Worst XI: So good they named him twice

Another Wednesday. Another horror show.

After completing that shambles of a defense we look forward at the stuttering midfield that Roy Keane would have a word or two to say about. With players like Prunier and Taibi already in the team, it can’t get any worse, can it? Can it?

Well, it can. The person who sits in the middle of our midfield was so bad that they named him twice. That’s right Eric Djemba-Djemba, welcome to your tape.

Signed from Nantes, Eric Djemba-Djemba was a known not known to many fans or Paul Merson pundits alike did not know about. He left the country with his career at Old Trafford firmly in the guide to not flop.

Calling Eric the mascot for failed United signings early in the millennium cannot be wrong, can it. Read on to find out how it went wrong for Djemba-Djemba.


In France, Eric was known as hungry, aggressive midfielder who’d run for the entirety of the ninety minutes and pump bucket load of energy into his side’s midfield. With United’s midfield generals ageing and their bodies behaving to fail them, Sir Alex desperately looked for players who could revive the spine of his team. And for reasons yet to be determined, he ended signing Eric. What was even dafter was the club’s decision to hand him £75k every month.

Maybe Ferguson hoped he found another gem named Eric who made his name (twice in Eric’s case) in France.


Eric’s debut against FA Community was not spectacular but he did have an ‘obscene’ tackle on Arsenal’s Sol Campbell. Since then, he struggled to maintain form and often looked like a headless chicken running around the pitch chasing the ball, huffing and puffing. The energy and will power he so relied upon in Nantes deserted Djemba-Djemba.

The added pressure of following in Roy Keane’s shoes also hurt Eric’s case.

Djemba-Djemba, it was later revealed, had 30 different bank accounts, 10 4×4 and was juggling with credit dues. Every penny earned went to repaying loans and he had to live on bonuses and extras but there can’t have been many with the kind of performances he put in.

Eric showed flashes of brilliance but they were few and far between. The one that most United fans remember was that looping volley against Leeds. But being a regular starter at United was two bridges too far for Djemba-Djemba. He was sold after 20 league appearances (yes, we persisted).


He was sold to Aston Villa but failed to rebuild his reputation at Villa Park and found first team opportunities difficult to come back. After playing just once, he was loaned out to Burnley. He left England soon after and kicked ball in the Middle East. Djemba-Djemba found stability at Odense BK in Denmark. He made over 100 appearances there before transfers to Israel, Serbia, Scotland and India followed. Eric Djemba-Djemba even played for Indonesian side Persebaya Surabaya.