Holiday bad boys: Lampard and Grealish among Premier League players who’ve brought shame to the game

Summer is nearly upon us, and that means one thing, sports fan: Loads of incoming newspaper stories and social media posts about English footballers misbehaving on holiday.

Lads doing stupid stuff on holiday in their teens and 20s is nothing new, of course. In fact, we all probably have our own stories we’d rather not share.

That said, it’s fun to judge and roll our eyes at the antics of Premier League footballers, and they have given us plenty of opportunity to do just that in the past with some of their holiday antics.

Connor Wickham

As MK Dons’ Connor Wickham emerged from the bench in the play-offs trying to add to his one League One goal this season, part of him must have been wondering where it all went wrong for him.

Wickham was tipped for the top from a very young age and back in 2014 he looked every inch the real deal as he led Sunderland’s remarkable great escape from Premier League relegation.

Wickham looked to have finally arrived and when he headed to Marbella that summer confidence must have been soaring.

The 21-year-old racked up a £25,000 bar tab, most of which was spent on a giant 15-litre bottle of champagne, which he used to have himself a little poolside party.

Perhaps at that age and with those resources we’d have been tempted to do the same, but nevertheless it didn’t show him in a good light and certainly didn’t help the image of Premier League footballers.

Comparisons were made in the press between the cost of Wickham’s bar bill and the average annual salary of a worker at the enormous Nissan car plant that is responsible for employing much of the city. In truth, though, no one within Sunderland begrudged Wickham a thing after his heroics in helping them stay up against the odds.

Jack Grealish

Nowadays, Jack Grealish is a £100million footballer who is celebrating his first Premier League title with Manchester City. In the summer of 2015, he was just another daft teenage lad on holiday.

The then-Aston Villa youngster had just enjoyed his breakout season for his boyhood club and he headed to Tenerife with friends to celebrate.

It was just months after being caught by manager Tim Sherwood for inhaling nitrous oxide (laughing gas) recreationally, so obviously the smart thing to do would be to keep your head down.

In fairness, he did just that while on holiday. Unfortunately, the rest of him was down too – specifically on a Canarian roadside in the early hours of the morning due to him being ‘paralytically’ drunk.

Naturally, someone in the apartment block opposite saw him, took photos and immediately posted them on social media.

“The club is aware of the photographs of Jack Grealish currently circulating,” Aston Villa said in a statement the next day. “We will be meeting with the player but any action will remain an internal matter.”

Harry Maguire

Maguire and his siblings were away in Mykonos in the summer of 2020 and doing what Premier League footballers do: running up an $82,000 restaurant bill and then heading back to their private villa.

However, while waiting for their minibus to collect them, Maguire’s sister took ill. Fearful she had had her drink spiked, the Manchester United captain claims he was protecting her while fending off the unwanted attentions of some locals who were hanging around.

As a result, their minibus was pulled over on their way home by plain clothes Greek police officers. Maguire alleges they were needlessly violent and he was defending himself, fuelled by fear of an attempted kidnapping.

The police officers claim Maguire was giving it the whole ‘do you know who I am?’ treatment, which Maguire denies. For his part, Maguire claims he wasn’t the aggressor, which the police dispute. “Put it this way,” said Maguire. “I didn’t hurt him as much as they hurt me.”

Maguire was ultimately found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and attempted bribery by a court. He was given a 21-month suspended sentence, which he is still appealing today.

Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer

What do you do when you are three top young English players and have been left out of England’s squad for the European Championships? Go on holiday to Aiya Napa and make a sex tape, apparently.

At least, that is what Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Kieron Dyer did in 2000 when they were all 21 years old and snubbed by Kevin Keegan.

Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand in 2000

According to Dyer, though, it was all Rio Ferdinand’s friend’s fault as he was the one who sneaked the camera in. “When we realised, I jumped off the girl and told the guy to get lost,” explained Dyer, ever the gentleman.

“It was completely wrong. The girl was mortified. I apologised profusely and took her to get a taxi back to her hotel.”

Ferdinand and Lampard were undeterred, though, and went for another round with the consent of the respective ladies involved. However, that camera was allegedly stolen following a fight and robbery at knifepoint before leaking out to the press.

Spare a thought for Dyer’s mum in all of this, though. She got the shock of her life when Dyer himself unknowingly sent her to buy the newspaper that broke the sex tape story.

“On Sunday, I asked my mum to get me a paper to see what they had said about the fight. She had a face like thunder when she got back and threw a copy of the News of the World at me. ‘You’re an embarrassment,’ she said. I stared at the front page and suddenly everything became clear.

“The paper had got footage of some of the sex sessions in Ayia Napa, including where the guy sneaked into my room.

“‘England Stars in Video Sex Shame,’ the headline said. It was spun that the girls had been duped into being filmed when actually, in the case of the girls who got together with Frank and Rio, it had been done with their consent.

“I would never deny that the way I behaved wasn’t exactly ideal. I wasn’t proud of it.”

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard Man Utd Apr22

Jesse Lingard is a fine footballer, but he has rarely shown much in terms of intelligence.

That was certainly the case too back in 2019 when he ‘accidentally’ posted a holiday video of himself on his Snapchat.

In it, Lingard could be seen stomping around his Miami hotel room swearing while one of his friends simulated having sex on the bed.

Man Utd team-mate Marcus Rashford was also there, although he didn’t really feature in the footage. He did, however, offer a defence of Lingard afterwards.

“I’ve not spoken to the manager about it but from what I’ve seen of it, people have to understand that he was enjoying his holiday and it was a mistake so there is not really much I can say about that,” Rashford said.

Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney

Some footballers don’t have to wait until the summer holidays to go abroad to annoy their clubs. Some manage to do it in the middle of the season.

That was the case with Brentford’s Ivan Toney, who decided to take advantage of the Premier League’s mid-season break to enjoy a jaunt to Dubai. Unfortunately, he seemed to enjoy himself a little bit too much.

A video quickly emerged of a very drunk Toney saying clearly to a camera “f*** Brentford.” Think we can all agree that, for a player who had just arrived at the top after working his way up through the leagues, it was a bold move.

Brentford fans were understandably unhappy and Toney took to social media with an apology (of sorts).

“I am aware of a video of me that was published on social media today, taken in Dubai where I have been on holiday during the winter break,” Toney started.

“In it, I used language that was unacceptable. The video was cut short and edited, but I have to accept the impact this has had and I realise I should not have put myself in that position.”

It’s hard to imagine what could have come after “f*** Brentford” that could have saved it, though.

READ MORE: How the Premier League table would look if season started when Lampard took over at Everton

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