With the last week of the season now upon us, it’s a good time for reflection of the craziness of this year.
It’s also a good time to reflect on all the training ground bust-ups we’ve seen this year.
In a season where the pressure was on from top to bottom, and barely three points separated teams, you can certainly understand tempers boiling over.
Did training ground bust ups become more common place, or was there something in the water this season that tended to inspire the behind closed doors violence?
We didn’t quite hit Barton-esque heights of violence this year, but the incidents did seem rather frequent for one season.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the some of the awkward and down-right dangerous moments arising off the pitch this season.
1. Port Vale
Okay this one isn’t Premier League, but it sure was one hell of a bust up. Defender Daniel Jones was sacked by Port Vale after he seriously beat up club captain Doug Loft in April.
Loft’s injuries, including a broken cheekbone, were so severe that he missed the remainder of the season.
In late January, Southampton striker Dani Osvaldo went after Jose Fonte at the Staplewood training ground.
The incident prompted the club to ban record-signing Dani Osvaldo for three games – something surprising, given the club’s injury concerns at the time.
Fonte certainly came off worse, with rumours that he was left bloodied after the incident. (Ciderspace, BBC) Promptly after the incident, Osvaldo was loaned to Juventus, where he currently remains.
3. Swansea Round 1
Here we have a good old fashioned training ground fight that may or may not have involved world class diver Chico Flores chasing now-manager Garry Monk around the training ground with a brick. Casual.
The row was witnessed by a member of the public, who then called the police. This led to the rather brilliant quote from Swansea that “the club can categorically state that nobody was threatened with a brick.”
4. Swansea Round 2
Prior to their defeat at Chelsea, Swansea players were again involved in “a couple of incidents between certain players” at their training ground (TalkSport.)
The names of the players involved didn’t leak out on this occasion, and there were reportedly no bricks this time, but two squabbles from one team attracting media attention in one season is never good news.
And the best of the rest…
There have been smaller occurrences too – pictures from April on the Mirror’s website show Luis Suarez and Martin Skrtel rowing about Skrtel using his hand during a game of ‘head tennis’ (imagine not taking a game of ‘head tennis’ seriously!)
There was also a rumour going around twitter that Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood had punched an unnamed player in the head after a match – but the lack of corroboration from both club and media and Sherwood’s continued jaunt at the helm of Spurs more or less put that rumour to bed.
There are some aggressive incidents mentioned above, but the crown for this year’s best off-pitch fight must surely go to West Brom, when their players were involved in a fight which couldn’t even wait until they left their dressing room after a tough game with Cardiff.
Reportedly, there was a ‘physical altercation’ between Saido Berahino and teammate James Morrison.
The ‘physical altercation’ turned out to be that Morrison punched Berahino in the head when Berahino refused to apologise for his mistake in possession, which allowed Cardiff to grab an extremely late equalizer. (BBCSport)
Berahino suffered a head injury as a result, and the incident led to him tweeting cryptic messages and hints that he would then leave in the summer.
He also, through West Brom, issued a statement from Berahino stating that he would not be suing after the incident.
In such a tough season, you’d expect tempers to flare on occasion—but infighting amongst teammates is never good news for a club.
As we reach the end of the season, it would appear that most of these spats have calmed down – with the exception of Osvaldo, who will most certainly never play for Southampton again.
Of course, managers are no saints either – just ask Alan Pardew!
What do you make of the off-pitch issues this year? Is it more than we’d normally see, and why are teammates turning on each other?
Let us know below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.