Footballers and fighting doesn’t tend to mix well on the pitch – especially when you consider how brutal skirmishes are in other sports like rugby.
Fights between football stars tend to pale in comparison, with fans and the media describing them as nothing more than handbags. On the odd occasion, however, neutrals have been treated to some truly epic clashes – particularly those between team-mates – and, thanks to your votes, we can reveal which Premier League tussle between squadmates was deemed the most shocking.
There’s nothing astonishing about which battle comes out on top really, with the scrap between Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer during their time at Newcastle taking top spot.
Lee Bowyer v Kieron Dyer
Supporters of a certain age will remember the spat involving the two Magpies stars back in 2005, with tempers flaring after a heated argument 81 minutes into their side’s eventual 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa. Verbal abuse was traded, punches were landed and team-mates were forced to wade in to pull the pair apart before they were both handed straight red cards for violent conduct.
Then-Newcastle boss Graeme Souness revealed that he had “never seen anything like it” in the immediate aftermath, while his two stars offered grovelling public apologies at a press conference some time later.
Back in 2014, Dyer revealed that it was Bowyer questioning why the winger wouldn’t pass the ball to him, as well as the former telling the ex-midfielder exactly what he thought of his footballing ability, that had kicked the fight off. The moral of the story? Don’t get on either players’ bad side!
Steve McManaman v Bruce Grobbelaar
To one of the most fiercely contested derbies in England now, with the Merseyside derby playing host to another brawl between team-mates.
This time, however, it was Liverpool’s Steve McManaman and Bruce Grobbelaar who came to blows. The Reds were trailing 2-0 to city rivals Everton and, with Grobbelaar off on one of his trademark rants, McManaman’s temper got the better of him as the winger confronted the notoriously eccentric goalkeeper.
Both players gave as good as they got, but McManaman jogged off before things got heated a la Dyer and Bowyer. We wonder who would have won that particular fight if it had gone all the way…
Andy Griffin v Ricardo Fuller
Around 15 years and a trip down the M56 later brings us to the spat between Stoke City’s Ricardo Fuller and Andy Griffiths, with the former sent off for slapping his captain during an encounter in 2008.
The Jamaica striker revealed later that year that Griffiths’ “rude and disrespectful” comments had led him to strike his team-mate across the face after he had accused the defender of not clearing the ball properly – a decision that led to West Ham’s Carlton Cole netting for the home side.
Fuller was sent off his raising his hands, and was fined two weeks’ wages by the Potters for his ill-discipline. We wonder what he would have got had he punched Griffiths instead!
Graeme Le Saux v David Batty
Lastly – and this really should be higher as it’s a proper scrap! – sees Blackburn heroes Graeme Le Saux and David Batty at loggerheads with each other against Spartak Moscow.
The 1995 Premier League champions saw two of their stars embroiled in a bout of fisticuffs after the pair got in each other’s way when trying to keep the ball in play during a 3-0 defeat in Russia. It took peacekeepers Tim Sherwood and Colin Hendry to step in and pull the pair apart, so we’ll never find out who would have won this particular bout.