Most shocking transfers, including Celtic hero Mo Johnston joining Rangers and Sol Campbell going from Tottenham to Arsenal

1 Jan

How do you annoy an entire set of football fans?

Well, asking any one of this lot is a good start. Each one of these players made the unpopular decision to leave either in controversial circumstances or to play for a hated rival.

We’re assuming printing those ‘Judas’ signs on pieces of paper was worth the money to those Tottenham fans angry at Sol Campbell moving to better his career

Below are 11 deals that have seen plenty of anger spill out from the stands at various football grounds, including Glasgow, London as well as Florence over the years and here, talkSPORT.com ranks them by the despair caused by their transfers, kicking off with Alan Smith leaving Leeds United for Manchester United.

11. Alan Smith moves from Leeds to Man United
11. Alan Smith moves from Leeds to Man United – The boyhood Leeds fan once claimed he would never join Man United and was in tears when his beloved Whites were relegated in 2004. Still, following the drop the club were forced to accept a £7m bid from their hated rivals and Smith wasn’t too popular with supporters, although the player probably wouldn’t have chosen Old Trafford if it had been up to him. Leeds legend Peter Lorimer has since revealed that, of the interested clubs, Man United were the only ones prepared to pay the transfer fee in full, rather than spread out payments. “Leeds fans didn't want him to go there but as far as the club is concerned, Alan Smith going there probably saved us from going into administration or liquidation a lot earlier than we did,” he said.
10. Nick Barmby swaps Everton for Liverpool
10. Nick Barmby swaps Everton for Liverpool – Everton were shocked when Barmby rejected a lucrative new contract to keep him at Goodison in the summer of 2000 because he wanted to play for Liverpool. Everton chairman Bill Kenwright had previously pleaded Barmby’s case with England manager Kevin Keegan in an attempt to get the player more international recognition and was stunned when told of Barmby’s desire to move across Stanley Park. “It was hearing he had used six of the worst words in the English language as far as Everton fans are concerned: ‘I want to play for Liverpool,’” he said. He was the first player to swap blue for red since Dave Hickson in 1959 and when the Everton fans gave him stick at Anfield in the October Merseyside derby, he popped up with a goal and celebrated wildly, as Liverpool won 3-1.
9. Carlos Tevez is welcomed to Manchester after leaving United for City
9. Carlos Tevez is welcomed to Manchester after leaving United for City – Tevez was very popular at Man United during a successful two-year loan spell where he won the Champions League in 2008, with fans regularly chanting: ‘Fergie, sign him up’. A year later, though, he was a Man City player – the first to move directly to the club since 1999 – and City supporters carried on the chant just to rub it in. The club, meanwhile, celebrated the deal publicly with a huge billboard reading: ‘Welcome to Manchester’ in a nod to the fans’ claim that their club is the only one in Manchester given that Old Trafford lies outside the city boundaries. Sir Alex Ferguson wasn’t impressed: “a small club with a small mentality,” he said at the time.
8. Ashley Cole leaves Arsenal for London rivals Chelsea
8. Ashley Cole leaves Arsenal for London rivals Chelsea – Though it has no doubt faded over the years, Arsenal fans still reserve a special hatred for Cole. He joined Chelsea in 2006 after his relationship with the Gunners turned sour following allegations of tapping up in 2005 and he fanned the flames when he revealed in his autobiography the anger he felt at being offered a new £55,000-a-week contract by Arsenal. This gave rise to the nickname ‘Cashley Cole’, though his quotes have been taken slightly out of context in that he believed he was being offered considerably less than the Gunners had initially promised to pay him.
7. Johan Cruyff leaves Ajax for Feyenoord
7. Johan Cruyff leaves Ajax for Feyenoord – Ajax decided not to offer Cruyff a new deal, so what could he do to spite them? Join fierce rivals Feyenoord, of course. He had starred in Ajax’s three successive European Cups between 1971 and 1973, but in 1983 at the age of 37 he joined Feyenoord, a team who often like to remind Ajax they were the first Dutch club to win Europe’s biggest prize (in 1970). And by the end of the campaign, even the most die-hard Feyenoord fan had warmed to the idea of Cruyff playing for their team. How could they not when they were celebrating a league and cup double with him in the side, along with the emergence of a young player named Ruud Gullit?
