Football is tough for managers, especially in this day and age, where the slightest bad run of form can wind up with their head on the chopping block before they even had time to unpack their bags after arriving.
It’s no surprise then, that many managers will engage in the noble art of handbags against the oppositions gaffers.
Some are merely trivial, and are forgotten about, but there are those that live on in many fans minds. Here are the top five:
- Roberto Mancini Vs Paul Lambert
The newest one in the top five, and perhaps the least memorable, but it is more of a reflection of Mancini seemingly snapping. Not content with having a £1 billion pound squad to work with, a squad that was mercilessly dumped out of the Capitol One cup this week, the City boss has lashed out at Lambert, and every other boss apparently at once by telling them to “shut up.” Usually a manager spat will consist of clever mind games in the long run, but this just seemed rude, and a desperate attempt to distract the media from City being dumped out the cup so early.
- Rafael Benitez Vs Sir Alex Ferguson
Back when Liverpool were actually considered title contenders, Benitez and Ferguson engaged in some classic war of words with one another, each trying to best each other on, and off the pitch. One of Benitez’s classic jibes to Ferguson being the apparent bias that he receives in Premier League games, stating that when it comes to Alex making critical comments to referees; “He was not punished. He is the only manager in the league that cannot be punished for these things.” While perhaps not true, it is certainly a comment on many non United fans minds, and a comment that was one of many that occurred during their long feud.
- Arsene Wenger Vs Sir Alex Ferguson
These two are the longest serving managers in the Premier League, and their rivalry over the decade shows for it. In recent years with Arsenals slump in terms of title contender-ship, their rivalry has mellowed into a more respectful competitiveness, but in the early 2000’s it was anything but.
During a match between Arsenal and Manchester United in 2004, an extremely heated battle on the pitch, which was nearly forgotten about with incidents off the pitch. In what became known as the ‘Battle of the Buffet,’ various food items, including pizza and coffee were thrown at Ferguson by an unknown Arsenal player.
This later led to Ferguson stating he knew the culprit, and Wenger retorting; “Ferguson’s out of order. He has lost all sense of reality. He is going out looking for a confrontation, then asking the person he is confronting to apologize. He’s pushed the cork in a bit far this time.” This match was truly one of the best managerial spats between two of the greatest Premier League bosses.
- Arsene Wenger Vs Jose Mourinho
Where would a managers handbag list be without listing Mourinho. A man who could grab the media by the palm of his hands with his outspokem and charismatic style, but could, and would infuriate many a manager with his remarks, not least his battle with Arsene Wenger in 2005.
Wenger was reported to have commented on Chelsea’s slacking results against Everton, and Charlton, the usual mind games from the Frenchman. The rebuttal
from Mourinho may be one of the most stinging comments in any spat between two bosses, stating; “I think he is one of these people who is a voyeur,” he said. “He likes to watch other people.
There are some guys who, when they are at home, they have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks and speaks and speaks about Chelsea.” A war of words between two very outspoken bosses.
- Jose Mourinho Vs Rafael Benitez
These two never got along, and their highly outspoken personalities would reflect in a constant war of words between the two managers. One of their classical moments against one another in 2007 after a 1-1 draw. Mourinho stated that his team were not a diving one, and played by the rules; “I have a naive team, they are naive because we do not have divers, we do not have violent people we do not have nasty tackles.
We do not have people diving into swimming pools, Chelsea is a naive team. It is a pure team, that is my opinion.”This simple, but also backhanded antagonism to his opposite number in Benitez was issued in an immediate response, accusing Mourinho of bending the truth when it comes to Chelsea having divers; “I don’t want to give names but I remember a lot of situations in the last three years, and today you could see the players talking all the time at the referee.”
What other manager spats were memorable? Leave your comments below