• First XIs

Turning on your team-mate

Robin Hackett
April 14, 2011
Giorgio Chinaglia battles with Juve's Gaetano Scirea in 1974 © PA Photos

After Mark Noble and Rob Green's confrontation during West Ham's 3-0 defeat at Bolton on Saturday, we look back at some of the players who have turned on their own team-mates.

Giorgio Chinaglia vs Vincent D'Amico (1974)
Chinaglia was voted the greatest player in Lazio's history in 2000 and was a leading star as the club won Serie A for the first time in 1974. While he was loved by the club's fans, though, he was despised by opposition supporters and even by many of those who worked with him. There are numerous stories of clashes with managers, team-mates and club officials during his early years with Swansea, Massese and Internapoli, and Swans president Glen David said Chinaglia would "never become a professional" after releasing him in 1966 despite his prolific efforts for the club's reserves. At Lazio, though, he established a strong bond with coach Tommaso Maestrelli that enabled him to flourish in spite of his indiscretions, but there was a fierce divide between the players at the club and Chinaglia was central to the disagreements. He had notably poor relationships with players including Franco Nanni Renzo Garlaschelli, Gigi Martini and D'Amico. Chinaglia - who has admitted that he "used to carry a pistol, a 44 magnum" and that the Lazio players "were nearly all armed" - put the divide at the club on public display when, during a 3-1 defeat against Inter at the San Siro, he kicked D'Amico on the behind following a dispute.

Derek Hales vs Mike Flanagan (1979)
Charlton forwards Hales and Flanagan were both sent off after a fist fight during a 1-1 draw in an FA Cup tie at home to non-league Maidstone United. The incident was sparked when Hales was caught in an offside position as he received a pass from Flanagan in the dying minutes of the game. Flanagan said something untoward, Hales threw a punch and, from there, a full-on fist fight ensued. The British press struggled to recall a precedent for such behaviour, and the club announced that Hales would have his contract terminated while Flanagan would receive a £250 fine. Addicks manager Andy Nelson described it as "the most serious breach of discipline in the history of the club". Unfortunately for Charlton, the PFA helped Hales fight his case and he was back at the club within a month, so Flanagan was sold off instead. "I was seen as the nasty one," Hales told The Times in 2005. "They had to reinstate me because they couldn't do it by law. Mike Flanagan wasn't sacked but was sold to Crystal Palace." In an odd twist, Charlton not only kept Hales but allowed him to take the captain's armband and then, five years after the incident in 1984, announced plans to bring Flanagan back to the club from QPR. Hales' objections surfaced via the newspapers, and the club stripped him of the captaincy before putting him on the transfer list.

Bruce Grobbelaar vs Steve McManaman (1993)
Grobbelaar had made a series of saves to preserve the deadlock during the 2-0 defeat to Everton at Goodison in 1993, but McManaman's half-hearted clearance allowed Mark Ward to open the scoring on 29 minutes. An argument ensued before the goalkeeper pushed his team-mate in the face. "I went to McManaman because he put the ball straight to one of their players when all he had to do was put it out of play," Grobbelaar explained after the match. "If I'd really connected, he'd be six foot under." Boss Graeme Souness announced that he had no plans to take any action against Grobbelaar and added: "I only wish I had more like him. I want players to show passion."

