Football can be a beautiful game, but every now and then a player will use the fact that he is on a football pitch as an excuse for some pretty shocking behaviour. There have been no shortage of thugs in the Premier League; here are the most memorable.
5. Vinnie Jones
As part of the Crazy Gang, Jones cultivated a hard man image for himself. He collected 12 red cards over the course of his career and was responsible for the tackle that ended Tottenham defender Gary Stevens’ career.
4. Lee Bowyer
Bowyer was convicted of affray back in 1996 after he first signed for Leeds. After establishing himself as a key player he was once again caught up in controversy as he and Jonathan Woodgate were charged with causing grevious bodily harm with intent and affray. Bowyer was cleared but his reputation was tarnished forever. He hit the headlines again in 2005 as he was involved in an on-pitch brawl with teammate Keiron Dyer.
3. Ben Thatcher
Thatcher’s challenge on Pedro Mendes was a truly horrific moment; he led with his elbow and left the Portsmouth player unconscious on the side of the pitch. Weeks earlier during a pre-season tour of China, Thatcher again used his elbow and left Yang Chungang with a collapsed lung.
2. Roy Keane
Recognised as one of the greatest players of the modern era, Keane had a vicious streak that was never more apparent than when he clashed with Alf-Inge Håland. Keane carried out a pre-meditated foul on the player that left him with a severe injury and his admission in his autobiography shocked the football world.
1. Joey Barton
Barton’s rap sheet is one of the most impressive around: he assaulted a 15yr old Everton supporter in Thailand; he put a cigar out in a youth player’s eye in 2004; and in 2007 he assaulted teammate Ousmane Dabo during training and was then involved in another violent incident at a fast-food restaurant.
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