Top 10: Shocking tackles

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 of this.

In the late summer heat 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.

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 fumed, understandably. 

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