Sol Campbell

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Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell2014.jpg
Campbell in 2014
Personal information
Full name Sulzeer Jeremiah Campbell[1]
Date of birth (1974-09-18) 18 September 1974 (age 40)[1]
Place of birth Plaistow, England
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)[2]
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
1988–1989 West Ham United
1989–1992 Tottenham Hotspur
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–2001 Tottenham Hotspur 255 (10)
2001–2006 Arsenal 135 (8)
2006–2009 Portsmouth 95 (2)
2009 Notts County 1 (0)
2010 Arsenal 11 (0)
2010–2011 Newcastle United 7 (0)
Total 504 (20)
National team
1994–1996 England U21 11 (2)
1994–2006 England B 2 (0)
1996–2007 England 73 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Sulzeer Jeremiah "Sol" Campbell (born 18 September 1974) is a retired English footballer. A central defender, Campbell has played for Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Notts County and Newcastle United, as well as the English national team.

Born in east London to Jamaican parents, Campbell's professional debut was at the age of 18 for FA Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in December 1992. Campbell spent nine years at Tottenham, scoring 10 goals in 255 appearances, and captaining the team to victory in the 1999 Football League Cup Final against Premier League side Leicester City. In 2001 he controversially joined Tottenham's North London rivals Arsenal, the first high profile free transfer within the Premier League under the Bosman ruling. In his five years and 195 appearances at Arsenal he won two Premier League winners medals and two FA Cup winners medals, encompassing the 2001–02 League and FA Cup double, and being part of the team that became known as The Invincibles for their undefeated 2003–04 Premier League campaign. Campbell was also part of the side that lost 2–1 to Barcelona in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final, in which he scored the only goal for Arsenal. In August 2006 he joined Premier League side Portsmouth on a free transfer; his three years with the club included captaining them to success in the 2008 FA Cup Final against Championship side Cardiff City.

At the end of the 2008–09 season he made the surprise move of dropping down three levels of the English football pyramid to join League Two side Notts County on a free transfer, signing a five-year deal at the club where his former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson had recently become Director of Football. Campbell left the club by mutual consent in September 2009, having played just one game for the club.

Campbell gained his first full cap for the England national football team aged 21. In May 1998 Campbell became what was then England's second-youngest captain, after Bobby Moore, aged 23 years 248 days. Campbell's first and only goal for England came in the 2002 World Cup in the opening group game against Sweden. In 2006 Campbell become the only player to have represented England in six consecutive major tournaments, playing in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championships, and the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and he has a career total of 73 England caps. He was named in the official Teams of the Tournament for the 2002 World Cup and 2004 European Championship.

Campbell's other honours in the game include being in the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year three times, in 1999, 2003 and 2004.

Early life[edit]

Campbell was born in Plaistow, Newham, London, to Jamaican parents Sewell and Wihelmina. He was the youngest of twelve children, nine of whom were boys. His father Sewell was a railway worker and his mother Wihelmina was a Ford factory worker. Despite growing up in a rough neighbourhood, Campbell veered away from a life of crime due to his strict parents.[3]

"I became a recluse within my own house. I became insular because at home there was no space to grow or to evolve, everything was tight and there was no room to breathe. People don't realise how that affects you as a kid. I wasn't allowed to speak, so my expression was football."[3]

Campbell attended the Portway Primary School in Plaistow, London and had secondary education at Lister Community School in Plaistow, London.[4] He was a prodigious schoolboy talent and was part-educated at the FA's School of Excellence at Lilleshall, where he met table tennis player and later football agent Sky Andrew.[5] Campbell signed for Tottenham Hotspur after a short spell with West Ham United, beginning his career as a striker.[3]

Club career[edit]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

Campbell made his first team debut for Tottenham in December 1992 against Chelsea, scoring a goal after coming on as a substitute for Nick Barmby, though he did not appear again that season. He played up front and in every defensive position over the course of the next two seasons before settling as a central defender. As club captain Gary Mabbutt's appearances became more limited because of injury and age, Campbell became Spurs' linchpin defender.

He was entering the last year of his contract with Spurs. Although Campbell successfully captained his side to a League Cup final win over Leicester City in 1998–99, Spurs never finished better than seventh during Campbell's time there.

