Coaches can be a crotchety old lot – just add an unbearable pressure to win, the occasional media snipe and watch the sparks fly. Seconds out, round one…
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger didn't even let the season begin properly before adding another chapter to an ongoing rivalry that should only intensify further, given both managers’ clubs are expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season. In the spirit of such hostility, here are six other pairs of bosses who really didn’t rub along well…
Sir Alex Ferguson vs Arsene Wenger
Mourinho isn't the first man Wenger has fallen out with: when the Portuguese was a little-known member of the Barcelona coaching staff in the mid-'90s, the Arsenal manager had already begun a feud on these shores with Fergie, Manchester United’s omnipotent overlord.
“He’s a novice and should keep his opinions to Japanese football,” was Ferguson’s way of greeting Le Professeur when he joined the Gunners from Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996.
The ill feeling intensified as the league championship passed back and forth between Highbury and Old Trafford over the next eight campaigns, culminating in the infamous 'Pizza-gate’ clash of October 2004 (which followed the previous season's infamous Battle of Old Trafford, and culminated in Ferguson having Italy's finest food export chucked over him in the tunnel).
"By the time we were walking down the tunnel everyone was having a go at each other," Ashley Cole 'wrote' in his autobiography. "There were shouts of 'you cheats' and players were running into a jostling huddle... I was jammed in the middle. I heard the boss [Wenger] hammering Ferguson; incandescent French, verbally sparring with the bullish Scotsman."
Relations thawed as time went on, possibly because the duo mellowed in their older age, but more likely because, in Ferguson’s later years, Wenger’s side were no longer the same threat to United in the league. Though there is plenty of mutual respect between the two today, this was once a truly fierce rivalry.
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