The Premier League may be considered the most glamourous and exciting division in football, if not sport, but it’s had its dark moments as well.
This article has a look at the dirty side of the beautiful game. From on the field violence, to off the field videos promoting it, we take a look at eight Premier League moments that the FA may wish had never occurred:
On 23 February 2008 Birmingham City were hosting Arsenal in a Premier League tie at St Andrew’s. As early as the third minute Blues centre-back Martin Taylor completely missed the ball when aiming a stomp towards Arsenal forward Eduardo Silva, instead making contact with the player’s leg.
Taylor stomped on Eduardo’s ankle at such force that the Croatian international suffered a compound fracture to his left fibula and an open dislocation of his ankle. The centre-back was sent off immediately. Despite FIFA’s disciplinary panel reviewing the incident, Martin Taylor escaped with the standard three-match ban.
Birmingham City lived up to their Premier League odds and were relegated that same season. Taylor himself would only play one more Premier League match for the rest of his career, spending most of his time in the Championship.
In 2005 David Prutton became the first player to be handed a 10-match ban in Premier League history.
The Southampton midfielder received a £6,000 fine on top of his suspension for shoving referee Alan Wiley after being dismissed for a studs-up foul on Arsenal’s Robert Pires.
Prutton laid hands on referee Wiley on more than one occasion when trying to reach his assistant, Paul Norman. He returned for the Saints’ final game of the season, versus Manchester United, as the club were relegated which proved to be the former-Nottingham Forest youngster’s final Premier League game.
Manchester United’s majestic forward Eric Cantona spent the best part of the 1994-95 season suspended after his kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace supporter at Selhurst Park.
The controversial French player took offence to an insult from the Crystal Palace crowd after being dismissed for an off-the-ball foul on Richard Shaw. Cantona duly launched a kick at the fan before being led away by security.
Cantona was handed an eight-month suspension and Blackburn Rovers would go on to win the Premier League title.
Remarkably, in his six years in English football, this would be the only season he didn’t win the top flight.
Joey Barton would make most fans’ list of the dirtiest players in Premier League history and he makes ours for his contribution in the Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers game on the final day of the 2011-12 season.
The former-Manchester City youth, perhaps not wanting to prevent his former side from winning the Premier League title, elbowed and kicked City striker Sergio Aguero to receive a red card 10 minutes into the second half.
Barton received a 12-match ban for his behaviour and spent the following season on loan in France at Marseille.
At the start of the 2006-07 Premier League season, Manchester City’s Ben Thatcher viciously led with his elbow towards Portsmouth’s Pedro Mendes as the ball was going out for a throw-in.
Thatcher showed no remorse as he walked away from the incident, whilst Mendes required an oxygen mask and suffered a seizure on his way to hospital.
Referee Dermot Gallagher only showed Ben Thatcher a yellow card at the time but the FA would later hand him an eight-match ban with a further 15 games suspended for the next two years. Manchester City docked him six weeks’ wages.
El Hadji Diouf
One of the dirtiest players in football history, El Hadji Diouf has a long line of unexplainable incidents. One that sticks out was when the former-Senegalese international spat at Portsmouth defender Arjan de Zeeuw in 2004 whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers.
Diouf had history, having spat at Celtic fans in a UEFA Cup match whilst playing for Liverpool. Amazingly, for spitting at an opposition player, the FA only handed the forward a standard three-match ban.
Luis Suárez was a fantastic footballer for Liverpool but his actions made him one of the most popular outside of Liverpool. First, there was the racism incident with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra, and then came the biting.
In April 2013, during a 2-2 draw with Chelsea in a Premier League game at Anfield, the Uruguayan bit Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic in an off-the-ball incident that was missed by the officials. Suarez would go on to score a stoppage time equaliser for the hosts.
The bite even prompted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to demands that the FA take a hard line with the footballer. In the end the FA charged him with violent conduct and served a 10-match ban.
Following a bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, Suárez was sold to Barcelona and that subsequently wrote Liverpool out of everyone’s Premier League predictions for the title that season.
Considered by many as the hardest man to play in the Premier League, Wimbledon’s Vinnie Jones served a six-month ban in 1992 for his voice-over on a VHS celebrating dangerous tackles.
The club’s chairman at the time, Sam Hammam branded the midfielder a ‘mosquito brain’ for participating in the video.
Soccer’s Hard Men as was the title of the release provided ‘advice’ for budding ‘hard men’.