Lists

Ranked! The 50 most hated people in football

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

45. Alan Green

Poor Alan Green. He’s disliked for being everything that a football commentator is supposed to be.

Today’s equivalent is a slave to the sound bite and, more often than not, gratingly optimistic at every turn. In contrast, Green is gloriously dour; every game he covered - and continues to cover - presents an opportunity for a good ol’ moan.

To a particular type of unstable, fundamentalist fan he was prone to moments of bias, but his real crime was likely that his presence - his voice, his tone, his demeanour - made any game sound like an attritional battle in the mud. The marmite of British commentary.

Words: Seb Stafford-Bloor

44. Stan Kroenke

A man whose bank balance soars thanks to a team that meekly treads water is never going to be worshipped by that club's fans - and so it has proved with the American sports tycoon, for whom the tide of public opinion appears to have been fiercely turning over recent months.

“We don’t want his sort,” was the response of Arsenal's former chairman Peter Hill-Wood when Kroenke first showed up on the scene. That was in 2007, when Kroenke began amassing shares for £7,500. A decade on, with the American having invested precisely zero of his own money in a team that had long been drifting towards irrelevance, he was turning down offers of £32,000 per share. Good work if you can get it.

Words: Alex Hess

43. Ben Thatcher

Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. But unfortunately for a player whose elbowing controversies numbered at least three during a red-and-yellow-flecked 18-year career, thrice is very much a trend.

Thatcher gained notoriety in 2006 when his ostensible attempt to dispossess Pedro Mendes resulted in his forearm bludgeoning the face of his opponent, who was rushed to hospital having suffered a pitchside seizure. The level of brutality was so severe that Greater Manchester police were compelled to launch an investigation – just as Lancashire police had looked into a similar ‘challenge’ during a reserve game that February.

Six years earlier, in his final year at Wimbledon, Thatcher had dished out the same treatment to Sunderland’s Nicky Summerbee – a moment that persuaded the onlooking Kevin Keegan against selecting him, as planned, for his upcoming England squad. Thatcher would go on to represent Wales, despite having played for England at U21 level (four appearances, one red card).

Words: Alex Hess

42. Neil Warnock

To catalogue his fall-outs would take more than the allotted space here, but suffice to say the aptly anagrammed managerial veteran has his fair share of enemies. The sheer range of this roll call – from the widely loathed (El Hadji Diouf, Stephen Hunt) to the inoffensive (Gareth Southgate) to the downright bizarre (Sean Bean) – is testament to Warnock's status as a man who could not so much start a fight in a phonebox as inspire a Royal Rumble in one... before complaining about the outcome in the press.

His position as a protagonist in the fabled Battle of Bramall Lane (three red cards, two 22-man melees, one abandoned game) makes for an apt top spot on Colin Wanker’s greatest hits compilation.

Words: Alex Hess

41. Sergio Busquets

The iron fist inside the velvet glove. Busquets is a fabulous player, that’s not in dispute - he might even be underrated. But he lacks the sheen of many of his team-mates and the perception of him as the physicality behind Barcelona’s grace, hopelessly reductive though it is, makes him the hateable face of his club.

Few dislike Messi and only a philistine would object to Iniesta, so what are you left with? Who provided the outlet for the world’s seething jealousy? The big, awkward looking guy in the middle, of course, with his fondness for theatrics and dalliances with the dark arts.

Words: Seb Stafford-Bloor