Carlos Tevez and football’s top 10 strikes
When footballers take industrial action
After Carlos Tevez may or may not have refused to play for Manchester City, here’s 10 other occasions when footballers have opted not to do their jobs.
1. Pierre Van Hooijdonk
Yes, it might seem unglamorous compared to Tevez’s preferred destinations, but the Premier League was once gripped by the tale of a Dutchman who wanted to ditch Nottingham Forest for Middlesbrough. Forest refused to let the striker move to the side promoted along with them, so he went on strike. He eventually backed down from his summer hissy-fit in November and returned to a frosty reception from all at Forest.
The biggest strike that never was. The England squad, reportedly led by Gary Neville, threatened to boycott an England match in support of Rio Ferdinand following his suspension for missing a drugs test. The players were eventually talked out of the strike, but Red Nev’s nickname was well and truly cemented.
3. Dimitar Berbatov
Proof the sulky subs can earn moves to Manchester as well as away from the City. Berbatov’s refusal to warm-up as a substitute for Tottenham in 2008 sounded the death knell for Martin Jol’s tenure at the club, but didn’t exactly speed up the Bulgarian’s White Hart Lane exit. He eventually got his move later in the year when new boss Juande Ramos decided he was not in a fit state to play for the club.
Les Bleus infamously refused to train during last summer’s World Cup in South Africa in protest at the decision to send striker Nicolas Anelka home. The ill-fated campaign descended into farce and several members of the squad landed themselves with bans from the national team.
5. Paul Scholes
Hardly your typical stroppy footballer, Scholes has admitted that he went on strike in 2001. He refused to play for a second-string in a League Cup match against Arsenal after being dropped for the previous Premier League match against Liverpool. He said: “Sir Alex would have been well within his rights to get rid of me after I refused to play for one of his teams and I couldn’t have complained about it.”
6. Hatem Ben Arfa
He might be Newcastle’s rarely sighted new Messiah, but he was once a very naughty boy. He pushed through his move to Tyneside after refusing to train for Marseille. Despite their earlier protestations, the French outfit were convinced to sell-up.
The Portugal national team’s preparation for the 1986 was shrouded in controversy. A host of selection, club faction and travel arrangement disputes came to a head in a row over appearance payments and unpaid sponsorship work. The squad refused to play one of their warm-up games, but the issue was resolved in time for the start of the tournament.
8. George Eastham
Eastham went on strike in 1960 in protest at the digs and second job Newcastle had arranged for him. Under the rules at that time, the midfielder was left in limbo without any pay and unable to move clubs. After a stint as a cork salesman in Guildford, he was eventually sold to Arsenal. He continued to pursue his grievances through the courts and finally won a reform of the transfer system in 1963.
9. La Liga
The new La Liga season started a week late in August after the players of every club decided to strike in a row over unpaid wages. The strike only ended when guarantees were made to pay €50 million owed to more than 200 players who had lost out at financially-stricken clubs.
10. Norwegian league
Players at nine clubs in Norway went on strike last May over the right to choose their own boots. A quirk of the Norwegian league means players must wear the boots and goalkeeping gloves provided to them by each club’s sponsor.
Do you have any other favourite footballing industrial actions?