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9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison


Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has been jailed for 10 weeks for failing to provide a breath specimen after being arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.

The 55-year-old looked crestfallen when he realised he was going to jail as keys jangled and prison officers entered the dock at Chester Magistrates’ Court.

Saunders, who also played for Aston Villa and Derby County and was capped by Wales 75 times, refused to give a roadside breath test and, when taken to a police station, again failed to provide a breath sample, the court heard.

He pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing but on Wednesday he admitted a charge of failing to comply with a roadside breath test and failing to provide a breath sample for analysis in Boughton, Chester, on May 10 this year.

Here are some other former Premier League footballers who found themselves in prison…

Ian Wright

Wright ended up in prison early in his life

Former Arsenal striker Wright has spoken openly about his time in prison and claims it changed him as a person.

He was just 19 at the time when he decided not to pay his driving fines, which led to conviction and two weeks in Chelmsford Prison in 1982.

“I did say I would never ever come to a place like that again. I knew I had to start doing the straight and narrow right thing,” he said in 2016. “That was it.”

Joey Barton

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison
Barton is pictured leaving prison

Barton served 74 days of a six-month prison sentence which he was handed in May 2008.

The then-Newcastle United footballer was found guilty of common assault and affray for an incident in Liverpool city centre, which was branded ‘violent and cowardly’ by the judge at the time.

Just six weeks later he was handed an additional four month suspended sentence after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm on former Manchester City teammate Ousmane Dabo.

Adam Johnson

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison
Johnson was found guilty of child sex offences

Disgraced footballer Johnson is perhaps the most high-profile case in the Premier League era, having served three years of his sentence.

Johnson was convicted of child sex offences after engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan in 2016.

He was sacked by Sunderland is now unlikely to return to football.

Duncan Ferguson

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison
Ferguson (left) leaves court following a day in court in Glasgow

Former Everton front man Ferguson claims that spending time behind bars ruined his football career.

Ferguson spent 44 days of a three-month sentence in Glasgow’s Barlinnie prison in 1995 after being found guilty of assault for headbutting Raith Rovers defender Jock McStay.

Playing for Rangers at the time, the incident happened on the pitch and thus became the first professional British player to be jailed for an on-field assault.

Tony Adams

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison
Adams spent time behind bars early in his career

Ex-Arsenal defender Adams infamously spent time behind bars – but he claims the experience did not teach him anything.

Adams was jailed for drink driving in 1990 and spent 57 days inside. He was found to be 27 times over the drink-drive limit after crashing his car.

“Prison didn’t teach me anything,” Adams, who is also a recovering alcoholic, said. “There was no education about why I was in there or around my illness.

“I felt very secure and safe, which was scary. At the time I wasn’t conscious of it, but it was just like being in a hotel.”

Eric Cantona

United's Eric Cantona attacks Palace fan Matthew Simmons after being sent off for a foul on Richard Shaw at Selhurst Park
Cantona spent three hours in prison following his kung fu kick

Legendary Manchester United forward Cantona was sentenced to two weeks in jail for one of the most astonishing incidents in Premier League history.

After being sent off in an away match at Crystal Palace , Cantona reacted to comments from a fan by remarkably kung-fu kicking him.

However, Cantona spent a mere three hours in prison after being released on bail.

Jermaine Pennant

Birmingham City's Jermaine Pennant celebrates after supplying the cross for team mate Julian Gray to score the second goal against Liverpool
Birmingham City’s Jermaine Pennant celebrates a goal in 2005

Ex-Arsenal youngster Pennant paid the price for ploughing his Mercedes into a lamp post while under the influence of alcohol in 2005.

He was given a three-month sentence and although he was released after just a third of his time was served, he says it had a big influence on his life.

“I think anyone that goes in there will change. It changed me and made me not want to go back in there ever again,” he said in 2011.

Marlon King

Marlon King
King has spent two spells in prison

Former Birmingham and Wigan striker King was jailed in 2009 for 18 months after being found guilty of groping a woman and breaking her nose.

King was in London’s packed Soho Revue Bar in December 2008 when the incident took place, on a night where he was celebrating both his wife’s pregnancy and scoring a match-winning goal hours earlier.

He was then later sentenced to prison a second time in 2014after being given an 18-month sentence for admitting dangerous driving.

Jan Molby

9 former Premier League footballers who have served time in prison
Molby (centre) was sentenced to prison in the late 80s

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Molby is a Liverpool legend after spending 12 years at the club – but his spell was briefly interrupted in the 1988-89 season.

He was sentenced to three months in prison for a reckless driving incident.

“People say it’s not that bad but it is,” Molby said about his time in prison. “I didn’t sleep for the first two days. I was scared.

“My cellmate was a strange fella. He didn’t know who I was, which worried me. If he had been a football fan I would have felt safe. He never said a word and he never slept, so I never slept.”



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