A Few Political Footballers

A Few Political Footballers
By Conor Neville
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In honour of George Weah, the World Footballer of the Year in 1995 and the greatest President Liberia never had, who turns 47 today, we look at some other football men who've interacted with politics

Paolo Di Canio

The Durham Miners Association had a big problem with Di Canio (and in retrospect should have been listened to). A longtime fascist, Di Canio had a tourettes like problem of jutting his right arm forward when faced with legions of Lazio fans. Has spent most of his life trying to rehabilitate Mussolini's reputation and ultimately succeeded when his reign of terror at Sunderland ended up making Mussolini's dictatorship in Italy look positively benign by comparison.


Graham Taylor

In 1993, at the Christchurch by-election in the United Kingdom, Independent candidate Peter Newman ran for parliament on the sole platform of removing Graham Taylor as England manager. Here he is securing more votes than a man who ran on a platform of saving the National Health Service and even beating the 'Buy the Daily Sport' candidate by 13 votes.

Brian Clough

Never saw a picket line he didn't want to join. Was going to run for the Labour Party in the 1979 General Election but decided to go and win the European Cup with Nottingham Forest that month instead. He may been a leftist but he wasn't a liberal as his upbraiding of Justin Fashanu for going to that "bloody poofs club" showed

 Alex Ferguson

Fergie was a true lefty and what could be more lefty than getting involved in a legal action with two Irish stud farm owners over the prize money earnings on a racehorse



Roman Pavyluchenko

Pavyluchenko is not only a centre forward for Locomotiv Moscow but also Russian Regional Councillor. He represents Vladimir Putin's mob. He acknowledges that his profession doesn't give him time to do much leafleting or constituency work but this isn't the fatal blow it would be in this country.


Gianni Rivera

World Footballer of the Year in 1969 and one of Italy's greatest ever players, Rivera has been a centre-left member of the Italian parliament since the 1980s. In contrast with the usual band of vainglorious eccentrics that usually make the leap from footballer to politician Rivera has been a classy, understated and well regarded figure, becoming a Minister in Romano Prodi's government between 2005-07. Does not attend Milan games anymore (the club for whom he played almost his entire career) because of his contempt for Silvio Berlusconi.

Here he is bossing the the 1969 European Cup final against Ajax (You can turn down the annoying 'Visit Turkey' music)



Possibly the finest crossover from football to politics, Romario is a fiery socialist in the Brazillian Chamber of Deputies who rails against the 2014 World Cup for the rampant corruption that he says has accompanied the whole sorry business

 Frank Lampard

Not a politician yet but might be. Hanging around with all those Chelsea high flyers has turned him into a Tory. Frank gets on well with David Cameron and apparently has some ideas on how Britian should be run


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