Not so friendly fire as team­mates lose plot

Bray People - - SPORT -

WHEN Lewis Hamil­ton and Nico Ros­berg ended up in the gravel on the first lap of the Span­ish Grand Prix on Sun­day af­ter col­lid­ing with each other it got yours truly think­ing about ri­val­ries be­tween team-mates.

Hamil­ton and Ros­berg are too straight-laced to be­come em­broiled in a proper spat like Senna and Prost, but it’s ob­vi­ous that real re­sent­ment is bub­bling be­neath the sur­face.

Of course the no­tion of a team is dif­fer­ent in For­mula One, as you are pri­mar­ily look­ing out for nu­mero uno and you’re never go­ing to get a Le­ices­ter-style ca­ma­raderie with hugs and back slap­ping.

Speak­ing of back slap­ping, Atletico Madrid man­ager Diego Sime­one showed his ‘friendly’ fiery side when he slapped a mem­ber of his own staff in the tense clos­ing stages of their Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal win over Bay­ern Mu­nich.

When a bunch of highly-com­pet­i­tive, adrenalin-charged ath­letes spend so much time to­gether, it’s not sur­pris­ing that from time to time they won’t see eye to eye, al­though on a pitch in front of 70-odd thou­sand with mil­lions of tele­vi­sion view­ers watch­ing is prob­a­bly not the most ad­vis­able place for dis­agree­ments to come to the sur­face.

One of the most in­fa­mous fall­outs was be­tween Black­burn Rovers pair David Batty and Graeme Le Saux in a Cham­pi­ons League clash away to Spar­tak Moscow in 1995. The pair be­came in­volved in a heated ex­change of opin­ions af­ter Le Saux’s stray pass and the row took a turn for the worst.

Le Saux threw the first blow and broke his hand in the process. The de­fender later claimed he suf­fered the in­jury be­cause he wasn’t a fighter and hadn’t made a proper fist.

New­cas­tle team-mates Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer showed more fight than most of the Mag­pies play­ers did this sea­son, when they il­lus­trated more play­ground an­tics by go­ing toe-to-toe dur­ing a match at As­ton Villa.

There was even school­yard ac­cu­sa­tions of ‘he never passes the ball to me’ as some kind of jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ac­tions.

The team-mates had to be sep­a­rated by Villa cap­tain Gareth Barry, while ref­eree Barry Knight played the strict head­mas­ter’s role, show­ing both play­ers red cards.

An­other duo who were sent for early baths af­ter be­com­ing in­volved in some broth­erly com­bat were Charl­ton strike part­ners Derek Hales and Mike Flana­gan back in the days of real foot­ball hard men in 1979.

With five min­utes to go in an F.A. Cup third round tie against Maid­stone and the game level at 1-1, Flana­gan played a ball through to Hales.

Hales was ruled off­side and was fu­ri­ous as he had wanted the ball played a lot ear­lier.

Flana­gan, who had scored Charl­ton’s equaliser min­utes ear­lier, said he had been do­ing that all sea­son but Hales had not been tak­ing ad­van­tage.

The play­ers started fight­ing and were sent off by ref­eree Brian Martin.

Brad­ford’s Stu­art McCall needed stitches in a fa­cial wound af­ter his in­volve­ment in a fra­cas with a team-mate dur­ing a 6-1 drub­bing at the hands of Leeds United.

Andy My­ers struck him just be­fore half-time at El­land Road and McCall then aimed a head­butt at the cen­tral de­fender, but in keep­ing with most of the Brad­ford play­ers on the day, he missed.

Liver­pool goal­keeper Bruce Grobbe­laar also showed he’s not averse to a bit of in-fight­ing when Steve McMana­man hit a weak clear­ance that gifted Ever­ton the lead in the Mersey­side derby.

The ex­pe­ri­enced Grobbe­laar had a go at the young winger, who re­sponded by yelling back at him.

This was like a red rag to a bull and Grobbe­laar grabbed his team­mate by the throat and pushed him away.

McMana­man, who wouldn’t have been the most burly of foot­ballers, wisely de­cided that enough was enough and swiftly walked away.

An­other ex-Liver­pool man Stan Col­ly­more, who of­ten hit the head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons, be­came em­broiled in an ar­gu­ment with fel­low striker Trevor Ben­jamin when play­ing for Le­ices­ter City re­serves.

At half-time they took it in­side to the dress­ing-room, where blows were traded, with Col­ly­more re­fus­ing to come out for the sec­ond-half.

One of the nas­ti­est flare-ups saw John Hart­son mis­tak­ing Eyal Berkovic’s head for a foot­ball dur­ing a West Ham train­ing session.

Hart­son at­tempted to haul Berkovic to his feet af­ter he had been felled by the Welsh­man’s crude chal­lenge.

Berkovic re­acted an­grily, and Hart­son kicked the kneel­ing West Ham mid­fielder in the head, boot- ing him with such force that the Is­raeli couldn’t eat for two days.

An­other train­ing ground melee that has gone down in in­famy was be­tween Manch­ester United duo Jes­per Olsen and Remi Moses at Old Traf­ford in 1986, which left the Dane re­quir­ing eleven stitches.

There were also a cou­ple of hard-hit­ting in­ci­dents in the buildup to the World Cup in 2002, with the nor­mally laid-back Fred­die Ljung­berg wrestling on the ground with Swe­den team-mate Olof Mell­berg, and Jes­per Gronk­jaer some­how pluck­ing up the courage to take on no­to­ri­ous hard-man Stig Toft­ing, af­ter the for­mer Hell’s An­gel put an ice cube down his shorts.

How­ever, none of the above match one of the most un­usual fallings out be­tween sport­ing col­leagues, when jockey Paul O’Neill in Zine­dine Zi­dane style head butted his horse ‘City Af­fair’ af­ter be­ing thrown from the sad­dle be­fore a race. If only the noble steed had head butted him back.

Now that’s tak­ing horse play to a whole new level.

Graeme Le Saux was in­volved in a fa­mous bust-up with Black­burn Rovers team­mate David Batty.

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