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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 13:51 GMT
Football's hall of shame
Left to right: Terry Fenwick, Duncan Ferguson, Jan Molby and Tony Adams
The guilty verdict handed down to Jonathan Woodgate for affray will send shockwaves through the game, but he is not the first footballer to fall foul of the law.

A life of glamour does not always seem to be enough to prevent some top stars from straying.

George Best, arguably the first superstar in the British game, won the European Cup with Manchester United in 1968.

Just 14 years later, he was turning out for the Ford Open Prison team.

Best's crime was driving while drunk. To make matters worse, he also assaulted a policeman.

George Best in 1976
Best assaulted a policeman
Former England captain Tony Adams also landed himself in hot water after being caught driving while under the influence.

The Arsenal defender served two months at Chelmsford Open Prison in 1990 for drink-driving offences.

After he was released, he returned to action and helped the Gunners win a second league championship.

But it was not until 1996 that he finally admitted his alcohol problems.

For some footballers, drink plays no part in their downfall.

Jan Molby aggravated Liverpool's injury crisis in the 1988-89 season when he was jailed for three months for reckless driving.

He did not help his cause by turning over a car outside a nightclub.

Many fans joke that the great Dane returned to the side looking fitter and trimmer than he had for years, once his spell had been completed.

Duncan Ferguson is another who has landed himself in hot water.

The towering Scotsman crossed the border to join Everton in 1994, but could not avoid punishment for a headbutt on Raith Rovers' John McStay while at Rangers.

Jan Molby in action for Liverpool
Molby overturned a car
The Toffees, desperately needing the big striker's presence on the field, argued against the charges.

But they could not stop Ferguson serving a sentence at Scotland's notorious Barlinnie prison in 1995.

Other footballers who have been jailed include Mickey Thomas (18 months in 1993 for passing forged bank notes), Terry Fenwick (two months for drink-driving in 1991) and Peter Storey (28 days in 1990 for attempting to import pornography).

Despite his problems in recent years, Diego Maradona has yet to serve the two-year sentence he received for shooting journalists with an air-powered pellet rifle in 1998.

Argentinian law states that people sentenced to less than three years can stay free if they are not convicted of another crime.

Sometimes footballers who strayed from the straight and narrow before they were famous suffer the consequences once they hit the big-time.

Jamie Lawrence's past came back to haunt him last year.

The Bradford City midfielder received an invitation from the Jamaica Football Federation to join the national team in preparations for a four-nation tournament in Morocco.

But this was rescinded when the organising body found out that Lawrence had served two prison sentences for robbery while he was a teenager.

Bobby Moore in 1970
Moore was accused of stealing
Occasionally players have had run-ins with the law which seem to defy all logic.

Even Bobby Moore, England's World Cup-winning captain, found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons following an incident in Colombia.

The West Ham star was accused of stealing a bracelet by store owners in Bogota just days before the start of the World Cup in Mexico in 1970.

Moore maintained his innocence throughout, and there were strong suggestions that the accusations were fabricated, but he was arrested nonetheless.

It was only after intervention from the British government that he was allowed to join his team-mates in Mexico.

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See also:

19 Mar 01 | Football
12 Feb 01 | Football
01 Jan 01 | Sport Front Page
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