Theo Walcott’s sign of the times – 10 players who clashed with fans

After Theo Walcott's spat with Tottenham fans during the FA Cup, we look at 10 other examples of players versus fans

The Football Association has announced that Theo Walcott will not be charged for taunting Spurs fans with a 2-0 scoreline gesture during the Gunners' FA Cup victory over the weekend.

"The FA contacted Arsenal's Theo Walcott and reminded him of his responsibilities regarding a 'scoreline' gesture he made in front of away supporters during the game," read the statement released.

There will, however, be an investigation into the conduct of the Tottenham supporters who threw bottles and coins as Walcott was stretchered off.

The incident comes less than a month after Jack Wilshere was banned for two matches after gesturing to the Manchester City crowd. Luis Suárez has also been previously banned for gesturing to Fulham fans, and Gareth Bale has given a scoreline gesture as a response to having a banana thrown at him.

Here are ten other examples of players clashing with fans, from the acutely absurd to the downright dangerous.

Gary Neville enrages Liverpool

In 2006, Neville – always popular with Liverpool fans – ran 60 yards to celebrate a Rio Ferdinand header in front of the Liverpool away crowd at Old Trafford, kissing his badge and, er, thrusting his hips. Neville, who earned a £5,000 fine from the FA for his actions, defended his celebrations, commenting that football was becoming "devoid of passion and spirit".

Wayne Rooney breaks the fourth wall

During the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town, Rooney walked off to a booing crowd after England laboured to a woeful 0-0 draw with Algeria. "Nice to see your own fans booing you, you football 'supporters,'" the striker said into the camera.

This was harsh as it meant all of us watching at home took the wrap for the fans in the stadium, a bit like when you get the blame for something your sibling did.

When Cantona kicked off

Probably the most famous example of all, everybody remembers Eric Cantona's flying kung-fu kick aimed at an abusive Crystal Palace fan back in 1995. Cantona had just been sent off at Selhurst Park and was making his way to the dressing room when the fan screamed obscenities at him from behind the advertising boards.

Cantona received a nine-month ban, the FA were "appalled" and Chief Supt Terry Collins said: "There could have been a riot". No news on whether Chief Supt Terry Collins later joined a band called the Kaiser Chiefs.

Fowler's nose for trouble

Back in 1999, Robbie Fowler responded to taunts from Everton fans about his alleged cocaine abuse by running to the blue section of supporters and 'snorting' the box's white line after converting a penalty kick at Anfield.

Police investigated the celebration and Fowler was hit with a £60,000 fine from the FA. Gérard Houllier meanwhile attempted to pass the celebration off as pretend "grass-eating". Um.

A right earful

In what was a very serious and sinister incident in the Romanian League, a Petrolul ultra fan ran onto the pitch and punched Steaua Bucharest player George Galamaz, breaking his cheekbone and leaving him deaf in his right ear.

The fan, Stefan Dragos Enache, was then kicked to the ground by Galamaz's team-mate Novak Martinovic, who earned a red card for his troubles but also became a club hero. The game descended further into chaos when a firework was thrown onto the pitch.


While not a straight forward beef between a player and a fan, Chelsea's Eden Hazard went viral after kicking a ballboy during his side's Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea City.

Seventeen-year-old Charlie Morgan, the son of Swansea's director Martin Morgan, was smothering the ball when Hazard decided he was time-wasting and tried to kick the ball from underneath him. The striker was dismissed and incurred a three match ban, while Morgan became a brief Twitter celebrity with over 40,000 followers.

Lampard almost gets lamped

After the final whistle of Chelsea's FA Cup quarter-final defeat of Tottenham, Frank Lampard ducked and dived like Ali to avoid a punch thrown by an 18-year-old Spurs fan who was banned for life at White Hart Lane after the incident.

Asked for his take on the melee, Mourinho commented: "Perhaps the security people slept a bit," which seems a fair assessment to us.

No love lost for Adebayor

In a similar vein to Neville's provocative celebration in front of Liverpool fans, Emmanuel Adebayor made sure to raise the ire of his ex-supporters when he decided to run the length of the Etihad pitch to celebrate scoring for Manchester City against his old club in 2009.

Needless to say, this didn't exactly go down well and Adebayor was roundly pelted with polystyrene cups and hissed at like a pantomime villain. The striker was fined £25,000 and given a two-match suspended ban.

A slap in the face

One of the most shocking incidents to happen in the Championship, Sheffield Wednesday's keeper Chris Kirkland was horribly attacked by a pitch-trespassing fan when his team played Leeds in 2012.

The fan, Aaron Cawley, was jailed for 16 weeks after the incident and handed a six-year ban.

Derby strife

Finally, in 2013 a Manchester City fan was banned for attending football matches for three years after running onto the field and attempting to engage Rio Ferdinand at Old Trafford. Matthew Stott was also given a 56-day suspended sentence.

Ferdinand had already been bleeding from a confrontation with fans who had thrown coins at him. The defender tweeted after the incident: "Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p; could have at least been a £1 coin!" © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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