The footballing stag party from hell - including ex-Arsenal, Everton, Spurs, and Liverpool players

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The football season is nearly over, but the wedding season is only just beginning. As such, like plaid-clad huntsmen named Jebediah with waist-length beards and fewer healthy teeth than whittling knives, we find ourselves knee-deep and wading through the midst of yet another season; that of the stag.

Whether it be the cobbled debauchery of the Bigg Market in Newcastle, or the customary fancy dress sunstroke of a few days at a grotty Magaluf all-inclusive, gaggles of thirsty and oftentimes lairy folk intent on celebrating the joy of marriage (in a round about sort of way, at least) will trot off all over the country and the continent in the coming weeks.

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Indeed, it was only last weekend that I myself was away on a stag do in Amsterdam; wandering canals, supping on tiny Heinekens, and delivering Goldmember impressions that, in retrospect, might have constituted mild hate crimes. And while there was no football consumed during my time in the Netherlands - (Ajax and Jordan Henderson moved their home fixture, presumably after Dutch authorities stumbled across an ancient by-law stating that there can only be a solitary gormless Mackem in Amsterdam at any one time) - it did get me thinking about which players, both past and present, might make for the most nightmarish stag party imaginable. Within reason, of course. Goes without saying that there are kayaking trips on the River Styx that would be preferable to a weekend in Prague with Joey Barton. Anyways...

Thomas Gravesen

Every group needs a wild card, but there is a fine line between ‘quirky party starter’ and ‘downright loose cannon with a penchant for head locks and a budding side hustle in professional poker’. Thomas Gravesen, bald bedlamite that he is, falls squarely into the latter category. As they say, it’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye, and the Dane, even discounting his handiness with a deck of cards, feels like more of a poker than most.

Mario Balotelli

Every group needs a wild card. What they don’t need is two. From setting off fireworks in his bathroom to throwing darts at unsuspecting youths, Mario Balotelli has a near-magnetic knack for attracting mischief, and is the very human embodiment of the phrase, ‘Can’t take him anywhere’. Plus, not sure how well ‘Why Always Me?’ will hold up as a legal defence in a Spanish court.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto

While everyone else is off axe-throwing dressed as Hulk Hogan and Ali G, Benoit Assou-Ekotto is wandering around the nearest art gallery on his own, looking all contemplative and philosophising on the futility of our avaricious modern life. He does, of course, make a valid point, and on any other given day that sounds like a wonderful little jaunt that I would love to tag along for, but not on a stag do, Benny! Not on a stag!

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Martin Keown

The main issue with inviting Martin Keown on a stag do, apart from the obvious dreariness, is that no matter what fancy dress theme you settle on, people you pass by on the street are going to automatically assume that you’re doing some kind of Planet of the Apes homage, and then they’re going to say, ‘Oh yeah, that one guy at the front looks the spitting image of Cornelius, but the rest of them are well wide of the mark! That lad over there looks more like Hulk Hogan and/or Ali G!’ It’d be simpler and more dignified if he didn’t come.

Lewis Miley

The younger brother/step-brother/cousin of the groom, Wor Lewis is holding his own alright until he gets ID’d by a Hungarian bouncer and suddenly you’re the one chosen to accompany him on the 40-minute Uber trip back to the hotel to collect his passport. You also swiftly come to resent his inability to develop a hangover.

Michael Owen

I mean, do I need to explain this one?

The first seven names from the Brighton team sheet that faced West Ham on October 20th 2017

Every stag do, or at least those that err towards the larger size, inevitably have a bunch of lads you barely know with daft names you can barely remember. May I therefore present to you: Ryan, Bruno, Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Propper, and Gross. You will see each of them once more in your life, at the wedding, and then never again. Which is a shame, because Bong in particular seemed like an especially nice bloke.

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