Icons and Infamy

Icons and Infamy: Unraveling the Notorious Players of the 90s English Premier League

The 1990s was a golden era in English football, where skill and showmanship collided on the pitch. Alongside the dazzling displays of footballing brilliance, the decade also bore witness to its fair share of controversy and notoriety. Some players earned a place in the hall of fame, while others found infamy through their on and off-field antics. In this article, we dive into the tales of five icons who left an indelible mark on the beautiful game, for better or worse.

Eric Cantona – Martial Arts Master Turned Kung Fu King

With popped collar and barrel-chested swagger, Eric Cantona epitomized the self-assured foreign pioneer when he signed for Leeds United in 1992. After helping Leeds to the league title, he crossed the Pennines to rivals Manchester United where he enchanted fans with his Gallic flair. In his 5 years with the club, he netted 82 goals in 185 games and inspired United to 4 Premier League titles. Hard to imagine the Red Devils of today in the trophy race, although their neighbours from the blue side of Manchester are always up top. Use baji.live login review and make your own predictions at the link.

But Cantona is equally remembered for his moment of madness in 1995, when he launched into a kung fu kick at a Crystal Palace fan who was hurling abuses at him. The iconic image of Cantona flying through the air, studs aimed at the fan, was plastered across newspapers as he was vilified for bringing shame to football. He received a 9 month ban and 120 hours of community service for his outburst.

Paul Gascoigne – Tears, Cheers and Beers

Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne was the beating heart of the England team during Italia 90, bringing artistry and ebullience to the Three Lions. His spectacular tears after receiving a yellow card against West Germany was etched into England’s collective memory. But underneath the child-like exuberance, Gazza was struggling with alcoholism, depression and destructive behavior.

In his Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur days, Gascoigne was a breath of fresh air with his dribbling skills, defense-splitting passes and long range screamers. But his brilliance was often overshadowed by tabloid tales of drunken brawls, domestic disputes and stints in rehab clinics. He retired in 2004 after 57 England caps and a career blighted by injury.

Paolo Di Canio – Push Comes to Shove

Italian forward Paolo Di Canio brought passion and panache to Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham in the 90s. He dazzled with his artistry, but also had a short fuse. In 1998, Di Canio shoved referee Paul Alcock to the ground after being sent off, earning an 11 match ban and £10,000 fine. Some branded it assault, while others saw it as a sign of his intense competitive spirit.

Beyond this flash of violence, Di Canio also courted controversy with a tattoo bearing Benito Mussolini’s honorary title. Despite the darker shades to his character, Di Canio lit up English football with his mazy dribbles, thunderbolt shots and audacious scissor-kick goals.

Robbie Savage – The Blond Bombshell

With his radioactive blond locks and combative, high-octane style, Robbie Savage was a natural agitator. The Welsh international thrived on riling up opposition players and fans during his time at Leicester City and Derby County. His niggling fouls, sly digs and penchant for simulation made Savage public enemy number one.

But his wind-up merchant tactics were underpinned by diligent midfield work and accurate passing. He clocked up 39 Wales caps between 1994-2005 and made over 500 club appearances. While Savage divided opinion, he brought entertainment value and dramatic sub-plots that made the Premier League a soap opera in cleats.

Joey Barton – Brawler On and Off the Pitch

Few players have courted notoriety quite like Joey Barton. The former Manchester City and Newcastle midfielder had a short fuse and abrasive attitude. He punched team-mates, sparked mass brawls, and served 77 days in prison for common assault. His rap sheet contains gambling breaches, drink driving charges and a training ground butt on Aston Villa’s Ousmane Dabo.

Yet Barton also possessed intelligence, honesty and technical ability forged in Liverpool’s streets. His ferocious tackling, combative play and plain-talking punditry made Barton something of an anti-hero. Despite his rapscallion reputation, or perhaps because of it, Barton won one England cap in 2007 and admirers for his gritty determination.


The 90s Premier League evokes memories of dazzling attackers, crunching tackles and charismatic figures who played on the edge. While we rightly venerate the heroes of that era, the rogues and rascals added their own color to the beautiful game’s dramatic tapestry. Their tales serve as a reminder that football encompasses the full spectrum of human experience – from euphoric highs to regrettable lows.

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