English Premier League / World Cup

Let's Get Dirty – Nigel De Jong's Kindred Spirits

If you’re a USA fan who isn’t up on the Oranje, Manchester City, or the Hamburgers before that, you might have wondered “who was that objectionable oaf who broke poor Stu’s leg?”, and later on “who is that cowardly s%!$head who blatantly dove for a free kick while under pressure in his own half?” That, my friends was Nigel De Jong, who along with cementing his role as the Netherlands’ midfield enforcer has thrust himself into the upper echelons of the new generation of dirty players. While diving is no strange thing in the Dutch side (see Robben, Arjen and Sneijder, Wesley), De Jong’s nasty play for club and country has added a new dimension to Holland’s game. “Total football” indeed.

Inspired by De Jong’s brilliant display of anti-football, I began to think, who are some of the bigger dirt-merchants in today’s game? Here goes..

John Terry – OK, OK, I know its now fashionable to pick on the man, but have you ever seen a player get away with as many shirt-pulls and two-footed lunges as this guy? The British press use words like “committment” and “desire” and “English” in describing him. I prefer “thug”, or perhaps another T-word. Now that he is no longer England skipper maybe referees won’t be afraid to pull out the cards and he will have to adjust. Until that happens though, he’s on the list.

Robbie Savage – Now that he’s found his true level in the Championship, most of us aren’t treated to his shin-kicking, but its difficult to find a player more universally detested for his gamesmanship. Oh, and he once obliterated Graham Poll’s toilet and was fined for it…which is actually pretty funny.

Gabriel Heinze – If you’re a fullback who stinks at defending, there is always the fallback of pretending you’ve been fouled right before you get torched. Heinze has perfected this art, and even after being deemed surplus to requirements at both Manchester United and Real Madrid, still is called upon to flop around for Marseille and Argentina.

Dani Alves – An otherwise brilliant wingback who is tremendous going forward and on dead balls, Alves spends far too much time rolling around on the ground, arguing with the referee and kicking out at opposing players. What a shame.

Kevin Davies – Bolton “striker” gets on here for his ridiculous happy-elbows.

Strong cases could be made for the following: Javier Mascherano, Gennaro Gattuso, Lorik Cana, Emmanuel Eboue, The Argentine league in its entirety…

I know I’m missing plenty. Who’s on your list? I’d especially like to see some candidates from MLS.


  1. That’s awesome. Good post.

  2. Well if we are going to point our fingers at Nigel…who I personally think sucks and include the likes of Terry as well. Lets talk about a Texas lad who plays for the nattys… loves to dive (I think he may be half trout) has broken the jaw of one opposing player doesn’t do defense the way my maid doesn’t do windows and whines like a two year old snot nose brat who dropped her all day sucker, yep you heard it here first folks: yep that hard rappin white boy from Texas…Dempsy

  3. Dempsey is the man. What about Adebayor? Cleat to the face of Persey- and I swear I’ve seen him score with his elbow against Man U- and I’m an Arsenal guy.

  4. Freddy Ljungberg is an MLS player that loves to bring his Euro-style flopping and whining. So much so, that even his own team told him to p-off.

    That shows good potential for a new game in America. No tolerance towards cheating.

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