Five Of The Worst Debuts In Football

By : Jordan Brown |


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When you’ve just made a seriously controversial move to a new club and not only have fans of your former side out to criticise every little thing you do, but also the rest of the footballing world, it’s not going to be ideal if you take to the field for your new side, only to get injured and have to leave the field.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Fabian Delph, who was stretchered off with a hamstring injury just 18 minutes in to his Manchester City career and obviously Villa fans were delighted.

Given it’s smack bang in the middle of pre-season and the transfer window, there are a fair few players who have moved to new clubs and are making their debuts, and some are certainly going better than others.

It probably won’t make him feel much better, but Delph’s disaster debut is nothing compared to some of these footballers, who make up a countdown of what may well be the worst debuts of all time.

Jonathan Woodgate – Real Madrid

Can anyone’s debut get much worse than scoring an own goal AND getting sent-off? He joined Real Madrid for £13.5 million in 2004 from Newcastle, despite his persistent injury problems, something the Real Madrid board would live to seriously regret.

He didn’t play in his first season at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the eagerly awaited debut didn’t match the expectation that came with his transfer fee. Saying that, neither did his whole career, as he was voted Real’s worst signing of the 21st century by Madrid based newspaper Marca in one of their infamous and not at all biased polls.

Ali Dia – Southampton

An old-school one here, and certainly a comical one as well. The alleged cousin of footballing legend George Weah signed for Southampton in 1996 when they were struggling to assemble a strike force.

He was brought on as a sub for his debut against Leeds, ten minutes later, he was brought off. Embarrassingly, it turned out that not only had Weah had never even heard of Ali Dia, but that he was pretty shit as well.

He was released 14 days into his contract with Southampton and the whole thing was a bizarre saga to say the very least.

Emmanuel Frimpong – Barnsley

His career never really got going in south Yorkshire, and it never looked like doing so when he tweeted about struggling to ‘draw girls’ playing his new club, like he could back at Arsenal.

After once being a highly-rated youngster at Arsenal, he was allowed to join Barnsley in January 2014, but his spell there got off to a shocker as he was sent off within half an hour of his debut, picking up two yellow cards after fouling the same man twice within seven minutes.

Not very Dench at all from the player who is better on social media than a football field.

Jason Crowe – Arsenal

When you’re selected for your debut, you have to make an impression, even more so when you’ve got one of the best full-backs in England ahead of you in the team. That was the case for Crowe, who needed to impress Arsene Wenger enough to see him given the nod over Lee Dixon.

You could say he failed at that. He was sent off 33 seconds into his debut as he came off the bench in 1997 in a League Cup game against Birmingham.

Lee Dixon spent 14 years at Arsenal. Crowe played the majority of his games at Northampton Town.

Gervinho – Arsenal

Probably should have been renamed Gervini-no by the Arsenal fans after his failed debut against Newcastle.

He decided it would be a good idea to raise his hands to Joey Barton, which ultimately lead to a red card and a three game ban. I’m sure Arsenal fans were questioning that £10.8 million fee straight away.

The forward never really convinced Arsenal fans he was the one for them, and despite doing alright since leaving the club, the Gunners faithful probably regret ever signing him.