Pedro Mendes, Ben Thatcher

Football's 11 most shocking tackles of all time

3. Ben Thatcher on Pedro Mendes

Portsmouth vs Manchester City, 2004

The heat makes us all do funny things: we get a bit irritable, a bit snappy. It seems to affect some more than others, however, and Ben Thatcher is a fine example.

In the late summer hum of 2004 he went mental. During Manchester City'™s pre-season tour of China, his elbow caused Yang Chungang to suffer a collapsed lung, and less than three weeks later he became the most hated man in English football with a horrendous assault on Portsmouth'™s Pedro Mendes.

As he and Pedro Mendes ran for a loose ball near the touchline, Thatcher intentionally led with his elbow, sending Mendes sprawling into the advertising hoardings and knocking him unconscious. Mendes needed oxygen at pitchside and suffered a seizure while being transferred to hospital, where he would spend the night.

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The tackle was so bad that his own club issued Thatcher with a six-match ban on top the FA'™s eight-game suspension. He was also served with a 15-match ban suspended for two years.

Portsmouth'™s Matt Taylor echoed the thoughts of the thousands watching, incensed by the referee'™s decision to only hand Thatcher a yellow card: "How can that not be a sending-off? What do you have to do, kill someone?" he understandably fumed. 

Next page: "Ref, he headbutted my foot"