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FANS VS PLAYERS FANS VS PLAYERS

19Corinthians’ very own Swampy An angry Corinthians fan protested at his team’s bad form in a unique manner back in 2003. The man, identified only as Roberto and armed with a bag full of bananas, climbed a tree outside the club’s stadium, tied himself to it, and refused to come down until the team agreed to change its tactics and formation. The Corinthians players first hurled abuse and rotten fruit at the fan, but then opted for the silent treatment. Roberto stayed up there for a week, eating his bananas and throwing skins at passing players. “The players kept sticking their fingers up at me,” Roberto complained.

20AngrySwazilandplayersfightfirewith,er,baseballbats?!In2003,theSwazilandnationalteam played out a disappointing draw in a World Cup qualifier against fellow minnows Cape Verde. As the team prepared to leave the ground on their coach, an angry mob of Swaziland supporters surrounded the coach and began to taunt the team. The players took drastic action, ordering the driver to stop before piling off the bus brandishing baseball bats. “In a scene reminiscent of an action-packed film, one fan ran as if he had a third lung as the players moved menacingly towards him,” reported The Swaziland Times. The police eventually put an end to the hijinks.

21Drunk Dubliners turn on Captain Keano “Keane, you Cork b******, you’ll be in the tabloids tomorrow,” shouted the wayward Man United midfielder’s assailant, following

Lehmann pulled the fan’s specs off and strode away a 1997 bar brawl at the Chester Court Hotel, near the star’s Cheshire home. After a home win and the discovery that his brother’s partner had given birth to a girl, Keane wet the baby’s head with his Cork contingent, while across the bar a group from Dublin did likewise. By half-past three in the morning, the Dublin group had moved from calling Republic of Ireland skipper Keane an “idol” and “a legend” to “that Cork s***bag”. Blows were traded, and after a call from one of the group to the press, the story was indeed all over the next day’s tabloids.

22Maverick Vale cyclist hurls Robbie Williams insults An unidentified Port Vale fan, anxious to convey his displeasure about his team’s performances during the 2001-02 season, decided to take the law into his own hands, jumped on his push bike and “gained unlawful entry to the club’s training ground”. He spent the next half an hour riding around the perimeter, hurling abuse at his team, telling them to “sort yourselves out, you bunch of losers”. The incensed Vale players attempted to catch him, and even drop-kicked balls at him to try and dislodge him from his bike, but the intruder pedalled fast enough to evade their predictably wayward potshots. “Robbie Williams could do a better job than you losers!” he yelled before finally disappearing.

Above If you’re not careful he’ll poke fun out of your barnet Below How fans made themselves heard in the days before web forums pursued Lehmann, whimpering “Die brille, die brille” (“the glasses, the glasses”) as he did so. Just before Lehmann shot off in a taxi, he handed back the specs and told journalists: “It was the only way to shut the guy up.” Fair enough.

24 Crazed Brazilian shoots bullets into the ball in act of revenge After spotting that the opposition goalkeeper was still saying his prayers after kick-off, Corinthians star Roberto Rivelino launched a speculative shot from the halfway line and scored with just six seconds on the clock. At this point, the hapless keeper’s brother stormed onto the pitch to remonstrate with Rivelino about his “gross lack of sportsmanship.” In order to emphasise his point, he ran upfield and proceeded to fire six bullets into the match ball. Wisely, perhaps, Rivelino and the other players scarpered.

25Under-fire Butch turns Lion tamer “You’re not Millwall, you’re Chelsea,” screamed a gaggle of irate Lions fans at the club’s co-manager Ray Wilkins in late 2006. The reason for their ire was the team’s poor on-field performances, coupled with the fact that ‘Butch’ wasn’t actively involved in coaching at the club. The ‘discussion’, which took place in the car park outside the New Den and was posted on YouTube, was initially hostile (he told them to “shut your mouths” and talked about the lack of hair on one fan’s “barnet”, ironically), but ever the diplomat, Wilkins soon calmed the supporters down and responded to their queries. By the end of the seven-minute face-off, the fans even applauded him. Then he got into his car and drove home. Super.

Despite the cyclist’s plea, Robbie never got his chance at Vale Park

23Jens de-specs stunned fan after sending off After being sent off during Stuttgart’s clash at Mainz earlier this year, former Arsenal stopper Jens Lehmann, confronted by an irate supporter outside the ground, employed an innovative way to silence his critic. The combustible Teuton pulled the fan’s glasses off his face and strode away. With cameras filming the whole curious affair, the supporter – now with a buddy in tow – www.deepfreeze.co.uk

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