was at one time signed up to Liverpool. After an inconsistent career, he ended up at Tranmere Rovers. It was while at this particular club where fortune would take a turn for the worse. Kinsella was guilty of smuggling drugs to points unknown and was sentenced for a period of six years for his troubles. It just goes to show that crime does not literally pay.
9 Graham Rix
As a footballer, Graham Rix had an impressive career. He played for not only Arsenal but the blue of Chelsea too. Furthermore, he made several appearances for England and later went on to become coach at the Stamford Bridge club. However, this did not detract from the fact that Rix was imprisoned for a year back in 1999. This was on the grounds of having sex with a minor who at the time was just 15 years of age.
8 Diego Maradona
Considered to be one of the greats of the game, there are really not enough superlatives to describe Diego Armando Maradona. The former Napoli and Argentine great has been in trouble with the law on a number of occasions. From taking drugs to incidents with the police, he sometimes courted a little too much controversy. However, on one occasion, Maradona saw red. In 1998, he was given a suspended two-year jail sentence for shooting a journalist. He managed to do this as he owned an air pellet gun which he used.
7 Bobby Moore
Central defender and West Ham legend Bobby Moore was an angel but in 1970 this was certainly not the case. Moore became involved in a controversial dispute where he was a suspect in missing bracelet which had gone missing in South America. He was not thinking about jail but focusing on playing for England at the 1970 FIFA World Cup in Mexico City. However, thanks to the intervention of the British authorities, Moore was eventually spared a prison sentence.
6 Lee Hughes
In 2004, former West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City striker Lee Hughes’s career took a turn for the worse. Unfortunately, the no. 9 crashed his expensive Mercedes Benz into another vehicle. This led to one passenger dying, whilst Hughes sped off and fled the scene of the crime. He later fessed up but was later guilty of both leaving the scene of an accident not to mention reckless driving. For his troubles, Hughes received six years in jail and a 10-year ban from driving.
5 Ronnie Wallwork
Ronnie Wallwork had it all. He had a potentially glittering career ahead of him and wealth, especially when broke into the Manchester United first team in 1997. At the young age of 20, Wallwork played together with the likes of David Beckham and Paul Scholes. He even managed to earn himself a league title medal in 2001. Yet this dream turned into a nightmare for the ex-Red Devil as he was sent to prison just three years after hanging his boots up. This was as a result of selling parts that previously belonged to stolen expensive cars. He received 15 months but was again in trouble this summer. He admitted to the court that he had stolen a vehicle in August 2014 which in turn was the property of a car finance company.
4 Ian Wright
An Arsenal figurehead in every shape and form, Ian Wright was adored by the Highbury faithful. This was for his record number of goals as well as high energy performances. Having played for Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Burnley, Wright was in trouble at one point during his glittering career. This was largely in part down to not paying up when it came to his insurance or taxes. Consequently, the current TV pundit had to serve a fortnight at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
3 Joey Barton
A notorious midfielder who has landed himself in more fracas than some, Joey Barton features highly on this list. The ex-Manchester City midfielder has shocked for the world for some of his deep thinking philosophical tweets on social media. But it was to be his social ways that landed Barton behind bars. He has been convicted on two occasions of violence. In the first instance he was charged for driving at a pedestrian, whilst the second was on the grounds of assault. He had no choice but to serve 77 days in jail. Barton was also given a suspended sentence for four months after attacking his teammate Ousame Dobo.
Brazilian player Brandao who is currently at Bastia has been sentenced to a month in jail. This is as a result of head butting Thiago Motta in a match against his club Paris Saint Germain. Now the former has already been in hot water with the football powers who have since suspended him for a period of six months for his actions. With a $25,000 to boot, Brandao won’t be pulling on a jersey for some time as Bastia went on to lose the Ligue 1 clash by two goals to nil. He was also embroiled in a scandal after elbowing Yohan Cabaye just last season.
1 Ched Evans
Former Sheffield United marksman Ched Evans has been hitting the headlines recently. He has been recently released after serving two and a half years of a five-year term for rape. The striker is now at the centre of attention as the spotlight focuses on whether he should be allowed to play or even train with a club. In 2012, Evans was found guilty after he raped a female in hotel room. At present there have been nearly 200,000 individuals who have signed an appeal for the Blades not to resign him. Other reports have surfaced that Oldham Athletic are allegedly interested in signing the former Man City man but the jury is still out on that one.
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