This week ‘professional footballer’ Gavin Grant (…yeah, I didn’t have a clue who either) was sentenced to life imprisonment for the shooting and killing of Leon Labastide.
You can’t help but feel that the ex Millwall, Wycombe and Bradford striker’s choice of weaponry was a little bit of a cliché – I mean, come on, London, gang disputes, gun-crime, we’ve heard it all before.
Perhaps it’s a class thing. I mean, how many Premiership players are involved in tit-for-tat shooting? Other than Emile Heskey.
In fact, the artillery chosen by England’s elite, on the whole, is much more imaginative. Here’s a quick look at 5 ways in which Premiership footballers have chosen to express their malevolent nature in a more creative way.
1) The Nutter with a Putter
Who else but Craig Bellamy could take such offence at a team-mates refusal to participate in karaoke to swing at him with a gold club? John-Arne Riise suffered from bruising to the leg and was fine to train the day after. If that’s all the damage Bellamy can cause with a golf club it is evident that he needs to work on his swing.
2) Didier Drogba’s eye for an eye
Irritated that some hooligan may have thrown a coin at you, even though he missed? Why not just employ the baffling logic used by Drogba and fling one straight back into the crowd in some sick game of Russian coin roulette? Surprisingly, Didier did not manage to hit the offender. There were no reported injuries in the Burnley stands and Drogba got himself a three match ban… hardly draw at high-noon.
3) Joey Barton fights fire with fire
When youth team player Jamie Tandy was caught red-handed trying to set Joey Barton’s shirt aflame, the fiery midfielder retaliated by putting a cigar out in his eye. It may not have been a Hamlet, but there is a certain Shakespearian poetry in the irony of Barton’s revenge. As a result, Tandy’s career went off the rails and he subsequently tried to file a lawsuit against Barton for making him see red (sorry! I had to get that in there) and abuse his girlfriend.
4) Cantona hand-to hand (or should that be foot-to-chest) combat
Who needs weapons? Certainly not the French if Zizou and Cantona are anything to go by. Perhaps one of the most infamous incidents in English football was, in essence, an incredible example of the martial arts. In an attack worthy of the Matrix, Cantona managed to clear the advertising boards, thrust his right foot into an insulting fan’s chest, regain his balance and throw in a few hefty haymakers for good measure. For his actions, Cantona received an 8 month international ban, 120 hours community service and a black belt.
Tempers boiled over at Old Trafford in 2004 when Manchester United ended Arsenal’s run of 49 games unbeaten. After storming to the visitor’s dressing room, I doubt Sir Alex Ferguson was expecting to find the area quite literally transformed into an arsenal and be pelted with pizza in the doorway. It’s a shame the Gunners couldn’t hold such a successful siege of their goal during the game.