Managers vs Players - The biggest fallouts

Simon Lillicrap by Simon Lillicrap / 17 January 2017, 14:34

With the recent spats between Dimitri Payet and Slaven Bilic (West Ham), as well as Diego Costa and Antonio Conte (Chelsea), we look at the most high-profile fallouts between players and their bosses.

Payet has refused to play for West Ham until he has been sold, a stance that has seen his manager come out and publicly criticise him, state he is not going to sell him, and relegate him from the first team to the under 23’s.

Meanwhile, Costa is rumoured to have had a huge row with Conte and a fitness coach, and although Conte cited the reason for him missing the weekend’s game at Leicester as injury, many believe the argument and huge offer for his services from China led to his omission form the squad.

Sir Alex Ferguson vs David Beckham (Man Utd)

In comparison, these ‘tiffs’ seem tame in comparison to one of the most famous fallouts in football history. At a time when Man United were winning everything and Sir Alex Ferguson was untouchable at the helm of the club, a certain David Beckham had become a global icon and was arguably one of the most famous sportsmen of all time.

Following a FA Cup defeat to rivals Arsenal, the Red Devils were on the receiving end of one of Fergie’s famous hairdryer treatments. Ferguson in his rage kicked a stray boot across the dressing room and it struck Becks above the eye causing a deep wound that required stitches. The pair went for each other, having to be separated by both players and staff and their relationship was irreparable.

The duo went their separate ways. Beckham departed for Real Madrid that summer which only enhanced his image but Fergie proved a point in that no player was bigger than the club and went on to win multiple trophies at United.

Roberto Mancini vs Carlos Tevez (Man City)

We wind the clock forward a few years and head over to the blue side of Manchester for our next argument. Back in 2011, Carlos Tevez was told he was ‘finished’ by manager Roberto Mancini after the Argentine allegedly refused to come off the bench and play against Bayern Munich. A tirade of abuse followed in the dressing room with Mancini telling Tevez to go back to Argentina.

The next day he flew to Argentina, and was not seen for four months. That season Mancini went on to win City’s first Premier League title in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Mick McCarthy vs Roy Keane (Republic of Ireland)

We turn our attention to international football next and the famous ‘Saipan incident’ at the 2002 World Cup. The Republic of Ireland had qualified for the tournament in Japan and South Korea with manager Mick McCarthy and captain Roy Keane providing passion and inspiration for the side.

However, Keane’s head clearly wasn’t in the right place ahead of the tournament. He told everyone he was going home and McCarthy told the press it was due to a knee injury and the poor training facilities. Keane then changed his mind and the problem seemed to have disappeared.

Nonetheless, a team meeting followed and descended into chaos. A slanging match between Keane and McCarthy followed, Niall Quinn described it as a 10-minute oration which was:

“Clinical, fierce, earth-shattering to the person on the end of it.”

Keane was dismissed from the World Cup squad by McCarthy and sent home in shame. However, he would play for Ireland again once McCarthy was sacked in 2003. Ireland made the round of 16 at the World Cup where they lost to Spain on penalties.

Tony Pulis vs James Beattie (Stoke)

One of the Premier League’s most respected managers, Tony Pulis, played his part in a huge bust-up when he was trying to make his name in England’s top flight. In 2009, Pulis made a relatively innocent request that, following a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal his players were to report for training on Monday. Striker James Beattie piped up reminding the gaffer that, due to their Christmas party, he had given them Monday off.

Pulis, who is rumoured to have just been wearing a towel, attempted to head-butt Beattie and the pair threw punches. The fight apparently caused the towel to drop to the floor and a naked Tony Pulis had to be pulled away from his star striker. What a sight to imagine. Beattie was sold the following summer to Rangers as Pulis continued his Premier league managerial career.

In the overall scheme of things, the current Payet and Costa situations seem tame compared to a flailing Fergie boot or a Tony Pulis head-butt.

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