6. Paul Ince goes from hero to zero after Man United pic
6. Paul Ince goes from hero to zero after Man United pic – Ince was West Ham’s bright young talent in the 1980s and Hammer of the Year in 1989, but the boyhood Irons fan incurred the wrath of fellow supporters when he left that year. West Ham were relegated and it was always going to be hard to keep the midfielder, but after he was pictured in a Man United shirt BEFORE actually signing for the club he was forever known as Judas. He has since explained it was done before he went on holiday, so his break was not interrupted by coming back for the obligatory snap once the deal was completed. However, it was accidentally published and the Upton Park faithful never forgot and reminded him of their feelings towards him every time he played them.
5. Sol Campbell causes outrage in north London
5. Sol Campbell causes outrage in north London – Campbell is one of the brightest young talents to have come through the youth ranks at Tottenham and fans loved him. That respect disappeared as soon as he left the club for nothing and signed for north London rivals Arsenal in 2001, where he became part of the ‘Invincibles’ side that won the Premier League title at White Hart Lane. Ouch.
4. Man United pinch Eric Cantona from Leeds and make ‘Ooh, aah, Cantona’ their own
4. Man United pinch Eric Cantona from Leeds and make ‘Ooh, aah, Cantona’ their own – The moral of this transfer tale is that it never hurts to ask. When Leeds attempted to sign Man United full-back Denis Irwin in November 1992 they were rebuffed, only for the Red Devils to counter with a speculative offer for mercurial Frenchman Cantona, who'd won the title with the Yorkshire club earlier that year. Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson agreed to the £1.2m deal and Sir Alex Ferguson got his man. Cantona's status as a hero among Leeds fans understandably disappeared, but a lot of anger was aimed at Wilkinson for letting him go for so little.
3. Luis Figo moves from Barca to Real and pigs fly
3. Luis Figo moves from Barca to Real and pigs fly – Figo was a Barcelona star and part of a team which racked up two titles, a Spanish Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup, but when Real Madrid called in 2000 he couldn’t turn them down. "I came to Madrid to win more titles and for prestige. And on better financial terms, of course." It was a bitter pill for Barca fans to swallow as they watched Figo herald Madrid's 'Galactico' era and they never forgave him, with one particular Clasico at the Camp Nou standing out. In November 2002 a variety of objects, including coins, bottles and the head of a pig showered the pitch as Barca supporters showed their former player how much they disliked him. Figo went on to win two Spanish titles and the Champions League with Madrid.
2. Roberto Baggio joining Juve causes a riot in Florence
2. Roberto Baggio joining Juve causes a riot in Florence – Fiorentina fans hate Juventus. The dislike stretches back to 1982 when Juve snatched the title from their grasp in controversial circumstances on the final day of the season, while the Old Lady also beat them in the 1990 UEFA Cup final. So when Fiorentina’s golden boy Baggio was sold to their rivals for £8m shortly afterwards, fans rioted. He returned to Florence as a Juve player in 1991 and the team bus required a police escort through the streets. During the game, he received all sorts of abuse, but the game ended in a home win, which also saw Baggio refuse to take a penalty. He was later substituted and managed to wind up the Juve fans, too, when he stopped to pick up and drape a Fiorentina scarf around his neck while walking off the pitch.
1. Mo Johnston manages to alienate two sets of supporters
1. Mo Johnston manages to alienate two sets of supporters – Johnston’s arrival at Rangers in 1989 managed to anger fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide. Having scored 52 goals in three seasons at Celtic, Johnston spent two years at Nantes in France and was expected to don the green and white shirt on his return to the Scottish league. He was even pictured in the summer of 1989 alongside Hoops boss Billy McNeill, and said: "There’s only one team I want to play for and that’s Celtic.” But nothing had been officially signed and Rangers manager Graeme Souness – no stranger to controversy – pounced and took Johnston to Ibrox, making him the club's first major Catholic signing. He slowly won over sceptical Gers fans, thanks to 31 goals in 76 games, plus wildly celebrating his goal in the Old Firm derby.

