Joey Barton’s long term Rangers future is in doubt after the club suspended the midfielder for three weeks.
Following the humiliating 5-1 defeat to Glasgow rivals Celtic, Barton was involved in a heated training ground row with team-mate Andy Halliday and manager Mark Warburton. It’s an incident, the 34-year-old told talkSPORT has been blown way out proportion, yet the Scottish club has told told him to stay away.
Here, talkSPORT looks at 10 equally explosive football bust-ups.
9. David Beckham v Sir Alex Ferguson
After United limped out of the FA Cup in 2003 at Old Trafford against Arsenal, tempers flared in the home dressing room. Disappointed with his star midfielder’s performance, Sir Alex berated the 28-year-old in front of his team-mates, which Becks took exception to. In response, the winger swore at his manager who kicked a nearby boot in retaliation. The boot hit Beckham just above the eye and left the England skipper needing stitches. Just seven months later, he was shipped off to Real Madrid.
8. Craig Bellamy v John Arne Riise
On a team bonding trip to Portugal in 2007, Liverpool stars John Arne Riise and Craig Bellamy decided a trip to a local karaoke bar would be perfect for team morale. Meant to be a jovial occasion, it’s the perfect end to a night out with mates, right? Wrong. Taking exception to Riise’s refusal to sing, the Welshman decided to settle the incident with a golf club. All was seemingly forgiven when, after scoring against Barcelona in the Champions League, Bellamy celebrated by mimicking a swing Rory McIlroy would have been proud of.
7. Ricardo Fuller v Andy Griffin
The Jamaican striker took exception to Griffin’s performance during Stoke’s league defeat at West Ham in 2008. After Carlton Cole had netted for the Hammers, Fuller proceeded to lay the blame solely at the feet of his skipper. Rather than wait until half time to settle the incident, Fuller slapped his stunned team-mate and earned himself a three-game ban and a £20,000 fine.
6. Mario Balotelli v Roberto Mancini
To be honest, Balotelli could have been on this list numerous times. However, there is one particular affair which may have ended the fiery striker’s Manchester City career. Following a late lunge on Scott Sinclair, manager Mancini told the player to leave the pitch. When Balotelli refused, Mancini decided to take matters into his own hands by physically removing the 22-year-old himself. Much bib-grabbing ensued, and the maverick striker was soon off to AC Milan.
5. Lee Bowyer vs Kieron Dyer
Most of the incidents on this list are private matters, normally conducted away from prying eyes. So fair play to these two for airing their dirty laundry in front of 50,000 bemused Geordies. Being 3-0 down at home to Aston Villa in a 2005 Premier League match meant these two weren’t in the best of moods, yet events took a turn for the worst when Bowyer took offence to Dyer not passing him the ball. Much shirt pulling and scratching followed before peacemaker Gareth Barry intervened.
4. David Batty v Graeme Le Saux
Another on-field incident makes the list here, and it’s another scrap over possession. Just four minutes into Blackburn’s 1995 Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow, Batty got the hump when Le Saux took the ball from him, then proceeded to miscontrol it and give away a throw-in. Batty berated the full-back, who responded by throwing a punch at him and breaking his hand in the process.
3. Bruce Grobbelaar v Steve McManaman
Merseyside derbies are very rarely desribed as ‘tepid’, yet in 1993 these Liverpool players really couldn’t contain themselves. After a poor back-pass from McManaman gifted Everton an equaliser at Goodison, Grobbelaar lambasted the youngster. Rather than accept the abuse from his more senior team-mate, the Scouser decided to politely ask the Zimbabwean what the matter was. Big mistake. An incensed Grobbelaar proceeded to throttle the youngster and launch him out of his penalty box.
2. John Hartson v Eyal Berkovic
Few people had much sympathy for the Israeli playmaker after he started a fight with big John Hartson in 1998. Following a hefty tackle by the Welshman, Berkovic threw a pithy punch in the direction of the striker. His much-larger team-mate simply responded with a brutal roundhouse kick which was all recorded on camera. As a result, Hartson became the first player to be charged with misconduct for a training ground incident. Watch the incident below.
1. Joey Barton v Ousmane Dabo
Barton has previous with his teammates. In 2007 Dabo claimed he looked like ‘the Elephant Man’ following his training ground fight with Barton during a tense Man City training session. The Frenchman required hospital treatment after being punched several times by the seething midfielder. City responded by banning Barton, who was later given a suspended four month jail sentence after admitting a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.