Ranked! The 50 most hated people in football

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

35. Graham Westley

Given the shadow cast by the Premier League, it’s remarkable that Westley – who has never coached above League One – has the reputation that he does. Or maybe it’s telling.

He’s managed 11 clubs in 20 years, including three separate spells at Stevenage, and has evidently always had the capacity to put noses out of joint. Note, for instance, how many times Westley seems to have left clubs in a backdraft of acrimony and how often personal disputes, supporter fallout, or personality clashes seem to have been responsible.

Perhaps Westley can be summed up in one quote, a magical mixture of arrogance and nonsense: “My kids don’t call me Dad,” he once said. “They call me Medal Winner.”

Words: Seb Stafford-Bloor

34. Antonio Rattin

The foul-mouthed Argentina captain during the 1966 World Cup was sent off by the German referee after 35 minutes of their quarter-final against England for “violence of the tongue”. But then, believing the referee to be biased, he refused to leave the field, sat down on the red carpet reserved for royals and (gasp) insulted the Queen.

Eventually, Rattin had to be led from the field by two police officers. It made him football’s top villain of the 1960s on these shores.

Yet in South America, this incident was viewed as an injustice against the Argentines – with fans pointing out that the referee spoke no Spanish, so couldn’t have known what Rattin was saying to him.

Words: Amit Kawala

33. Tim Sherwood

Sherwood’s managerial career started right at the top, and burned hot and bright – like an asteroid smashing into the ground. He joined Tottenham under Harry Redknapp, performed well with the U21s, and was took the senior reins in December 2013 after the departure of Andre Villas-Boas.

It was an abrupt change. From a thoughtful, tactical manager, Spurs were now being steered by a gilet-hurling, chest-thumping manager driven by “passion”. The results weren’t actually that bad, but a spell at Aston Villa ended in relegation and the anger stopped getting results, while his bullish attempts to take credit for Harry Kane come across as a bit desperate. Also, his arms must be really cold.

Words: Amit Kawala

32. Mark van Bommel

Although the Dutch midfielder’s reputation was crystalised in the 2010 World Cup Final – a one-match campaign to obtain a red card that Howard Webb manfully ignored – Van Bommel’s villainy is really a body of work.

Just as it has become fashionable to refer to rudimentary playing positions by their Italian or Spanish equivalent, it’s a surprise that nobody has coined a phrase for his role. A lover of yellow-cards, a purveyor of tactical fouls (which seemed often – amazingly – to go unpunished). Basterde, perhaps?

Van Bommel was also an awfully good player, which – in that Steffen Effenberg sort of way – somehow made it worse.

Words: Seb Stafford-Bloor

31. Francesco Becchetti

In the summer of 2014, when Francesco Becchetti's waste management consortium took over Leyton Orient, only a penalty shoot-out had denied the club a place in the Championship.

When the Italian left Brisbane Road three years later, Orient were a non-League club for the first time in 112 years, had gone through 10 managers and were on the brink of existential obliteration. After two relegations, one failed reality TV show, one winding-up order from the high court, a money laundering investigation and a six-match ban from his own stadium for kicking the Orient manager, he was finally hounded out. 

But the damage – calamitous in scale – was well and truly done. "This is a position from which it can grow," he said upon departing the National League club.

Words: Alex Hess