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As we all know, tackling is a crucial part of the game of football. Possession is key and successful teams need the likes of the tenacious Roy Keane to win back the ball when it is lost, so that the fancy-dan attackers can do their work going forward.

Most fans really appreciate a good, crunching tackle that both wins the ball and, if at all possible, leaves the opponent dazed and confused on the floor; that’s why power-houses like Christopher Samba become cult heroes. But sometimes, the art of the tackle becomes the science of destruction, and you’d better get ready to wince, because it’s now time for the Transfer Tavern’s 5 ‘Schimply Schoking’ (© Sean Connery) Tackles.

JOHN TERRY on James Milner

John Terry is a tough-tackling, old-school, centre-back but his uncompromising approach isn’t always well-judged, as James Milner can certainly testify. The then Aston Villa midfielder came a-cropper in last year’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, when John Terry nailed him 15 yards outside the box and going away from goal. The Blues captain slides in on Milner and catches the England midfielder just below the knee of his standing leg.

Terry has his leg out-stretched with studs up and sends his England team-mate falling to the ground. Pathetically, Terry then pretends he is injured and follows that up by complaining to the referee about the yellow card. To be fair, he was right, it shouldn’t have been a yellow; it should have been a red.

ROY KEANE on Alfe Inge Haaland

Revenge. That was the one word on Roy Keane’s mind as he set about dismantling Haaland’s knee in a Manchester derby in April, 2001. Way back in 1997, Keane injured his anterior cruciate ligament while attempting to tackle the big Norwegian. Haaland gave the Irishman some choice words as he writhed in agony, apparently incensed as he though Keane was faking being injured.

Out for a year, Keane never forgot Haaland’s words and bided his time for 4 years, waiting for the perfect opportunity to exact cold, ruthless revenge. And how. Keane, making no attempt to play the ball, aims for and connects directly with Haaland’s prone right knee. The Norwegian is flipped up-side down as he crumples to the ground. As far as Keane was concerned it was knee damaged, point made.


Despite his protestation afterwards about a lack of malicious intent, Martin Taylor’s awful tackle on Eduardo in the 3rd minute of a 2-2 draw at St.Andrews in February 2008 was a highly unsavoury incident. Grossly mis-timed at best, Taylor’s lunge towards the ball was way too late, and unfortunately for Arsenal’s forward, Eduardo’s leg took the full force of the Birmingham defender’s challenge.

The result was a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of the Brazilian-born Croatian’s left ankle and a year-long layoff. In the aftermath of the incident, Steve Bruce, Taylor’s former manager, ludicrously suggested that the tackle did not warrant a yellow card, let alone the red that was dished out by the ref – that old classic ‘he’s not that type of player’ getting another unwelcome airing.


Michael Brown is one of those players pretty much everybody hates. His few supporters would call his style combative, everybody else would probably go for something more like insanely aggressive. The ‘commited’ midfielder could have had one of many dreadful tackles in this list, but it’s the one below against Ryan Giggs that really stands out.

The unsubtle Brown isn’t one for a subtle trip or dig in the ribs, oh no; in this tackle, as Ryan Giggs slides to get the ball near the touch-line, Brown jumps two-footed, nowhere near the ball, directly onto the Welsh Wizard’s lower leg. Luckily for Giggs, nothing was broken, and as we’ve seen so often, this appalling challenge with just a measly yellow card. Shocking indeed.

KEVIN MUSCAT on Adrian Zahra

I’ve saved the worst till last on this list. Kevin ‘Nice Guy’ Muscat had already built himself a reputation in England as a belligerent, aggressive and unpleasant player.

His rap sheet is longer than Peter Crouch’s bed, and with a litany of victims (Craig Bellamy, Matty Holmes, Milan Baros, Christophe Dugarry), the Crawley hard-man plumbed new depths with his recent ‘tackle’ on 20-year-old Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahra. Muscat’s challenge was knee-high, both feet off the ground, studs-up and every other phrase you can think of that defines a dreadful tackle. Zahra collapsed in a heap and had to have surgery on his severely damaged knee, while Muscat, who hilariously had the gall to complain the referee about his inevitable red card, was banned for 8 matches. Watch below, if you dare.

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