We’re all a bit stunned at Power Tower today – and thankfully it has nothing to do with Frankie Dettori stringing together a sackful of winners!
No, rather it’s sweet little Phil Neville and his brutal introduction to the ways of men – and, indeed, women – at the hands of Cameroon in Valenciennes on Sunday afternoon.
The two sides famously met back in 1990 men’s World Cup, but some of the scenes from the women’s sides’ encounter in 2019 looked like a match from 1970, the only difference being that VAR had to intervene at regular intervals to ratchet up the Cameroonian descent into Mortal Kombat mode.
It’s all left England manager Phil Neville – a former team-mate of Roy Keane and Eric Cantona, international comrade of David Batty, as well as an opponent to numerous other “hard b*satards” throughout his long career – a bit shook up. There, there Phil.
But the chaotic scenes in the Stade du Hainaut were nothing compared to some of these sporting meltdowns…
Malice at the Palace
They say basketball is a non-contact sport. Somebody should’ve told Ron Artest and Ben Wallace, who caused a ruckus on the court back in 2004 – and then off it when a fan threw a drink at the Indiana Pacer.
The brawling in the stands led to nine players from both sides being suspended without pay for a total of 146 games – at a salary cost of over $11million! The NBA reviewed its alcohol policy at games as a result of the fight.
Worst of all, Kid Rock was in attendance and left the arena completely unscathed. Disgraceful.
El Diego kicks back
Bilbao and Diego Maradona had previous. Earlier in the 1983/84 season, Andoni Goikoetxea secured his place as quiz answer for generations to come by snapping the ankle of Barcelona’s diminutive maestro with a crunching lunge. Fast-forward to the end of the season, Maradona’s returned from injury sporting a shiny a new pin in his cracked foot and has led Barca to the Copa del Rey final against the newly-crowned champions Bilbao.
While you might think things couldn’t get nastier than a horror challenge that almost ends the career of a generational talent, you wouldn’t have reckoned with the bitterness that had grown between the two clubs – Goikoetxea, or the Butcher of Bilbao to his friends, had pulled a similar trick on the blaugrana’s Bernd Schuster just a few years before, turning his ligaments to mush.
His Argentine team-mate wasn’t going to be caught again though, and when Bilbao ran out 1-0 winners to complete the double, all hell broke loose on the Bernabeu pitch.
I’m told that’s not Chuck Norris flying in with the kicks, but it could’ve fooled me.
Fan beaten with his own shoe
Ice hockey is a game of contrasts. While players spend two-and-a-half hours every night knocking seven shades of maple syrup out of each other, they love nothing more than lining up to shake hands at the end of it all and saying the Canadian equivalent of “jolly good show old chap”.
That same courtesy doesn’t always extend to the fans though, as Boston’s Mike Milbury showed way back in 1979 as he led his Bruins’ teammates over the plexiglass walls and into the Madison Square Gardens stands where he snatched the shoe of a fan and tried to put it back on their foot via their throat.
So scandalised was the sport at the attack, the NHL had no choice but to throw the book at Milbury. He was suspended for six games and told if he did it again everyone would be very, very disappointed with him. Harsh.
Tyson gets an earful on Bite Night
Like the Candyman, back in the day, just saying the name “Mike Tyson” a few times at the wrong moment seemed enough to knock down all but the most elite heavyweight punchers. His slide from the most feared person on the planet to a WWE-like gurner and Hangover punchline was a stuttering one – his conviction for rape in 1992 saw him locked away for three years, but he claimed two world titles on his release and looked to be almost as fearsome as in his early career.
But it didn’t last. An 11th round defeat to Evander Holyfield in 1996 was followed by the inevitable re-match where Iron Mike pulled the kind stunt even Vince McMahon would struggle to imagine. Spitting out his gumshield, he went full-Luis Suarez on Holyfield’s lughole in the third-round, chewing off a chunk of the champ’s ear and spitting it onto the canvas.
Incredibly, this merited just a two-point deduction in the eyes of the referee – and former Japanese POW camp commander in a previous life, judging by his tolerance for violence – Mills Lane, who allowed the fight to continue until Tyson was found to have tried to eat the other ear too.
He crossed the line with that and was disqualified.