John Fashanu vs Lawrie Sanchez (1993)
Fashanu and Sanchez spent eight years together as part of Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang', but the pair had a relationship that bordered on hatred. During a training session, they came to blows over what Sanchez described as "the result of years of antagonism on both sides". Robbie Earle, writing in The Observer in 1998, said the "flashpoint was not a challenge on the training ground but an argument over the proper technique for a stretching exercise they were doing". Sanchez accused his team-mate of using martial arts "in a predetermined attempt to severely injure my legs" during the fracas, and Fashanu later explained his thinking in FourFourTwo: "It was like something out of a film: two people who don't like each other, and now they're going to fight. "Sanch gave me a shot and, give him credit, it wasn't a bad shot but I thought, 'Don't hit Sanch - don't mark his face', and my mind went back to when Muhammad Ali fought against the martial artist in New York, and the martial artist just kicked the back of his legs until it broke the tissues in his calves and he submitted. "So I thought I'd teach Sanch a lesson and gave a sweep of the legs, but Sanch has calves like most people have thighs and he didn't move, so I gave him another couple, but Sanch came back at me. So I thought, 'I'm gonna take this guy out', and I hit him with one of the best shots I'd been training with - BAM! Take that, Sanch! - right in the solar plexus, a shot that would supposedly knock a horse down. And still he stood there."

Craig Levein vs Graeme Hogg (1994)
Hearts captain Levein broke fellow defender Hogg's nose during a 2-0 defeat to Raith Rovers in a pre-season friendly. Levein was making his way from the field nursing sore knuckles after leaving Hogg, blood streaming from his face, to be carried off on a stretcher. The incident was prompted because Levein believed Hogg should have been covering another team-mate who made a mistake. Both men were sent off, although Hogg said: "I didn't see the punch coming, and I didn't see the red card, either." The duo were fined two weeks' wages and placed on the transfer list, and the SFA later hit them with ten-match bans.

Tim Sherwood had to step in to break up Graeme Le Saux and David Batty © PA Photos

David Batty vs Graeme Le Saux (1995)
In only the fourth minute of Blackburn's 3-0 defeat at Spartak Moscow during their dismal Champions League campaign, Batty and Le Saux ran into each other while pursuing the ball. They traded insults and began shoving one another before Le Saux threw a punch. The incident had come in the wake of Kenny Dalglish's departure, with divisions growing between players under manager Ray Harford. "As I got up, he came at me very aggressively," Le Saux wrote in his 2007 autobiography, Left Field. "His face was contorted with anger, as if he was going to rip my head off. Hitting him was more of a pre-emptive strike than anything. If I had not hit him, I felt he was going to hit me. "It is a myth that he was hurling a stream of homophobic abuse. It wasn't the words that got to me, but a combination of four or five things. "I swung at him, connected and knew immediately that I had broken my left hand. I am not a fighter. I hadn't closed my fist properly. I was in a lot of pain, which just made me feel more ridiculous."

John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic (1998)
This training-ground incident at West Ham made major headlines for a number of reasons. For one thing, it was caught on camera. For another, the victim of the piece provided enough quotes to keep the newspapers in stories for a week. More significantly, it was an act of extreme violence. "Hartson gave me a kick in the head - not a light one but one done with all his heart. If it was a football, it would have flown into the back of the net," Berkovic said. "I was on the floor for about ten minutes. There was plenty of blood. For two days, I could not eat through the pain." Berkovic said the incident was sparked when he was on the receiving end of a Hartson challenge he felt unacceptable for a training session and that manager Harry Redknapp "seemed very concerned". "They started to help me but John Hartson came up saying: 'Get up - I didn't touch you.' I got crazy, pushed his hand away and cursed him." Hartson responded by kicking Berkovic on the chin with full force. Redknapp claimed he was going to fine the forward before Berkovic specifically asked him not to because they "get on great". Berkovic - by then on international duty with Israel - had a different version of events. "I am very upset with the West Ham board," he said. "They tried to cover up what happened. They did that because Hartson enjoys privileges other players don't." Redknapp responded by insisting no one at the club was given preferential treatment - "John has been fined more than anyone else at the club in the last couple of years," he said. Hartson added that he "used to like Eyal" but had "lost a lot of respect for him" as he appeared to be using the incident to engineer a move away. Berkovic eventually returned from international duty and made peace. "Everything is okay now," he said. "It was an accident and it is finished. I want people to leave me alone now."