18 of the most surprising transfers and career decisions in football, including Max Meyer at Crystal Palace

3 Aug

Crystal Palace signed Max Meyer *inserts shocked emoji face* and repeat for Rob Green at Chelsea.

You could probably include Lee Grant at Man United on here, too.

Not that you can blame Meyer, who is reportedly on a whopping £170,000-a-week.

Still, they are moves which blew a lot of minds, so here, talkSPORT.com looks at other bizarre transfers and career moves of players and managers throughout history.

18. Liverpool snap up Steven Caulker
Even Caulker, who was on loan at Southampton from QPR, was surprised by the move. “It came as a bit of a shock as I’d had a bit of a frustrating time at Southampton and not had any game time,” he told the Liverpool Echo, explaining he couldn’t turn the move down. The defender joined in the 2016 January transfer window as cover, but played just four games with the deal being cut short when he entered rehab following a string of off field problems. In an interview with the Guardian in June 2017, Caulker revealed he has battled with depression for most of his career.
17. Ruud Gullit joins Chelsea, who were mediocre at best
17. Ruud Gullit joins Chelsea, who were mediocre at best – In 1995 the Blues picked up the bargain of the summer as they landed Dutch hero Gullit, a two-time European Cup winner and recipient of the European Footballer of the Year award. Chelsea were nowhere near the glamourous side of today and after Gullit struggled to get going in a sweeper role, Glenn Hoddle moved him into midfield and he was soon flying. Before his arrival, signings included Scott Minto and Paul Furlong, but by the end of the decade it was the likes of Marcel Desailly and Gianfranco Zola joining.
16. Diego Maradona moves to lowly Napoli
16. Diego Maradona moves to lowly Napoli – In the 1980s there were not many better players than Diego Maradona, so it was quite a surprise when Napoli, a team who avoided relegation from Serie A by a point, signed him from Barcelona in 1984. His time in Spain had been short, but memorable as it was littered with genius, controversy and injury. He scored 45 goals in 73 games, won the 1983 Spanish Cup and his brilliance was acknowledged by Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu during one game. However, his stay ended on a sour note when he was involved in a mass brawl with Athletic Bilbao players in the 1984 Spanish Cup final. In Italy, though, he helped win the club’s only two league titles, while he also won the UEFA Cup and Italian Cup.
15. Champions League winner Fabrizio Ravanelli swaps Juve for Boro
15. Champions League winner Fabrizio Ravanelli swaps Juve for Boro – Ravanelli won the Champions League in May 1996, scoring in the final as Juventus beat Ajax on penalties. By July he was playing for Middlesbrough, a club that had won promotion to the top flight a year earlier. During his one full Premier League season, Ravanelli scored 31 goals in all competitions and helped Bryan Robson’s side to the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup. Sadly though, Boro were relegated and lost both finals and he moved on to Marseille. <a href="http://talksport.com/football/24-great-pictures-footballers-and-managers-away-pitch-170101218091" target="_blank">PICTURES: Ravanelli as you've never see him.</a>
14. Roberto Mancini at Leicester City
14. Roberto Mancini at Leicester City – Thirteen years before Leicester pulled off their Esteban Cambiasso coup, the club shocked everyone when they managed to sign Roberto Mancini from Lazio on a month’s loan in January. Before that he spent 15 years at Sampdoria and won the title, four Italian Cups and the Cup Winners Cup. When he won the competition again, this time with Lazio, in 1999 he counted Alessandro Nesta, Pavel Nedved and Christian Vieri as team-mates. Colleagues at Filbert Street, meanwhile, included Andy Impey, Steve Guppy and Ade Akinbiyi. Mancini left in February to become boss at Fiorentina.
13. Attilio Lombardo flies into south London
13. Attilio Lombardo flies into south London – Lombardo played in a very good Sampdoria team, winning the title in 1991 and finishing runners-up to Barcelona in the 1992 European Cup final. However, after struggling to find his feet at Juventus, Lombardo flew the nest to join Palace in 1997. Soon, his talents saw him crowned the Bald Eagle as he lit up Selhurst Park before becoming player-manager.
12. Ballon d’Or winner Kevin Keegan moves to Southampton
12. Ballon d’Or winner Kevin Keegan moves to Southampton – Keegan left Liverpool for German club Hamburg in 1977, and during his three seasons in the Bundesliga he won two European Footballer of the Year awards and appeared in the 1980 European Cup final. He could have had his pick of clubs, but the likes of Juventus and Barcelona were snubbed in favour of Lawrie McMenemy’s Southampton, who had been promoted to the First Division in 1978. It was a great piece of business from the Saints.
11. Bebe arrives at Manchester United
11. Bebe arrives at Manchester United – Who? That’s what most people said when the Red Devils announced a deal for unknown Portugal winger Bebe in 2010. He’d never even played for his previous club when Sir Alex Ferguson swooped, persuaded by Carlos Queiroz, and in the end he made just four Premier League appearances before leaving Old Trafford in 2014.
10. Brian Clough takes over at the club he hates
10. Brian Clough takes over at the club he hates – Clough didn’t hide his contempt for Leeds’ style under Don Revie, so it was a shock when he took the manager’s job at Elland Road in 1974 after his spell at Brighton and Derby. Despite his criticism of Leeds, the move was a no-brainer for Clough given they were league champions, but his stint only lasted 44 days before he was sacked.
9. Ron Saunders leaves Aston Villa right before European glory for rivals Birmingham!
