Obscure Footballer of the Week #7: Ronnie O’Brien

Obscure Footballer of the Week returns. TFN Editor Hugo Greenhalgh profiles Irish footballer Ronnie O’Brien…

How could a nominee for Time’s Person of the Century fade into obscurity? A man whose name at one point, sat alongside Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi? Irish footballer Ronnie O’Brien was an overnight cult celebrity and one of the first true “Year 2k” internet sensations. While the fad wore off quickly and his career was largely forgotten, he merits discussion as more than just a novelty figure but as one of the first European footballers to make their mark in America, in the pre-David Beckham MLS era.

Born in Bray in 1979, O’Brien was a member of the prodigious Ireland youth side that included Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Stephen McPhail, and won the U-18 European Championship in 1998. At the time he was a Middlesbrough player but failed to break into the first team and was released in 1999. This was when O’Brien’s career took a bizarre twist. Typically a Boro cast-off of his ilk might expect a move to somewhere like Hartlepool or perhaps back to the Irish league; what O’Brien did not expect was a call from Italian giants Juventus. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #6: Dario Hübner


Hugo Greenhalgh profiles Dario Hübner, the ultimate Football Italia player who kept going till the age of 43…

While Channel 4 has never been known for its football coverage, the morning roadshow Football Italia was something of a pièce de résistance. For one, it introduced the erudite and hilarious James Richardson to our screens but also gave an insightful window into a very different footballing culture. What started as a series to keep tabs on Gazza’s fortunes at Lazio (and not to mention David Platt and Des Walker’s continental forays) became a hit for a small but dedicated cult following. For this merry few, the weekly shot of Richardson going through the Italian papers whilst sitting outside in a café became near iconic. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #5: Erik Meijer


Obscure Footballer of the Week returns. This week James Dutton remembers Erik Meijer, an Anfield cult hero…

When Liverpool fans cast their minds back to the summer of 1999, it undoubtedly conjures images of a frenetic period of transfer activity. After an abortive 1998-9 season, when the joint-managerial experiment between Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier was jettisoned in November, the Frenchman embarked on a significant rebuilding project.

Tasked with bringing Liverpool into the 21st century, both figuratively and literally, Houllier swung the axe; David James and Paul Ince headed the list of Anfield exiles, following Steve McManaman who had run down his contract and flown to Madrid. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #4: Willem Korsten


False Nine editor, Andrew Belt, remembers Willem Korsen – a player from his youth whose career was sadly curtailed before he could make a greater impression in the game…

When Manchester United visited Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League recently, Sky commentator, Martin Tyler, made reference to Willem Korsten’s winning contribution for Spurs the last time they overcame the Red Devils at White Hart Lane. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #3: Josemi


Obscure Footballer of the Week returns, catching James Dutton’s eye this week is Rafael Benitez’s first signing in English football. Take a bow, Josemi…

Liverpool. Istanbul. 2005.

Three words that conjure up such emotive images amongst Liverpool fans. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #2: Dejan Damjanović


In our second blog unearthing an obscure footballer, Matt Malone introduces FC Seoul’s Dejan Damjanović…

Dejan Damjanović is a name unfamiliar to most on European shores, but the 31-year-old Montenegrin striker recently became the highest scoring foreign player in Korean league history and continues to see his ever burgeoning popularity grow amongst the fans of FC Seoul. Continue reading

Obscure Footballer of the Week #1: Lloyd Doyley

As our first Obscure Footballer of the Week, Joe Bookbinder gives a moment’s recognition to Watford defender Lloyd Doyley…

For those who don’t support Watford the legend and cult following that surrounds Lloyd Doyley may be hard to understand. A product of Watford’s under-appreciated academy which has produced the likes of Ashley Young, Luther Blissett and John Barnes, through thick and mainly thin as a Watford player Doyley has now been a first team regular for over a decade. He is one of only a number of players in the modern era of football to be able to boast the title of ‘a one club man’. Continue reading