What is a journeyman in football?
In football, the journeyman refers to those players who played for several football clubs. Some players shift numerous clubs throughout their football careers. They are known as journeymen footballers. Top famous journeyman in football history are Rivaldo, Romario, Christian Vieri, Samuel Eto’o, Andy Cole, Jefferson Louis, Lutz Pfannenstiel, Drewe Broughton, Frank Worthington, and many more. Some of these players played more than 30 clubs in their whole football career.
So let’s explore the list of top Football journeyman in the history. Here we discuss about 10 players with most number of club and 10 Successful players with most number of club.
|Journeyman Name||Number of Club|
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Zlatan Ibrahimović – 11 Club
Zlatan already played for 11 clubs in his professional football career. He started his career with Malmö FF in 1999 and currently playing for A.C. Milan. Zlatan is one of the top ten players to play for the Swedish national team with 100+ appearances.
There are so many journeymen in the history of football. There are many players are currently playing, have gone above ten clubs at the end of their careers. In today’s world of ‘professional’ football, such diversity is not something new. Right?
|Internazionale (Inter Milan)||2006–2009||88||57|
Drewe Broughton – 21 club
English player Drewe Broughton has played in every division from 1st to 8th in England. He played for 21 soccer clubs in his 16 years career. However, He played less than ten matches in 12 of these clubs. His shift was limited to England. He went down to the field for every club he played for.
|Wigan Athletic (loan)||1997||4||0|
|Nuneaton Borough (loan)||2000||10||2|
|Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||2000||9||5|
|Stevenage Borough (loan)||2000–2001||4||3|
|Kidderminster Harriers (loan)||2001||19||7|
|Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||2004||21||6|
|Wycombe Wanderers (loan)||2004–2005||3||0|
|Rushden & Diamonds||2005–2006||37||10|
|Boston United (loan)||2006–2007||25||8|
|Milton Keynes Dons||2007–2008||13||0|
|Lincoln City (loan)||2010||7||0|
|AFC Wimbledon (loan)||2011||8||2|
Frank Worthington – 24 club
Playing in Europe, North America, and Africa, this British forward played for 24 football clubs in his 24-year career. Worthington’s career began at the Huddersfield Town club in 1966. You will be amazed at his early football career. He was at Huddersfield from 1966 to 1972. During this time, he played 171 matches for Huddersfield. Later, He played for Leicester City F.C. from 1972 to 1977, where he played 210 games. Frank Worthington spent the first 11 years of his football career in these two clubs.
Then He played for 22 teams for the next 13 years. Frank Worthington played for seven clubs in the last three years of his career. He went to field for all clubs he played for Except F.C. Halifax Town (his last club).
|Philadelphia Fury (loan)||1979||21||10|
|Mjällby AIF (loan)||1980||12||4|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies (loan)||1981||26||11|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1984–1985||31||7|
|Preston North End||1987||23||3|
|Cape Town Spurs||1988||–||–|
|Halifax Town (player-coach)||1991–1992||0||0|
Trevor Benjamin – 29 club
This Jamaican forward started his career for Cambridge United, has played for 29 teams in his 19-year career. Trevor was in Cambridge United for the first five years, playing for them in 123 matches. He joined Leicester City in 2000. However, Trevor remained in Leicester City until 2005, where he played in 81 games. During this period, Trevor went on loan to 7 clubs. Except Australia’s Sunshine George Cross for a short time, his entire career was in England.
|Crystal Palace (loan)||2001–2002||6||1|
|Norwich City (loan)||2002||6||0|
|West Bromwich Albion (loan)||2002||3||1|
|Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||2003–2004||6||1|
|Brighton & Hove Albion (loan||2004||10||5|
|Northampton Town (loan)||2004–2005||4||2|
|Swindon Town (loan)||2006||8||2|
|Boston United (loan)||2007||3||0|
|Sunshine George Cross||2010||0||0|
|Morpeth Town (loan)||2010||2||0|
|Seaton Delaval Amateurs||2012||–||–|
Richard Pacquette – 32 club
This 37-year-old Dominican footballer’s club career is within England. His club numbers and age are very close. He played in ‘only’ 32 clubs so far. Richard Pacquette played in all the first division League except the English Premier League. Richards’ career is not over yet. At this speed, his club number could exceed 40 at the end of his career!
