The Top 10 Biggest Football Bust-Ups

10. Lee Bowyer vs Kieron Dyer

This quite staggering punch-up took place not on the training ground, but during a match between Newcastle United and Aston Villa back in 2005.

With Villa having just taken a 3-0 lead, the Toon duo came to blows in front of team-mates and 50,000 spectators. Bowyer hit out at Dyer due to the midfielder not passing him the ball. The pair had to be split up by Gareth Barry, but not before Bowyer had his shirt ripped.


Both were sent for early baths with each player receiving a mandatory three game ban, whilst Bowyer received a club record £200,000 fine and an extra game ban.

9. Joey Barton vs Ousmane Dabo

Joey Barton is no stranger to controversy, but this entry probably tops the lot after he assaulted fellow Manchester City player Ousmane Dabo on the training ground in 2007.

The attack left Dabo unconscious with a suspected detached retina needing hospital treatment. The club suspended the midfielder for the remainder of the 2006-07 season and fined the player £100,000 for his misconduct.

Barton, currently plying his trade in the Championship with QPR, was charged with assault the following year and received a four-month suspended jail sentence and 200 hours of community service. He was also slapped with a 12-match ban by the FA, six of which were to be suspended for two years and imposed a £25,000 fine.

8. Andy Carroll vs Steven Taylor

Andy Carroll certainly left his mark on Steven Taylor after the defender needed surgery on a broken jaw when the striker found out he was texting an ex-girlfriend.

Taylor, a former England under-21 captain, needed his jaw wired together after the fight which took place before a Monday morning training session.

The news was a triple blow for Newcastle due to the bad publicity this received and season ending injury to Taylor, with Carroll spending time on the sidelines.

7. John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic

Tensions flared between John Hartson and Eyal Berkovic in a routine West Ham training session 1998, but Israeli Berkovic learnt the hard way not to upset Hartson.

After Berkovic was chopped down by a typical strikers challenge from Hartson, he went over to help the player to his feet, but the midfielder rebuked his advances and threw a punch at the big Scot's leg. The striker instantly kicked out and landed a fierce kick to his head breaking his jaw, leaving him unable to eat for two days. Hartson landed himself a three game suspension and £20,000 fine as a result.

6. Graeme Le Saux vs David Batty

A mere four minutes into Blackburn’s 1995-96 Champions League clash away at Spartak Moscow and the red mist had descended upon Graeme Le Saux, who took his rage out on David Batty.

The England internationals clashed near the touchline, words were said and then Le Saux threw a punch at Batty, unfortunately breaking his hand in the process. The spat set the tone for the rest of the match and Blackburn ended up on the end of a 3-0 drubbing.

5. Dennis Wise vs Callum Davidson

Leicester’s pre-season training back in 2002 took a turn for the worse after a simple game of cards turned into a heated argument involving Dennis Wise and Callum Davidson.


Davidson was always going to come off worse against the hot-headed Wise and he suffered a broken nose and jaw. The incident left its mark on both players as Wise was sacked because of the altercation. 

4. Craig Bellemy vs John Arne Riise

What can possibly go wrong at a karaoke night ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League game against Barcelona in 2007? When you have a player like Craig Bellamy, anything can happen.

The Welsh international took offence to John Arne Riise when he refused to take part in the drunken team bonding session. The feisty Welshman confronted the left-back and allegedly took a swing at the Norwegian with a golf club and the night quickly turned sour.

Bellamy more of less confirmed what had happened when he scored in the Nou Camp and produced a golf swing celebration, much to the amusement of the Liverpool player. One wonders if Riise saw the funny side.

3. Bruce Grobbelaar vs Steve McManaman

Passions ran high during the 1993 Merseyside derby, even more so when Steve McManaman was at fault for Everton taking the lead.

A furious Bruce Grobbelaar chewed him out and pushed him in the throat. McManaman gave as good as he got and retaliated with a push of his own, but wisely retreated further up the field.

2. Roy Keane vs Mick McCarthy

A lengthy public interview with the Irish Times backfired big style for Roy Keane and the Republic of Ireland, when he criticised his sides’ preparation ahead of the 2002 World Cup.

Tensions spilled over in a clear-the-air team meeting which escalated into a full scale argument between Roy Keane and manager Mick McCarthy.

 A enraged Keane said this expletive laden passage, "Mick, you're a liar … you're a f*****g w****r," Keane shouted. "I didn't rate you as a player, I don't rate you as a manager, and I don't rate you as a person. You're a f*****g w****r and you can stick your World Cup up your a***. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country! You can stick it up your b******s." McCarthy had the last laugh when Keane was sent home however.

1. Mario Balotelli vs Roberto Mancini

Mario Balotelli and former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini didn't always see eye-to-eye during their stint together in England.

Their most high profile falling out came on the training pitch in 2012 when the striker lunged in on Scott Sinclair which prompted Mancini to tell Balotelli to go inside and get changed. Balotelli being Balotelli didn’t agree and refused to leave the pitch and a scuffle broke out with the manager trying to physically pull the Italian international off the pitch. The pair both had to be separated by fellow players and staff.