Top 10: On-pitch teammate bust ups

David Batty v Graeme Le Saux
“No, YOU give Shearer a lift home afterwards!”

Wigan Athletic pair Emmerson Boyce and James McArthur had to be separated by their captain Gary Caldwell after squaring up during Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at home to Liverpool, so Football Burp got thinking on other on-pitch teammate bust ups from recent times. We’ve only gone and wrung a top 10 out of it…

Nathan Dyer v Jonathan De Guzman

This one only happened the other week, so you’ll probably recall that Dyer wanted to take a penalty of his own winning in order to round off a League Cup final hattrick, but the cool, calm and collected Dutchman was having none of it. Good thing he scored it.

David Batty v Graeme Le Saux

In his autobiography, Le Saux cites this spat as symbolising the fall from grace of Blackburn’s title-winning side of the mid-’90s. During a Champions League first round match at Spartak Moscow, the Guardian-reading full-back took the ball off gritty Yorkshireman Batty but miscued a pass out for a throw-in. Batty berated Le Saux, Le Saux threw a punch, and the ensuing melee earned them both a two-game European ban.

Steve McManaman v Bruce Grobbelaar

A weak, flapped clearance from McManaman presented the ball straight to Mark Ward to put Everton 1-0 up in a 1993 derby at Goodison. Liverpool goalkeeper Grobbelaar went beserk at the young winger and tried to grab him by the throat. McManaman’s hasty retreat at this juncture was a smart move on his part.

Grobbelaar would later say of the incident:

I was actually after the person who turned his back on the ball [Mark Walters] and I realised that, if I did something, then people would say I was racist. So I turned to Steve McManaman, who’s the same colour as me, and I shouted, “Put it away, not back into play!” And that was that. So I found Mark in the bath after the game and I took his hair and put it under the bath water and I sat on his head. That’s the person that I was after in the first place.

Lee Bowyer v Kieron Dyer

These two delightful characters were both at Newcastle when they pretty much tried to kill each other in 2005. Minutes after going 3-0 down at home to Aston Villa, the pair squared up to each other while play was still ongoing and presumably intended to hold a civil discussion concerning their side’s inadequacies. Unfortunately, Lee Bowyer’s psychotic tendencies got the better of him and they had to be broken up by Villa skipper Gareth Barry before they were both sent off. “I’ve never witnessed that,” said their manager Graeme Souness, who just so happened to be Liverpool manager at the time of the McManaman-Grobbelaar incident. Hmmm.

Emmanuel Adebayor v Nicklas Bendtner

While 4-1 down to bitter rivals Spurs in a Carling Cup semi-final, the Arsenal strikers locked horns just as their side was about to take a corner. The Dane had incurred a bloodied nose – allegedly from an Adebayor head-butt – before captain William Gallas separated the two, Mathieu Flamini urging the Togolese striker to “calm down” from the dugout all the while. At full-time, a member of Arsenal’s medical staff appeared to be holding Adebayor back as the players trudged defeated down the tunnel. “No, I haven’t seen that – I don’t know what you are talking about, I can’t give any answer on that,” said manager Arsene Wenger when questioned about the incident. No change there, then.

According to Adebayor, the incident had its roots in the dressing room:

There was a rule at Arsenal where no one is allowed to come into the dressing room with trainers or house shoes on. I cannot understand why Nicklas came every day with his shoes on.

I said, “Nicklas, you are a footballer, I am a footballer. Maybe I am better than you, maybe you are better than me but you have to respect everyone. There are rules saying you cannot come into the dressing-room with your house shoes. Take them off.”

I cannot accept that. Even if that happened tomorrow at City, I would fight with somebody.

Reassuring to know.

Ricardo Fuller v Andy Griffin

Slack defending from Stoke skipper Griffin allowed West Ham United striker Carlton Cole ample time and space with which to fire in an equaliser when the two clubs met in December. Just before the restart, Jamaica international Ricardo Fuller wandered over to Griffin and slapped him, before the obligatory separation by team-mates. “I simply said to Griff ‘clear the ball out’ and he was very rude and disrespectful,” said Fuller. “What he said was bad but what I did was worse.” Fuller was sent-off and later fined £20,000 by his club.

Jamie Carragher v Alvaro Arbeloa

Things got a bit ‘shovey’ between the Liverpool defenders after the former blamed the latter for leaving West Bromwich Albion’s Marc-Antoine Fortune unmarked at the far post, with Xabi Alonso stepping in to pull the pair apart.

Mario Balotelli v Aleksandar Kolarov

With Manchester City 3-1 down at home to Sunderland, there was something of a dispute about who should get to take a free-kick, with Balotelli – who would go on to rescue a point for City – having to be ushered away by Vincent Kompany. Let’s face it, Kompany’s a good man for the ushering job.

Roger Johnson v Wayne Hennessey

A failed clearance was again the order of the day as the Wolverhampton Wanderers pair squared up last March in a match they would go on to lose 3-2 to Bolton Wanderers.

Ben Foster v Peter Odemwingie

One month after Johnson v Hennessey, the West Bromwich Albion duo squared up during a 2-0 defeat at Everton, the former apparently upset with the latter for not marking tightly enough at a short corner.

Which are your favourite on-pitch teammate bust ups? Have your say in the comments section below…