Mark Bosnich. Usually loved by their own but hated by everyone else. Often frustrating, the traits of the unhinged can often get your club into more trouble than it’s worth. But, all the same, we all secretly love a nutter. It makes things interesting. Which is why we’ve sieved through the badass history books to uncover the Top 10 Crazy Bastards the Footballing World has seen.
No 9 Mark Bosnich
Mark Bosnich, or Bozza as he was better-known to his team mates, first entered the English game in 1989 after moving to England from Austrailia, aged 17, signing for Manchester Utd on a non-contract basis. Bosnich, however, only managed three pre-season appearances for the Red Devils before his registration with the club was cancelled and he was forced to return home. However, after just a year back in his native Australia, Bosinch managed to secure a return to England. Signing for Aston Villa in 1992, after a number of years learning his trade with the youth team, Bozzer managed to cement himself as a Villa first team regular during the 95/96 season, lighting up the Premiership with some fantastic displays and his chirpy personality. However, we only had to wait 12 months for the Aussie to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons
The Nazi salute
Tottenham v Aston Villa October 1996
It was during the previous year’s fixture in 1995 that Mark Bosnich first fell out with Tottenham fans after he was involved in a nasty clash with Spurs’ golden boy Jurgen Klinsman. The collision saw the German being stretchered off with a concussion and many Spurs fans feeling Bosnich had gone into the challenge with intent. Now we all know it’s not like football fans to hold a grudge, however, Spurs’ fans decided to make an exception in Bozza’s case and, during the repeat fixture, bombarded the Aussie with a barrage of abuse throughout the game. Bosnich’s response? Pull out a Hitler salute.
Yes, how else would you respond to supporters known for their strong Jewish ties? Pull out your finest genocidal dictator impression of course. Needless to say, this got Bozza into a spot of bother. The Villa favourite would later call the BBC to apologise, explaining that he was mimicking Basil Fawlty and had not meant to cause any offence. Yeah, alright mate.
The Sex Tape
Off the field, Bozzer had also developed a reputation for being a bit of a ladies man, often appearing in the red tops gossip sections more frequently than the back pages. However, despite this reputation, Villa’s top shagger he was not. That crown firmly belonged to Trinidad & Tobago international Dwight Yorke, who was renowned for his nocturnal activities.
Needless to say, the pair’s mutual appreciation of the female form saw Yorke and Bozzer strike up a close friendship and they were often seen out on the town together. However in 1998, the rampant behaviour of Bosnich and Yorke left the pair red-faced after a video emerged in the press involving an orgy with four local girls.
Two Premier League footballers involved in an orgy…”So what” you say? Nothing new. But this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill gang bang, the pair were filmed with the four girls in Yorke’s luxury apartment, dressed up as women! Bozzer, who was engaged at the time, was filmed wearing a white mini skirt, being whipped and having his toes sucked by two women at once. Dirty buggers. The exploits would never have seen the light of day but Yorke, who filmed the exploits himself, decided to toss the tape in the bin rather than just erasing the footage, only for a bin-dipping journo to strike gold in amongst the previous week’s pizza boxes. Although the whole situation is completely ridiculous, hats off to Bosnich. If the many rumours are true, Yorke doesn’t exactly fall short in the trouser department, and you’d have to be a braver man than me to whip you todger out in the presence of the Trinidadian.
In 1999, Bosnich became the only player Sir Alex Ferguson re-signed, arriving on a free transfer from Aston Villa. Although Ferguson later admitted after his retirment that the re-signing of Bosnich was one of his worst. Ferguson described him as a ‘terrible professional’ in his book, admitting that his love for fatty foods made him a nightmare to deal with.
“We played down at Wimbledon and Bosnich was tucking into everything: sandwiches, soups, steaks. He was going through the menu.” the book reads.
“We arrived back in Manchester and Mark was on the mobile phone to a Chinese restaurant to order a takeaway. I said: ‘Is there no end to you?”
Bosnich managed just 23 appearances for United before French international Fabian Bartez was brought in from Monaco. From there, Bozzer spent the next 12 months with his fat arse parked on the bench, not making another first team appearance and eventually making a move to Chelsea on a free transfer in the summer of 2001.
