The 20 hardest footballers in Premier League history have been named (10-1)


10. Mark Hughes

Hughes was a physical centre-forward who made life very difficult for centre-backs.

He wasn’t really nasty but could put it about and had a warrior spirit.


9. Vinnie Jones

A true hard man, Jones still holds the record for the fastest booking ever after being cautioned just three minutes into an FA Cup tie against Sheffield United.

He was sent off 12 times in his career and was one of the leading members of Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang.

8. Jaap Stam

Nobody messed with Stam.

Determined and ferocious, he was an important part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United defence in the late 90s.


7. Julian Dicks

Dicks’ style was very much ‘get the player, then the ball’.

The former West Ham left-back earned the nickname of ‘The Terminator’ for his ferocious approach.

You could always count on Dicks to make at least one late, knee-high challenge in a game.

6. Terry Hurlock

David Beckham admitted he stayed away form Hurlock as much as possible when he was loaned out to Preston North End.

Neil Ruddock replied with the midfielder’s name when asked: ‘What is your favourite animal?’

Yeah, Hurlock was nuts.

He once smashed a door clean off its hinges after being teased by his Millwall teammates ahead of an encounter against Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang.

5. Patrick Vieira

Arsenal have missed a player like Vieira ever since his departure in 2005.

He was the beating heart of the 2004 Invincibles side and Roy Keane’s dancing partner in Arsenal’s lively clashes against Man United at the start of the century.

Combining technical skills, physical strength and a competitive edge, Vieira was a seriously tough competitor.


4. Stuart Pearce

Otherwise known as ‘Psycho’.

Nobody wanted to win more than Pearce, who once played in a game for West Ham with a fractured leg.

3. Roy Keane

Keane was as fierce as they come.

The former Man United enforcer would get in a referee’s face, hack down an opponent, row with teammates and more.

His challenge on Alf-Inge Haaland remains one of the worst in league history.

Keane was also a brilliant footballer, making him even more intimidating. He would scare you and then provide a pinpoint pass.

2. Duncan Ferguson

Before we start with Ferguson’s on-field presence, let’s talk about what he did off the pitch first.

The Scot foiled two burglaries at his home while he played for Everton. The second intruder was punched in then face and spent two days in hospital.

Ferguson also received a three-month prison sentence for assaulting Raith Rovers’ John McStay during his time at Rangers.

When he was focused on his football, the striker was a nightmare to play against. Big and strong, Ferguson threw his body at every ball and didn’t care who he hurt.

1. Mick Harford

“His favourite trick was to come at you from the side and smash you, square on,” said former Arsenal centre-back Martin Keown about Harford, adding: “He once hit me so hard, I had to have a nerve taken out of my tooth.”

Harford wasn’t inducted into Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang and with good reason.

Even Vinnie Jones and John Fashanu didn’t fancy egging his car or cutting the toes out of his socks.

Hartford was a hardman who always went back for seconds.

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