Football's most embarrassing relatives, including Pele's son, Le Tissier's brother and Pione Sisto's dancing parents
1) Old Big ’Ead vs the old ball and chain
Behind every good man is a better woman, so the old saying goes, which is probably why Nottingham Forest striker Ian Storey-Moore wanted an easy life when choosing a new club in 1972. “I don’t get involved in Ian’s football at all,” said his wife after she persuaded the goal-getter to reject the advances of Derby manager Brian Clough in favour of Manchester United, “but he clearly wasn’t given the chance to think carefully about his future.” Clough later chuckled: “She should’ve gone into football management.”
2) Batty’s trike trials
Owning up to having an injury can be tough, but admitting you knackered your Achilles tendon because your son ran over your foot with his tricycle isn’t something you want to shout about. Step forward, David Batty. “It’s put me out for a few weeks, and done me more damage than Roy Keane ever has!” said the Leeds battler, adding that discussing the incident was becoming “tiresome”. Boom boom, Batts.
3) “Did you have to hit him, mum?”
“I’ll do anything to make an impression this season,” said 17-year-old Arsenal starlet Ainsley Maitland-Niles at the beginning of the campaign. Anything, we presume, except getting his mum, Jule, to hit Arsene Wenger’s de facto director of football Dick Law – as she allegedly did in April – before threatening to drag her son off the pitch during an under-21 game. Arsenal duly banned her from the training ground.
4) Zach’s nan phones in his performance
“It’s one of the best debuts I can remember, and we’re all very proud of him,” gushed Bolton boss Neil Lennon after watching Zach Clough star against Wigan in the FA Cup in January. None more proud than Clough’s nan, Mavis, who rang BBC Radio Manchester’s post-match phone-in to wax lyrical. “He’ll go far,” she boasted, also revealing she hadn’t gone to the game because “it was too cold”. Bloody fair-weather grans.
5) Le God makes Le Hod squad
“He’s a bloody idiot,” said one FA official about Carl Le Tissier, brother of the outrageously gifted Southampton schemer Matt, after Carl blabbed details of his sibling’s England recall to 5 Live on the eve of Glenn Hoddle’s side’s crucial World Cup clash with Italy in February 1997. Matt later told FFT that another loose-lipped England player had actually leaked the news to The Sun, before Carl was doorstepped by the press. He got a ticking-off by Hod anyway. Harsh.
6) Pione’s folks go tribal
How would you celebrate a call-up to the Danish Under-21s? Probably not like the parents of FC Midtjylland midfielder Pione Sisto, who gatecrashed his press conference and performed an ancient Ugandan tribal dance in front of journalists. Africa-born Sisto soon joined in the spirit of the occasion, throwing white powder on his face and posing for snaps with mum and dad. “Parents, eh?” he laughed afterwards. Same the world over, Pione.
7) Sue’s company
In 2009, John Terry’s mum Sue [right] and his mother-in-law Sue Poole were cautioned after attempting to nick around £800’s worth of food and clothing from Marks & Spencer and Tesco in Weybridge. “This will be a huge embarrassment to John,” said a Chelsea spokesman, who definitely wasn’t invented by the tabloids just so they had a quote in their story.
8) Edinho fights law, law wins
“Pele still loves his son,” explained the Brazilian legend’s former team-mate Felix, “but he’s shocked at his descent into crime.” Former Santos goalkeeper Edinho was sentenced to 33 years in prison in 2014 for links with drug lords in Sao Paulo state. Currently appealing the sentence, Pele’s problematic progeny has recently landed a coaching role with Brazilian second division outfit Mogi Mirim. “Everyone deserves an opportunity to prove themselves,” insists club president Rivaldo. Yes, that Rivaldo.
9) Szczesny Sr fans the flames
MORE TOP TENS
Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny’s display at Southampton on New Year’s Day – he was at fault for both goals and then sparked up a cigarette in the showers afterwards – was bad enough. But his father Maciej, a former goalkeeper himself, made things much worse when he claimed the Gunners’ coaching staff were giving his son “zero support” and defender Per Mertesacker showed “the agility of a rhinoceros”. Wojciech’s wisely distanced himself from his dad’s comments ever since, but he has also been just as distanced from Arsenal’s first team.
10) “Marcelo, come in for your tea!”
“If I was partying instead of concentrating on my football, he would shout at me in front of my friends.” The words, there, of Real Madrid left-back Marcelo, whose grandfather Pedro embarrassed the Brazilian into staying on the straight and narrow as a kid. Pedro died shortly before the World Cup, and Marcelo has a tattoo on his arm of his biggest role model. Proof that tough love works.