Paulo Cesar Wanchope Watson (born 31 July 1976 in Heredia) was a Costa Rican striker with infeasibly long legs.
Wanchope was extremely tall. In total there was about six and bit foot of him and it was mostly legs.
The Costa Rican star was a nightmare for defenders who would often tackle him eight or nine times only to see the ball still stuck somewhere in another region of Wanchope’s legs.
The clumsy looking Wanchope didn’t take long to endear himself to English football fans. After being snapped up by the nasally endowed Jim Smith, he scored a ridiculous goal on his Derby County debut against Manchester United using his rubbery legs to make fools of four defenders before beating Peter Schmeichel, whose roar of anguish deafened Dennis Irwin.
Like Nwankwo Kanu, Wanchope was potentially devastating but was blighted by not really seeming to give much of a shit about football.
Regularly, especially in his West Ham days, Wanchope would lose track of what he was doing. This often proved costly when what he was doing was stroking the ball in from six yards.
This trend continued at Manchester City where Wanchope was a love/hate figure. He left for a brief spell of continent hopping and retired to become a manager. A manager with very long legs.
Wanchope’s international career was hampered by the fact that his nation was Costa Rica.
In the regrettable 2006 World Cup, Paolo scored twice in the opening game against Germany. Sadly, the rest of the Costa Rica team was people like Jervis Drummond, so they lost 4-2.
Some commentators would make a real show of pronouncing Wanchope’s name as ‘Wan-chop-eh’, others called him the more common ‘Wan-chop’.
The latter was probably right, but some people cared far too much.