With the announcement on Friday that Alex McLeish was set to take up the vacant managerial role at arch rivals Aston Villa, we take a look at some of the other controversial moments within the history of the English Premier League.
McLeish to Aston Villa from Birmingham City
Following victory over overwhelming favourites Arsenal in the League Cup, McLeish subsequently suffered a terrible run of form in the Premier League resulting in his Birmingham team getting relegated on the last day of the season. Although the board confirmed that he would keep his job, McLeish sent his resignation by email on June 12th amid rumours that he was set to join Aston Villa a role which he accepted 5 days later even though there were huge protests from Villa fans.
DiCanio pushes referee
During a game between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal in 1998, Di Canio saw red in both senses of the word. An altercation between Di Canio and Arsenal’s Martin Keown led to referee Paul Durkin showing the former the red card. Di Canio, in a fit of rage pushed referee Durkin, who fell to the ground in an almost comical fashion. Di Canio was subsequently fined £10,000 and received an 11 match ban.
David Busst injury
Arguably the most horrific injury the English Premier League has seen, Busst was playing for Coventry City against Manchester United in 1996 when he collided with United players Denis Irwin and Brian McClair, resulting in extensive compound fractures to both the tibia and fibula of his right leg. The horrific image led to Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel vomitting on the pitch. Busst’s career was over but he has stayed in the game with Coventry City as Director of Football in the Community.
Kieron Dyer & Lee Bowyer fight on the pitch
A true “handbags” fight kicked off during Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat at Aston Villa in 2005. Both players appeared in a press conference after the game with then Newcastle manager Graeme Souness to apologise for their behaviour but they pointedly did not apologise to each other
Robbie Fowler white line celebration
After scoring for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby against Everton, Fowler used the white line of the penalty area to simulate snorting cocaine as his goal celebration. This was in reference to the accusations of drug abuse from a faction of Everton fans. Fowler ended up with a £60,000 club fine and a 4 match ban for his antics.
After Arsenal threw away a 2 goal lead against Birmingham in 2008 after Gael Clichy conceded a stoppage time penalty Gallas promptly sat in the centre circle and didn’t move. It was only when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger consoled him did he leave the field of play. Some people say that he was acting like a spoilt child but the general consensus is that his actions showed how much he cared about the club. 18 months later he moved to North London rivals Tottenham.
Adebayor goal celebration
After a summer move from Arsenal to Manchester City, Adebayor played for the first time against his former club at The City of Manchester Stadium at the start of the 2009-2010 season. The 4-2 victory for Man City was marred by Adebayor who, after scoring his goal ran the length of the pitch to the away end full of Arsenal fans and proceeded to goad them with his celebrations nearly inciting a riot.
Cantona kung-fu kick
Probably the most controversial moment in English Premier League history was when Eric Cantona leapt into the crowd at Crystal Palace and performed a kung fu kick on one of their fans who had been goading him as he walked to the tunnel after being shown the red card. For his actions he was fined £20,000, issued with 120 hours of community service and was banned from playing for the remainder of the season.
Campbell going to Arsenal
Sol Campbell was for many “Mr Tottenham” during the 1990’s, a tremendous defender and club captain. In 2001 after being awarded a contract which would have made him the highest paid player in the club’s history, Campbell switched allegiances and moved to arch rivals Arsenal on a free transfer. This of course caused uproar as he had stated in the Spurs magazine weeks earlier that he would never play for Arsenal. 10 years on and Spurs fans still regard him as “Judas” and he is still regarded as one of the biggest traitors in Premier League football.