Rants and musings from the magazine team
FFT.com's Rob Burnett casts his eye over 10 football forfeits...
Judging by Rio Ferdinand’s attempt to become the new Jeremy Beadle by ‘merking’ his England teammates in his World Cup Wind Ups programme in 2006, footballers like nothing better than to make their fellow players look like berks.
And if it's as punishment for terrible performances in training, then all the better. Yes we’re talking forfeits. Here’s 10 of our favourites...
1. Roberto Fernandes, manager of Brazilian club Figueirense, has come up with a novel way of getting the best out of his squad: enforced transvestitism.
Any player who is out of form is forced to train in a pink dress and Fernandes is already heralding his scheme as a success. He credits the frock for an upturn in form for midfielder Jairo, who apparently played his best game for the club after donning the pink number.
2. Back in Blighty it seems Portsmouth’s players prefer a different forfeit for poor performances – after all wandering around in a dress in Britain’s biggest naval port might just be asking for trouble.
Last November, David James was punished for being named the club’s worst trainer by having to drive around in an old Reliant Robin three-wheeler.
The car, bought after the whole squad chipped in for it, even had a loudspeaker fitted that played loud farm animal noises whenever the engine was started. “It’s just a bit of fun to improve team spirit and gives us all an added incentive to perform well in training,” said the England keeper.
Jamo prepares to buckle up
3. The Pompey lot weren’t being entirely original with their three-wheeled japery. Back in 2001 the Leeds United squad got hold of an Only Fools and Horses style yellow Reliant Robin, which the player judged to have performed the worst in training had to drive for a week.
Jonathan Woodgate was voted the first ‘Plonker of the Week’ which meant he was also forced to leave his own car in the club car park to prevent any cheating. Then-club chairman Peter Ridsdale said he had a shock when he first saw the clapped out motor: "I thought it was Trotters Independent Trainers turning up!"
4. When Carlos Tevez was substituted in a match for West Ham against Sheffield United in 2006, the Argentine striker was furious and stormed out of Upton Park. His manager Alan Pardew decided to let the rest of the squad decide what punishment to meter out to the errant forward.
As well making him donate £1,000 to charity the Hammers players forced Tevez to wear the shirt of Argentina’s hated rivals Brazil for a week in training. But when it came to the crunch he refused. "I just couldn't train in a Brazil shirt, I wouldn't do it," he said. "It was like asking an Englishman to wear a German kit, he'd never do that... it's too much to wear the strip of my country's biggest rivals.”
5. That master of bonkers management Ian Holloway had his own method of motivating lazy trainers when he was at Plymouth, inspired by Joey Barton who dropped his shorts and bared his backside at Everton fans after a 1-1 draw at Goodison with Manchester City.
The worst trainer at Plymouth was forced to wear ‘the Joey Barton bottom’ - a pair of shorts with a plastic backside sewn into them.
Holloway explained back in 2006: “Every Friday morning in training, before we do the serious bit, we have a vote. If a player's nominated, he'll wear it, no problem. It was supposed to be for the worst player, but it can be awarded for anything. One time, one of them couldn't go out because his girlfriend wouldn't let him and he was picked. It's been brilliant.”
6. Talking of baring backsides, occasionally it’s the managers who have to suffer the forfeits as Bristol City gaffer Gary Johnson proved in 2007.
After a match in which defender Liam Fontaine came painfully close to scoring before making a hash of it with just the keeper to beat, Johnson said "Fonts will never score... if he does I will show my backside in Burton's window.”
Just four months later, Fontaine scored in a 1-1 draw with Wolves but Johnson claimed he would be “consulting my lawyer on the exact wording of what I said, in case I said it must be the winning goal.”
However, he couldn’t wriggle out of it that easily. Burton’s decided they didn’t want a naked Gary Johnson in their window, so instead the manager allowed Fontaine to take three shots at his rear-end which was painted with a target. It was all filmed by the Sky Sports cameras for posterior-ty.
Johnson: "S**t, he's scored. Is there a lawyer in the house?"
7. For most clubs, the training ground being covered in snow means indoor exercise but not at Crystal Palace, where manager Neil Warnock insists on his players training as hard as ever.
Back in February he told The Independent: “Last Saturday we trained on a pitch that was covered in snow. We had a really good two-hour session, at the end of which the winning team picked two members of the losing side, who were given a forfeit.
They had to stand on the goal-line, minus certain items of clothing, while the rest of the lads had three snowballs each to throw at them from 12 yards. If our strikers could hit the target in matches as well as they did with their snowballs we'd have won promotion already.”
8. Nakedness is a predictably common theme in training ground forfeits. John Terry famously missed the crucial penalty in the Champions League final last season, but back in 2004 he was boasting about the effectiveness of Chelsea’s penalty training to The Sun.
The England captain said: “We used to play ‘strip penalties’. A group of us would go out after training had finished and we’d get a five-a-side match going.
“Then we took turns from the spot. If you missed one you had to take off your shirt. If you missed another, off came your shorts and then your socks, and so on. In the end, you would end up in goal stark naked with everyone booting footballs at you. It was a great laugh.”
Those tears of laughter you were shedding in Moscow then JT?
JT: Havin' a right larf
9. Newcastle United’s resident prankster is Geordie Steven Taylor.
He recently acquired a bright orange tuxedo (inspired by the Jim Carrey film Dumb and Dumber) which Ryan Taylor was forced to wear for training after he lost out in a game of pool, while two young academy players suffered at Taylor’s hands when they left the Christmas party early.
He managed to get into their room and used a Bic razor to shave off most of their hair, leaving them with Mohicans. “And that was just my little warning,” he said.
“I get the lads playing pool,” Taylor says. “With forfeits. If you lose, you’ve got to do something like take a shot of Tabasco, or have an ice bath.”
“I get more nervous doing that than playing football,” he adds, unwittingly offering a telling insight into Newcastle’s dire league form.
10. When Bolton were promoted to the Premiership in 2001, few gave them a hope of staying up. But on the opening day of the season they trounced Leicester City 5-1.
The result? Chairman Phil Gartside had to scoff down a plate of sheep’s testicles and Sam Allardyce was forced to wander around Bolton town centre dressed as a clown.
Inspired by former member of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang Dean Holdsworth, the club had set up a system of forfeits. If the team won by three goals or more they could nominate senior staff to carry out the punishments.
If they lost by a similar scoreline the players had to take the forfeit. Deano himself served up the disgusting meal for his chairman and said: “You wouldn't get me to eat any of that stuff even if you paid me!"
Gartside himself was happy, if a little queasy after his feast. "I'll do forfeits every week because it will mean the team is doing well. But no one could have asked any more from any one of them than they have given already. The spirit throughout the club is fantastic."
Frandsen: "5-1... I hope you're hungry Mr. Chairman"
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