All Tabloids across England were covered with stories about rifts between Manchester Citya��s Carlos Tevez and his manager Roberto Mancini. The Argentine had reportedly refused to come off the bench against Bayern Munich in a Champions League group stage match-up. Roberto Mancini is believed to have lost his patience with the forward and the actions of Tevez have signaled the end of his career at Manchester City in all probabilities.

While this stand off between Tevez and Mancini is one of the most talked about in recent times, there is certainly no dearth of such incidents in history of English football. Here, TheHardTackle takes a look back at some of the most astounding bust-ups between a player and a manager in England. The Events are placed in chronological order.A�


Lawrie McMenemy
Mark Wright


Lawrie McMenemy



Lawrie McMenemy was a legendary figure among the Southampton faithful. He managed the club for 12 years from 1973. Mark Wright was a big central defender who played under McMenemy during his five-year stint at the club. It is said that after a poor performance by Southampton, McMenemy came down heavily on his team, he was particularly displeased with Mark Wrighta��s dismal performance.

McMenemy hurled a barrage of abuse towards the defender. In return, Wright hurled McMenemy into the showers. In the showers, both the men still in their clothes began to slap each other like kids until their dismayed colleagues separated them. Football stopped being a man’s game a long time back!

Brian Clough
Nigel Jemson/Roy Keane


Brian Clough - A Legend


Brian Clough was perhaps the most controversial coach the English game has ever seen. His career as a manager and a very successful one at that is littered with dramatic events. This list could have very well been a a�?Brian Clougha��s top five falloutsa��. Here are two of the most infamous out bursts from his legendary career.


In a reserve team match between Nottingham Forest and Derby County, a young Nigel Jemson was in the starting eleven for Forest. Nigel attempted some unsuccessful fancy footworks in the match and was largely ineffective. During the half-time team talk, a clearly unimpressed Brian Clough walked in. He went to Nigel and asked him to stand up, what followed is a part of a folklore now. Brian nonchalantly asked the young striker:

a�?Have you ever been hit in the stomach?a�?. After Nigel denied having any such experience before, Brian punched in his midriff and said a�?You have now, son. Don’t you ever try those fancy tricks again while your mum and dad are in the stand.a�?

In another incident, even the fiery Roy Keane didna��t have respite from the hands of Brian Clough. In the match against Crystal Palace in 1991 FA Cup, Keane under hit a back-pass to the Forest goalkeeper, Palace’s Solako latched onto it and scored the equalizer. Back in the dressing room, Brian Clough nailed Keane to the floor with a punch in his face for the sloppy back-pass. Clough later said

a�?I only ever hit Roy once. He got up, so I couldn’t have hit him very hard.”

In another notable incident, goalkeeper Mark Crossley was at the end of some special treatment by Brian. Clough was unhappy with his goalkeeper as he saw him shaking hands with the referee after the game. He hung Crossley from a peg in the dressing room and punched him in his stomach.

Brian Laws
Ivano Bonetti


This must be the most freakish bust-up ever. Brian Laws might have taken a leaf out of the Brian Clougha��s book but his modus operandi is what stands out from the rest.

In February 1996, Grimsby Town suffered a narrow defeat to Luton and Ivano Bonetti was at the receiving end of the managera��s wrath at the end of the match. Bonetti, it must be noted, was a fan favorite at the Blundell Park, having paid half of the transfer fee himself during his move from Torino, but it turned out that Laws wasna��t too fond of the Italian. Brian blamed Bonetti for lack of effort in the dressing room and when Bonetti gave him a bit of lip back, Brian Laws threw a plate full of chicken wings at the midfieldera��s face! Bonetti didna��t manage to grab any of it and was left with a fractured cheekbone.

Ivano Bonetti after being hit by chicken wings


Expectedly, Bonetti left the club at the end of the season in a free transfer to Tranmere Rovers. Brian Laws didna��t last long enough though. He was sacked in November after a poor start to the season.

Sir Alex Ferguson
David Beckham


Beckham maybe famous for his free kicks, but it was Sir Alex who showed the England international how to kick a boot in one of the most infamous bust-ups in recent years.

In 2003, Manchester United suffered a 2-0 defeat in the FA cup at the hands of fierce rival Arsenal at Old Trafford. Most of the players were anticipating the ill-famed a�?hairdryera�� treatment from the manager in the locker room, but some special effects were in store for the players that day. In the midst of venting his fury, Sir Alex kicked a football boot lying in front of him with stunning accuracy. The projectile homed in on the face of a hapless David Beckham and left a nasty cut over his left eye. a�?Just f***ing patch him upa�? is what Sir Alex is believed to have said to the physio after that incident. Both the parties tried to make light of the incident in front of press. Sir Alex said:

“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times, it couldn’t happen again. If I could, I would have carried on playing!”.

Beckham came out and said that it was just ‘one of those things’ and that there is complete a�?harmonya�� between him and the coach.


Beckham - After being hit by Ferguson's freekick


Speculations were running wild regarding what caused the dispute in the dressing room. Sir Alex tried to remain secretive about the incident. In fact, once he reacted to the entire hypothesis going around by saying ‘Whatever happens in the dressing room should be sacrosanct’. David Beckham joined Real Madrid four months later.

Maybe Beckham should have adopted the tactics of former Manchester United star Peter Barnes. Sir Alex was said to be searching for Barnes after a game. The winger who was taking a bath, when he heard Ferguson coming, he ducked under the surface of water and waited till the Scotsman left. Cunning!

Alan Shearer
Joey Barton


In May 2009, Newcastle traveled to Anfield for a crucial league match. Alan Shearer was the caretaker manager at the club at that point and Newcastle were in trouble as relegation loomed large over the club. Joey Barton was certainly one of them. In the build up to the match, Shearer put a lot of faith on the midfielder and reminded him time and again what an important player he could be for the club in order to survive the drop, but Barton had other ideas.

The feisty midfielder received his marching orders in the match after a horrific tackle on Xabi Alonso. Newcastle not only lost the match but more importantly for them, Barton was suspended for the last three games – a crucial three games that would eventually lead to Newcastle’s relegation.

Shearer was understandably furious with Barton and, in fact, Shearer admitted to him that it was a mistake on his part to include Joey in the team. He also said that he thought Barton was good enough to do it but he had shown he wasna��t. Barton opposed his managera��s view and said he was the best player at the club, which was why he had to play him. Alan said he wasna��t, called him a�?s***a�?. Joey replied :

a�?Youa��re a s*** manager with s*** tacticsa�?.

A brawl broke out between the two after this and they had to be separated. Joey was suspended by the club after this incident. To neutral observers, both Shearer and Barton had valid points.

Shearer himself has faced a similar situation as a player, when he fell out with Ruud Gullit – the former Newcastle United manager. Gullit dropped Shearer for a derby match against Sunderland. Newcastle lost that match and Shearer made his feelings clear. The Dutchman was sacked shortly after that.

And finally…
Special Mentions!


ManagerA�Martin Oa��NeilA�and Nigel Reo-CokerA�- for their apparent wrestling match in the training ground.

ManagerA�Tony Pulis and James Beattie for their reported boxing match.

Manager John BeckA�andA�Steve Claridge and A�for their mid-match dispute on the sidelines that eventually turned into a slug fest

Alex Kolinko for getting punched in his nose by manager Trevor Francis; the substitute goalkeeper apparently caught laughing after his team conceded a goal.

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2 Responses to “High Five: Clough, Barton, And Beckham In Infamous Player-Manager Bust-ups”

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  1. astur says:

    Lol. this terrific. seriously, i would love 2 see Sir Alex do that again but this time on the pitch.