Surprisingly, problems with his fitness and injury meant Bozzer didn’t make his Chelsea debut until the following season, making only 5 appearances during the tail-end of the 2001/2002 campaign. Bosnich’s resurgence to first team football however wasn’t to last long…
Bosnich was earning approximately £45,000 a week at Chelsea and, after returning from injury during the pre-season of 2002, this was his opportunity to once again prove his worth. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be the case as he failed a drugs test and got sacked by his new employers.
Testing positive for cocaine, Bosnich initially claimed he had had his drink spiked with the drug whilst in a nightclub. The FA, however, weren’t having any of it and Bozzer was banned from the game for nine months.
Bosnich would later admit to a £5000 a week, 10 gram a day coke habit. However he stood by his spiking story and, instead, blamed his drugs ban on turning him into a coke head.
Taken from an interview with Austrailian website – shm.com.aus
August 18, 2003
“This is my confession,” Bosnich said.
“Until a couple of weeks ago I was addicted to cocaine.
“My life was ruled by drugs and I was a mess. I was staying awake on coke for days on end. It was destroying me.”
“I know people won’t believe me but I want to come clean,” he said.
“I wasn’t taking any drugs when I was found guilty by the FA. In 15 years of football I never touched them.
“But everybody believed that I was into drugs, especially because of my relationship with Sophie [Anderton, his girlfriend]. So one day I thought, f— it, I’m going to do it.
“I went to a club, bought a £50 wrap of coke, and brought it home to try. Basically, I cracked.
“I was angry and bitter and I succumbed to what everyone said I was, a coke fiend.”
Bosnich later claimed he used the drug to try to frighten his high profile girlfriend Sophie Anderton, a model with a history of drug and alcohol abuse, into going clean.
“I told her that for every line of cocaine she would take, I would take two. And that’s exactly what I did,” he said.
“I knew it would hurt her and, to be honest, I felt invincible.
“But I reached a stage where I was taking six grams of cocaine a day.
“I was staying awake on coke for days on end, just constantly playing computer games and watching TV. Once I was up for four nights in a row.”
Bosnich said he was shocked into going clean after he almost shot his father, after mistaking him for a burglar.
“I was high on coke and I had my airgun in my hands,” he said.
“I’d been up for three or four days and was playing around in the house.
“I heard a noise downstairs and I thought it was a burglar, so I raced down with my pistol.
“As he came around the corner I grabbed him and put the gun to his head. I was so high I didn’t know what I was doing.
“My father was shocked … he said he wouldn’t leave until I had kicked drugs. It was that moment that I realised I couldn’t do this to my family and the people I loved. I had to take control of my drug problem.”
After his ban, Bosnich unsuccessfully tried to secure a contract in England, training with QPR and Portsmouth. He later moved back to his native Australia and finished his career with non-league Sydney Olympic in 2010.
These days, Bosnich is said to have turned his back on the drugs and is now a commentator and analyst for Fox Sports football programmes. He has also been known to work as a player agent. Well I suppose if you need advice from your agent, you might as well take it from someone who has already made all the mistakes.
Andy Robertson – From Amateur to Anfield
Another 3 points gained under the Anfield lights on Saturday evening and another outstanding performance from one of Liverpool’s star men. Nope we’re not talking about Salah, Mane Mane or Bobby Firmino because it’s all about Robbo, Andy Robertson.
The left back who has made the position his own and is quite rightly receiving the plaudits he deserves.
Just 5 years ago Andy Robertson was playing for Scottish 3rd Division side Queens Park, a club in which he signed for after having been released by Celtic for being too small earlier in his career.
His move to Dundee United saw him instantly catch the eye of many north of the border. A renewed contract was agreed within just weeks of his debut and was followed with being PFA’s “Scotland Young Player of the Year” and a subsequent place in the PFA “Scotland Team of the Year” for the 2013-14 Scottish Premiership season.
All of this convinced Hull City to swoop with a near £3m bid to get their man, United accepted and the left back was on his way to the EPL.
3 seasons with Hull under the stewardship of former Man Utd stalwart Steve Bruce allowed him to gain what is deemed acceptable experience in England and it was Liverpool who won the race for his signature.
An absolute bargain at a reported £8m and his dream debut season is showing no signs of slowing down.
He has even earned the approval of Kop legend Stevie G. He told BT Sport: “He’s done terrifically well since coming in and the fans have taken to him. It’s not just about Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, the top players that come, the fans love someone who gives 100 per cent.”
