Almost every week football fans are subjected to lines from the pundit dictionary such as 'he's been unlucky with injuries' or 'he’s unfortunate not to score there,' but who are the most unfortunate players ever to have graced the Premier League?
Steve Harper and Richard Dunne are certainly up there, take a look at the list below for the rest.
1. Steve Harper
Steve Harper could be considered too loyal for his own good. In an age where many footballers move from club to club in search of fame and fortune, Steve Harper has been at Newcastle for the entirety of his career (aside from a few loan spells) since it began in 1993.
The reason he’s so unfortunate is that despite being a very dependable ‘keeper, he spent the majority of his career playing second fiddle to Shay Given, arguably one of the best stoppers the Premiership has ever seen. He only got his real chance when Given jumped Newcastle’s sinking ship in their relegation season, meaning Harper was the number one when his beloved Toon went down.
2. Calum Davenport
Although Calum Davenport arguably didn’t really reach his full potential in his playing days, he was always a reliable option at centre back. Despite often being on the fringes of teams like Tottenham and West Ham, many pundits felt Davenport still had potential to be a solid Premier League player.
However, in a cruel twist of fate the England under 21 international was stabbed in both legs during a violent attack at his home. Aged just 27 Davenport attempted a comeback but never really recovered. He now plies his trade for Wootton Blue Cross in the United Counties League.
3. Dean Ashton
You have to feel for Dean Ashton. He graduated from the famous Crewe youth ranks before earning big money moves to Norwich and then West Ham. He was in lethal form during West Ham’s run to the FA Cup final in 2006 and was rapidly earning a reputation as one of the finest marksmen in England.
This resulted in a long-awaited call-up to the England squad, but the day before the game a heavy Shaun Wright-Phillips tackle broke Ashton’s ankle, keeping him out for a year. On his return he received another call-up, only to be thwarted by a knee injury. Although he finally earned his solitary cap against Trinidad and Tobago in 2008 Ashton’s injury problems persisted and he was forced to retire aged just 26.
4. Nathan Blake & Hermann Hreidarsson
Blake and Hreidarsson hold this spot jointly after sharing the dubious honour of earning the most relegations from the Premier League. Both players forged good careers for themselves, shown by the fact that clubs continually signed them from relegated teams.
Welsh international Blake repeatedly showed an ability to find the net for the likes of Bolton and Wolves, while Hreidarsson was a terrific defender for Charlton and Portsmouth. However, with five relegations each (Blake with 4 different clubs, Hreidarsson with 5 different clubs) they are certainly worthy of this list.
5. Richard Dunne
Richard Dunne has brought physicality and determination to the Premiership for seventeen years now. The experienced Irish international may be 33 years old now and finding himself on the fringes of a youthful Aston Villa side, but he can certainly be proud of his career to date.
However, one stat that he won’t look back on fondly is his record of scoring the most own goals in Premier League history. An impressive eight own goals, only three less than he’s scored at the right end in his club career, means he narrowly beats Jamie Carragher with seven to make his mark on this list.
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