We love it when British footballers and managers test themselves by moving abroad, but there’s always a danger of us cringing – just like we did with these former Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United men.
As part of our Brits Abroad series, we’ve published a number of stories on young players taking a risk to play outside of the country in the hope of broadening their horizons. Every single one of them deserves maximum respect. It’s great.
Unfortunately, us Brits, bless us, as much as we like to try when we’re overseas, more often than not we end up embarrassing ourselves. Oh well, at least we can laugh about it…
This is what happens when we try to fit in abroad. At a time when Moyes just kept getting things wrong, he went to Real Sociedad and had us howling with laughter trying to pronounce Illarramendi in his best Spanish accent.
If that wasn’t enough, here he is showing off, casually dropping a bit of Spanish in mid-sentence.
Thankfully the locals were quite welcoming to David.
A managerial highlight for David Moyes at Real Sociedad… https://t.co/UphjRn6CJu
— Not Match of the Day (@NOT_MOTD) November 11, 2015
We’re going to come out and say it: we have some sympathy with McClaren for this.
Yes, he looks a bit silly, but he’s only trying to help the reporter understand him a little more clearly. He also went on to win the title with FC Twente, which is a bit mental.
Steve McClaren. Dutch accent. Iconic. pic.twitter.com/UICWuXQLI1
— Ryan O'Meara (@_omeara_r) September 4, 2017
But the weird thing it seems he hasn’t been able to shake it off.
Why can't Steve McClaren stop speaking like a Dutch football coach to a French foreign student.. pic.twitter.com/z6H3ZDD5gW
— Niall McGarry (@MrNiallMcGarry) February 16, 2018
Barton falls into the same category as McClaren, here, except he has decided to slag off the French league while playing for Marseille.
If you ignore the fact it’s Barton, he actually looks, and sounds, like an enigmatic European who will move to the Premier League, shine brightly for a short period, then fall out with everyone.
Someone like Hatem Ben Arfa perhaps.
What happens when Brits go abroad! Joey Barton's fine French accent after his time at Marseille 😂🇫🇷
Tony Adams, you're next! pic.twitter.com/xWgOZAQGZ3
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) April 12, 2017
Adams was possibly on a hiding to nothing when he was placed in charge of Granada last season, with the club second bottom in La Liga and staring down the barrel of relegation.
He was probably expecting to do a little better than lose all seven of his matches while the side were under his helm, meaning they finished dead last.
Quite what Granada’s players thought of his training regime remains a mystery.
As Tony Adams becomes the first Granada manager to lose his first 4 games, could his training regime be to blame?pic.twitter.com/vs9mvnh3TI
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) May 6, 2017
As ever with Gazza, wherever he goes, he leaves a trail of wonderful stories. His time in Rome while playing for Lazio in the early-90s is no different.
Gascoigne struggled to learn Italian during his spell in the capital, so much so that Pierluigi Casiraghi told FourFourTwo: “His Italian was awful – he used to give everyone and everything English nicknames.”
This became such a problem that when once ordering lunch, England’s talisman became so frustrated he walked up to a fish tank, grabbed a live lobster and shouted: “Here, this one! I want this one!”
The former Tottenham hero also had plenty of fun with manager Dino Zoff.
“We’d all just finished eating, the team’s gathered together and there are other hotel guests in the dining room,” Zoff once recalled.
“Suddenly, the door opens and Gazza, totally naked, walks through the room like it’s the most natural thing in the world. He comes up to me and says, ‘Here I am, boss. Manzini told me to come straight away, just as I was.’ I couldn’t think of anything to say to him, so I simply burst out laughing.”
There is also a (perhaps apocryphal) story that he asked his dad to bring him tins of spaghetti over because he was sick of eating pasta. Gazza’s not embarrassing, he’s just brilliant.
— Football Past (@thecentretunnel) February 3, 2018
A famous tale which probably sums up many British players’ reluctance to move abroad in recent years.
Rush spent one season playing for Juventus, where he struggled to adapt to Italian football, despite top scoring for the club with 13 goals. He is generally thought to have reflected on his time in Turin by saying: “It was like living in a foreign country.”
The striker, however, is adamant this is an apocryphal tale, writing in his autobiography: “After the press conference a reporter cornered Kenny, hoping, I suppose, to get some sort of story or quote that had been denied to everyone else, and asked him what I had said in private about my time in Italy.
“‘He said playing in Italy was like playing in a foreign country,’ replied Kenny, tongue in cheek. It was another of Kenny’s impish wind-ups. The reporter, of course, took Kenny’s words as gospel.”