Willo Flood’s nine-day stay at Dunfermline without playing so much as a pre-season friendly isn’t the only swift football about-turn. Here are five other players (and a manager) who came and went with ink barely dry on their contract.
1 Christian Vieri
Italy’s joint highest goalscorer at a World Cup played for 13 clubs in an illustrious career. You won’t find many Sampdoria fans singing his name, though. He joined the club from Monaco on the 1st of July 2006, then left the club for Atlanta on the 1st of August. He “no longer felt motivated” at Sampdoria, apparently.
2 Sol Campbell
Notts County were quite the story in 2009. Middle East money had got them Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager and Sol Campbell as their star signing. Campbell quickly realised that all was not as sold, and got out after playing just one game. One more than Willo, mind you.
3 Dietmar Hamann
Signed by Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer when his contract with Liverpool ran out, the Euro 96 winner with Germany beats Flood as far as the speed of his change of heart is concerned. He lasted one day before heading to Man City. But no wonder Bolton chairman Phil Gartside described it as the “best piece of business we have ever done”. City had to pay them £400,000.
4 Tommy McLean
If any Raith Rovers supporters feel like having a laugh at their Fife rivals, they should cast their minds back to September 1996. Tommy McLean decided to join his brother and Dundee United chairman, Jim, at Tannadice a week after returning to football as Rovers boss. He had been in charge for one game and it wasn’t even a win. Rovers fans’ spokesperson, Fraser Hamilton, described it as a “disgraceful act” and few in Kirkcaldy disagreed with him.
5 Richie Brittain
St Johnstone legend, he is not. Technically he didn’t actually sign but he did agree a pre-contract. That was in January 2013 but by the April he was citing “family reasons” for changing his mind. Ross County had to buy him back from Saints or, as they chose to put it, make a “small contribution to their community programme”.
6 Ali Dia
For all his European Cup medals, Scotland caps, trophies won as a manager and respect earned as a Sky Sports pundit, Graeme Souness will never be able to live this one down. The story is the stuff of urban legend. Apparently Souness took a telephone call from a man purporting to be George Weah with a tip-off about a young Senegalese footballer called Ali Dia, who ‘Weah’ had played alongside at PSG. It was enough to persuade Souness to give him a short-term deal and throw him on as a substitute when Matt le Tissier got injured. “Bambi on ice” was le Tissier’s description of what followed. The sub was subbed and never seen in a Southampton shirt again.