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Top Ten - Short stays

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Following Sol Campbell's exit from Notts County, skysports.com's Chris Burton takes a look at a few other short-lived stints

Everyone is entitled to change their mind from time to time, whatever walk of life you operate in.

Professional football is no exception, with players every now and again deciding that they have made a rather dubious decision regarding their choice of club.

Initially lured in by promises of fame and fortune, it soon becomes clear that all is not as rosy in the garden as first appeared and a hasty retreat is beaten.

Occasionally it is not the fault of the player concerned but rather that of the club, who quickly come to the conclusion that they would be better served cutting their losses and shipping out their new recruit before he has even got his feet under the table.

Injuries can, of course, also play a part, with careers at certain clubs ended for some before they have even begun.

All in all, there have been countless examples over the years of short-lived spells which are only memorable for their farcical nature, rather than for any moments of wonder produced on the field.

Here skysports.com takes a look at a few of those instances, starting with the man of the moment at Meadow Lane.

Sol Campbell

When Notts County came under new ownership over the summer, hardly an eyelid was batted. After all, the Magpies were a League Two outfit going nowhere fast. County, though, were determined to show they meant business, with ambitions of blazing a trail through the divisions over the next few years. Former England boss Sven Goran Eriksson was the first to be taken in, much to the bemusement of those outside of Meadow Lane. That was then followed by the acquisition of a number of promising talents, including experienced defender Sol Campbell. The former Tottenham and Arsenal man penned a five-year deal with County, insisting he had faith in their plans and was in it for the long haul. As it happens, he struggled for fitness, made one forgettable appearance in a defeat at Morecambe and packed his bags for pastures new. Campbell claims he decided to leave the club in order to keep his international ambitions alive. Makes you wonder why he bothered to actually show up in the first place.

David Unsworth

Having begun his career on Merseyside with Everton, David Unsworth had blue blood running through his veins. It came as a wrench when he was offloaded to West Ham in 1997, but he stuck life out in the capital for a season. That was enough though for the combative centre-half, who agreed a £3million switch to Aston Villa a year later. Birmingham failed to make much of an impression on him on his arrival, and with his family struggling to settle in their new surroundings he informed his new employers that he wanted out. Everton stepped up to offer him a route back to his roots, and it was gratefully accepted. The Toffees compensated Villa for the £3million they had paid the Hammers, taking Unsworth back to the North West after just a month in the Midlands.

Dietmar Hamann

Sam Allardyce forged something of a reputation during his time in charge of Bolton Wanderers for snapping up players heading towards the twilight of their career and offering them a new lease of life. The burly Trotters boss thought he had worked more magic in the transfer market in 2006 when he appeared to have persuaded German international and UEFA Champions League winner Dietmar Hamann to join him at the Reebok Stadium. The former Liverpool ace even penned a pre-contract agreement with Bolton, much to the delight of Allardyce. However, the whole situation proved too good to be true as just 24 hours after giving his word to the Trotters, Hamann had a change of heart and signed for Manchester City. The Blues paid their Premier League rivals £400,000 in compensation, but Bolton felt robbed.

Robert Jarni

There was an air of excitement not normally seen around Coventry City in the summer of 1998 when it was announced that Croatian full-back Robert Jarni was on his way to the club. The legendary defender had just helped his country to finish third in the World Cup finals of that year and boasted the likes of Juventus and Real Betis on an impressive CV. Quite what he was doing at Highfield Road was anybody's guess, but few cared enough to question his motives. Unfortunately those dreams were soon shattered as Real Madrid flexed their muscles and whipped Jarni away back to Spain. Coventry did make a tidy profit on a player who failed to make a single appearance - and there were reports of underhand tactics involving Real, who Betis had refused to do business with - but that came as little consolation to Sky Blues supporters who never got the opportunity to see the buccaneering star in action.

