This week we look at a player who was once Britain´s most expensive defender. We also have man who could quite possibly claim the accolade of Britain´s most unstable defender, and a defender with the dubious distinction of being the first player to be sent off in two World Cups. We also look at a World Cup winner who failed to cut it with the reserve team, and a substitute goalkeeper notable only for his idiocy.
20. Phil Babb
Babb became the most expensive defender in English football history when he completed a £3.6 million move from Coventry in September 1994. To be fair, at the time it looked like money well spent. Babb had a burgeoning reputation, owing in no small part to some stellar performances alongside Paul McGrath in the Irish defence at the World Cup that same year.
That was one side to Babb´s game, a slick defender who could show moments of superb athleticism. Indeed, it was surely his composure and ability to read the game that had attracted manager Roy Evans in the first place. However, Reds fans were to get to know an altogether different side to Babb.
This was the ponderous, absent-minded version who, on certain days, looked as though he felt all this chasing around after a football lark was beneath him. He would really have rather been somewhere else-most likely on a Hawaiian beach, in an all-white linen suit, sipping rum cocktails and regaling local women with crude tales from his days as a footballer.
A footballer with a superb eye for an own goal, Babb´s tendency to switch off at vital moments was cruelly exposed in the most horrific manner imaginable against Chelsea in 1998. Babb would become surplus to requirements with the arrival of Gerard Houllier at Anfield, and a loan to Tranmere was eventually followed by an unlikely move to Sporting Lisbon. He returned to England to finish his career with Sunderland. He retired in 2004.
In May of this year, Babb was appointed manager of Non-League side Hayes and Yeading. Some interesting insights as a TV pundit suggest a successful managerial career may not be beyond him.