On October 19 earlier this month, Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was assaulted by an opposing fan after conceding a late goal to Leeds United. The actions of the hooligan were disgraceful and have reminded fans of the darker past of British football.
However, after much research I have found that this type of clash isn’t just restricted to football. And, without further ado, here is a collection of the worst fan-athlete altercations to have ever taken place in the world of sport.
The Rob Ray Melee
Starting off the list with a bang, or 15 bangs as it were, is a fight between NHL’s Buffalo Sabres’ Rob Ray and an opposing Quebec fan in 1992. The fan foolishly confronted the Sabres’ team during the game and was consequently dragged to the bench whereby Ray unleashed a flurry of punches that would have made Floyd Mayweather proud.
Kung Fu Cantona
After his dismissal against Crystal Palace in 1995, Eric Cantona took his anger out on a jeering fan by launching himself into an opposing fan feet-first. This act, combined with the fact it helped cement his iconic status amongst Manchester United fans, ensures his place on this list.
The Corner Frag
In an Asian Champions League football match earlier this year, one player innocently threw a piece of ‘debris’ found by the corner flag off the pitch, only to see it explode immediately after. Whilst nobody was harmed, this incident ranks highly purely for the fact several players could have been killed.
The Boston Bruins Brawl
A huge fight erupted between ice hockey fans and almost every single member of the Boston Bruins team in 1979 after a fan aimed a punch at one of the Bruins at the end of a game. The brawl takes second spot due to the immense scale and lengthy duration of the fight that even involved a fan being beaten with his own shoe.
Surprisingly, the worst player-fan altercation to have taken place occurred at a tennis match in 1993 when Monica Seles was stabbed (non-fatally) in the back. Seles never completely recovered from this, failing to win any more Grand Slams in the remainder of her career after making a comeback to the sport 2 years later.
So, the moral of the story? One, never taunt athletes; and two, never ever taunt athletes that play ice-hockey.