|Queens Park Rangers||2000–2004||31||6|
|Stevenage Borough (loan)||2002–2003||7||2|
|Dagenham & Redbridge (loan)||2003–2004||3||1|
|Mansfield Town (loan)||2004||5||1|
|Milton Keynes Dons||2004||5||0|
|St Albans City||2005||1||0|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||2005||2||0|
|Hampton & Richmond Borough||2005||6||0|
|Havant & Waterlooville||2006–2008||66||22|
|Maidenhead United (loan)||2008||5||3|
|Hayes & Yeading United||2011||18||4|
|Hampton & Richmond Borough||2015–2016||11||2|
|Walton & Hersham||2016||5||3|
|Hampton & Richmond Borough||2016||0||0|
Jefferson Louis – 38 club
Jefferson Louis played just one match for the Dominica national team but played in 38 clubs across England in his 24-year career. That’s right. The number is 38. Louis may not have gone outside of England, but his shifting in different parts of England was quite long. Risborough Rangers, Oxford United, Chesham United – Louis can’t stay long in a club without these three clubs. There are about 15 clubs where he could not play even ten matches. However, he played at least one match in 38 clubs.
In an interview, Jefferson Louis said that he felt cursed. He is still playing. Now under contract with St. Albans City, Louis is very close to the milestone of playing for 40 clubs. Jefferson Louis is called the ‘Ultimate journeyman’ of football.
|Gravesend & Northfleet (loan)||2004||5||2|
|Forest Green Rovers||2004||8||1|
|Hemel Hempstead Town||2005||1||1|
|Havant & Waterlooville||2007||20||5|
|Rushden & Diamonds (loan)||2009–2010||26||7|
|Hayes & Yeading United||2011||10||1|
|Hampton & Richmond Borough||2019||6||1|
|St Albans City||2019-||5||2|
John Burridge – 29 club
John Burridge is a British goalkeeper. He played for 29 teams in his entire career. He made his debut for Workington in 1969 and ended his career in 1997 for the Blyth Spartans. On loan, he joined Blackpool football club in 1971. John Burridge remained there on a permanent contract till 1975. He played career-high 131 matches for Blackpool. From there, he joined Aston Villa.
In 1978, John went to Southend United on a short loan deal. Later he made a permanent contract with Crystal Palace. John Burridge left Crystal Palace in 1980 to join the Queens Park Rangers. Then he came to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1980. After spending two years, John joined Derby County on a short-term loan. He joined Sheffield United in 1984. From 1987 to 1993, John spent two years each in Southampton, Newcastle United and Hibernian. He played more than 60 matches for all three teams.
From 1993 to 1997, he was in 14 clubs squad. These Clubs are Scarborough, Lincoln City, Enfield, Aberdeen, Newcastle United, Dunfermline Athletic, Dumbarton, Falkirk, Manchester City, Notts County, Witton Albion, Darlington, Grimsby Town, Gateshead and Northampton Town, Queen of the South, Purfleet, Blyth Spartans, Scarborough, Blyth Spartans. He can’t go to the field for most of these clubs. He was team’s emergency goalkeeper. John Burridge played for Man City and became a record holder. He holds the record for the oldest player to play in the Premier League.
|Southend United (loan)||1978||6||0|
|Queens Park Rangers||1980–1982||39||0|
|Derby County (loan)||1984||6||0|
|Queen of the South||1996||6||0|
Sebastián Abreu – 27 club
Sebastián Abreu – Uruguayan forward, who has played for 27 clubs in 11 countries, began his career in 1995 at a local club Defensor. Next year he joined the Argentine club, San Lorenzo. From there, Abreu moved to the Spanish club Deportivo La Coruña in 1998. But even though he was there till 2004, Abreu played only 15 matches.
The whole time he spent playing in different clubs on loan. In 1998 Brazilian club Grêmio, Mexican Tecos F.C in 1999, again in San Lorenzo in 2000, Uruguayan Nacional and Mexican Cruz Azul in 2001, Mexican club América in 2003 and back in Tecos F.C. While at Deportivo La Coruña, Abreu played for five other clubs.
Sebastián Abreu left Deportivo La Coruña permanently in 2004 and returned to Nacional. But a year later, he joined the Mexican club Dorados de Sinaloa. The following year Sebastián played for Monterrey and San Luis. Next year for Tigres UANL. In Tigres UANL, He was the only foreign player to score against both teams in the Clásico Regio. In 2007 He joined River Plate, one of the best clubs in Argentina, on loan.
He played 17 matches there. In 2008 Sebastián Abreu went to the Beitar Jerusalem Club in Israel. But never played a single match there. Then he Returned to Club River Plate again, but get no chance in the team. He came to Real Sociedad on loan in 2009. Then He spent six months in Aris Thessaloniki, Greece.
In 2010 Abreu signed a permanent contract with the Brazilian club Botafogo. He spends two consecutive years of his career, playing 93 matches in this club, which is maximum. On loan joined Brazilian Figueirense in 2012. Abreu returned to Nacional in 2013. But then had to go on loan to Rosario Central in Argentina. He joined Ecuadorian club Aucas in 2015 on loan.
