When you think of the term ‘journeyman’ in football you’ll perhaps think of non-league players, the players who spend their careers travelling between clubs, without ever finding a place to call home. Well, there are certainly a few of them, but there have been some big-name journeymen along the way as well.
Football has had some great travellers down the years, Dennis Bergkamp not one of them.
The polar opposite of the ‘one-club man’, these are the players who have had more clubs than they’ve had years in the game. If they’ve picked up lucrative signing-on fees for even half of their moves, they will be set for life.
‘In British English, a journeyman is a player who has represented many clubs over his career’ – Wikipedia
Here I have taken a look at some of the beautiful game’s ultimate journeymen.
Once dubbed ‘the next Pele’, Adu burst onto the stage way back in 2003 when he signed for DC United at just 14. Things, however, didn’t quite turn out as planned for the American.
After becoming the youngest ever player in Major League Soccer history, Freddy Adu left DC United in 2006 and went on to play for 14 different clubs. Adu has represented the United States on 17 occasions.
At 31 he’s still young enough to add a few more clubs, however, he is currently a free agent.
Still being the only man to represent eight different Premier League clubs, is enough to qualify for any list of journeymen.
In all, Marcus Bent has 16 clubs to his name, most recognised for his time with Ipswich Town and for being the brother of Aston Villa legend Darren. Still playing today, Marcus now plays in the Eastern Counties League for Cornard United.
Perhaps the most glittering career of our journeymen to now. Nicholas Anelka played for some of the elite clubs around Europe including; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, and Real Madrid. These make up just five of Anelka’s 13 clubs throughout his career.
The Frenchman recently retired whilst playing with Mumbai City. Anelka was also a player with a history of questionable behaviour.
A footballing eccentric, Worthington played for a remarkable 24 clubs spanning from 1966-1992. A 25-year career came to an end in his 40s when he retired whilst player-coach for Halifax Town.
Having played eight times for England, Worthington’s career saw him play in the US, South Africa, and Sweden, as well as his native England. His most successful spell came with Leicester City where he scored 73 goals in 210 appearances.
Thirteen countries, 25 clubs, and one jail sentence are not your average career statistics. Lutz Pfannenstiel had an interesting career, to say the least. Born in Germany, Pfannstiel began his career in his homeland before starting his worldwide tour.
The elaborate goalkeeper amassed 477 appearances during his career and is currently Managing Director at Fortuna Dusseldorf.
After coming through the QPR academy in 2000 and spending four years around the first-team squad, Paquette has had a staggering 30 clubs. At 37 years old and after a 20-year career, he is still going; currently at Harefield United where he has scored 20 goals in only 28 appearances.
A striker who spent the first 10 years of his career at just two clubs; Cambridge United and Leicester City. He managed to amass a remarkable 27 clubs in the following seven years before retirement in 2012. Although only representing many clubs on loan it’s still some achievement.
Another in the list who is still racking up clubs to this day. At the tender age of 41 big strikers, Louis signed for St. Albans City in 2019, his 42nd club! One for every year. A truly astonishing feat, I hope he makes it to 50 clubs. His career began in 1996 when Take That were young.
When I hear the word journeyman I think, ‘Steve Claridge’. Having represented Portsmouth over 100 times between 1998-2001 Claridge has racked up some clubs before and after.
In 2017 at 51 years of age, he made his final appearance in a competitive match for Salisbury where he is now manager.
Uruguayan legend Abreu represented his country 70 times. However, that’s not what he is best known for. He has also managed to squeeze in 30 different clubs, most notably spells with Real Sociedad and San Lorenzo. Another journeyman who is insistent on racking up the clubs and not hanging up the boots.
Currently plying his trade at Boston River, the 6’4″ striker has scored twice in 18 games.
Now, the legend that is ‘Crouchy’ may not have the eye-catching number of clubs some of the players in this list boast. He is however worthy of a mention. A nomadic career nevertheless for the giant striker has taken him to 12 different clubs. The robot celebration has been seen at almost all of them.
Unlike many of his counterparts on the list, Crouch’s career was primarily in the upper echelons of English football. Peter Crouch Top 10 Goals.
Last but not least, Cameroonian striker Eto’o. A contender for the best player on the list; despite not having the highest number of clubs. He ended his career on 13 clubs when he retired whilst playing for Qatar SC.
Eto’o was a prolific striker in his day, who won everything there is to win during the Barcelona and Inter years before going on his travels.
Some weird and wonderful tales from the lives of one of the beautiful games great enigmas, the multiple club men. Who, in some cases, have had more new club reveal photoshoots than they’ve had appearances.
Long live the journeymen, we simply don’t see enough of these types of players these days.