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The Definitive Obscure Premier League Footballers Five-A-Side

The Definitive Obscure Premier League Footballers Five-A-Side
By Gary Reilly Updated

Balls.ie have teamed up with Molloy's Liquor Stores, home of the finest range of world craft beers in Ireland to bring you the Five-A-Side game to end all Five-A-Side games. In the annals of Premier League history there have been some wonderfully memorable players. Zola, Shearer, Wright, Schmeichel, the list could go on and on. For those players, life after retirement must be easy. If a role in coaching or the media is too strenuous, there's always the after dinner circuit to fall back on.

But what of those players that are anything but memorable? What do they do with their time? We can't say for certain but we can only assume that there is some kind of secret club for these legends of obscurity. Maybe they get together for a five-a-side on a Monday night in some equally obscure location before going back to each others houses for a few beers and a chat about the 'good' times.

For the sake of balance we're going for a classic diamond formation with one goalkeeper, one defender, two midfielders and one attacker. We've thrown in managers for the sake of it, but with these maestros in their teams, we can't seen the need for much coaching.

GK - Nick Culkin



The rock at the back for our first five-a-side. With the shortest first-team career in Premier League history, Culkin was a certainty for this line-up. The Man Utd man replaced the injured Raymond van der Gouw against Arsenal in 1999. He proceeded to take a free kick, the referee immediately blew for full-time and Culkin was never seen in the league again.

DEF - Li Tie 


Long before it became popular, Everton were quick to catch on to the fact that the most populous nation on earth might be an economic opportunity. Having signed a deal with Chinese telecommunications company, Keijan, Everton soon found themselves with Li Tie thrown into the deal for good measure. He was awful.

Tie was a bit of a utility man for the Toffees, so, purely for the reason that we had to find a place for him somewhere, we're going to stick him in defence.

MID - Ali Benarbia



The only reason we can utilise Tie at the back is that he will be screened by none other than one time Man City general Ali Benarbia. Incredibly, Benarbia joined City on a free from PSG, when both those sides fielded players like Ali Benarbia. He helped win promotion back to the big time at Maine Road before finding that the Premier League was a bit of a step up in terms of quality. He's right at home in this line-up.


MID - Steve Froggatt

Providing the creativity alongside Benarbia is the undisputed hero of Highfield Road (if it still existed). When his legs would allow him, Steve Froggatt powered up the wing for a late 90's Coventry side that were actually quite decent. To prove just how 'quite decent' Froggatt was, he was in contention for England's Euro 2000 squad. He never actually received a cap but Kevin Keegan called him up for two squads in the preceding season. Froggatt is the star of this team.


ATT - Martin Pringle

Really it was a toss-up between Pringle and Clive Mendonca. Both strikers are synonymous with Alan Curbishley and Charlton circa turn of the millennium, but Pringle gets the nod because he was tails. A nippy striker in the Martin Pringle mould, the Swede was well liked by fans at The Valley and if it wasn't for a horror injury while on loan at Grimsby, he might have played himself out of mediocrity. Lucky for his five-a-side teammates, he's here to grab the goals.


Manager - Velimir Zajec

If anyone genuinely remembers this man then you are either a Pompey fan (sorry about that) or your football knowledge is so vast that you have absolutely no idea what obscurity is. Zajec took over from Harry Redknapp as Portsmouth manager in 2004 when Harry did the unthinkable and joined Southampton. Zajec was initially appointed as Director of Football before taking on the manager's job. He moved back to his previous post after five months of obscurity.

GK - Alan Blayney

One time Bohemians keeper Alan Blayney is between the sticks for our second team. The Northern Irishman played three games for Southampton with the undoubted highlight being a once in a lifetime save from an Alan Shearer header in May 2004. Blayney trickled through the leagues in England before finding himself with Bohemians and most recently Glenavon. We're sure he'll be happy to line-up for his new five-a-side team.

DEF - Gregory Vignal

Gerard Houllier really should be managing this team. The Frenchman signed some absolute stinkers during his time at Anfield and as we all know, stinkers become obscure legends upon retirement. Gregory Vignal hasn't actually retired but it's close enough. Like Li Tie, Vignal was a versatile player who usually filled in at full back when Liverpool were in dire need. The 33-year-old already has 14 clubs to his name, including Portsmouth and Birmingham, that's the stuff obscure dreams are made of.

MID - Hassan Kachloul


Much like his North African counterpart, Benarbia, Hassan Kachloul can pick up the slack from a weak defence with his all action style of play. The Morrocan had his most memorable spell at Southampton (memorable being a relative term) before going on to appear for Aston Villa and Wolves. He's exactly what this luxury teams needs.

MID - Samuele Dalla Bona


Having signed a 17 year old Dalla Bona in 1998, Chelsea thought they had made an investment for the future and to be fair to the Italian he looked like a handy player for a while. However, the fact that large amount of Chelsea fans wouldn't be able to pick him out of a line-up says all you need to know about how it turned out. He was a cultured midfielder who never hit the heights that he should have at Stamford Bridge but we're sure he'll fit in nicely here.

ATT - Bernardo Corradi


We can only assume that Dalla Bona will link up beautifully with his fellow Italian, Bernardo Corradi, at the top of our diamond. If ever there was an example of the kind of transfer pond that Man City fished in before UAE money came rolling in than this is it. Having built up a bit of a reputation in his native country, Corradi was signed by Stuart Pearce in 2006. Having started off in a decent manner, he lost his place to Emile Mpenza, who could easily replace the Italian in our five-a-side team if he's not performing.

Manger - Ricky Sbragia

Perhaps too recent to be truly obscure but, given time, we're sure that the memory of Sbragia will eventually fade into nothingness. He picked up the mantle at Sunderland when the Roy Keane odyssey went south and actually did a damn good job of a steadying a sinking ship. Unfortunately, he was never really trusted by the powers that be and he resigned after guiding Sunderland to Premier League survival. We're sure that his fiery Scottish drive would be well suited to whipping this mostly continental outfit into some sort of shape.

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