English football's famous fights

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Football News

After Tuesday evening's League Two post-match brawl between players from Bradford City and Crawley Town, the Football Association announced yesterday that they would be investigating video footage of the incident before deciding whether or not to hand out further punishments.

The Red Devils maintained their promotion push with a crucial 2-1 victory at Valley Parade, but the win has paled into insignificance following the dismissal of Bantams trio Andrew Davies, Luke Oliver and goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, along with Pablo Mills and Claude Davis from the visiting side, Those reds equal the British record for players sent-off in a match.

Due to the scale of the confrontation - in which punches were thrown by members of both teams - additional bans could be handed out to the individuals concerned, and the clubs could be fined for failing to control their players.

In light of this midweek mauling, GiveMeFootball has decided to take a walk down memory lane and recall its top five English football dust-ups.

Sheffield United v West Brom (March 2002)

The 'battle of Bramall Lane' was a particularly tempestuous encounter between two old First Division sides. The Blades were fined £10,000 by the FA after three players were sent off following a series of fights and illegal tackles, in a match against the Baggies which was abandoned after 82 minutes when the hosts were reduced to six men due to dismissals and injury.

West Brom were leading the game 3-0 before Michael Brown limped off in the closing stages, leading to allegations that United boss Neil Warnock ordered his player to feign injury in an attempt to get the game cancelled. However, the claims were never founded, and Brown missed the remainder of the campaign.

Manchester United v Arsenal (September 2003)

In a highly charged encounter at Old Trafford between two of the Premier League's leading title rivals, Ruud van Nistelrooy succeeded with his dubious attempt to get Gunners captain Patrick Vieira sent off with 15 minutes left on the clock.

With the score poised tentatively at 0-0, United were awarded a penalty in stoppage time. Up stepped Van Nistelrooy, who crashed his spot-kick against the bar, prompting a raucous reaction from the visitors.

As the final whistle blew moments later, the Dutchman was literally pounced upon by a selection of Arsenal players, led by stand-in skipper Martin Keown.

Newcastle United v Aston Villa (April 2005)

Trailing 3-0 at home in the Premier League against Villa, Magpies midfield duo Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer decided to take their frustrations out on each other, and became embroiled in an on-pitch brawl.

Both players had to be pulled apart by teammates and members of the opposing side, before each receiving red cards for their actions, leaving Newcastle to play out the game with eight men, as defender Steven Taylor had already been sent-off for a deliberate handball.

Dyer received a three-match ban, while Bowyer was handed a four-game ban and a fine of more than £200,000 – approximately six weeks wages – after it was adjudged that he had been the aggressor.

Macclesfield v Wycombe Wanderers (February 2011)

A little over a year ago a mass 22-man brawl marred a spirited League Two clash between the Silkmen and the Chairboys.

A fiery game with numerous flying tackles spilled over when the hosts' Ricky Sappleton kicked out at a Wycombe player so blatantly that a number of his teammates took exception to the challenge.

Chaos ensued but the most surprising thing was the fact that the aforementioned Sappleton and Macclesfield striker Emile Sinclair were the only players to be sent off for their actions.


What did we miss? Of course, these player fracas' extend much further afield than the English game. Share your favourite classic football skirmishes below...

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