Footballers (soccer players, if you prefer) are often notoriously controversial figures. Whether it’s due to their ludicrously high wages, their stratospheric transfer fees, their making of inappropriate comments (racist, for example) or biting their opponents, footballers are seldom in the media for their sporting performances alone.
One thing that is becoming increasingly talked about in the media is the private life of the footballer. Every time a high-profile player is linked to a new partner, gets married, has a baby or buys something extravagant, it’s in the news – but, inevitably, their private lives are also often just as controversial as their careers.
Sex often seems to be the theme of these controversial stories, whether it’s infidelity, a sex offence, a penchant for paying for sex or otherwise, the sex lives of footballers often provoke press attention for all the wrongs reasons. British footballers in particular seem to fall foul of the tabloid media all too often when it comes to their nefarious sexual endeavours.
This list will highlight ten occasions when English, Scottish or Welsh players were in the press for all the wrong reasons regarding sex. Here are ten British footballers who found themselves embroiled in outrageous sex scandals.
10. David Goodwillie: Sexual Assault
Stirling-born striker David Goodwillie currently plays for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League. He has also played in England with Blackburn Rovers and on loan at the likes of Crystal Palace and Blackpool, but during his previous spell in Scotland with Dundee United, he landed himself in big trouble after an alleged sexual assault.
It was when Goodwillie was 21 in 2011. He was at a January 2nd house party to celebrate the New Year and a 24-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted during the celebrations.
Insufficient evidence meant the case was dropped a few months later, but the woman in question – Denise Clair – stepped up her attempts to sue him last year and it would seem the case isn’t fully closed yet.
Goodwillie’s fellow Dundee United player David Robertson was also questioned by police over the incident, but he wasn’t charged.
9. Craig Thomson: Grooming Underage Girls
Staying in Scotland, back in 2011, then 20-year-old Heart of Midlothian defender Craig Thomson was suspended by the club for sending lewd images to young girls over the internet. The player – who, at that point, had only ever played for Hearts – was caught out grooming the 12 and 14 year old girls, the former whom he had known since she was just six.
Hearts manager Jim Jefferies immediately excluded Thomson from training, but it took the club a fortnight to officially suspend him.
Thomson’s career resumed almost immediately, when he was loaned out to Lithuanian club FBK Kaunas and he had another spell in the same country the following year with FK Suduva. He has since controversially returned to Scottish football, first with Arniston Rangers and now with Newtongrange Star of the Scottish Junior Football East Region Super League.
8. Leon Knight: Twitter Scandals
Leon Knight is a journeyman footballer who, having failed to make the grade at Chelsea, has played for no less than fifteen smaller clubs (including teams in Greece, Scotland and Northern Ireland) since his release from Stamford Bridge in 2003. With regards to the scandals he has been embroiled in, it’s less about what he’s done and more about what he’s said – or, more specifically, tweeted.
Knight has made himself a very controversial Twitter figure, posting pictures of nude women sent in by their ex-boyfriends without their permission – an act for which he was suspended from the social media platform.
Moreover, he has tweeted unprovoked slurs aimed at the sexual history of fellow footballer Jamie O’Hara’s wife – former Miss England and Miss Great Britain, Danielle Lloyd – and caused huge controversy with his views opposing United States President Barack Obama’s support for same sex marriage.
Knight is currently the player manager at North West Counties Football League Division One side Barnton F.C.
7. Wayne Rooney: Cheated With A ‘Granny’
Wayne Rooney has been English football’s superstar for the last ten years – he’s arguably the only world class player the country currently has – but his career hasn’t been without controversy. In addition to some unsavoury and petulant on-field behaviour, Rooney has also been in the headlines for some revealing reasons regarding his sex life.
In spite of the fact that he is married to his childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin (they have two sons together), Rooney has slept with a number of prostitutes while he has been with her.
In 2004, Rooney visited a brothel and had sex with a 48-year-old grandmother in a rubber catsuit and a mother-of-six dressed as a cowgirl and, more recently, he is said to have slept with sex workers Helen Wood and Jennifer Thompson a number of times in 2010 – including indulging in threesome sessions with the pair – while Coleen was pregnant with his first son.
He has played for Manchester United since 2004, and is currently the England captain.
6. Ryan Giggs: Affair With Sister-In-Law
Ryan Giggs is the most successful player in the history of the Premier League. The Welshman’s career at Manchester United spanned an astounding 24 years and saw the winger win countless honours – including no less than 13 Premier League titles.
