Ranked! The 50 most hated people in football
Mixed in with the cheats, chancers and chairmen that make up this list, there's a big dollop of pure, unadulterated envy. Yep, while every entry in our countdown of 50 most hated people in football have drawn major dislike for a variety of reasons, some of them are also loved in equal measure.
This isn’t a list of people we here at FFT personally hate - although some of the people here are definitely off our Christmas card list - but rather who stir up opprobrium in the game.
So what we’re saying is: don’t blame us if your favourite icon whose face you have tattooed on your thigh is here (although it would be a pretty strange person to have Mike Dean inked on their leg). We’re just trying to hold up a mirror to the football world.
That said, if we’ve put anyone here who shouldn’t be present - or if we’ve missed out someone widely reviled - do let us know (nicely) @FourFourTwo.
50. Sergio Ramos
Open a dictionary at the entry for ‘pantomime villain’, and the definition might simply be a picture of Sergio Ramos, perhaps waving an imaginary yellow card at a browbeaten referee. Ramos holds the record for the joint-most sendings off of any La Liga player ever, but he’s a strange kind of hard man in that he is impossible to take seriously.
Rather than a chilling defensive gatekeeper, the Real Madrid defender’s persona is more defined by a kind of larger-than-life recklessness; a shameless supervillain. You could say that Ramos – good looking, cartoonishly ludicrous, lacking any self-awareness and amassing trophies on behalf of a super-rich juggernaut – is the defining footballer of the modern age.
Words: Alex Hess
49. Alan Pardew
His public personality straddles the line between smug and sleazy – it’s probably encapsulated by the nauseating touchline dance when Crystal Palace went ahead in the 2016 FA Cup Final, which did achieve the impressive feat of getting neutrals to back Manchester United.
There’s a thin veneer of respectability, but like a dry-lipped Bruce Banner, Pardew also has a nasty streak that occasionally bursts out - from calling Manuel Pellegrini a "f***ng old c***" to head-butting an opposing player on the touchline.
Despite a middling managerial career, he carries a sense of superiority that’s best evidenced by what West Ham fans call the ‘king story’.
Words: Amit Kawala
48. Robbie Savage
A media career which mimics who he was as a player. Robbie Savage, the combative, provocative player became ‘Sav’, the opinion-on-absolutely-everything pundit.
To give Savage his dues, he was really just an early exponent of something which many of his contemporaries have recently caught up with - i.e. he who shouts loudest and most antagonistically, wins. We’re looking at you, Chris Sutton.
He’s also been very successful and until quite recently, straddled nearly half a dozen radio and television channels, appearing in all sorts of different formats. The irritating talking head who proves the old maxim: it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
Words: Seb Stafford-Bloor
47. Tony Pulis
Until recently, it had been largely opposition fans that resented Tony Pulis's signature – and wholly unapologetic – sit-and-stifle blueprint. Although it’s increasingly now fans of the clubs he manages too. Just as sure as Wales' foremost excitement-extinguisher will always have his admirers among those who prize mid-table security, he will always face seething opprobrium from the more aesthetically minded among his spectatorship.
Pulis has been scorned by many a snookered manager in his time but none more frequently or indignantly than Arsene Wenger, who has variously labelled Pulis's team "cowards", "horrendous" and practitioners of "more rugby than football".
Also allegedly head-butted his own striker while wearing nothing but a scowl once – an image to give us all nightmares.
Words: Alex Hess
Portugal’s master of the dark arts is – to English eyes at least – everything that’s wrong with football. He has all the attributes to be a legendary defender – pace, bravery, strength and intelligence – and, after a decade at Real Madrid, the trophy cabinet to match. But it’s the manner in which he’s used his talents that attracts the ire.
Like his long-time defensive partner Ramos, Pepe a is dirty, dastardly and downright infuriating player – the kind who will pull the shirt off your back when he’s defending a corner, and then collapse like a house of cards if you give him the same treatment at the other end.
Words: Amit Kawala