Published On: Sun, May 22nd, 2011

Top 10: British and Irish Players To Play In Serie A

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It’s fair to say that British players have endured a mixed time in ’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 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.

Jay Bothroyd perugia10. Jay – 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 he may be, but to face such prejudice and play on demands respect.

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Displaying 3 Comments
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  1. Sam Lewis Sam Lewis says:

    Great article Jack – honourable mentions to Luther Blisset and Ray Wilkins – and the ones that failed – Jimmy Greaves and Ian Rush.

  2. David Schiavone David Schiavone says:

    It seems that those who were successful in Serie A were those who embraced the culture as well as being good players. The top two certainly did.

  3. Jack Beresford says:

    You’re spot on David. Jimmy Greaves is a classic example. He scored 9 goals in 12 games which is a great record – but he couldn’t adapt to Italian life, or didn’t want to.

    I remember reading about Robbie Keane’s time at Inter. Apparently, the Irishman rarely left his apartment during his brief spell in Milan.

    Ince did well but it could have been even better if he’d stayed – but as a player who would you choose Inter or Liverpool?

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