Grassroots Coaching

The Worst in Football – Part 1

Managers and players abusing referees is nothing new. With television and media profiling every incident and word said, it brings to the public’s attention all that is perceived to be bad about the game of football.

I recently came across a book called the “Worst in Football”. It is written by Nigel Henderson, a journalist on the sports desk at Times Newspaper.

The book is headlined by the quote “From brawls to bribery, the ugly side of the beautiful game”

Never sent off, never booked, never even, according to legend, spoken to by referee. No, not Wayne Rooney, John Terry, or any of the other high profile professional footballers playing today. This was Tom Finney, the Preston Plumber, a star of yester year and a legend. But how would he have got on in today’s football?

Football has always attracted trouble. In the middle Ages, houses and shops were wrecked, players fought, tackles were made and bones were broken. Football has struggled to shake off its genesis as a mob game. For years, successive Monarchs trying to get their people to focus on archery practice, rather than play football. But as we can see from the television coverage today, football, proved far too popular, with the common man.

The Roy Keane Tackle on Alf Inge Haaland

Manchester united V Manchester City: The Premiership. Old Trafford. April 2001

The Roy Keane Tackle on Alf Inge Haaland was perhaps the worst premeditated foul ever seen on a football pitch. In 1997, the Norwegian, at the time a Leeds player, stood over the prostrate Roy Keene and suggested that Roy had made a  little bit more fuss than was strictly necessary about catching his foot in the turf and tearing his cruciate knee ligaments.

They say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Well, Roy waited four long years for his revenge. It came in the Manchester derby, at Old Trafford, in April 2001. Mr Keene, out on the right touchline, checked in side with the ball. The ball runs away from him and towards the Norwegian. This was it. This was Roy’s moment to gain revenge. Alf Inge Haaland went in for the tackle. Roy Keane, completely ignored the ball, and tackled his fellow midfield player in place that afforded no shielding. The knee cap.

The outcome of the tackle was that Alf Inge Haaland never really recovered to play top-class football again. Roy Keane was sent off, fined £150,000 and banned for 5 games. 

As Roy Keane was walking off the pitch, he bent over the stricken Alf Inge Haaland and supposedly said “don’t ever stand over me sneering about false injuries again”

To watch this tackle, click on the link below.

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