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Top 5 On Pitch Punch Ups!

Football is, as we all know, a game of emotions. Sometimes you’re floating in ecstasy, sometimes you’re drowning in the quick sands of despair. It’s not just the fans that become frustrated when the going gets tough with players happy to show their emotions once in a while – just ask hairy psychopath Gattuso.

Usually it’s just a matter of eyeballing each other up or pointless pushes followed by a few lines of constructive criticism but there have been times when it has got violent. So who makes it into the top 5? Well, as Harry Hill says, there’s only one way to find out FIGHT!

Keiron Dyer v Lee Bowyer
Arguably the most shocking instance of brawling between two team members the Premiership has ever seen ensures that Dyer v Bowyer takes the top spot.
3 – 0 down to Aston Villa and struggling to find a foothold in the game, Bowyer took offence to the fact that Dyer failed to pass him the ball and decided to confront his midfield teammate in the only way he knew how.

Any macho foreplay was put to one side as the two descended into a playground like fight in the middle of St. James’ Park. Gareth Barry prized Bowyer away from the fracas which provided us with the now infamous image of Bowyers face, twisted with anger, staring back at his former friend as his torn shirt hung limp on his body.

Both players saw red for the incident with Bowyer banned for seven games as well as landing himself a £200,000 fine for his troubles. They were in the papers soon after telling us how much they liked each other.

Zinedine Zidane v Marco Materazzi
One of the most famous headbutts ever to have occurred as the French icon decided to take the law into his hands – or his head – on the grandest stage of them all: the World Cup final.
With the match in extra time it was still deadlocked between Italy and France when Materazzi decided to bestow upon Zidane some words of wisdom. Zidane didn’t take kindly to the resulting diatribe and landed a bull like header into the chest of the Italian defender.

With Materazzi writhing agonizingly on the ground Zidane was shown the red card and left France a man short as they went on to lose 5 – 3 on penalties. As the Frenchman had planned his retirement after the 2006 World Cup he couldn’t carry out his suspension and was ordered to serve three days community service.

That moment of madness completely overshadowed the fact that he ended the tournament as Golden Ball winner after being voted best player of the World Cup and Zidane has later said he would “rather die” than apologise.

Paolo Di Canio v Paul Alcock
During a match between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal Di Canio decided to get up close and personal with Martin Keown. After kicking the Arsenal defender in the leg and then pushing his face, he was given his marching orders by referee Paul Alcock.

Not particularly pleased with the referee’s decision he sent Mr. Alcock reeling with a shove that saw the Italian miss 11 games as well as attract the ire of a furious Nigel Winterburn. Not to mention the £10,000 it cost him as well.
He isn’t known for his rational train of thought as the self-confessed fascista had a knack of using the roman salute (used by Adolf Hitler) to address fans at Lazio and has an infamous temper.

Eric Cantona v Matthew Simmons
This is one fight none of us will ever forget, especially the enigmatic press conference that followed.

Walking towards the Selhurst Park tunnel after being sent off against Crystal Palace he suddenly stopped and launched a “kung fu” style kick at Palace fan Matthew Simmons.

Whilst Cantona was banned for eight months, Simmons spent the night in the cells and was fined £500. It was revealed that he had previous convictions and had attended a National Front rally.

This brought about one of the strangest utterances ever heard at a press conference as a stoical Cantona mused that: “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.” Answers on a postcard if you know what that means, please.

In 2007 he was asked about his best moments in football and he said: “I have a lot of good moments, but the one I prefer is when I kicked the hooligan.”

Joe Jordan v Genaro Gattuso

Joe “jaws” Jordan v Genaro “growler” Gattuso definitely has a ring to it. Whilst you would be forgiven for thinking that this battle took place in the MGM Grand it actually unfolded at the San Siro.

It all got a little bit heated in the second half as Flamini lunged in on Corluka and the game threatened to turn nasty when Jordan and Gattuso had somewhat of a falling out on the sideline.

With Jordan dishing out some abuse Gattuso decided to get physical and pushed the Spurs assistant in the face. With his side going on to lose the game 1 – 0 as well as picking up a yellow card that ruled him out of the return leg in London – which made the man so angry he beat up the pitch – it’s fair to say that Gattuso was frustrated.

So, as the players departed the pitch “Jaws” and “growler” decided to commence round 2 which ended with Gattuso using his head. Literally. He then exploded into a rage but both were held apart by players and coaching staff.
The Italian later apologised to Jordan saying that the former Milan striker had provoked him all game. In case you didn’t know Jordan was called “jaws” because of his lack of teeth whilst in his prime – not a man to be messed with.

If you want to hear more football ramblings add me on Twitter @scollen1973

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Article title: Top 5 On Pitch Punch Ups!

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