OBSCURE XI’S // WEEK Three – Gingers vs. Dreads

The short 11 which can be found here is ahead in the voting for last weeks Pitchside Picks. This week our 11’s are back and even more obscure! Our own ginger panelist Michael ‘Morecambe’ Garvey has picked his dream Ginger XI which will go against Tom Dorsett’s dread-locked 11, Tom unfortunately does not have dreads (check out the curls though!) but here are his and Morecambe’s teams…

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Ginger XI – “Orange County F.C” – 4-4-2

 The Gaffer – Alex McLeish

The team is managed by Alex McLeish who has enjoyed success in Scotland with Rangers winning the SPL and Scottish cup twice. He has also managed both Birmingham clubs and guided Birmigham City to promotion to the Premier League and Carling Cup in 2011 where they beat Arsenal in the final.

Goalkeeper – Ben Amos

Goalkeeper is not this teams strongest position, but it is always important to build for the future and Ben Amos certainly has a bright one having been capped three times for England Under 21s and making several appearances in the Manchester United first team. Currently on loan at Carlisle where he looks a cut above in League One.

Right Back – Wes Brown

Not many gingers can boast a medal haul of Five Premier League Titles, two FA Cups and Two Champions League’s. Not to mention 23 caps for England. Wes Brown was reliable defender for Manchester United for over a decade before being transferred to Sunderland where he proved he still has it with his performance against Manchester City the other week after a lengthy spell out injured.

Centre Back – Alexi Lalas

Iconic United States centre back, who lit up the 1994 World Cup with his long ginger hair and bright bushy beard, became the first modern era American to play in Serie A when he joined Padova in 1994, had a spell as general manager of LA Galaxy and now works for ESPN as an analyst.

Centre Back – Matthias Sammer

Dubbed as the heir to the great Beckenbauer, Sammer was the peak of his powers at Euro 1996 where he was part of the victorious German team, a feat that also saw him claim the Ballon D’or that year. Played predominantly for Borussia Dortmund where he won the Bundesliga and Champions League in 1997. Retired in 1999 aged 30 and now works as a sporting director at Bayern Munich.

Sammer was a big player for Dortmund in the 90's

Sammer was a big player for Dortmund in the 90’s

Left back – John Arne Riise

The Norweigan left back has one of the most powerful left foots the game has ever seen, won several major honours at Liverpool including the Champions League,  still playing at the age of 33 at Fulham.

Right Midfielder – Neil Lennon

A product of the prestigious Crewe academy, Lennon enjoyed a decent career in the Premiership with Leicester City and in Scotland with Celtic, winning the League cup and the SPL five times. Now manager at Celtic in the most uncompetitive league in world football.

Central Midfield – Paul Scholes

The first name on the team sheet, Scholes is the benchmark for all ginger people to aspire to and his 60 yard pinpoint passes will allow him to run the show for this team. After a glittering career at Manchester United where he won 11 Premiership titles, three FA cups and two Champions Leagues among others he is now coaching the youth team at United.

Central Midfield – Nicky Butt

Butt is included alongside Scholes in central midfield and they will complement each other perfectly, a tough tackling midfielder who was scared of no one, Butt was a rock at the central of United’s midfielder for over a decade, winning numerous trophies including playing the Champions League final in 1999 before moving on to Newcastle and Birmingham City. Now back at United coaching the youth team with Scholes.

Left Midfielder – Gordon Strachan

A talented left winger who enjoyed a decent career under Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen and Manchester United, before moving on to Leeds where he won the first division title in 1992. Retired at 40 in 1997 and now the manager of Scotland.

Centre Forward – John Hartson

An old fashioned battering ram of a centre forward, Hartson enjoyed a decent career in the Premier League with Arsenal, West Ham and in Scotland with Celtic. Hartson now does a bit of coaching and works as a pundit after recovering from cancer.

Centre Forward – Dave Kitson

Average striker but with better than average ginger hair, Kitson played in the Premier League for Reading and Stoke before moving down the leagues and now plays in League Two for Oxford United.

 And the opposition…

Dreads XI – “The Hair Care Bunch” – 4-2-3-1

The Gaffer – Ruud Gullit:

To put it simply, Ruud Gullit is the Godfather of the Dreadlock. Regarded as one of the finest players of his generation, Gullit was an elegant midfielder with outstanding balance who was named Ballon d’Or winner in 1987.

Gullit was an integral part of the dominant force that was Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan team of the late 80’s and along with compatriots Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, won three Serie A’s, three Supercoppa Italiana’s, two European Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups – Quite a trophy list.

Gullit also holds legendary status not only as a player, but also as a manager, winning the F.A. Cup in 1997, the club’s first major trophy in 26 years. Ruud will be sad to not see his son… sorry, doppelgänger Nathan Ake, Chelsea’s newest young prospect, in the starting line-up.