In the summer of 2001 Campbell's contract expired. Mindful of the Bosman ruling and what happened with Steve McManaman (Britain's first high profile Bosman related transfer),[6] Tottenham offered him a contract which would have made him the club's highest paid player ever,[7] but after months of negotiations and several public assurances that he would stay at Spurs, Campbell stated his need to leave the club in order to play Champions League football, with the likes of England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson advising him of such a course.[8] Several top continental clubs expressed interest in signing him, but he joined Arsenal — Tottenham's biggest rivals — on a free transfer. Campbell had previously stated in an interview with Spurs Monthly magazine that he would never play for Arsenal.[9]

Ever since, he has been labelled "Judas" by Spurs supporters.[9][10] Years later the anger from Spurs supporters remained; in January 2009, four Tottenham Hotspur fans were banned from every football ground in England and Wales for three years after being found guilty of chanting an offensive song containing indecent language (with homophobic content and content which some observers mistakenly interpreted as racist because of a reference to Judas hanging from a tree[11]) aimed at Campbell.[12]


Campbell on his second spell at Arsenal in 2010 with Carlos Tevez.

In his first season at Arsenal, 2001–02, Campbell enjoyed immediate success, as he won both FA Premier League and FA Cup winners' medals as Arsenal won the Double. During the season, Campbell was partnered at the back by either Tony Adams or Martin Keown.

In 2002–03, Campbell maintained his Arsenal and England place, but an injury he suffered towards the end of the season curtailed the Gunners' title chances, eventually finishing runner-up and he also missed their successful retention of the FA Cup, and therefore a winner's medal, due to a suspension brought on by a controversial red card against Manchester United.[13] Campbell's performances were recognised however with a place in the Premier League team of the year.

The following season, 2003–04, saw Campbell form a new partnership with Kolo Touré, with the pair instrumental as he helped Arsenal regain the Premier League title without losing a single game. [14]

The unbeaten run continued into the following season, reaching an all time record 49 games. Campbell was unfortunate to be involved in the incident which brought the run to an end when Manchester United's Wayne Rooney gained a penalty at Campbell's expense. The defender had in fact withdrawn from the tackle and Rooney therefore dived in order to gain the spot kick.[15][16] The Gunners finished as Premier League runner-up in 2004–05, but saw Campbell collect his second FA Cup winners' medal, although Campbell was an unused substitute in the penalty shoot out victory over Manchester United in the final in Cardiff.

In the 2005–06 season, Campbell was blighted both with injuries and a loss of form.[17][18] In Arsenal's 3–2 home loss to West Ham United on 1 February, Campbell was largely responsible for West Ham's first two goals, before being substituted at half-time at his own request.[19] Unusually, he then left the stadium, not staying to watch the second half. His team-mate Robert Pirès commented that Campbell was facing a "big worry" in relation to his private life,[20] and Campbell did not make any contact with the club for several days. However, he resumed training with his team-mates on 6 February[21] and after 10 weeks away from first team action made his return in a draw away to Portsmouth on 13 April, although he sustained a broken nose in the process and had a short layoff while it was operated on.

He was back playing on 25 April in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Villarreal in Spain; a 0–0 draw on the night put the Gunners into the final. In the final at the Stade de France in Paris, Campbell scored the opening goal, a header from a free kick taken from Thierry Henry after a foul on Emmanuel Eboué. However ten-man Arsenal went on to lose 2–1 to Barcelona, although Campbell was at least involved in the best defensive run of any team in the history of the competition, with opponents failing to score against Arsenal in ten consecutive matches and a total of 995 minutes.[22] Campbell also holds the distinction, alongside Teddy Sheringham, Steve McManaman, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, as one of six Englishmen to have scored in the UEFA Champions League Final.[14]

On 8 July 2006, Arsenal announced that Campbell had parted ways with the club in order to seek "a fresh challenge".[23] He made 197 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 11 goals, in all competitions.

In 2008 Campbell was voted 15th in the "Gunners' Greatest 50 Players" poll.[24]


Campbell before a Portsmouth match in 2008.

On 8 August 2006 he completed his move to Premier League team Portsmouth, signing a two-year contract. This was seen by Wenger as a surprising decision, as Campbell signalled that he might move abroad;[25] although Campbell admitted to keeping his options open.[26] His time at Portsmouth started well, forming a successful partnership in the centre of defence with Linvoy Primus and helping them keep five consecutive clean sheets. He scored his first Portsmouth goal in the 3–1 win over Sheffield United on 23 December 2006.[27]

He was named as captain for the 2007–08 season by Harry Redknapp. He signed a new two-year contract with the club.[28] He led Pompey out as captain at Wembley Stadium in the 2008 FA Cup Final, which they won 1–0 against Cardiff City, as Campbell collected his third FA Cup winner's medal.

