Rafael Benitez and the stormiest receptions in sport
The Chelsea interim manager is set to face a barrage of abuse this weekend
Friday 01 March 2013
Rafael Benitez is bracing himself for an even more stormy reception than usual at Stamford Bridge tomorrow with Chelsea fans expected to vent their feelings towards their interim manager over his furious midweek broadside.
Here we take a look back at 10 more hostile sporting receptions.
1 JUST ONE COCHINILLO
Luis Figo was a Barcelona hero until he controversially left the Nou Camp to join hated rivals Real Madrid in a £37million move in 2000. On his first return with his new club two years later, Figo was greeted by taunts and smoke bombs as well as a shower of missiles at every set-piece. The situation reached its head - its pig's head, to be precise - when the pork product was launched towards the star from the stands.
2 WELCOME TO HELL
Nothing could prepare Manchester United for the reception that awaited them in Istanbul in November 1993 as they prepared for the second leg of their Champions League clash with Galatasaray. Banners pronounced "Welcome To Hell" and "RIP Manchester", while even United players were not spared, Eric Cantona swatted on the back of his head by a police truncheon, and Bryan Robson gashed by a stray riot shield.
3 MARIO IN MILAN
Former Inter star Mario Balotelli's return to the Milan derby - only this time in the colours of rivals AC Milan - was hardly likely to pass without incident. Inter fans hurled racist abuse at the star, as well as displaying discriminatory banners for which the club was fined 50,000 euros. For his part Balotelli, who had left Inter to join Manchester City in 2010, was also fined for making an "insulting gesture" in the direction of his tormentors.
4 "JUDAS" SOL
Sol Campbell signed for Tottenham at the age of 18 and seemed to be a Spurs boy to the core. That is, until he crossed north London and signed for bitter rivals Arsenal in 2001. Campbell was predictably greeted with fury on his first return to White Hart Lane in the Gunners' red and white. The Arsenal team bus was attacked, Campbell was pelted with bottles and coins, and banners proclaimed him a "Judas" for his decision.
5 THE WAR ON THE SHORE
The infamous Ryder Cup clash at Kiawah Island in 1991 came against the backdrop of a surge in US patriotism following the first Iraq War. A boisterous crowd and a gee-up from President Bush helped the US team - some clad in camouflage caps - to a controversial victory. Paul Azinger said afterwards: "American pride is back. We went over there and thumped the Iraqis. Now we've taken the Cup back. I'm proud to be an American."
6 ROTTEN LUCK
Italy appeared to have nothing to fear ahead of the 1966 World Cup in England as they found themselves in a weak-looking Group 4. After winning their opener against Chile they were narrowly beaten by the Soviet Union before suffering a humiliating 1-0 defeat to North Korea at Ayresome Park in Middlesbrough which knocked them out of the competition. Upon arrival back in Italy, the players were pelted with rotten fruit at the airport by enraged fans.
7 BODY BLOW
Presumably England captain Douglas Jardine did not expect a cosy reception after ordering his bowlers to adopt the notorious 'Bodyline' bowling tactics during the 1932-33 Ashes tour. He didn't get it. In the third Test, mounted police were employed around the ground's perimeter amid fears of a riot. When Jardine subsequently came out to bat, he was continually booed by the crowd. Wisden called it "possibly the most unpleasant match ever".
8 MEXICAN WAVE
What do you do when you're preparing to fight an unbeaten Mexican legend in front of 130,000 fans at the Azteca Stadium? Incite the crowd, that's what. American Greg Haugen derided Julio Cesar Chavez's 87 vanquished opponents as "Tijuana taxi drivers" and entered the ring to the tune of 'Born In The USA'. Chavez's wild fans bayed for blood, and Chavez duly provided it, inflicting terrible punishment on Haugen before the fight was stopped in the fifth round.
9 HERO TO ZERO
David Beckham's silly sending-off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup was widely credited with ending England's hopes and rival fans were not going to let him forget it. The fury vented upon Beckham the following season reached its nadir at West Ham's Upton Park, where United's team bus was smashed with stones and an effigy of Beckham was seen dangling from a hangman's noose.
10 DAVIS CUP DISTURBANCE
When the USA went to Bucharest in 1972 for a Davis Cup final against a Romanian team featuring the likes of Ion Tiriac and Ilie Nastase, it was never likely to be plain sailing. Stan Smith had to overcome a howling crowd, a series of highly-debatable line-calls by local officials, and no fewer than six overrules by the umpire before edging a five-set decider over Tiriac. Smith told Tiriac at the net: "I really lost a lot of respect for you."
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