Roy Hodgson and 8 of the Biggest Dressing Room Controversies
Roy Hodgson, England's pragmatic manager, should be basking in the glory of World Cup qualification, but instead he finds himself trying to put out the fire caused by a controversial "space monkey" analogy he told in the half-time team talk of the Poland match on Tuesday.
Most parties agree that the alleged racist connotations of the joke have been blown out of proportion, while Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reiterated his feelings that what happens in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room.
Sometimes, however, a controversial speech or incident is leaked from the confines of the four dressing-room walls. Here are some of the best examples...
David Beckham Gets the Boot from Sir Alex Ferguson
Following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal in February 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson was so enraged with his team's performance that he stormed into the dressing room and kicked a football boot across the room. It happened to strike the most valuable face on the team, leaving a mark above David Beckham's eye that required stitches.
It is thought that Beckham and Fergie's relationship failed to recover from the incident, and the megastar midfielder packed his bags for Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Gary Megson Lets the Fans Do the Talking
While in charge of Nottingham Forest in 2005, Gary Megson was so overcome with anger during a defeat to Yeovil that he invited a pair of aggrieved fans to come and do the half-time team talk instead.
The tactic didn't quite pay off: Forest were 2-0 down before the fan chat and finished the match 3-0 down. Megson, meanwhile, was handed his P45 shortly afterward.
Queens Park Rangers' Dressing Room Dangers
When QPR's merry band of underachievers were dumped out of the FA Cup by League One side MK Dons in January 2013, the players' post-match analysis consisted of a fiery shouting match that nearly ended in a brawl. The Daily Mail reports:
One witness described the scene as ‘unbelievable’, with players trading insults and threatening to come to blows during a fiery inquest minutes after they were dumped out of the Cup.
QPR sources claimed the incident lasted ‘between 90 seconds and two minutes’ as they argued over the team’s shocking performance.
If Harry Redknapp's team had shown such passion on the field, perhaps they would not have tumbled out of the competition—and the Premier League.
John Sitton Unleashes His Potty Mouth
Warning: video contains NSFW language
There are a number of managers who can deliver furious half-time tirades, but viewers of a 1995 Channel 4 documentary about Leyton Orient were given a ringside seat for one of coach John Sitton's interval performances.
After sacking one player on camera, he offered to fight two others, choosing some phrases that he probably didn't pick up at his finishing school:
You, you little c**t, when I tell you to do something, and you, you f*****g big c**t, when I tell you to do something, do it. And if you come back at me, we'll have a f*****g right sort-out in here. All right? And you can pair up if you like, and you can f*****g pick someone else to help you, and you can bring your f*****g dinner. 'Cos by the time I've finished with you, you'll f*****g need it."
Due to poor results, Sitton was sacked two months after this incident.
Brian Clough Gets Rough with Roy Keane
During an FA Cup match with Crystal Palace in 1991, Nottingham Forest's Roy Keane made an error that gifted the opposition a goal.
Manager Brian Clough was so furious with the Irishman afterward that he punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground.
Keane is probably the last person in football you would want to punch in the face, but he actually took the punishment quietly and later admitted that it was "the best thing he ever did for me," according to the Mirror.
Kolo Toure and Mario Balotelli Go to War
In April 2012, Manchester City captain Kolo Toure took exception to the on-field antics of Mario Balotelli during a 3-3 draw with Sunderland. Apparently, he did not like the fact that the Italian argued with Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free kick.
According to the Metro, Toure and Super Mario had to be pulled apart when they returned to the dressing room.
Elsewhere in City fighting, Roberto Mancini once reportedly had a bust-up with goalkeeper Joe Hart over his failure to properly organise a wall during a Manchester derby defeat.
Brian Laws Gives Ivano Bonetti Wings
In February 1996, Brian Laws was the manager of a Grimsby side that suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Luton.
Laws was so upset with the lack of perceived effort from Italian midfielder Ivano Bonetti that he picked up the nearest item to him—a plate of chicken wings—and threw it at the player.
Bonetti suffered an fractured cheekbone and left the club on a free transfer shortly afterward.
Perhaps Grimsby wouldn't have been so sluggish on the field if there weren't chicken wings in the dressing room?
Lawrie McMenemy and Mark Wright's Shower Scene
Big Geordie Lawrie McMenemy ruled the roost at Southampton during the '70s and '80s, and he was not a man to be messed with.
After a match in which defender Mark Wright put in a poor performance, McMenemy blasted him with the hair dryer treatment. Wright refused to accept the criticism and pushed his manager into the showers, where they proceeded to have a fully clothed ruckus.