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Ranked! The 50 most hated people in football

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50-41 • 40-31 • 30-21 • 20-11 • 10-1

40. Steve Evans

For the casual, Premier League-focused fan, Steve Evans just seems like your average, run-of-the-mill Football League manager – overweight, and somehow both red-faced and pasty simultaneously.

Yet Evans has a reputation as one of the most hated managers in lower-league football, from spells at Boston, Crawley, Rotherham, Leeds and now Mansfield.

Although touchline disasters and cosying up to Massimo Cellino at Leeds are on his rap sheet, the hatred for Evans originally stems from his conviction for tax fraud (actual evasion, not just good old avoision): during his time at Boston, player bonuses and wages were disguised as expenses to help the Lincolnshire club win promotion to the Football League.

Words: Amit Kawala

39. Vincent Tan

In our eyes, his biggest crime is wearing a football shirt over a normal shirt (and under a suit jacket). Yet Cardiff City fans have bigger gripes. When Malaysian billionaire Tan took over the Welsh club in 2010, they’d just missed out on Premier League promotion.

Although his investment helped the Bluebirds attain that prize, it came at a cost. Despite overwhelming opposition from fans, Tan pushed through a rebrand from the City’s traditional blue to a red hue favoured in Asia. The change lasted just three years, but Tan’s total disregard for a club’s tradition won him no friends in south Wales.  

Words: Amit Kawala

38. Vinnie Jones

In the 1980s and 1990s, Jones was the tough-tackling, ball-grabbing face of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang, and a self-confessed ‘Soccer Hard Man’ who was fined by the FA for appearing in a video of that name.

He was sent off a troubling 12 times during his career, and typifies the overblown machismo of ‘Danny Dyer football’ – an aesthetic that’s carried over seamlessly into his Hollywood career (he turned down a role in Snakes on a Plane, which is a good enough reason for hate in itself).

It would be interesting to drop Crazy Gang era Vinnie Jones into a flowing game of modern Premier League football and see how long he lasted before being dragged off the pitch by stewards with Theo Walcott’s blood all over his face.

Words: Amit Kawala
 

37. Roberto Rojas

In September 1989, a promising Chile side were losing to Brazil in a crucial qualifier, and on the verge of missing out on the World Cup. Then, 65 minutes in, a flare thrown from the stands seemed to hit their goalkeeper Roberto Rojas, who went down bleeding from a head wound. The match was called off, and Brazil’s place seem threatened.

Yet it turned out that viewers had been duped. Rojas the rotter had cut his own head, with a blade hidden in his glove – a plan devised alongside captain Fernando Astengo. The flare hadn’t landed anywhere near him.

“We thought the plan had worked. With all the pressure and Chile wanting so badly to win, I really didn’t think I had done anything wrong at the time,” he said. Rojas was banned from football for life.

Words: Amit Kawala

36. John Fashanu

It’s fair to say that Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang, whose piece de resistance FA Cup win against Liverpool came after their captain had threatened to rip off Kenny Dalglish’s ear in the tunnel, did not expend much energy striving for popularity. However, Fash the Bash’s dubious profile is the product of more than just his on-pitch unpleasantries (which in itself included shattering Gary Mabbutt’s eye socket with his elbow).

His involvement alongside Bruce Grobbelaar and Hans Segers in a high-profile match-fixing scandal (all were eventually cleared) muddied his name, but it was his public ostracisation of his brother – the openly gay footballer Justin – which has left the most toxic legacy.

Words: Alex Hess