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The Ultimate Convict XI: The Baddest Ever To Play

Soccer has more than its fair share of bad boys. It’s part of the reason that we love the sport. Some players, however, go beyond being merely bad. Some are criminals. And we mean that literally.

In honor of those who have taken things a little too far, both on the pitch and off, we have created the "Ultimate Convict XI." This team is comprised solely of men who have served (or are serving) time in jail, yet at one point or another were professional or amateur footballers. This list has a lot of…character.

Here's the overview:

The Ultimate Convict XI, lined up in a classic 4-3-3 formation

And here's who made the list and why:

1. Rene Higuita - G

Photo: strings_kings | Twitter

Even if you have never heard of Rene Higuita, chances are you have seen his greatest save of all time. It was one of the earliest viral videos ever to grace the internet, and for very good reason. 


As it turns out, Higuita had some pretty serious relations with his Columbian compatriot Pablo Escobar, of drug lord fame. Higuita was imprisoned in 1993 for being involved in a kidnapping, in which he received $64,000 for delivering ransom money.

2. Gary Charles - LB

Photo: footballmemorys | Twitter

Gary played fullback for Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Aston Villa, Benfica, and West Ham United. He was a bit of a free spirit, especially in retirement, in that when he was out on bail for drunk driving, he removed the electronic tag tracking his location in order to go on holiday. He didn’t get away with it, and he most definitely didn’t learn his lesson.

After that fiasco, he was twice accused for assault, once causing, and we are quoting from Wikipedia here, “actual bodily harm.”

We didn’t know there were other kinds of bodily harm, and we don’t want to find out what they are. 

3. Tony Adams - CB 

Photo: TomSanchezKing | Twitter

Ah yes, Mr. Arsenal, the legend himself. Adams' remarkable 19-year career with the Gunners saw him win three league titles, three FA cups, two League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and three community shields. Unfortunately, as spotless as that may make his resume seem, he has one big ol’ blotch on it.

Adams was sentenced to 4 months in jail for drunk driving in 1990. When his blood was tested for alcohol, it was reportedly found to be at 27 times the legal limit. That Mr. Adams, always excelling isn’t he?

4. Mark Chapman - CB 


Chapman is actually a forward for the amateur side Long Lawford, but we thought his reputation would be intimidating enough to more than make up for any defensive deficiencies he probably has. 

You see, Mr. Chapman here has the distinction of being convicted for a violent act that he actually performed on the pitch. He was jailed for six months after brutally tackling Terry Johnson of the Wheeltappers, resulting in a leg broken in two places, and the end of Johnson’s career.  

We’d stay away if we were playing him. That much is clear.  

5. Craig Thomson - RB


Craig Thomson used to play in the Scottish Premier League for Heart of Midlothian, but then he decided to sexually assault children, and was consequently shipped off the FBK Kaunas in Lithuania. Not much we can say about this one except, good riddance.

6. Vinnie Jones - LM

Photo: NewsCityBuzz | Twitter

The most famous criminal on our list has actually made quite the turn-around since his days of assault and air rage. After a long career in which he played for Wimbledon, Leeds United, Sheffield United, and Chelsea, he is now an established actor. 

As you might have guessed, he has been type-cast as a criminal quite quite often, appearing in movies such as Gone In 60 Seconds, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, but that is what happens when you're known to tell the crew of an airplane, ”I can get you murdered, I can get the whole crew murdered for £3,000."

7. Stig Tofting - CM

Photo: TonyTalkFoot | Twitter

Stig is a certified bada**, as if you couldn’t guess that from his first name alone. His nickname was “The Lawn Mower,” which is as terrifying as it is hilarious. What, could he not head the ball worth a damn or something? Was he prone to slide tackling so quickly that his cleats would trim his path in the grass? Please let that be true. 

Anyways, this Danish dominator patrolled the midfield for AGF Aarhus, Hamburger SV, Duisburg, and Bolton Wanderers, and staked his reputation in f'ing up his opponents. As it were, he also f'ed up people off the pitch too, and was jailed for 4 months for assault. 

8. Nizar Trabelsi - RM

Photo: p_vanostaeyen | Twitter

With Nizar Trabelse, we stop messing around with the level of criminal we are dealing with. A former Tunisian professional footballer, Trebelsi was sentenced in 2003 to 10 years in prison for planning to blow up a Belgian airbase at which American soldiers were stationed. Trabelsi was heavily connected with Al-Qaida.

9. Jamie Lawrence - LW

Photo: Joeparki88 | Twitter

Mr. Jamie Lawrence is this team’s knight in really, really tarnished armor. A self attested “one man crime wave,” at the age of 17 he was arrested for robbery, released, and then soon after got himself thrown in jail for 4 years.

During that four-year imprisonment he started to entertain the idea of playing professional soccer (because that’s what you do in prison, right?), and he eventually turned that idea into a reality. He managed to join a local soccer team on the island where he was imprisoned during his sentence and honed his skills. When he was released, he was signed by Sunderland and began an all-together quite successful footballing career. 

See kids, go to prison. It’s where dreams come true. 

Speaking of kids, Lawrence now devotes much of his time to helping underprivileged youth avoid the kind of life he led as a boy. 

10. Giorgi Demetradze - ST

Photo: LiusDiVaio | Twitter

This Georgian international made the rounds through a number of eastern European leagues, but he made this list for his…other rounds. Demetradze was found guilty of extortion in illegal sports betting, and was hit with a whopping 6-year prison sentence. 

We wonder if the judge tacked on a year or two for having a last name that is so hard to pronounce. 

11. Gavin Grant - RW


Finally, murder. Sorry, that came out wrong. 

Finally, we reach Gavin Grant. He used to be an English footballer who played for Bradford City, but then he killed somebody. In fact he was accused of killing two people in his life, but was cleared of the first charge before being convicted for the murder of Leon Labastide in 2004. 

Labastide was gunned down in his parents’ home. There’s a clinical finisher joke in there, but we don’t want to make it. 

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