25 of the worst football tattoos ever

Michael Bush

8 Dec 2016

Updated: 11 Nov 2023

If there’s anything more predictable in football than an Arsenal fourth-place league finish or Jose Mourinho whinge, it’s terrible body art. For some reason, there’s something in football culture that lends itself to grown men investing in horrendously tasteless body ink.

“How bad could a tattoo or two be?” we hear you ask. Erm, well, they can be pretty disastrous if these examples are anything to go by.

Worst football tattoos

“Gary Lineker shags crisps”

Yes, as reported by the Mirror, that social media-friendly phrase really was printed on one excitable young man’s rear end, echoing the slogan on a flag flown at Glastonbury in 2014.


The moment Manchester City’s Argentine maestro booked his team’s place on the Premier League winners list for the very first time was certainly one to remember, but should Martin Tyler’s commentary of that last-day drama really take pride of place on your arm?

Djibril Cisse’s tribesman act

It’s hardly just fans who could be accused of overdoing it with the body art – former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse’s commitment to inked motifs led the Daily Mail to describe him as having “more tattoos adorning his body than you might find on your average Maori tribesman.”

Balotelli as providential wrath (obviously)

Nor can we allow the ex-Manchester City ace Mario to escape notoriety for his chest tattoo that proclaims him as “the punishment of God, if you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you”. Erm...

Knocking years off The Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday is proudly one of the world’s oldest football clubs, founded in 1867. Yes, that’s 1867. Not, as one fan’s tattoo was unfortunately made to read, 1877...

‘Sir’ Les Andy of Cole

Even if you get your own timing right, sometimes, your footballing hero doesn’t. Just ask the Newcastle supporter who had Andy Cole portrayed on his thigh, shortly before the striker left for Manchester United. There was at least a happy ending of sorts – the tattoo was modified as a tribute to fellow Toon forward ‘Sir’ Les Ferdinand.

Gunning for change

Even inking your club’s badge on your body won’t save you from time-related embarrassments, as the Arsenal fan left with the club’s old badge on his back discovered – although it’s not clear whether he had the job done before or after the Gunners’ re-style.

Earning one’s stripes

Colombian club Atletico Nacional continue to play in green and white vertical stripes, so the fan who had his entire torso inked to resemble their shirt can rest easy... for now.

Clattenburg’s sending-off offence

Not even referees are above the madness, as shown as Mark Clattenburg’s decision to commemorate taking charge of the Champions League and Euro 2016 finals on his person.

It’s all happening Stateside, ..

After all, if you’re a Seattle Sounders fan, what could be wiser than having your neck tattooed with an image of Clint Dempsey’s head, apparently wearing some large blue boots?

But we Brits can overdo it as well

We’re all for patriotism here at Profit Accumulator, but having British and English flags and emblems created across your head? Really? Accompanied by a Leeds United badge? Oh, and we do mean covering pretty much every inch.

John Carew’s periodic embarrassment

Back to the players, we couldn’t possibly ignore John Carew having the French slogan “Ma Vie, Mes Regles” inked on his neck. While he was presumably trying to declare “My Life, My Rules”, the words can also be read as “My Life, My Periods”. Ah...

Daniele de Rossi shows his tackle

Given his reputation for crunching tackles, we reckon it’s pretty befitting that the Italian international midfielder has a tattoo on his leg resembling a triangular ‘hazard’ sign, featuring a player making a challenge hacking off his poor opponent’s leg.

There’s only one Shola Ameobi

Yes, a (presumably Newcastle) fan did get a tattoo proclaiming “Shola”. Well, we guess someone had to eventually.

The spirit of Istanbul?

Yes, it might have been a great night, but we don’t think even that was really enough to justify depicting Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher as Spartan warriors, with a slightly confused-looking Rafa Benitez in the background. Sometimes, it really is possible to watch too much 300.

A Toffee’s sticky misspelling

We’re presuming a certain fan’s back tattoo wasn’t supposed to read “Eeverton”, so we’re going to put this one down to the artist – rather than the customer – having overdone it on the beers beforehand.

A permanent reminder of that failed bet...

Let the story of the optimistic Manchester City fan who, in 2009, decided to have a tattoo done declaring the Sky Blues “2011 Champions League winners” be a lesson to all of you.

The “King of Bling” strikes again

You only need to Google Stephen Ireland’s name to get a clue of a taste for garishness that is quite something even for a footballer. His winged back tattoo hasn’t done much to help that reputation.

Well, everyone needs a ..

He’s English football’s perennial bad boy, and if there’s any adjective with which to describe Nile Ranger’s face tattoo – which simply reads “Ranger” – it is certainly “bad”.

...although this one’s more of a warning

A smiley face on the inside of your bottom lip? Yep, that was another one of Ranger’s brilliant ideas.

All you need is ..

One-time Cardiff City forward Jay Bothroyd spelt out that immortal four-letter word with, well, images of various weapons. Never change, Jay.

Kenny Miller, Goal Machine

Who are we to complain about a haul of 18 goals in 69 appearances for Scotland? However, we think there are generally better places to express this sentiment than on one’s butt cheeks.

“Tottenham Til I Die”

Body art stating these words represents commitment. Having said words inked on the back of your bald head, well... let’s say it’ll make it tricky for you to switch loyalties later in life.

The Three Musketeers

It’s the obvious ‘big three’ to have printed on your chest if you’re a Manchester City fan... Robinho, Kaka, Goater.

Lampard and Terry back where they belong

If you’re a Chelsea fan with a substantial torso, of course it’s where two of the Stamford Bridge outfit’s greatest legends’ faces should be illustrated, above the defiant words “Chelsea”. Obviously.

If it really is true that the devil makes work for idle hands, it seems that hands are often especially idle among football supporters. The cure, we reckon, can only ever be a bit of matched betting, which is much more fun than having your body inked in some humiliating fashion, and could even add hundreds of pounds a month to your bank account as well.

That really does sound to us like something that you should “ink” in your diary for 2017...