A chequered managerial career, probably down to the arrogant nature of the Dutchman; I’m sure he can he lead his fellow dread-locked disciples with distinction.

Goalkeeper – José Manuel Pinto:

Now this man has gone for a dreadlock with a twist; a corn-rowed style of dreadlock, but believe me I’ve seen this man’s hair out of his famous look and let me tell you, it’s LONG.

A close call with David James, Barcelona’s second-choice goalkeeper for five years just edged it in my ruthless quest for the defined dreadlock. Despite the sporadic nature of his appearances for the Catalan club, Jose hasn’t done too bad for himself; four La Liga’s, two Copa del Rey’s, four Supercopa de Espana’s, two UEFA Champions League’s, two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA Club World Cups.

Pinto on his day is a steady pair of hands; off his day, not so much. Let’s just hope for this particular “day” he’s on-form.

Right Back – Bacary Sagna:

Now when Bacary arrived in North London, you could hear many an Arsenal fan say, “What is he doing with his hair?!” but not now.

Unlike Gervinho, who had the craziest hair style, I’d certainly seen in a long time, Sagna and his trademark locks have been an ever-present sight for Arsenal, flowing in the wind, for seven seasons now and in the process becoming something of a cult hero with the fans at the Emirates.

Arriving at the Gunners from Auxerre in 2007, he has gone on to make 243 (+12 sub) appearances for Arsenal, being named in the PFA Team of the Year twice, 2007/8 and 2010/11.

Arsene Wenger has said that “Bac” is the best right back in the Premier League, which I’m sure, proves he’s a great addition to my team. 

Centre Back – Rigobert Song:

The King of Cameroon himself; this man knows how to rock a dreadlock. The undisputed fans’ favourite of the Indomitable Lions up until his retirement, Song holds all manner of records for his country including number of caps (138) and record number of African Cup of Nations played in (8).

The King of Cameroon boasted arguably the best dreads of any footballer

The King of Cameroon boasted arguably the best dreads of any footballer

A club career starting in France with Metz and ending in Turkey with Trabzonspor, it is perhaps a spell with then Gerard Houllier’s, Liverpool where he is most fondly remembered, (although Trabzonspor’s fans did nickname him “Big Chief”, and he was famed for his dance moves).

During a three-year spell on Merseyside, Song established himself as a real fans’ favourite, probably due to his hard-working attitude and the fact he was often played out of position at right back – thus the chant “We’ve Only Got One Song” was imagined by the Kop faithful.

A rock for his national team, I have the faith that Big ‘Bert can lead the back-four with aplomb; however he won’t be on Jamie Carragher’s Christmas card list, after the always eloquent Scouser allegedly in his autobiography called Rigobert “a soft c***t” after taking him out in a training session. Jamie, how dare you!

Centre Back – Linvoy Primus:

Mr Portsmouth himself is given the task of marshalling the back-four along with Big Bert, and was one of few (apart from that crazy fan with the tattoos) to work a dreadlock or two down on the South Coast.

Starting his career at Charlton before being released in 1994, Primus went on to make 127 appearances for Barnet before finding his real home at Portsmouth. During a nine-year stay at Fratton Park, he made 189 (+9 sub) appearances for Pompey, winning the Division One (Championship) title as well the fans’ player of the year and the PFA Player of the Year in the 2002/03 season.

So much so is he loved by both the club and the city, following his testimonial game in 2010, the club announced that the Milton End Stand would be renamed the Linvoy Primus Community Stand after his outstanding service to the club, where he remains in an ambassadorial role.

Ruud and I, alike, have faith in Big Linvoy to deal with the Ginger’s XI’s battering rams of a strike-force, John Hartson and erm… Dave Kitson.

Left Back – Taribo West:

Now, you may not remember the name, but you’ll definitely remember those green dreadlocks from the 1998 World Cup.

In a playing career, that may well be forgotten about, due to his wacky dreads, West did make 41 appearances for Nigeria, playing every minute of aforementioned World Cup and winning an Olympic Gold Medal at the ’96 games in Atlanta.

West also played for the likes of Internazionale and A.C. Milan, proving to be an integral part of the Nerazzurri’s 1998 UEFA Cup winning team. During his time with Auxerre, he also won a Ligue One title as well as two French Cups. In a recent interview, West claimed that he “was better” than A.C. Milan legend Paolo Maldini and the only reason for his short spell with Milan was because of the former’s “godfather-like” status at the club.

Taribo only just edged it ahead of the likes of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, because of his trademarked variety of colours of dread, but an honourable mention must go to Fulham legend, Rufus Brevett. Rufus and his blonde-tinted dreadlocks bombing on from left back will forever be one of my favourite sights from supporting the Mighty Whites!

Centre Midfield – Alexandre Song:

I’m sure Alex Song will feel an immense sense of pride playing in front of his cousin (but some reason, Alex calls him “uncle”) Rigobert Song but also playing next to the great Edgar Davids in the first of my two, pivotal, holding midfield roles.

