Top 10 drunken escapades: gun toting, egg scoffing, hotel trashing and cup smashing
1) Merse on the sauce
When Graham Taylor took England on a tour of America in 1993, his wayward midfielder treated the trip like a “Club 18-30 p***-up". In Washington he stumbled into a fight in the city's murder hotspot after the rest of the squad had gone to bed. The biggest party was saved for Detroit, however, when Merson drunkenly stumbled into a gay bar with Paul Ince and John Barnes. "We thought the handlebar moustache was a local fashion," he said.
2) Gun-toting Tino
Having already escaped the slammer in Colombia for firing an illegal firearm outside a nightclub, South America's favourite barmpot Tino Asprilla brought his armoury to Newcastle in 1996. When the striker moved into his rented house in Woolsington, neighbours complained of hearing gunshots at a particularly rowdy party. After Asprilla moved out in 1998, his landlord was shocked to find a series of bullet holes peppering the walls of his house.
3) Mongoose McQueen
After a few shandies, former Manchester United star Gordon McQueen unveils an impressive party trick: he can eat raw eggs whole, shell included. "It's like watching a ravenous mongoose," says Soccer Saturday anchorman, Jeff Stelling. "He flips his head back and a medium-sized egg disappears down his throat. His record is four in one sitting."
4) Booze + tablets = Gazza
Paul Gascoigne briefly lived with Paul Merson in 1998 while turning out for Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough. To pass time, the two alcoholics played a suicidal drinking game: when bottles of red wine were opened at home, each glass was followed by a sleeping tablet. Whoever stayed awake the longest was declared the winner and earned thousands of pounds in wagers.
5) Motorcycle emptiness
Peter Beagrie's biggest mistake during Everton's 1991 pre-season tour of Spain wasn't sinking gallons of continental lager late into the night. Nor was it borrowing a motorcycle from a confused local and driving it through the glass front of the team's hotel when a night porter was unavailable to open the door. Beagrie's largest blunder, he mused, as the 50th stitch was put into his wounds, was driving into the wrong hotel.
6) You're nicked (again)
Even by Pete Doherty's standards, being arrested twice in 24 hours for being drunk and disorderly is an impressive feat. But when the former Forest and Derby full-back Gary Charles was pinched for spitting at the window of a hairdressers in May 2003, he continued his binge after release and drove his car into a hedge. Police discovered Charles slumped in the backseat surrounded by torn-up money and his own excrement. "P*** off," he said, as officers tried to breathalyse him.
7) Best hits bar... then the post
When George Best signed for Fulham in 1976, he made the fancy London nightclub Tramps his second home. After one late-night bender, the midfield maestro borrowed the Fiat belonging to the chairman's daughter. Shortly afterwards he mangled it against a lamppost outside Harrods. When team-mate Rodney Marsh told him to watch his drinking, Best responded, "Don't you ever f***ing tell me what to do again."
8) Cup takes a battering
After Coventry City upset the odds and tonked Spurs 3-2 in the 1987 FA Cup Final, the team and a gang of well wishers got absolutely blotto. "Even the Mayor of Coventry went crazy," said Coventry goal hero, Keith Houchen. "Everyone was out of it by 2am. Policemen were coming in and filling their helmets with champagne. People were chucking the cup around the room bouncing it off the walls. At one point, someone realised the lid was missing. Someone was sitting on it. It was all bent out of shape."
9) Peter 'pants down' Shilton
In May 1980, the England goalkeeper parked his Jag in a dirt track behind Nottingham racecourse with Tina Street at 5am. No drama there, except Shilts had drunk a few too many and Tina's husband Colin was hardly enamoured with the fact that the pair were "partially clothed" when he tried to open the car door. When police arrived at the scene, Shilts sped off, crashed into a lamppost and was busted for drink driving.
10) Razor cuts Shearer
Neil Ruddock nearly ended the career of Alan Shearer before the then-Southampton striker had even made his England debut, when some hotel hijinks got out of hand. "I raided his mini-bar," said Ruddock. "He chased me down the corridor but I dropped a couple of glasses and he stepped on the broken glass. He needed an operation to save one of his toes on his left foot."