Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cataclysmic/Catastrophic Player Signings - Part Two:

Expensive foreign signings have had their fair share of bad press over the years and rightly so in some cases!

Winston Bogarde's career at Chelsea remains one of the most farcical of the modern game. Dutch international Bogarde was signed by Gianluca Vialli from Barcelona in 2000. He made only two League starts for the Blues over a period of four years, during which time he earned an estimated £7m in wages, handsome reward for training with the youth team all week, and going shopping or ten pin bowling on Saturday afternoons.

Newcastle signed Spanish international defensive 'hardman' Marcelino from Real Mallorca in 1999 for £5.8m. He made just 15 League appearances in three and a half years for the Magpies, and missed almost a whole season with a damaged finger before leaving the club on a free transfer.

In 1997 Crystal Palace signed Italian forward Michele Padovano from Juventus for £1.7m. In a year at the South London club Padovana scored once in 12 appearances, never played more than two games in a row and eventually left on a free transfer as Palace were relegated.
To rub salt in the wound after his departure, Padovana then returned to Selhurst Park to claim £1m in unpaid wages from the club's administrators during a financial crisis that almost saw Palace go out of business.

One more illustration of the 'foreign import syndrome' that has blighted our national game occurred way back in 1995, when Notts Forest became the first English club to sign an Italian international. Boss Frank Clark signed striker Andre Silenzi from Torino, as a replacement for Liverpool bound Stan Collymore.
However Silenzi spent most of his 15 appearances strolling suckily around a small area of the pitch, and his time ended in acrimony as he refused to return to England after a loan spell at another Italian club side Venezia. By the time his contract was cancelled the beanpole target man had scored a total of two cup goals and had cost bankruptcy bound Forest nearly £3m.

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