Roy Keane vs. Patrick Vieira, the Battle of the Buffet: Top 10 tunnel bust-ups
Manchester United and Manchester City are not the first clubs to engage in a bust-up in the tunnel at the end of a game. Some even manage to do so before the whistle has been blown. Here are a selection of some of the best from history.
10) Jose Mourinho vs. Ederson
Maybe they should stop putting consumables in the Old Trafford dressing rooms. This latest bust-up comes in at bottom of the list, broadly because we don't know the full details yet. Reports suggested that Jose Mourinho was forced to wipe milk off his face, though sources told ESPN FC that no milk or water were thrown, and Mikel Arteta, caught in the crossfire, reportedly emerged with a cut to his eye, with bottles reportedly flying around.
9) Robbie Savage vs. Rio Ferdinand
Robbie Savage causing aggro? We're as amazed as you. In a League Cup semifinal in 2006, a minor disagreement on the pitch turned into something spicier at half-time. After a set-to during the game, on their way down the tunnel, Ferdinand nudged Savage, and the Welshman did the only thing he could in the circumstances: he kicked Ferdinand in the backside, and all hell broke loose. "Out of nowhere, all these security men appeared," wrote Savage in his autobiography. "They pinned me against the tunnel... and Ferdinand hit me... Then I was punched in the back of the head by someone." Little came of the altercation, although in his book Savage bragged about getting Ferdinand sent off in a subsequent league game.
8) David Beckham vs. Alpay
The thing about tunnel bust-ups is that they rarely end in a dignified manner for any party involved. During a Euro 2004 qualifier between England and Turkey, then-Aston Villa defender Alpay took it upon himself to taunt David Beckham after he missed a penalty, later accusing Beckham of not only headbutting him but spitting on the Turkish badge. At half-time, Alpay kept up the wind-up, leading to Beckham chasing him down the tunnel and England's security man stepping in to calm things down. Alpay's Villa contract was cancelled shortly afterwards.
7) Dave Kitson vs. Ruud Gullit
Can you imagine a more unlikely pair of combatants? Perhaps not, but back in 2007 journeyman striker Dave Kitson and Ruud Gullit got themselves involved in a tunnel row, after a game between Reading and Manchester United. Kitson had only been on the pitch for 37 seconds before getting sent off for a late challenge on Patrice Evra, and Gullit -- working as a pundit for Sky -- said the Reading forward should have his ban doubled for the foul. Kitson took exception, the pair had words in the bowels of Old Trafford, and thus one of the most curious scraps in football was born and ended.
6) Peter Taylor vs. Juventus
Before Taylor and Brian Clough lead Nottingham Forest to the European Cup, they nearly did the same with Derby County. The pair certainly thought they should have done, as in the 1973 semifinal against Juventus, the whiff of conspiracy was in the air. After a serious of dubious refereeing decisions from Gerhard Schulenberg, the Derby bosses suspected that something was afoot, a suspicion reinforced when they spotted Juve striker Helmut Haller go into the referee's room both before the game and at half-time. Taylor tried to barge his way in, and later said: "Haller jabbed me in the ribs and while I was gasping for air, some heavies grabbed hold of me. I heard John [Charles] shouting to me to hold on to my passport. I've never been so scared in my life."
5) Neymar vs. referee
Neymar's 2014 World Cup was ended prematurely, but his 2015 Copa America barely started at all. That was because he was suspended for four games over a series of incidents during a group game against Colombia: initially he was sent off for a clash with assorted opposition players, then on his way off the pitch he kicked a ball at Paolo Amero and headbutted Jason Murillo. Then, to add an indisciplined cherry to a violent cake, he waited in the tunnel for referee Enrique Osses and, according to the official's report, said: "You want to make yourself famous at my expense, you son of a bitch."
4) The Battle of the Buffet
You're going to be disappointed when a 49-game unbeaten run comes to an end, but there's disappointment and there's disappointment. Manchester United's 2-0 win at Old Trafford in October 2004 came via, shall we say, some robust challenges from the home team. That, combined with the perception that Wayne Rooney had dived to win the penalty that sealed the game, very much seemed to stick in the collective Arsenal craw. Lively discussions continued after the game and to the doorway of the Arsenal dressing room, where Sir Alex Ferguson had appeared to tell the Arsenal players to leave his alone.
Over to Ashley Cole, from his autobiography, for what happened next: "This slice of pizza came flying over my head and hit Fergie straight in the mush. The slap echoed down the tunnel and everything stopped -- the fighting, the yelling, everything. All eyes turned and all mouths gawped to see this pizza slip off that famous puce face and roll down his nice black suit." Cesc Fabregas confirmed recently that it was him, but in some ways it's nicer to leave it a slight mystery.
3) Valencia vs. Inter
One that started on the pitch and continued into the tunnel. After a Champions League game in 2007, Carlos Marchena aimed a kick at Nicolas Burdisso, which promoted Valencia's David Navarro to storm into the fray (despite being an unused substitute in the game) and punch Burdisso in the face. A rather comic chase ensued, with half the Inter team chasing Navarro up the tunnel and trying to trip him up. Ultimately Navarro was banned by UEFA for seven months, and both clubs were fined around £100,000.
2) Manchester United vs. Turkey
When Manchester United travelled to Istanbul for a Champions League game against Galatasaray in 1993 they were greeted with a sign that read "Welcome to hell." It all went downhill from there. Eric Cantona was sent off for directing some salty language at the referee, and on his way down the tunnel he was battered and bruised by the attendant riot police. His colleagues, including manager Sir Alex Ferguson, leaped to his defence, wading into the scraps with assorted officials, police and undesirables. Bryan Robson emerged with a gashed arm, and everyone else just about got out alive.
1) Patrick Vieira vs. Roy Keane
Your standard tunnel bust-up takes place immediately after a game, when emotions are still running high and grievances need to be settled. But this one was a hangover from Manchester United's win over Arsenal in 2004, when they stopped the "Invincibles'" unbeaten run thanks to some pretty rough treatment.
In the tunnel before the return, Vieira remarked to one of the key rough-treaters, Gary Neville, that he shouldn't dish out similar again, to which Keane took exception. Keane looked for buttons to push, remarking that if Vieira was so proud of his Senegalese roots, why did he play for France, then suggested he would "see you out there." In the end it amounted to little more than pushing and shoving, but this was a manifestation of the simmering tension between the sides. United won the game 4-2, and interestingly neither protagonist was booked.
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.