Gremlins and water, pineapple and pizza, James Cordon and breathing, footballers and cars…all things that shouldn’t go together but, unfortunately, do. And after Everton’s Louis Saha became the latest footballer to total his car, we take a look at his and some other memorable automotive mishaps!
This story ticks all the boxes for a footballer’s car crash: Fast car? Check! Road in Cheshire? Check! Car written off? Check! But what makes this story remarkable is that the driver, Everton’s Louis Saha, a player that seems to pick up an injury pulling his boots on, walked away from the accident without a scratch!
The 32-year-old lost control of his car on Altrincham Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire and smashed it into a fence at the entrance to the tunnels that run under the runways at Manchester Airport, the same spot where Cristiano Ronaldo crashed his Ferrari during his time at Manchester United.
But despite police suggesting that the striker is ‘lucky to be alive’ and the fact that his body appears to be held together by Pritt Stick and crocodile clips he still managed to walk away from the crash unharmed. Cue him missing Everton’s next four games due to a freak muscle pull in training!
Same road, similar car, same result! Cristiano Ronaldo was driving to training when he lost control of his Ferrari 599 GTB in the tunnel that Louis Saha narrowly avoided entering by driving into a fence! And, once again, the errant driver walked away from the crash without injury with Ronaldo even making it to training later that afternoon as United team mate Edwin van der Sar gave him a lift after witnessing the crash.
Which makes you wonder if footballers would ever consider a car-pool scheme? Probably not!
Any footballers reading this should take note, if you are going to get behind the wheel of a car ensure that you: a) are not drunk and b) are not planning on driving anywhere near Manchester Airport, as it is clearly some sort of cursed blackspot for footballers. And if the cases of Saha and Ronaldo aren’t enough to convince you then consider the plight of Dietmar Hamann who, during his days at Liverpool, contrived to smash his £70,000 Porshce into a fence near the airport.
The German international was caught by police who discovered him at 3am on the morning of the crash, jogging in a full dinner suit and smelling of alcohol. Despite his protestations that he was jogging home from a local pub, which incidentally had closed three hours earlier, police charged him with drink driving and banned him from driving for six months.
Unperturbed by this Hamann, now a coach at Liecester City, was arrested early last year for apparently being ‘too drunk to control his car’ when he was spotted swerving between lanes, driving too fast and clipping the kerb several times. This time he received a 12-month driving ban after his claims that he was desperate to urinate were not considered an appropriate reason for his erratic driving. That sort of defence only works if you are a Knight of the Realm with diarrhea who has been caught driving in a motorway hard shoulder!
Moving away from the North West and onto a stretch of the A1 near Borehamwood where representatives of both Tottenham and Arsenal have been involved in car crashes. First up is Tottenham’s David Bentley who wrapped his car into a lamppost whilst driving home from a gig in London. After twice being banned for speeding offences, something he could never be accused of on the pitch, the 24-year-old received a further one-year driving ban when he was found to be one-and-a-half times over the legal drink-driving limit at the time of the accident.
And after wiping-out his £90,000 Porsche Bentley said: “This has been a wake-up call for me both personally and professionally.” …it clearly wasn’t as he has struggled to get into the Spurs team ever since and has subsequently been farmed out on loan to Birmingham City!
Many are of the opinion that Arsenal’s Danish forward can’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo but he was unerringly accurate in smashing his car into a tree on the way to a Sunday morning training session. Bendtner completely annihilated his £150,000 Aston Martin after he swerved off the same stretch of road that David Bentley had come unstuck on a month earlier. But despite the extensive damage to his car Bendtner walked away from the crash with just minor injuries. So he can’t even use that as an excuse as to why his body faces one way and his feet appear to kick in an entirely different direction, particularly in front of goal!
It looks like the new generation of footballers are looking to carry on the tradition of bad driving with Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli leading the charge. But the lampposts and fences of the North West need not worry as City’s striker took the unusual step of being involved in a two car smash as he wrote off his £120,000 Audi R8 in a collision with a BMW just days after having it imported from his previous home in Milan.
Back to the red half of Manchester and United’s Brazilian midfielder Anderson who was lucky to survive a quite terrible collision whilst driving in Portugal. The 22-year-old was ferrying two passengers in his £125,000 Audi R8, even though it only has room for one passenger, from a night club when he smashed it into a wall. And despite all involved only suffering minor injuries, Anderson was left unconscious in the collision and was dramatically dragged from the vehicle moments before it burst into flames.
Like Louis Saha, another player that could injure himself getting dressed but walked away from a car crash unscathed is West Ham’s Kieron Dyer. The smash happened in 2001 when the player was at Newcastle and was considered as one of the game’s hottest prospects. The accident occurred near the club’s Chester-le-Street training ground as Dyer’s Mercesdes S23 rear-ended a Vauxhall Cavalier and, though not the most spectacular of collisions, the fact that it took place at the Blind Alley interchange adds a certain comedic value to the incident…particularly as that’s where Dyer’s career has been headed ever since!
Although his footballing ability can’t be called into question, Wayne Rooney’s driving skills are an entirely different matter and it appears that Grand Theft Auto taught him everything he knows about driving. Since smashing his Cadillac Escalade into a builder’s truck in 2004 the Manchester United striker has been involved in three more car crashes. In 2005 he crashed a £65,000 BMW, in 2006 he pranged a Range Rover whilst in 2007 he rendered his £175,000 Aston Martin undriveable after losing control, and one of it’s back tyres, as he hit a kerb. That year also saw Rooney lucky to escape a serious accident after he also lost control of his Lamborghini on the A6 near Macclesfield and ended up facing the wrong way on the carriageway!
Any football fans of the opinion that footballers are nothing more than over-paid idiots need look no further than Stoke City’s Jermaine Pennant. During his time at Arsenal he smashed his Mercedes into a lamppost…nothing out of the ordinary there then! But he was also three times over the drink-driving limit and not insured to drive at the time of the accident. Oh, and he was also serving a driving ban at the time of the smash! And as if all that wasn’t enough he then tried to convince the police that he was actually Ashley Cole. He should consider himself lucky that Cole hasn’t tried to pop a cap in his ass for that little stunt!
Pennant was subsequently banned from driving and received a three-month jail sentence, of which he served one month before being ordered to wear an electronic tag for the rest of the sentence.
And if you’re still not convinced that the man shouldn’t be held aloft as the archetypical, overpaid, idiot footballer then consider this…he left a £98,000 Porsche for five months at a train station in Zaragoza and, upon being tracked as the car’s registered owner, he admitted that he couldn’t actually remember owning the vehicle!
Article written by Les Roberts, half decent driver and writer at Moneysupermarket.com.