For most of his time as a player, Giggs was a model professional – but a dark side of his personal life came to public attention in 2011, as an extra-marital affair he had in 2010 with Welsh model Imogen Thomas was all over the tabloids.
That same year, Giggs was in the headlines again due to the revelation that he had indulged in an eight-year affair with his own brother’s wife, Natasha. Giggs’ brother Rhodri and Natasha even have a child together. Natasha filed for divorce in 2013.
Rhodri has since described Ryan – who is now United’s assistant manager – as “a worm” and has claimed the affair has “demolished” their entire family.
5. John Terry: Affairs
Current Chelsea captain and former England defender John Terry has been in the media for a number of negative reasons in the past – not least accusations of a racist slur aimed towards Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand back in 2012.
One of the other reasons for that negative press was that it was revealed in 2010 that Terry had indulged in an affair – whilst married himself, of course – with then team-mate Wayne Bridge’s French girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel. In fact, it was also revealed that he had got the model pregnant during the affair and that she wasn’t the only person he had slept with behind wife Toni’s back.
Bridge had actually left Chelsea by the time the news of the affair came to light and he famously snubbed Terry’s offer of a handshake prior to a match against Manchester City.
4. David Beckham: Affair With The Nanny
David Beckham is one of the most famous English footballers of all time and, undoubtedly, the most famous of the last twenty years. He has achieved great success at the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, but “Golden Balls” has found himself in the press due to alleged infidelity.
In 2004, Beckham was said to have partaken in an affair with his then-personal assistant, the Anglo-Dutch Rebecca Loos. Loos revealed all about the alleged affair in the English press and ended up making a career out of it, presenting on television, modelling and appearing as a contestant on various reality television shows.
Beckham vehemently denied Loos’ claims and his marriage to Victoria remains intact to this day, but Loos wasn’t even the only person Beckham is said to have been unfaithful with. Malaysian-born model Sarah Marbeck spoke to the press not long after the Loos scandal to suggest she had a two-year affair with Beckham, though evidence has more recently suggested she was lying.
3. Ashley Cole: Affairs
Former Chelsea and England left back Ashley Cole got together with pop star and then-member of Girls Aloud Cheryl Tweedy in 2004, after the pair met through living in the same apartment block in London. The pair were married two years later, with Cheryl taking on Ashley’s surname and the pair being dubbed the portmanteau “Cashley”.
In 2008, the couple almost split due to allegations of Ashley being unfaithful, but the split actually ended up happening in 2010 after four years of marriage.
Ashley was said to have cheated at least seven times during his time with Cheryl, including sexting a model he spotted online, a one-night stand with hairdresser Aimee Walton and a full-blown affair with model Rozanne Jeffers, who actually bears a striking resemblance to Cheryl.
Cheryl has gone on to find success as a solo artist and talent show judge, while Ashley plies his trade in Italy with Roma.
2. Ched Evans: Sexual Assault
Ched Evans is a Welsh footballer who started his professional career at Manchester City, spent time on loan at Norwich City, then spent three years at Sheffield United. The striker also played for Wales at various levels – including senior international level – prior to a conviction in 2012, relating to an incident in 2011, in which both he and fellow player Clayton McDonald were accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a hotel in Rhyl.
McDonald was cleared of any wrongdoing, but Evans was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He only served half of that sentence and was was released in October of 2014.
Since his release, Evans has continued to state that he is innocent, but has struggled to find a new club – with some club’s fans threatening to boycott their team should Evans be signed.
Most recently, he has been linked to a move to Norway, with former Blackburn Rovers player Lars Bohinen suggesting he would welcome Evans at Sandefjord Fotball, the team he now coaches.
1. Adam Johnson: Underage Relationship
At the start of March this year, Sunderland and England winger Adam Johnson was arrested for allegedly having underage sex with a girl of 15. The alleged relationship came to light when the girl’s father found out about it and reported Johnson to police.
At that point, the girl in question – a Sunderland fan – was almost immediately identified, photographs of her were posted online and she was abused by online trolls. Johnson was suspended by Sunderland while the matter was investigated.
He was released on bail until April the 23rd (meaning the matter is very much still open) and he returned to action on March the 21st. Only time will tell what will ultimately happen with regards to this situation.
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