The centre forward. The striker. The man who can be hero or villain, sometimes in the same game. These are the players fans will focus on most, because our dreams of playing all included scoring loads of goals for our club.
We’ve had legends like McCoist, Colin Stein, Bob McPhail, players who will be remembered forever. As you’ll see below, we’ve had players who should probably never have been given the honour of playing up front for us.
And much like I’ve said in almost all of the Worst XI articles, we also have judgements of players being debated due to how the role of the forward has changed. It’s no longer enough to be good at scoring goals to many, as you can tell by any argument about Kris Boyd. Managers who are prone to playing the percentages can often be found to play the hardworking striker, who doesn’t get many goals, over the guy who can score loads but doesn’t offer anything else. This mindset has worked its way into the fans, who will then reassess judgements of past players accordingly. Ally McCoist has somehow become a lazy poacher in the memories of many. Any sort of detailed assessment of his game would put the lie to that.
Below are eight players who didn’t make an impact for us for various reasons, or shouldn’t have been signed in the first place. There are some names not included who probably should be – they either never kicked a ball for us, or were top scorers in a poor side which is at least a contribution.
EGIL ØSTENSTAD: 17 APPEARANCES, 2 GOALS
Sometimes, you sign a player who looked good elsewhere and it just doesn’t work out. That’s pretty forgivable in many ways. Østenstad, however, was one of those players you knew was going to be rubbish, and he proved to be so.
Signed in 2003 when we were in the heights of our wage-slashing strategy, he only started 4 games, scoring 2 goals in the League Cup and offering nothing of note at all. A player we should never have signed.
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FILIP SEBO: 32 APPEARANCES, 2 GOALS
Ah, Sebo. The man who celebrated a deflected goal in a friendly against Chelsea like he’d scored a last-minute cup winner.
We all wanted it to work out for Sebo. He was Le Guen’s big signing as such, costing more than anyone else that summer. He had scored goals in other leagues and his Youtube highlights looked great. It was probably the first time we truly learned our lesson there.
We excused some early danger signs as a player needing time to settle. He was “trying too hard” or such like. His workrate was high, but it was more headless-chicken than anything else.
He gave us a couple of good memories. A late winner against Aberdeen at Ibrox, and a battling performance at Parkhead. When a player is brought off the bench to the tune of “Sebo’s on, we’re taking the piss” though, it’s not a sign of high regard.
FRANCIS JEFFERS: 14 APPEARANCES
Wait, didn’t you forget his goals there?
Nope. He didn’t score a single one. The “Fox in the Box” was a metaphor for his dead career by that point rather than his ability to score goals. We were so desperate for some sign of a return to his Everton form, we were getting excited by goals in the reserve league.
A risk that never worked out. I reckon we’re not the only set of fans that would say that.
KEVIN KYLE: 14 APPEARANCES, 3 GOALS
It’s a strange phenomenon. Sometimes, you just have a feeling a player will end up at your club even though they’re a poor footballer. Kevin Kyle was one of those players. Even though we were in the Third Division, we fully expected him to struggle, and he did.
Kyle had a history of injuries and was one of those guys you mocked when playing against him. Like Ostenstad, he should never have been signed.
FRANCISCO SANDAZA: 19 APPEARANCES, 2 GOALS
Sandaza was a player who had looked decent at Dundee United, and we were signing him to play in Division Three. Many of us thought he’d rip the league apart.
He never once looked good. A winner away to Peterhead was his biggest contribution. More famous for the way he fell for a prank call and was found out to be unhappy and wanting a move away. It was quickly granted.
ANDRIUS VELICKA: 10 APPEARANCES, 5 GOALS
5 in 10, that’s decent record – why is he on this list?
Mainly because we paid over £1m for him at a time when he wasn’t required, and when he did play, he was often posted missing unless he scored. He had looked ok elsewhere in Scottish Football, but by the time we brought him back, something had been lost. No pace, poor link-up play, no idea how to use his sizeable frame – nothing, really.
A small purple patch of goals aside, Velicka was another signing that was questionable even before he stepped foot on the pitch.
DAVID HEALY: 25 APPERARANCES, 5 GOALS
This one may wind some people up a touch. Healy was a legend for Northern Ireland, but his club form never came close to that. He got a handful of goals at Rangers, but is best remembered for a crunching foul against Celtic.
When we signed Healy he was 31 years old and past his best. It was great to see a Rangers man get his chance, but Healy didn’t look good enough at all.
STEPHANE GUIVARC’H: 18 APPEARANCES, 7 GOALS
Guivarc’h was signed from Newcastle, where it hadn’t worked out for him. He was to take us to the next level as we really felt we needed a striker at that time. The Advocaat squad was packed with talent, but Amato hadn’t quite worked out and Wallace was being asked to do too much. Here was a World Cup winning French striker, surely he’d do well?
He’s on here mainly because he didn’t come close to living up to the hype. He enjoyed a goal against St Johnstone, but really didn’t impress at all during his time with us.
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