It might be hard to imagine but there was a Manchester City before their oil-rich Abu Dhabi investors took over and this is what it looked like. Ben Thatcher was playing against Portsmouth in 2006 when for some reason he decided to commit GBH on Pedro Mendes. Instead of shouldering him or sliding in like a normal person, he shoulder charged Mendes, sending him sprawling.
Mendes was left unconscious and would require oxygen. He was brought to the hospital where he suffered seizures during the night before he was released the next day. The FA suspended Thatcher for eight games and a further fifteen game suspended ban for two years. The craziest thing is that referee Dermot Gallagher only booked Thatcher.
You know things are bad when you end up in court for a tackle that you committed on the football pitch. That’s exactly what happened to the Mpumalanga Black Ace captain Felix Musasa. Musasa was playing in the South African league against the Carara Kicks when he let loose with one of the worst leg breaks we’ve ever seen.
Musasa drove into a high challenge on Bhuti Ngubali, shattering his unfortunate victim’s leg in two places. Obviously, he was sent off because he turned his opponent’s leg into jelly. That’s as nasty a break as we’ve ever seen. Musasa was fined R100,000 and slammed with a four-month suspension. You just can’t be doing that.
Could anything else take the top stop? This was one of the most infamous tackles in the entire history of football. When Roy Keane suffered a serious injury against Leeds, he remembered Alf-Inge Haaland shouting abuse at him to get up. The incident stood long in the Manchester United captain’s memory and he was determined to get revenge on the Norway international.
Four years later the pair clashed again. In 2001, Keane flew into a challenge with the now-Manchester City midfielder smashing Haaland’s already injured knee. He was immediately sent off. The image above of him standing over Haaland is now notorious. Keane’s admission in his autobiography that it was deliberate saw him fined and slammed with a five-game ban.