Top 10: British and Irish Players To Play In Serie A
It’s fair to say that British players have endured a mixed time in Italy’s Serie A. For every Paul Ince or David Platt there are ten Ian Rushes.
Footballers that may have dazzled on the a cold night in North London but crumble in the north Italian soccer pressure cookers of Milan and Turin because, perhaps as the Liverpool goal machine put it, “it’s like living in a foreign country.”
In keeping with this humble tradition of hits and misses, here are our top ten most memorable British and Irish players to grace the Italian footballing stage.
10. Jay Bothroyd – Perugia – 2003-05
Whilst for many, the inclusion of Bothroyd in such a countdown is contentious to say the least, the former Coventry man should be granted some plaudits from his 2003 move to Serie A side Perugia.
The move came at a time when few Englishmen would consider moving abroad and especially to a club like Perugia.
Back then they were under the control of eccentric owner Luciano Gaucci, a man who bizarrely tried to sign not one, but two female forwards, before successfully securing the services of Al Saadi Gheddafi son of, yes you guessed it, former Libyan leader Muhammar Gheddafi.
Worse still, Bothroyd faced regular and sustained racist abuse from fans week in week out. “Every time one of us touched the ball there were monkey chants,” the striker recalled.
“The people chanting were adults. I could hardly believe what they were doing.”
Despite this, the player managed 28 appearances for the Grifoni, chipping in with five league goals.
Ill advised England international he may be, but to face such prejudice and play on demands respect.