In January 2010, Campbell sued Portsmouth for £1.7 million in unpaid image rights and bonus payments.[29]

Notts County[edit]

Campbell left Portsmouth in July 2009, when his contract expired, and signed a five-year deal with League Two side Notts County the following month.[30] Campbell said that Notts, who had recently been the subject of a takeover by a Middle Eastern consortium, were the best club for "where I am at the moment in my life", and that the recent appointment of ex-England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson (whom he played under at international level) as director of football played a "big role" in his decision. Two of his former managers, Arsène Wenger (Arsenal) and Harry Redknapp (Portsmouth at the time), expressed their surprise on seeing Campbell sign for a League Two club.[30] Campbell made his debut for County in the 2–1 defeat to Morecambe at Christie Park on 19 September.[31] On 22 September, having made just one appearance for the club, Campbell walked out on Notts County and his contract was cancelled by mutual consent the following day.

Return to Arsenal[edit]

Campbell marking Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross in 2010

Campbell began training with the Arsenal side in mid-October 2009, in a bid to maintain his fitness ahead of the January transfer window.[32] It was confirmed on 12 January 2010, that Campbell would participate in a reserve fixture against West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground, and that talks regarding a permanent move were being held.[33] He started the game and was substituted at half-time for Ignasi Miquel in the 4–2 win.[34] On 15 January, Campbell's transfer back to Arsenal was confirmed,[35] making him only the fifth player to rejoin the club in Arsenal's history. It was announced that he would wear the number 31.[36] On 24 January, Campbell re-debuted for Arsenal in an FA Cup match against Stoke City, a game Arsenal lost 3–1. He made his first league appearance as a substitute in the 0–0 draw at Aston Villa on 27 January. This appearance saw Campbell become only the third player to have played in 18 seasons of the Premier League since its inception (the others being Ryan Giggs and David James).

On 18 February 2010, Campbell scored his first goal in his second stint at the club with a headed goal against Porto in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, a 2–1 defeat. The match was his 200th appearance for the Gunners in all competitions and his first Champions League match since the 2006 final against Barcelona, in which he also scored.[37] Due to injuries to Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas in the latter end of the season, Campbell found himself starting frequently for Arsenal.

Newcastle United[edit]

Sol Campbell playing for Newcastle against Chelsea in 2010.

On 28 July 2010, after turning down an offer of a two-year contract with Scottish club Celtic, Campbell joined Newcastle United on a one-year contract. Campbell was given the number 5 shirt.[38] He made his first appearance for the club in the third-round Football League Cup win over Chelsea on 22 September 2010.[39] On 3 October 2010, the former England international made his Premiership debut for the club as a 38th-minute substitute for Fabricio Coloccini in a 2–1 away defeat to Manchester City, which saw him become only the second player after Ryan Giggs to play in all 19 seasons of the Premier League since its inception.[40]

On 28 November, Campbell made his first Premier League start for Newcastle against Chelsea. Campbell was given the captain's armband after Shola Ameobi was substituted. Campbell started again in Newcastle's next two fixtures with West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool, but lost his place upon the return of Fabricio Coloccini. After a long period out with viruses, Campbell returned to bench duty in January, making his first appearance in two months as a substitute in Newcastle's 2–0 win over Birmingham City on 15 February. He made his first start since December 2010 in a 4–0 away defeat to Stoke City FC, playing as part of a 3–5–2 formation alongside Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini. He only played sixty minutes, before being replaced by forward Nile Ranger as Newcastle chased the game at 3–0 down.

On 25 May 2011, manager Alan Pardew announced that Campbell had been released and as a result he became a free agent.[41] Subsequently, after failing to find a suitable club for almost a year after he became a free agent, he announced his retirement from football on 2 May 2012.[42]

International career[edit]

He made his international début as a substitute against Hungary on 18 May 1996. Although he had only one cap by the time Terry Venables selected his squad for Euro 96, Campbell made the squad as defensive cover. He won his second cap in England's 2–0 Group Stage match against Scotland, again as a substitute.

1998 World Cup[edit]

Over the next two years, under new manager Glenn Hoddle, Campbell became a regular member of England's defence, partnering Gareth Southgate and Tony Adams. On 29 May 1998, aged 23 years and 248 days, Campbell became England's second-youngest captain after Bobby Moore[43] in a 0–0 draw against Belgium, though Michael Owen subsequently overtook Campbell after captaining England against Paraguay in April 2002.[43] Campbell started all four of England's matches in the 1998 World Cup.

During the 1998 World Cup, Campbell was involved in a highly controversial incident in England's second round clash against Argentina.[44] With fewer than ten minutes to go, the score was 2–2 and England were down to ten men after David Beckham was sent off. Campbell headed a corner into the Argentinian net. He wheeled away to celebrate his first international goal, which appeared to be the golden goal which put England into the quarter finals, but the referee ruled that Alan Shearer had illegally contacted the goalkeeper and disallowed the goal. Campbell was still in the corner of the pitch dancing round the corner flag as Argentina restarted the game and counter-attacked. England eventually lost the game on penalties.

