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When football clubs become fig...
Soccer

When football clubs become fight clubs

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

00:44 6 Jan 2015

They might have been called the Crazy Gang. But while team spirit was definitely evident, the Wimbledon team of the '80s did not all get on with each other.

The prime example was John Fashanu and 1988 FA Cup final goal hero Lawrie Sanchez who openly despised each other as former Gladiator host Fashanu told FourFourTwo in 2002: "I don’t like Sanch and he doesn’t like me. Hate is a strong word, but we tend to disagree."

In a fight broken up by former club coach Terry Burton, the pair memorably went at it in training on one occasion. 

"So I thought I’d teach Sanch a lesson and gave a sweep of the legs, but Sanch has calves like most people have thighs and he didn’t move. So I gave him another couple, but Sanch came back at me. So I thought, I’m gonna take this guy out, and I hit him with one of the best shots I’d been training with – BAM! Take that, Sanch! – right in the solar plexus, a shot that would supposedly knock a horse down. And still he stood there."

According to legend, Sanchez who found Fashanu to be arrogant, threw the first punch. 

That physical battle had no winner, but that Dons pair were hardly the first team-mates to hate each other with a passion at club level.

 

Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham

This one is too well known. According to Cole, it began when Sherigham snubbed him on the sideline when he was about to come on the pitch as a substitute for his England debut. When Sheringham later joined Manchester United, the pair did not interact verbally, although they struck up a decent partnership on the pitch.

Cole discussed the enmity on Newstalk's Off The Ball last year, detailing how Dwight Yorke acted as their go-between. In it, he also touched on a fight and feud between fellow United pair Roy Keane and Gary Pallister. 

 

Roy Keane

Unsurprisingly, Ireland's assistant manager has had his fair share of conflicts at club level. One player he certainly had a tense relationship with was goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel with the pair coming to blows as detailed in Keane's recent autobiography. In the ITV documentary Keane and Vieira, he told his former Arsenal rival that he and the Great Dane "actually didn't get on that well together."

Although Schmeichel did admit a "personality clash", he claimed that Keane's claim that they did not get on was over-played in his response to what was said in the documentary.

 

Lothar Matthaus versus Effenburg and Klinsmann

All was not well with the Germany side in the late '80s to early '90s and much of the friction centred on the legendary Lothar Matthaus.

Jurgen Klinsmann famously did not get on with his former team-mate while at Bayern Munich. It began when Matthaus made a £5,000 bet with the the club's general manager that Klinsi would not score more than 15 goals - a bet the former would lose.

The current USA manager admits it caused tension to flare up between at club level, which also carried into the national team fold, although with the passing of time, Klinsmann says they are friends now.

Matthaus also fell out with another former Bayern team-mate, in the form of the much more volatile Stefan Effenberg.

It says a lot abot Effenberg's view of his ex-colleague that a chapter in his 2003 autobiography titled 'What Lothar Matthaus Knows About Football' was tellingly left completely blank. When the opportunity arose to use actual words, he called Matthaus a "quitter" and a "big mouth". 

The conflict between the pair is said to date back to their time together at Bayern, when they shared a dressing room from 1998 to 2000. 

 

Iker Casillas and Alvaro Arbeloa

If a huge trophy haul could not be achieved, Jose Mourinho made sure his Real Madrid tenure left some form of legacy.

Unfortunately, that involved creating lasting tensions between the club's long-time No 1 Iker Casillas and defender Alvaro Arbeloa who had also won so much together at international level.

In a recent interview on Spanish TV, Casillas said of Mourinho loyalist Arbeloa: "We have disagreements on the team’s vision, but today, even though we don’t have the relationship we had seven years ago, it’s friendly and polite."

So polite that Arbeloa felt the need to apologise after re-tweeting a link to a book which claimed that Casillas was a "tumor on Real Madrid" after the Spain captain had liked a fan's post on Instagram which had referred to Arbeloa as a "cone" due to his lack of movement.  

 

Nasri versus Gallas 

During Arsene Wenger's reign, team-mates always seem to get on at Arsenal. However, scratch below the surface and there can be issues not apparent to the naked eye.

Take, Samir Nasri and William Gallas for example. Their initial row began on international duty with France as Nasri explained to the Daily Mail:

"When I arrived with the national team Thierry [Henry] was injured with a back problem. He wasn’t there. So when I came, I was sitting in one place. I didn’t know it was Thierry’s place. Then Thierry comes back and I’m sitting there, and he talks to me like, 'That’s my place'. And I said, 'Well, it doesn’t have your name on it'. But then he explained to me that he had been sitting there for 12 years and that it was his favourite seat and I said, 'OK, no problem'. I said he could take his seat,
and he told me to sit next to him. 'We will watch a DVD.'"

As Nasri went on to say, Henry was "cool" about the whole incident. Gallas was not quite so forgiving having also told Nasri to get off Henry's seat and park his rear end elsewhere. On a sidenote, Gallas probably also enjoyed sitting down as the Birmingham City pitch will attest in 2008 as Arsenal's vibrant title challenge began to fade.

So the issue carried into club level, where Nasri revealed he did not speak to Gallas for a year after the latter wrote about the bus incident in his book - although he waited until Gallas had left for Tottenham before admitting it publicly.

"For a year at Arsenal we did not speak," Nasri says. "Other players didn’t talk to him either, but the squad’s collective spirit would transcend everything."

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