Song, who took on the challenge of a flat-top with dreads during his time with Arsenal, was probably missed by the Gunners up until the return of Mathieu Flamini this season – the athletic midfielder, who is equally adept at both breaking and setting up attacks, was brought to North London for 1m and sold for 15m to Barcelona in 2012.

During his time in North London, he made 118 (+15 sub) appearances for Arsenal and collected a Champions League Runners-up medal in 2005/06.

Now carrying the Song flag for Cameroon in place of his “uncle”, I’m more than willing to wager that he and “the Pitbull” alongside him can be more than a match for the Ginger midfield.

Centre Midfield – Edgar Davids (C):

I and Ruud were unanimous when it came to deciding who should captain our dread-locked side, and making his second appearance in Pitchside XI’s, Edgar Davids and his unique image is surely one of the most recognisable sights of our generation of football.

As has already been mentioned the man had an illustrious playing career that spanned the top divisions in Holland, Spain, Italy and England – where he was a key player for Spurs in their consecutive fifth-place finishes in 2005/06 & 06/07; somewhat unbefitting of the man this career finished at Crystal Palace, of all places.

Davids went on to make a total of 386 (+20 sub) appearances in his club career, scoring 32 goals and winning a plethora of trophies including three Serie A’s, a Champions League and an UEFA Cup. Add to that 74 caps for the Netherlands, plus one of the greatest ever players, Pele, personally placing you into FIFA’s top 100 living players – you’d have to be a fool not to see how highly regarded this man was.

Making some “choice” decisions in charge of Barnet, isn’t exactly the best way to start your managerial career – but the man who Marcello Lippi once described as, “a one-man engine room” will without doubt be relishing the opportunity to go head-to-head once more with Paul Scholes in what could prove to be a crucial clash in deciding the outcome of this game.

Right Wing – Clarence Seedorf:

He may not have them now, but one of the best-named men in football, Clarence Seedorf was the “Daddy Cool” of the dreadlock in his pomp.

Much like his compatriot, Davids, Seedorf now at the tail-end of his career with Botafogo in Brazil has had an incredible career with the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid and A.C. Milan where he spent ten years of his career, making 300 appearances and scoring 62 goals, in all competitions.

Still the only player to win four Champions League’s with three different clubs; Ajax in 1995, Real Madrid in 1998 and Milan in 2003 & 2007, Seedorf was ranked seventh out of 20 in the best players of the Champions League since its inception.

Some eyebrows may be raised when it comes to his position out on the right wing, but Clarence possesses superb feet and technical ability, accompany that with a wicked cross and exceptional free-kick ability – I’m sure Clarence will do just fine.

Centre Attacking Midfield – Jay-Jay Okocha:

Part of Nigeria’s “Dream Team” that won an Olympic Gold Medal alongside team-mate here, Taribo West, Okocha is probably one of Nigeria’s greatest-ever players.

Jay-Jay (so good they named him twice, any Bolton Wanderers fan will tell you) was renowned for his elaborate skills and had a playing career which really kicked off in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt alongside Tony Yeboah. Spells at Fernerbahce and PSG followed before he found his hero-like status in the most unlikely of places – Bolton, Lancashire.

Brought to the Reebok Stadium by “Big” Sam Allardyce, there have been plenty of times where I’ve been sat in the away end feeling both of sense of incensement and admiration whilst watching Jay-Jay Okocha.

An absolute cult-hero in Bolton (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/bolton-wanderers, Bolton fans’ DO NOT click here as it might break your hearts), Okocha made 106 (+18 sub) appearances for Wanderers scoring 14 goals.

With that much flair and ability, surely Jay-Jay can be the fulcrum of my side’s attacking intent and lead them to victory?

Left Wing – Siphiwe Tshabalala:

I’m not going to do much writing for this one apart from the following: Surely everyone’s favourite player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the greatest surname in football, and an excellent set of dreadlocks. What more could you want?

Well Siphiwe Tshabalala went and did this…

 

Striker – Henrik Larsson:

Henrik loved Scotland and Scotland loved him; the Sweden legend scored an incredible 243 goals in 315 competitive games for Celtic and is the all-time leading SPL goal-scorer with 174 goals, (Kris Boyd has recently equalled this total).

Whilst banging in the goals to make him top goal-scorer in the SPL in five of the six seasons that he competed in, he had the cheek to score the majority with the greatest blonde dreadlocks you’re ever likely to see!

A hero for his country also, he appeared in three World Cups and three European Championships and ended his international career with 37 goals in 106 matches.

Spells at Barcelona, Helsingborg and a brief loan-spell at Manchester United capped off a club career that ended with a record of 573 apps, 325 goals. Not bad for a man who’s also played competitive floorball since 1989.

and of course…

The Chairmen – Michael Garvey & Tom Dorsett.

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