Sebastián Abreu didn’t stop his journey even at the age of 40. In 2016, he played for Paraguay’s Sol de América and El Salvador’s Santa Tecla. In 2017 he played for Bangu in Brazil, Central Español in Uruguay, and Puerto Montt in Chile. From there, Abreu e played for Chile’s Audax Italiano in 2018 and later for Magallanes. In 2019 he joined the Club Rio Branco in Brazil. The same year Abreu returned to Uruguay to the Boston River. He is currently in both the role of player and coach in this team. Sebastián Abreu joined the team wearing 113 number jersey.
|Deportivo La Coruña||1998–2004||15||3|
|San Lorenzo (loan)||2000–2001||25||10|
|Cruz Azul (loan)||2002–2003||39||34|
|River Plate (loan)||2008||17||2|
|Real Sociedad (loan)||2009||18||11|
|Rosario Central (loan)||2013–2014||38||8|
|Sol de América||2016||10||2|
Lutz Pfannenstiel – 25 club
Lutz Pfannenstiel was the very first player to play professional football on six continents. At this time, he played for 25 clubs. Lutz started his senior career in 1990 for the German club FC Vilshofen. In 1991 he joined the German club FC Bad Kötzting. In this club, he played the highest 68 matches of his career.
At that time, German giant FC Bayern Munich expressed their interest in him. But Lutz confirmed that he couldn’t be a first-choice goalkeeper for Bayern Munich. So Lutz Pfannenstiel did not agree to a contract with Bayern. For being the number one goalkeeper, he traveled all over the world.
In 1993 Lutz Pfannenstiel moved to USA football club FA Penang. From there, he came to the English club AFC Wimbledon in 1994. Next year Lutz joined Nottingham Forest F.C. While in the Nottingham Forest, He went to the South African club Orlando Pirates F.C. on loan. Lutz came to Singapore after England’s journey.
For some time, he joined the Singapore club Sembawang Rangers FC. In 1997, he was part of the TPV (Tampereen Pallo-Veikotand) and FC Haka Valkeakoski football club in Finland. Lutz went to Germany in 1998 to join the SV Wacker Burghausen (Wacker Burghausen). Later he returned to Singapore and joined Geylang United (Geylang International FC). He played the second highest 46 matches in his career at this club.
In April 2001, Lutz Pfannenstiel Joined the New Zealand club Dunedin Technical A.F.C. Two months later, he returned to England on loan, this time at Bradford Club. Then again on Loan to Huddersfield Town A.F.C. In June 2002, they returned to Germany to join the ASV Cham on loan. Later in Norway’s ‘Beram’ club(Brighton & Hove Albion) in 2003. He had to fly to New Zealand repeatedly during the break of the loan period.
Lutz Pfannenstiel joined the Calgary Mustangs club in Canada on a permanent contract in 2004. But he can’t break up with New Zealand. He played for New Zealand’s ‘Otago United’ (Southern United) for two consecutive years.
He joined Albanian club KS Vllaznia in 2006 under a contract. Next year Lutz went to the Armenian club Bentonit Ijevan. A month later, he returned to Bærum SK in Norway. After a month, Pfannenstiel moved to Vancouver Whitecaps football club, Canada. He spends six months at Hermann Aichinger in Brazil, Flekkerøy IL, and Manglerud Star in Norway.
Lutz Pfannenstiel joined the Namibian Ramblers soccer Club in 2009. and played for this club till 2011.
Lutz ended his professional football career in this club.
|1. FC Bad Kötzting||1991–1993||68||0|
|Orlando Pirates (loan)||1996–1997||7||0|
|Bradford Park Avenue (loan)||2001–2002||1||0|
|Bradford Park Avenue (loan)||2002–2003||14||0|
|Bærum SK (loan)||2003||13||0|
Top 10 Successful football journeyman
|Player Name||Number of Club|
There are a few other journeymen beside the mentioned footballers, but their club list is under 20. Among them is Rivaldo of Brazil. He played for 15 clubs throughout his career. Romário, one of the best strikers in football history, has played in 10 clubs. Also, Marcus Bent of England played for 14 clubs, Andy Cole played for 13, and Peter Crouch played for ten clubs throughout his career. Italian footballer Christian Vieri played for 13 clubs.
Frenchman Nicolas Anelka played for 12 clubs. He is unique among so many football journeyman, Cause he played for giant clubs like PSG, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Juventus. In terms of clubs, his profile is the most advanced among other journeymen.
Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o has a close number of clubs like Nicolas Anelka. In his 22-year career, he played for 13 clubs, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Chelsea. Irish player Robbie Keane has played for ten clubs, and United States’s Freddy Adu played for 14 clubs.