“He’s come in and he’s a very humble kid and gives it his all every game. To be fair to the kid. He’s been excellent.”
His lung bursting closing down run vs Man City made him a social media sensation but for those who have watched him for the past few years this was nothing out of the ordinary.
International recognition has obviously come his way and with 20 caps already under his belt, his partnership with Kieran Tierney gives The Tartan Army a strong looking left side for years to come.
He’s has never given up and has taken every chance that has come his way.
One of the signings of the 2017/18 season has undoubtedly been Liverpool’s Number 26.
Nick Pope – From League Two to Russia as Englands most in form keeper?
Some pretty daft things are said in the wake of a team winning promotion. Players who, in the depths of winter, you were berating for not being able to pass a ball two yards are suddenly going to be providing the names of your first born. You claim that you believed in the team all along, when in reality, after a home defeat by Dagenham & Redbridge, you had sworn never to go again. Most stupidly of all however, you claim that your young loanee goalkeeper will go to the next World Cup. Or at least that’s what I did after Bury’s promotion on the last day of the 2014/15 season. While little Thomas Daniel has yet to show his face, the latter statement may actually come true as Gareth Southgate takes a look at Burnley’s Nick Pope in his latest England squad.
Nick joined Bury in January 2015, on loan from Charlton Athletic. Our promotion campaign wasn’t running particularly smoothly. The day before Pope’s debut we sat 9th in League Two, two points outside the play off places and nine points off the automatic promotion places. We’d lost nine games, shipped as many goals as Tranmere, who went on to be relegated and the aforementioned Dagenham & Redbridge had managed to do the double over us as they fought at the wrong end of the table. Three goalkeepers had already worn the ‘keeper’s jersey before Pope. Shwan Jalal, Rob Lainton and Scott Loach had tried and failed to provide the solid goalkeeper David Flitcroft was looking for.
Pope’s debut was a pretty forgettable home draw against Wycombe Wanderers. He conceded a goal, which was to be rarity during Nick’s time with Bury. In the following 21 games, Pope conceded only nine goals, won fifteen games and lost only four. Pope exuded a calmness rarely sighted in the fourth tier of English football, instilling a new confidence in a defence which had underperformed for most the season. Come the final day of the season, Bury needed to win to be promoted. Away at Tranmere, who had already been relegated, the nerves showed. Pope was called upon to make crucial saves to keep the scores level. In the 61st minute however, Tom Soares wrote himself into Bury folklore and at the end of game, Bury found themselves in League One.
The following season, Pope was back with parent club Charlton. He began and ended the season as Charlton’s first choice goalkeeper, not playing all the games as Charlton preferred Stephen Henderson through the middle part of the season. This season was to be one of disappointment however, as Charlton were relegated to League One. Rather than drop down to League One with Charlton, Pope’s career took a different path. The winners of the Championship, Burnley, decided to take Nick onto the Premier League, signing him on a three year deal in July 2016. Pope played only cup matches in his first season with the Clarets. Even when Tom Heaton missed Premier League matches, 37 year old former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson was the preferred option.
With Robinson retiring in July of 2017 and a further injury to Tom Heaton opening the door, the 2017/18 season has seen Pope grasp his opportunity with both hands. To date Pope has kept ten clean sheets in twenty seven Premier League appearances, working behind a defence containing fellow England hopefuls James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
Could Pope go from League Two to a World Cup in three years? Despite being arguably England’s most in-form goalkeeper heading into the tournament the chances are probably slim. Without any injuries, Gareth Southgate will take Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford. Despite being woefully out of form, going into a tournament without Joe Hart would be seen as a mistake by most, given his experience, even if he is just there to lend a helping hand to the number one. Butland doesn’t seem to be losing any favour from being embroiled in Stoke’s relegation battle while Pickford could claim to be Everton’s best player of this season. However one mistake, a loss of form or injury could see Pope take the place of any of these three.
Back at Bury, nearly three years have passed since that rainy day promotion at Tranmere and we have never properly replaced Nick Pope. Since that day twelve (!) different goalkeepers have been used, seven during the 2015/16 season alone. As we head towards relegation back to League Two, the summer would be that little bit more bearable knowing that an ex – Shaker was on the biggest stage of them all. All the best Nick, lad. UTS.
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