Friday Feedback: Players to Hate or, Wayne Rooney Tribute

I may not get why people like him, but the other half is pretty easy to understand. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Well, in case you didn't notice, the Villa are playing Manchester United tomorrow. With the lads from Old Trafford comes the new poster-boy for petulant player that's fun to loathe: Wayne Rooney! (I have to say, and not for the first time, since I missed Rooney when he was jaw-dropping, none of this bewilderment as to what has happened to him makes the least bit of sense to me. I think of him as an overrated guy who can't keep it in his pants. But that's neither here nor there.)

But with Rooney in town, we thought it'd be appropriate to take a look at our least favorite players. Which player really gets your goat? Who would you love to see given a red merely for looking at the pitch? Be sure to have your say in the comments below. I'm interested to see if we come to a consensus.

This week's question: What player do you dislike most in all of soccer, and why?

Aaron: It's funny,I actually really like Wayne Rooney. Always a rebel I suppose.

There are probably fewer footballers I'd say that I actively dislike than players in other sports I follow. I'm not really sure why, but for the most part I either like or am indifferent towards 99.9% of them, even those that play for rivals. But there are, as always, exceptions. Cristiano Ronaldo is one. It's not even really the diving with him because it's hard for me to fault anyone for doing it when they're all but encouraged to by the rules. I just think he's a smarmy little prick. John Terry is a brutish thug with annoying hair. Nigel de Jong is incapable of doing anything in a manner that's not abhorrent. Monterrey's C.F. Monterrey's goalkeeper Johnathan Orozco remains very near the top of the mist for taunting to Brougham End during the CONCACAAF Champion's League. Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman has horrible dreadlocks and is kind of a dirty player. Kei Kamara is just annoying in every possible way.

And then of course there's Bright Dike. He's never really done anything to make me dislike him, but he's one of the Timbers' best players (for now) and he just seems kind of annoying. It doesn't take much with the Timbers.

Gareth: Gosh, now that I think about it, I can't really summon up any really strong feelings of hatred towards any player in particular. Certainly nothing comparable to the hatred so many people seem to have for Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ashley Cole, et al. As a Canadian, I'm told that I really should hate Owen Hargreaves for committing to the English national team before he'd ever set foot in England. I don't, though. I probably should also hate anyone who plays for Birmingham City, including and especially Craig Gardner. And, sure, I hate Birmingham City as much as any club that isn't named "Real Madrid," but they're too non-threatening. None of them are really good enough to be worth hating. If they had a half-decent player, it might well be him, but they don't, so let's forget it. If we include managers, this is a lot easier. Or harder, because there are so many options in the Premier League alone (Redknapp would probably edge it over Allardyce and McCarthy.)


So, if I had to pick one, it's probably Clint Dempsey. First of all, he's American, which qualifies him for "national rivalry" hatred. When I was watching the World Cup, I didn't hate him as much as Michael Bradley, but Dempsey plays for a more visible club in a more visible league. However, Dempsey was probably second on the list, especially in the Slovenia game. Which brings me to him being a bit of a dirty so-and-so. Plus, he looks like a gremlin, has a terrible nickname, and kind of seems like a redneck. Of the American players worth talking about, the ones that are genuinely world-class, Dempsey sticks out as unapologetically American. Players like Donovan, Bocanegra, and Stuart Holden (who isn't really American) seem more cultured, for lack of a better word. They seem more like footballers than Dempsey, who looks a little out of place on a football pitch, like a high school jock who got lost on the way to the gym. Plus, he's actually pretty good at football (see: his goal in the Europa League against Juventus), so he's actually worth hating.

PS: If I was more talented, or had more spare time, I would have made my response an acrostic that reads "Steve Sidwell."

Kirsten: Thinking about players that I hate is not the best way to start off a Friday, but then again, it's not like tomorrow's going to bring a pleasant beginning to the day, so I guess it doesn't matter much.

Sometimes when I'm watching the footy, I just get overwhelmed at all
The horrible players that make me cringe, or swell with rage, or
Even want to punch them in the face. It's not because they've performed well against my team. I mean, I don't hate
Van der Vaart, and the Dutchman scored against us twice this year. It's more that I hate
Everything about the player, from his ugly hair style to the permanent grimace upon his face.

So most of my hatred is reserved for those in the EPL, that I watch week in, week out. If a player goes out of his way to
Injure or if he complains to the referee when his team obviously earns the foul, the hate rises. I don't care much about
Diving as I consider it part of the game, although the snively Ronaldo can piss off. And sometimes it's
When the announcer can't get enough of a player who's not actually performing well. But in the end
End, it all comes down to the irrational hatred that makes me foam at the mouth at the mention of certain players
Like Nigel de Jong, Roger Johnson, and Patrice Evra. Gareth Barry, Ryan Shawcross and Harry Rednapp (he counts).
Like ...

(Gareth, did I do this well enough?)

Robert: As you know, I'm pretty new to this, so most of the players I see are Villans. And in one sense, we've got a player who stands out for both meanings of the word: Steve Sidwell. I am now an unabashed fan of the Claret and Blue, and anyone talking badly about them will, of necessity, upset me. But it's really hard to be upset when those same people are justified, as they are when they talk about Sidwell being dirty. The guy plays with a mean streak as wide as the pitch. He's the kind of player I would unquestionably hate if he weren't on my team, but he's also not the kind of player who is not immune to that while on my team (if that makes sense).

So I can't stand the guy for besmirching our reputation. I have an (given how long I've been a fan) irrational pride in the team. And I hate watching any dirty player wear the prepared lion on the claret and blue. Go away, Steve.
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