1. PauloDiCanio (Sunderland) – Ketchup and mayonnaise
Di Canio’s reign at the Stadium of Light was a troublesome one to say the least, but it was his decision to ban ketchup that really hit the players hard. He claimed that his predecessor, Martin O’Neill, had left him with an “unfit” squad because they had too much ketchup and mayonnaise with their food. “It is not professional in a top club in one of the top leagues in the world,” Di Canio said after. “I saw people put ketchup in their pockets trying to smuggle it in! It was crazy.”
2. Not content with just ketchup, David Moyes went and banned chips altogether when he replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, much to the despair of Rio Ferdinand. The former defender appeared near-disconsolate when he revealed what ‘Moyesy’ had done. “Yes, I did ban chips,” Moyes said after he was sacked by United. “It was because a couple of players were overweight and I didn’t think chips were good for their diet.” Moyes’ admission that he had done so came after Ferdinand wrote in his autobiography: “Moyes has been gone about 20 minutes, we’re on the bikes warming up for the first training session and one of the lads says: ‘You know what? We’ve got to get on to Giggsy. We’ve got to get him to get us our f*****g chips back.’”
3. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) – Mars bars
Arsene Wenger has gone done in Premier League history for revolutionising the way players ate and trained, but his immediate decision to ban Mars bars among many other fatty foods led to chants of “We want our Mars bars back” on the Arsenal team bus. Club legend Ian Wright has also noted how Wenger got rid of unhealthy foods that players would enjoy in the canteen after training, instead introducing healthy meals made up of chicken, rice and vegetables that were low in salt and fat.
4. Arsene Wenger (Arsenal ) – Short sleeves
Wenger again. This time the incident involved a returning Mathieu Flamini, who actually got hold of a pair of scissors to cut his sleeves off during a Champions League match with Marseille in 2013. After the midfield received a reprimand from the Gunners’ chief, Wenger said: “I do not like that and he will not do that again.”
5. Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United) – Coloured boots
The influx of yellow, red and pink boots among many other colours certainly didn’t sit well with Ferguson, who banned youth players from wearing any brightly coloured footwear until they could force their way into either the reserve or first-team squad. While it may not be the most severe of decisions, the ban still reminded players who’s boss at Old Trafford.
6. Neil Lennon (Bolton Wanderers) – Bobble hats
When Neil Lennon took over at Bolton, it took him one day to make his presence felt as he banned bobble hats from training. The former Celtic manager said: “I don’t want players training in hats because they don’t play football in hats.” The Northern Irishman then turned up to the first day of training wearing a hat.
7. Giovanni Trappatoni (Republic of Ireland) – Mushrooms
The Italian admitted he was shocked to see members of the Ireland national team wolfing down mushrooms on matchdays, and after “several seconds” of being left speechless, he soon banned the fungi from all meals on matchday. “I saw the players eating mushrooms before a friendly, and I was stunned into silence for several seconds. I then told them that mushrooms are banned on matchdays – both for breakfast and for dinner,” said Trappatoni.
8. Raymond Domenech (France) – Scorpios
That’s right, not scorpions, but Scorpios – people born from 23 October through to 21 November. Raymond Domenech was a firm believer in astrology and decided that Scorpios had a negative effect on his side, along with his desire not to put Leos in his defence. The decision promptly ended Robert Pires’ international career with France, having been born on 29 October. How unlucky.
9. Paul Le Guen (Rangers) – Monster Munch
There were few who would go against Rangers captain and fan favourite Barry Ferguson, but Frenchman Paul Le Guen was one of them. He banned the skipper from eating his favoured Monster Munch and would later go on to strip him of the captaincy for what he felt was an attempt to undermine him in a passionate team rant. Le Guen soon left, Ferguson was reinstated and it was Monster Munch all round.
10. Stefan Schwarz (Sunderland) – Space
We’ve saved the best until last. It wasn’t Stefan Schwarz doing the banning, but in fact Sunderland when he joined from Valencia in 1999. The Swede was a fan of out of space and was planning a trip to space on a commercial flight once it became available. While we are yet to see regular trips take off, Sunderland were quick to insert a “no space” clause into his contract, keeping the midfielder firmly grounded.
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