Anthony Guy ("Tony") Cascarino (born 1 September 1962 in St Paul's Cray, Orpington, Kent, England) is a surprisingly popular functional ex-striker, a self-confessed fake Irishman, an accidental drug cheat, gambler and wife beater.
Traded for training tops
At the start of his career, Cascarino famously signed for Gillingham from youth side Crockenhill in exchange for a set of tracksuits and some other stuff that was lying around at the Priestfield Stadium.
It was a deal that would haunt Crockenhill in later years when Cascarino’s value rose to over 30 training tops and a blender during his time at Milwall.
Old-school professional, Old-fashioned target man, Drug cheat
Back when Cascarino was a player, professional footballers could get away with almost anything. The likes of Vinnie Jones and the Crazy Gang would regularly turn up to games drunk, pursued by police cars and dragging a body along in a bin bag.
By comparison, Cascarino was only slightly unprofessional when he chose a cheeseburger and chips as his pre-match meal and sometimes played for Milwall while wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
Nonetheless, the jobbing striker netted regularly in a succession of gritty sides playing joyless, no-nonsense football before peaking at Marseille, who had just won the worst Champions League Final (or indeed game of football) to date in 1993.
Sadly, Cascarino’s success at Marseille was belittled when it later emerged that the French side were huge cheats. In his surprisingly candid (and interesting) autobiography ‘Full Time: The Secret Life Of Tony Cascarino’, Cascarino revealed that he had been given injections of performance enhancing drugs during his time in France under the guidance of president Bernard Tapie, who was an enormous crook.
Kent native Cascarino qualified to represent the Republic Of Ireland by being pretty tall and not quite good enough to play for England.
However, in contrast to Mick McCarthy and many others who wore the Ireland shirt before visiting the Emerald Isle, Cascarino has openly admitted that he had no right to play for Jack Charlton’s men.
“I didn’t qualify for Ireland. I was a fraud – a fake Irishman,” he admitted in ‘Full Time: The Secret Life Of Tony Cascarino’.
Shitty, popular man
Cascarino didn’t let his position in the media spotlight prevent him from beating up his (now former) wife. He was arrested and bailed in December 2008 for ‘doing a Collymore on ex-partner Virginie’.
Like Stan Collymore he is a pretty nasty piece of work but strangely, unlike Collymore, he is generally well liked by most football fans. Welsh band Los Campesinos! reference Cascarino in their (awful) song ‘All Your Kayfabe Friends’ with the lines: ‘You asked if I'd be anyone from history, fact or fiction, dead or alive: I said, "I'd be Tony Cascarino, circa 1995’.
Spat with Keane
In April 2009, Cascarino questioned Ipswich Town’s decision to appoint borderline psychopath Roy Keane as manager.
This sparked a war of words during which it was established that both men know ‘awful things’ about the other. It is almost certain that Keane and Cascarino killed a man while on Republic of Ireland duty.