5 of football’s furious tunnel bust-ups

11 December 2017 02:20

Jose Mourinho is not the first Manchester United manager to be involved in a tunnel incident – in fact he follows in the footsteps of the great Sir Alex Ferguson.

Mourinho reportedly had milk and water thrown at him and shouted into the away dressing room in the wake of United’s loss to rivals Manchester City on Sunday, while it has also been claimed he was involved in a confrontation with City goalkeeper Ederson.

Here, we look back on five other tunnel bust-ups.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Cesc Fabregas, (24 October 2004)

Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas finally admitted to throwing pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson (John Walton/PA)

“The Battle of the Buffet”, as it was dubbed by the tabloids, is perhaps the most famous tunnel incident in Premier League history. Manchester United ended Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford, but controversy surrounded the awarding of the penalty for the hosts’ opener. Arsenal felt Wayne Rooney had dived after Sol Campbell withdrew his leg, and tempers flared after the game. Among the pushing and shoving, Ferguson was hit by a slice of pizza which then-Gunners midfielder Fabregas finally admitted to throwing earlier this year.

Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira (1 February 2005)

Soccer – FA Carling Premiership – Arsenal v Manchester United – Highbury
Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira clashed before the game even kicked off (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Arsenal captain Vieira and Manchester United counterpart Keane clashed in the tunnel before the match had even kicked off to spark an exhilarating tie, which United won 4-2. Keane was angered by Vieira criticising Gary Neville pre-match, and in a heated rant questioned the France midfielder’s decision not to play for Senegal – the country of his birth. Referee Graham Poll eventually convinced Keane to calm down, although it was the Irishman who had the last laugh at full-time.

David Navarro and Nicolas Burdisso (6 March 2007)

Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Group G – Valencia v Inter Milan
David Navarro was given a seven-month suspension (Nigel French/Empics)

An on-pitch melee swiftly escalated as unused Valencia substitute Navarro ran onto the pitch and punched Inter’s Burdisso during a Champions League tie, leaving the Argentinian with a broken nose. The disruption continued in the tunnel with Inter players attempting to get into the Valencia dressing room to confront Navarro. The Spaniard was given a seven-month ban from football by UEFA and Los Che were handed a £106,000 club fine, with defender Carlos Marchena also hit with a four-match European ban. Inter defenders Burdisso and Maicon were banned for six matches, while team-mates Ivan Cordoba and Julio Cruz received three and two-game suspensions respectively.

Dave Kitson and Ruud Gullit (12 August 2007)

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Manchester United v Reading – Old Trafford
Dave Kitson is sent off by referee Rob Styles (Gareth Copley/PA)

Reading substitute Kitson had only been on the pitch for 37 seconds when he was sent off for a late tackle on Manchester United’s Patrice Evra. But it was Gullit, working at the game as a Sky pundit, who Kitson clashed with in the tunnel. The Dutch great had suggested the striker should have his suspension doubled to six games, leading to an off-the-pitch row with Kitson.

Micah Richards and Federico Fernandez (24 October 2015)

Walsall v Aston Villa – Pre Season Friendly – Banks’s Stadium
Micah Richards earned a one-game ban after his clash with Federico Fernandez (Joe Giddens/Empics)

Then-Aston Villa defender Richards and Fernandez had clashed during the first half of Swansea’s 2-1 win at Villa Park, a result which cost Tim Sherwood his job as Villa boss. Several members of both teams confronted each other post-match and the tunnel was seen to be shaking from side to side as stewards rushed in to calm the situation down. Richards was handed a one-match ban by the Football Association for his part in the brawl.

Source: By Dave Clark, Press Association Sport

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