Hameur Bouazza

Having grown tired of life in England after taking in spells at Watford, Swindon, Fulham, Charlton and Birmingham, Hameur Bouazza went in search of a fresh start in the summer of 2009. His destination - Turkey. The Algerian decided that Sivasspor would be his next port of call, publicly declaring his excitement at taking on a new challenge. That feeling soon faded, though, as Turkish delight became a Turkish nightmare after less than a week. Bouazza spent just five days with his new employers, making one lacklustre performance in a 3-0 defeat to Shahktar Donetsk in the Europa League qualifiers. Sivasspor did little to try and persuade him to change his mind after being informed of his imminent exit, claiming team morale was more important than one player. Bouazza cut his losses, swallowed his pride and returned to England to join Championship outfit Blackpool.

Christian Vieri

Remarkably, throughout the course of an 18-year career, Christian Vieri spent more than 12 months at any one club just once - with Inter Milan between 1999 and 2005. The journeyman striker was partial to the odd transfer, usually ones involving ridiculously inflated fees. His shortest stint of all, among much competition, came in 2006 when he agreed to join Sampdoria but lasted just over a month in Genoa. Having penned a one-year contract with the Serie A outfit, following his release by Monaco, Vieri lasted just 35 days at Samp. Before making an appearance he was off to Atalanta, were he lasted marginally longer. The former Italy international decided to hang up his boots in 2009, after taking in spells at 12 different clubs, and can now be found trying his hand at professional poker - a game which requires him to sit still for long periods of time!

Clive Allen

Sticking with the striker theme, we turn our attention to Clive Allen. A man who would go on to become a hero at Tottenham Hotspur enjoyed a less than memorable spell with their North London rivals Arsenal a few years prior to his arrival at White Hart Lane. Allen had made a name for himself after progressing through the youth ranks at Queens Park Rangers. His talent did not go unnoticed, with the Gunners moving for his services in 1980. He would not hang around Highbury for long, though, as less than two months later he was shipped off to Crystal Palace in a deal which saw England defender Kenny Sansom heading in the opposite direction. Reports suggest that, in much a similar way to the Jarni-Real Madrid deal already covered, Arsenal only agreed to take Allen as go-betweens in a deal between QPR and Palace. These rumours have never been confirmed, but go some way to explaining why he was given so little time to make an impression with the Gunners.

Marco Boogers

Dutch frontman Marco Boogers has become something of a footballing enigma, with his career most noted for a miserable spell at West Ham in 1995. He joined the Hammers in a £750,000 deal and was expected to provide an attacking threat. He did pose a threat to the opposition in sorts, but only to their ability to walk. In just his second outing for West Ham he was sent off for a reckless challenge on Manchester United's Gary Neville, moments after entering the fray as a substitute, and would never appear for the club again. He beat a hasty retreat to Holland in order to compose himself, with reports of depression doing the rounds. A tale was also published claiming that Boogers had returned to his homeland and set up a new life in a mobile home, although these reports have since been branded as nothing more than an urban myth. Boogers, though, has never been able to shake off the story and remains the barmy striker who ran away from football to live in a caravan.

Mauricio Taricco

Argentine defender Mauricio Taricco enjoyed a productive career, taking in spells at Argentinos Juniors, Ipswich and Tottenham. Most noted for his time in England, the combative full-back was held in high regard throughout the game and was a firm fans' favourite at the clubs he turned out for. The one exception to that rule is West Ham. Admittedly he had little time in which to establish cult status, making only one appearance for the club. He joined the Hammers as a free agent in 2004, with Alan Pardew delighted to have brought his considerable experience and determination on board. However, he suffered a serious hamstring injury 27 minutes into his first outing and would never shake off the problem. He announced his retirement from the professional game soon after, offering to terminate his contract at West Ham without a pay-off as he felt he was not worthy of a financial settlement.

Ali Dia

We round things off with one of the most infamous stories in the history of the Premier League. It may not, technically, involve a transfer, but it does include a player who made a very fleeting appearance on English football's grandest stage and is worth including regardless. Quite what was going through Graeme Souness' head when he offered Dia a one-month contract in 1996 is a matter for another time, as the Scot was well and truly duped. He claimed to have received a phone call from former World Footballer of the Year George Weah informing him that his cousin, Dia, was a Senegalese international who may be of use to him. Souness, no questions asked, signed him up and threw him straight into action as a substitute - replacing Saints legend Matthew Le Tissier - in a top flight fixture against Leeds. Needless to say Dia lived up to his name and was subsequently hauled off himself, never to be seen again.

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