Euro 2000 and 2002 World Cup[edit]

Campbell was England's first choice centre-back throughout the successful qualification campaign for Euro 2000 and played in all three group games at the tournament, which England exited after defeat by Romania.

After the retirement of Tony Adams, Campbell partnered Rio Ferdinand in England's successful qualification campaign for the 2002 World Cup tournament to be held in Korea and Japan. He scored his only senior international goal at this tournament, a header off a corner kick by David Beckham in the opening group game against Sweden. The game ended 1–1, but in their next match England beat Argentina 1–0. Campbell's partnership with Rio Ferdinand was an integral part of a strong defensive performance throughout the tournament, and he was the only England player to be named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team. England progressed to the quarter finals, where they lost to eventual winners Brazil.

Euro 2004[edit]

Campbell maintained his place in the centre of defence as he took part in England's successful qualification campaign for Euro 2004. During the tournament, Campbell had a late goal disallowed as England fought to make progress in their quarter-final clash with hosts Portugal, with the score tied at 1–1, Campbell won a header in the opposition six-yard box to score what seemed to be a late winner for England. However, the referee, Urs Meier, decided that John Terry had pushed Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo and gave a free kick. The game ended 2–2 after extra time, and England lost the penalty shoot-out. Meier received death threats afterwards and felt forced to retire for his own safety.

Campbell continued to play for England after Euro 2004, although his place in the international team had become less secure since the emergence of the central defensive partnership of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, which blossomed during Campbell's period of absence with injury in 2005. Nevertheless, in October 2005 he won his 66th cap and earned himself (jointly) a place in the top 20 most capped England players.

2006 World Cup[edit]

Campbell was named in England's squad for the 2006 World Cup, but was third-choice centre back, with coach Sven-Göran Eriksson preferring the partnership of Ferdinand and Terry. However, after a knock to Ferdinand, Campbell came on as a substitute in England's group game against Sweden, which made him the first player to represent England on the pitch at six consecutive international tournaments.[45] As of 20 June 2006 he had played 69 times for England, scoring one goal. After Sven Goran Eriksson's resignation, new coach, Steve McClaren, choose to look elsewhere for central defensive strength and was dropped for his first game in charge against Greece in August 2006.

Failed Qualification for Euro 2008[edit]

After a great first season at Pompey, ahead of England's friendly with Germany, after injuries to Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson along with Jamie Carragher retiring from international football, Campbell was recalled to the national team a year after being dropped by head coach Steve McClaren. However, an injury forced him to pull out of the squad for the fixture.

McClaren recalled a fit Campbell for England's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia in October 2007. This time, Campbell was selected for the game and won his 70th cap after Terry suffered a knee injury in training. Campbell played three more times under McClaren as England's qualification campaign failed and the coach was dismissed.

World Cup 2010: Out from the national team[edit]

New coach Fabio Capello did not select Campbell for his first squad in January 2008. Campbell enjoyed a fine run of form on his return to Arsenal and had retained hope of making it to England's squad for the 2010 World Cup, which would have been his fourth outing on the world stage along with a record seventh major tournament for his country.[46] However, he was not named in Capello's 30-man preliminary squad, with the coach opting instead for Jamie Carragher and Ledley King among others as potential defensive cover for Rio Ferdinand and John Terry.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 2 June 2002 Saitama Stadiu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan  Sweden 1–0 1–1 2002 FIFA World Cup

International career statistics[edit]

England national team[47]
Year Apps Goals
1996 3 0
1997 9 0
1998 12 0
1999 5 0
2000 8 0
2001 5 0
2002 10 1
2003 4 0
2004 8 0
2005 2 0
2006 3 0
2007 4 0
Total 73 1


Campbell made an un-credited appearance in Guy Ritchie's film Snatch, as a bouncer at an unlicensed boxing fight.[48] He has also appeared on ITV's Footballer's Wives as himself.

Charitable work[edit]

In 2009 Campbell launched his charity "Kids go live" which allows inner city children to see a variety of live sporting events such as Wimbledon, The Olympics and rugby internationals.[49] If he wins the legal case against Portsmouth he plans to give much of the money to the charity.[50]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell's brother John was jailed for twelve months in 2005 after assaulting a man who suggested Sol was homosexual.[51] In 2008, he began dating interior designer, Fiona Barratt. They married in Corbridge, Northumberland on 17 July 2010.[52] He has a son, Joseph, from a previous relationship with Janet Tyler.[53]


Tottenham Hotspur[edit]




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  6. ^ url=""
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  11. ^ [1]
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  47. ^ Sol Campbell at
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  53. ^ £100,000 a week Sol giving just £300 to love child from Daily Mail retrieved 18 May 2014

External links[edit]