County have had more than their fair share of poor players, we wouldn’t be in division 6 otherwise. But this list of players will truly bring back some terrible memories for County supporters. Let it be stressed now that this isn’t a definitive list of County’s top 10 worst players, that would take a whole other undertaking. Enjoy and, well cringe, at this list of ‘players’.
1. Yannick Salem – Yannick briefly played for us during our league 2 season. You may not remember him… Or that season in general, mainly because it was filled with 5-0 losses (both home and away) and resulted in us getting relegated to the conference for the first time in forever. Salem’s performances for us were full of endeavour, but were filled with less end product than, well, everything. His performances and stats were so bad that he (or his agent) has altered them to look better on Wikipedia. Apparently he’s scored 9 times in 15 games for us that season. Unfortunately Yannick, the joke’s on you… I doubt we scored 9 times in that whole season, let alone 9 goals on your own.
2. Mat Sadler – Sadler played for us during our Ablett season, he was one of the many loan players Gary brought in during the struggle to compete whilst in administration. And whilst administration certainly played a part in our poor performances, it doesn’t excuse the 20 hapless performances at left back that Sadler offered us whilst on loan. It’s worth pointing out that this guy cost Watford almost a million pounds. But after watching him struggle to defend in a County shirt, it’s hard to see how even £1 of that was justified.
3. Chris Adamson – Was at County for a whole season, 2008, coincidently the season we won promotion to league 1. Now you may think that in itself is enough for Chris to avoid this list, any player that is part of a promotion squad surely deserves some credit, right? No, wrong. Adamson played for us twice officially that season, the first of those games was our FA cup match against Staines Town. Everything was going reasonably ok, County were 1-0 up because of an unremarkable Matty McNeil goal and were seemingly on course for the victory, enter Chris Adamson… A fairly tame shot makes its way towards the County goal, Adamson spills it and Staines equalise, taking us to a replay. Adams actually played in the replay too, and whilst there were no glaring errors this time, he was part of the 11 that lost on penalties to Staines, who were 3 divisions below County at the time. It will come as no surprise to all of you that Chris didn’t play for the club again.
4. Brad Jones – Another goalkeeper, Brad only made 1 appearance for the Hatters and it was not one to be remembered. County played host to Bristol Rovers and lost 4-1, with Brad responsible for at least two of the goals. Unbelievably, 7 years after his County debacle, Jones was bought by Liverpool for over £2 million and went on to play 26 times for the club over 5 years. Surely this makes him a prime candidate for the award of worst former County player to fetch over a million quid? Ceremony to follow…
5. Amari Morgan-Smith – A product of the ‘Just Search for a County Star’ talent programme, it was clear this was never anything but a publicity stunt for the club. Amari played once as a substitute towards the end of our promotion season, something probably done for the benefit of the sponsors, Just Search. Despite looking a handy player, Morgan-Smith was released at the end of that season by Jim Gannon and went on to build his reputation in the lower leagues. Despite being ridiculed at the time because of the manner of his appointment, he now plays in league 1, three divisions higher than County, so he’s had the last laugh there really.
6. Peter Thompson – A goal to game ratio of 2:3, capped and scored at international level, and a large fee. Peter Thompson arrived at County to much excitement and fanfare. The nickname ‘Pistol Pete’ and a song relating to his goal scoring ability were both created before a ball was even kicked. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot really. Thompson played for the club 42 times over 2 seasons and scored 5 times. In hindsight, it was never going to work out. Jim Gannon’s point striker system just didn’t fit around Thompson’s poacher type attributes and whilst injuries didn’t help his cause either, it was always going to end badly for Pistol Pete. He was shipped back to Linfield in 2010 before a 50 appearances bonus was triggered, and just like that he was forgotten.
7. Adnan Cirak – Now it was never in doubt that Cirak was going to make this list, and in some respects it may be a little unfair to include him based on stats alone. 2 goals in 10 games is certainly not the worst stats our strikers have had over the years. But I think Adnan makes the list because he epitomises the Ryan McKnight – Darije Kalezic debacle. The enthusiams that the club forced down our throats following his arrival was bizarre, he was billed as the savour of County’s season and a top division, foreign striker that we were lucky to have. His last gap equaliser against Gateshead did admittedly keep our hopes of survival alive for another week, but the sheer laziness and ineptitude that accompanied his performances, coupled with his connection to Ryan McKnight’s arrival, means that Adnan is a clear candidate for this list.
8. Sean McConville – It could be argued that playing for County set McConville’s career back about 5 years. Even now he hasn’t been able to reach the heights he could during his first stint at Accrington. When Sean left Lancashire for Edgeley Park (for a fee), the hype was huge, County were going to get straight back into the football league. Under Didi’s astute management, and with McConville as the spearhead star signing, we were going to finish top. ‘Top 5 guaranteed’ (Evans, 2011). The reality? A poor, half arsed season which culminated in an offloading a year later. Bye bye Sean, thanks for the memories.
9. Barry Conlon – 5 months, nine starts and zero goals were the least of Conlon’s worries in his spell for us a few years ago. A drink driving ban and some of the most ineffective performances I’ve ever seen from a County player were the bigger problem and ensured Barry made this list easily.
10. Nabil Bounab – Not much needs to be said here. Bounab as a player is possibly a good indicator of how the first half of our conference season went. The fact that fans put his name on the back of their shirts ironically says it all.
Bonus Ball: Jon Miles – A Hamann signing. And another great indicator of what went wrong with Didi’s reign with County. Often referred to as a ‘social loafer’ and whilst it could be harsh, it was very frustrating to watch Miles play because it was clear there was some talent there, just the application wasn’t always.