Sunday Oliseh vs Vahid Hashemian (2004)
Bochum terminated Nigeria international Oliseh's loan contract after he fractured Iranian team-mate Hashemian's nose when he head-butted him after a league game against Hansa Rostock. "During the game, he asked me why I always ran with the ball," Hashemian told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper. "I told him that he wasn't the coach, the assistant coach or the captain." He added that, in the dressing room after the game, "we talked for five seconds and then suddenly he smashed his head into my face. I was shocked". Oliseh, though, had given an explanation that made his actions appear more understandable: "I was insulted by a racist slur by Vahid Hashemian at half-time." Unusually, the players had no history of conflict and Oliseh said Hashemian was "the last person I would have expected this from". Hashemian fervently denied the allegation. "This statement hurts me more than the broken nose because it is a lie. I am an Iranian, just a guest in Germany in the same way as Sunday. Skin colour is not an issue. I want to make friends, not enemies."

Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer come to blows © Getty Images

Kieron Dyer vs Lee Bowyer (2005)
Newcastle midfielders Dyer and Bowyer were both shown red cards during a 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa after they came to blows in the middle of their own half. Gareth Barry, who had scored two of Villa's goals, stepped in to break it up. Bowyer was fined six weeks' wages for his efforts, but Toon boss Graeme Souness insisted the players had made up and would stay at the club. "They've had a laugh about it," he added. "We're fine now,'' Bowyer said in 2007 as it emerged that Dyer was about to join him at West Ham. ''Back then, when it happened, it was just a crazy moment but I honestly don't have any worries about it at all now."

Craig Bellamy vs John Arne Riise (2007)
Bellamy, having already thrown a chair at Newcastle assistant manager John Carver in 2004 and texted abuse to Alan Shearer the following year, took things up a notch at Liverpool when he attacked Riise with a golf club after he refused to join in on a karaoke session. "It started when we were all doing a bit of karaoke," Bellamy told the Daily Mirror. "I only sang one song and that was Red, Red Wine by UB40. That was because Jerzy Dudek was drinking it. That's how silly it all was. "A lot of the lads wanted Riise to get up there next because he hadn't turned up at the dinner earlier and I tried to get him up, too. I wasn't that bothered whether he wanted to sing or not so I sat back down, but he wasn't too happy about me trying to get him to sing so he let me know about it. "The situation was calmed down then but when I was walking back to the hotel with Steve Finnan, who I was rooming with, I lost control for a few seconds." Riise apparently suffered minor bruising on his legs during the incident, although Norway boss Age Hareide said the player had "escaped without injuries". Bellamy and Riise both took to the field for the following game at Barcelona and both scored in a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou. Bookies had offered odds of up to 100/1 that Bellamy would celebrate with a golf swing and, to their dismay, the forward decided it was an apt way to mark the occasion. "If we get away with less than a £50,000 loss, we will be happy," a William Hill spokesman said.

Joey Barton vs Ousmane Dabo (2007)
Barton, who had burnt Manchester City youth-team goalkeeper Jamie Tandy's eye with a cigar in 2004, famously beat another of his team-mates in front of a group of children at a training session. The two had exchanged hard tackles before punches were thrown, leaving Dabo with facial injuries that required hospital treatment. Dabo told the Manchester Evening News at the time: "The fact that I look like the Elephant Man and will not be able to play again this season is bad enough, but what I find most shocking is that he struck me first from behind and then repeatedly when I was down on the ground. He is a coward and his actions are despicable." Barton, who was sold to Newcastle in the wake of the incident, was given a suspended prison sentence and 200 hours' community service, as well as a six-game ban by the FA. He recently gave his own account of events to So Foot: "It's him who hit me from behind with his hand, and when he did that, I hit him back, so he started it. I didn't. You have to defend yourself. Ousmane was bigger than me, but it happened just like that - bang, bang, bang and it was over. The truth is he started the fight and I finished it. Frankly, Ousmane is a little pussy."

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