With the year drawing to a close, our series looks back at the highs, lows, absurd and brilliant from the world of football in 2012.
The Independent's football writers have been asked to come up with their moments of the year - and here they pick their villains...
Zenit St Petersburg fans, selected by Sam Wallace
Zenit St Petersburg fans' group who lobbied their club not to sign black or gay players. Joey Barton and Mario Balotelli were compelling contenders but their misdemeanours pale in comparison with the Zenit fans. What a loathsome bunch.
John Terry, selected by Ian Herbert
The press statement from him in October which masqueraded as an apology for his conduct towards Anton Ferdinand on the field of play was as far removed as you'll get from the example which needs to be set, to those young people who look on players as gods. It might have helped if he had at least had the courage to speak, rather than hide behind a press release.
Various villains, selected by Martin Hardy
The band that follows England. Match of the Day. Fans who throw coins. England's inability to pass a football. The Barcelona haters. Teams that change their strips for away games when they don't need to. The Europa League . Footballers who are not as badly hurt as they make out.
Coin thrower, selected by Steve Tongue
The Manchester City supporter whose coin hit Rio Ferdinand just above the eye. When fences were removed from English grounds after Hillsborough, an obligation was placed on all fans to behave appropriately. Cages and netting imposed to protect players would be a ghastly backwards step.
The Cardiff City board, selected by Jack Pitt-Brooke
There are few more important parts of a club's identity than its colours - just think of the number of nicknames and chants that are simple descriptions of their chosen shade.
So to change the colour is simple vandalism. To do so in exchange for increased funding is to put fans in a dreadful position. They are top of the Championship now, and can point to that as justification. But not everything can be measured or justified by wins and losses.
Thugs, selected by Glenn Moore
The savages who attacked Spurs fans in Rome, the thugs who beat up a linesman in the Netherlands, leading to his death, and the hooligans who throw missiles at players. Plus anyone guilty of racist abuse, on and off the pitch. In many respects it has not been a good year for the game. The authorities, and players and fans, need to reflect, then act, before football slips back into darkness.
Football review 2012...
- More about:
- Aston Villa
- Cardiff City Fc
- Fc Barcelona
- FC Zenit St. Petersburg
- Joey Barton
- Manchester City
- Premier League
- Queens Park Rangers
- Tottenham Hotspur