Four on-pitch fights in English football; including infamous Newcastle clash

David Villa Claps

It hasn't always been a case of the beautiful game in England, with Newcastle United, Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers stars more Rocky than Roy of the Rovers on occasion.

Kieron Dyer - Newcastle UnitedKieron Dyer - Newcastle United

Surprising news emerged from the MLS recently, as New York City's David Villa was sent off for punching Houston Dynamo's AJ DeLaGarza in the face during a pre-season friendly.

The incident happened from a corner, and while DeLaGarza made a bit of a meal out of it, it was surprising to see a player of Villa's nature lash out in such a manner. 

However, compared to a few occasions in the UK down the years, this was incredibly tame. Here are four such incidents which have showed football's uglier side rear its head.

Marlon King (Nottingham Forest) vs Jason Gavin (Bradford City)

Perhaps the least well known incident out of the three, but still just as dramatic. This incident took place in a Championship fixture between Nottingham Forest and Bradford City back in 2004, with Nottingham Forest ultimately running out 2-1 victors. However, before the winning goal was scored, both King and Gavin were sent off for a remarkable bust up, which saw Forest's King throwing hooks like a heavyweight boxer at his opponent. 

Kieron Dyer vs Lee Bowyer (both Newcastle United)

From the least known to the most well known, this altercation between England internationals and Newcastle United teammates Dyer and Bowyer shocked the entire nation. It started when Dyer chose to pass to someone other than Bowyer twice, and then mocked Bowyer's ability, causing a reaction which saw punches fly and both Newcastle players sent off. The bickering continued in the dressing room, and only stopped when then Newcastle boss Graeme Souness offered to fight the pair. Wisely, they refused.

Jermaine Beckford of Preston North End appeals for a peanltyJermaine Beckford of Preston North End appeals for a penalty

Jermaine Beckford vs Eoin Doyle (both Preston North End)

The most recent bust up took place in December 2016, when Preston North End striker Jermaine Beckford was so incensed by strike partner - in more ways that one it would seem - Eoin Doyle's inability to play him through in the 90th minute with Preston 2-1 down to Sheffield Wednesday, that a fracas began. The result was both players being sent off, and an absolutely furious Preston manager in Simon Grayson.

Graeme Le Saux vs David Batty (both Blackburn Rovers)

It may be hard to believe nowadays, but Blackburn Rovers were a Champions League side once, but that didn't stop tempers from boiling over. In a match against Spartak Moscow, David Batty got more than he expected after berating Graeme Le Saux, who snapped and caught his Blackburn teammate Batty with a left hook. Le Saux then threw a second punch, but managed to catch Tim Sherwood, who'd stepped in to break it up. Incredibly, neither player was sent off.  

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