9. Ron Saunders leaves Aston Villa right before European glory for rivals Birmingham! – Villa were on course to win the European Cup when Saunders left in February 1982 to take over at rivals Birmingham. During his time at the helm, Saunders won two League Cups and is also the man who guided Villa to their first league title in 71 years when the club became First Division champions in 1981. It was a glorious period for the club, but disagreements with the board saw him resign and leave Tony Barton to lead the club to victory in the European Cup final. Birmingham, meanwhile, were relegated two years later.
8. Claudio Caniggia at Dundee
8. Claudio Caniggia at Dundee – A number of jaws dropped when Dundee manager Ivano Bonetti brought international Caniggia to the club in 2000. After all, here was a man who had shared the pitch with Diego Maradona at the 1990 World Cup and the 33-year-old had his eyes on winning a place in the squad for the 2002 edition in Japan and Korea. In his debut against Aberdeen, Caniggia came off the bench to score in a 2-0 win at Pittodrie and later moved to Rangers.
7. Edgar Davids joins Barnet
7. Edgar Davids joins Barnet – It was surprising enough when Davids, a former Inter, Ajax and Juventus midfielder, came out of retirement after two years to play for Crystal Palace in 2010. That lasted for seven games. Then it emerged he was managing Sunday League club Brixton United before, at the age of 37, he became head coach of League Two club Barnet in 2012. He also played for the club but resigned in 2014.
6. Tommy Lawton at Notts County
6. Tommy Lawton at Notts County – County have been involved in their share of bizarre deals in recent years – Eriksson and Campbell etc – but this takes some beating. Lawton was a goal king, who had scored 22 times in 23 England appearances along with 34 goals in 38 games for Everton, as they won the First Division title in 1939 before he moved to Chelsea in 1945. There he scored 35 times in 53 games, but moved to Notts County in the Third Division South next. The club paid £20,000 in November 1947 for the 28-year-old Lawton 28 who dropped down two divisions to link up with his friend and manager Arthur Stollery.
5. When Allan Simonsen swapped Barca for Charlton!
5. When Allan Simonsen swapped Barca for Charlton! – Simonsen was the European Player of the Year in 1977, a year he played and scored for Borussia Monchengladbach in the European Cup final defeat to Liverpool. He won the UEFA Cup with the German club in 1975 and 1979, and then sealed a move to the glamorous Barcelona. After winning the Cup Winners Cup there he swapped the Camp Nou for the Valley and joined Second Division Charlton for £300,000 in 1982. It was a disaster for the Londoners, who struggled to pay their star player and after nine goals in 17 games he headed back to his native Denmark while Charlton teetered on the brink of financial collapse.
4. Thomas Gravesen the Galactico?
4. Thomas Gravesen the Galactico? – Gravesen was a tough midfielder who found favour at Everton under the management of David Moyes. Madrid, meanwhile, perhaps mindful of the mistake they made in selling unsung defensive midfielder Claude Makelele to Chelsea while stockpiling 'Galacticos', signed Gravesen in 2005. The Bernabeu crowd, used to watching Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo, weren't particularly impressed with the Danish hard nut's style of play, and he was nearly sold before Christmas and after he got stuck in to team-mate Robinho during a training session, the writing was on the wall. Gravesen was sold to Celtic in 2006 and wasn’t much better. For bizarre Real deals, see also Julien Faubert.
3. Dale Jennings: Tranmere to Bayern
3. Dale Jennings: Tranmere to Bayern – Having lit up League One when he broke into the Tranmere first team in the 2010/11 season, tricky winger Jennings signed for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich at the age of 18. They club even sent Dietmar Hamann to his house to persuade him to join; the former Liverpool player having recommended him. Jennings knew he’d find it tough to break into the first-team, and was placed with Bayern's second string, but injuries right from the start saw his progress stutter. “I had a year left on my contract and I had to think 'am I really going to get in this team?' Once my girlfriend was pregnant I knew it was time to come back," he later said. Jennings played for Barnsley and MK Dons on his return but the 24-year-old is now without a club.
2. Juventus swoop for Boro reject Ronnie O’Brien
2. Juventus swoop for Boro reject Ronnie O’Brien – Forget Bendtner at Juve. Having played alongside the likes of Damien Duff and Robbie Keane for Republic of Ireland’s youth teams, O’Brien seemed set for a decent future, but he was released by Middlesbrough in 1999 at the age of 20. No bother for the Irishman, though, as Serie A giants Juventus swooped. Sadly, despite being on their books for three years, he rarely played with the exception of three Intertoto Cup matches. O'Brien was sent out on four loan spells before being released in 2002. He moved to America afterwards and last played for San Jose Earthquakes in 2008.
1. Johnston pitches up in the ‘wrong’ part of Glasgow
1. Johnston pitches up in the ‘wrong’ part of Glasgow – Johnston’s arrival at Rangers in 1989 managed to anger fans on both sides of the Glasgow divide. Having scored 52 goals in three seasons at Celtic, Johnston spent two years at Nantes in France and was expected to don the green and white shirt on his return to the Scottish league. He was even pictured in the summer of 1989 wearing the Celtic shirt alongside Hoops boss Billy McNeill, and said: "There is no other British club I could play for apart from Celtic.” But nothing had been officially signed and Rangers manager Graeme Souness – no stranger to controversy – pounced and took Johnston to Ibrox, making him the club's first major Catholic signing. Johnston slowly won over Gers fans, thanks to 31 goals in 76 games, plus wildly celebrating his goal in the Old Firm derby.