Sunday League football doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation when it comes to quality.
The term typically conjures up visions of players having a weekend kickabout with their mates in conditions that are less ideal.
While some players may have shown promise in their younger days or had their dreams of a professional career dashed by injury, the idea that you might come up against a former top-flight player on a Sunday morning down at your local park probably seems a little far-fetched.
That is, however, unless you happened to be playing in the Central Warwickshire over 35s League in 2018, when no less than four ex-Premier League players turned out for Monica Star FC. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, each of the quartet also had international caps to their name.
It would be pretty daunting to come up against this lot when half-hungover after a heavy Saturday night.
The four ex-Premier League players who turned out for the same Sunday League side in 2018
Per a 2018 article from The Mirror, Monica Star boasted former internationals for England, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
We’ve taken a look at the accomplished former professionals below.
Current England U21 head coach Carsley was the first to sign on for the team in 2011, having been persuaded to join by his brother, who was friends with many of the Monica Star squad.
Carsley, who racked up more than 100 Premier League appearances and 40 Irish caps in his playing days, apparently didn’t have great expectations for the standard of the opposition he would be up against at first.
“Lee thought it would be all beer-bellies. He said he’d help out for the odd match,” club secretary Paul Volante told The Mirror.
“But when he saw the standard, he was there every week. Everyone has played to a decent level.”
Former Aston Villa midfielder Hendrie played to more than “a decent club”, turning out over 300 times for the Midlands’ outfit. He also earned his sole England cap against the Czech Republic in 1998.
Capped on ten occasions by Scotland, midfielder Devlin played more than 150 times for Sheffield United and Birmingham.
Another former Villa man, Byfield led the line for Jamaica six times. He later went on to represent Rotherham, Sunderland, Walsall and Doncaster in the Football League.
That’s some serious experience – and Monica Star certainly made it count.
The Mirror verified a pair of strong wins for the club in their report, one by a 7-0 scoreline and the other ending 5-0.
Even though those matches took place six years ago, though, Sunday League players around the Midlands aren’t necessarily off the hook.
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According to the league’s official website, Carsley, Hendrie and Byfield are still registered as Monica Star players, alongside former Fulham goalkeeper Maik Taylor.
In fairness, Carsley’s England commitments mean he might struggle to turn out these days. Byfield also has managerial duties to attend to at Walsall Wood. However, if the current squad list is to be taken at face value, we would fancy taking on the club, even with a few of the above unavailable.
It’s enough to make a hardened Sunday League player consider retirement – or at least taking up darts!
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