Worst Premier League Debuts
It’s every new Premier League signing’s worst nightmare: making an instant impression with your new fans – but for all the wrong reasons.
Here, Marathonbet take a look at five players who had a debut to forget…
Ali Dia, Southampton
— The 90s Football Podcast (@AK90s) August 20, 2015
Poor old Ali Dia – destined to become a Trivial Pursuit answer for the rest of his life as that bloke who actually wasn’t George Weah’s cousin.
The Senagalese footballer arrived at Southampton in November 1996 after Saints manager Graeme Souness was hoodwinked into signing him by a friend pretending to be the Liberian legend (and now President).
Coming on as an early substitute in a match against Leeds, Dia lasted all of 53 minutes before being hooked. Saints legend Matt Le Tissier fondly recalled Dia’s performance as ‘like Bambi on ice’ but he did enjoy a brief lower league career with Gateshead and Spennymoor United after leaving the Saints.
Wayne Bridge – West Ham
The England left back enjoyed a solid Premier League career but could perhaps be forgiven for being a little rusty when he signed for West Ham on loan in 2011 after largely falling out of favour at parent club Man City.
Bridge’s lack of match sharpness was obvious from the get-go as Arsenal swept the Hammers aside at Upton Park. The former Chelsea man was at fault for all three goals as the Hammers were left rooted to the bottom of the table. Things wouldn’t get much better for Bridge or West Ham, with the club relegated to the Championship that May.
Kagisho Dikgacoi – Fulham
Defensive midfielder Dikgacoi had to play a long waiting game for his Premier League debut – and probably wishes that wait had lasted a little longer.
After signing for Fulham in the summer of 2009 following a successful trial, work permit issues would prevent Dikgacoi from turning out for the West London club until October. After a three month wait, his Premier League debut ended in farce after Dikcagoi received his marching orders for petulantly poking Scott Parker in the face in the 41st minute of Fulham’s 2-2 with West Ham at Upton Park. Truly, handbags at dawn.
The South African would go on to enjoy a respectable career in England, although primarily at Championship level with spells at Crystal Palace and Cardiff.
Rio Ferdinand – Leeds Utd
It seems strange now to think of those heady days around the turn of the millennium when it was Leeds Utd who were making all the running when it came to record-breaking transfers. Of course, we now all know how that tale turned out, but in November 2000 there was huge excitement when David O’Leary’s side broke the bank to make Rio the world’s most expensive defender at £18m.
After all the hype, the young starlet would ensure a debut to forget as the Yorkshire club went down to a 3-1 defeat to strugglers Leicester City at Filbert Street. Ferdinand would later joke the performance briefly led him to wonder if he had made ‘the biggest mistake’ of his life.
Park Chu-young – Arsenal
The South Korean striker’s debut was largely anonymous rather than outwardly disastrous, but it would mark the only time Park would pull on the red shirt in the Premier League despite an acrimonious transfer tussle with Lille to secure his services from AS Monaco in August 2011.
His Premier League career would last a mere eight minutes only to be followed by three years in the wilderness, before being released in 2014. He would enjoy a better time of things internationally, scoring 24 goals in 68 games for South Korea.
A curious transfer all round.
Can you think of a worse Premier League debut?
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Read our run-down of the best Premier League debuts.
All image sources from PA Images