Pull the other one: Ivano Bonetti and a plate of chicken wings
As part of our ongoing look at the world of health and fitness, we're trying hard not to snicker at sportsmen and their stoopid injuries. Today: Ivano Bonetti and a plate of chicken wings.
A manager losing the rag in the dressing room is part and parcel of sport and has been for as far back as we can remember. Tales of the men in charge blowing a fuse behind closed (or sometimes open) doors are as common as a bewildering Giovanni Trapattoni phrase or mugs of scalding tay and hang sandwiches after a GAA match.
Trawl back through the sporting archives and there’s no end of examples across the board, but particularly in football.
Alex Ferguson, of course, is the most famous exponent of the hairdryer approach and once dared to kick a boot in the direction of David Beckham’s manicured eyebrows.
Barry Fry was well known for chucking cups of tea against the wall or off the heads of his players, while Louis van Gaal was once so disgusted at the lack of ‘balls’ shown by his Bayern Munich squad that he dropped his kaks in the dressing room and flashed his genitals at his players to show that at least he wasn’t lacking in that department.
Perhaps the most bizarre incident of dressing room rage, however, was an unseemly brawl between former Grimsby Town manager Brian Laws and Italian footballer Ivano Bonetti way back in 1996.
In February of that year, Grimsby fell to a 3-2 defeat away to Luton Town despite having beaten the same opposition 7-1 only a few weeks before. Obviously failing to understand how such a reverse result could happen and looking for a scapegoat to blame, Laws turned on Bonetti, the stereotypical fancy foreigner, whom Laws felt simply hadn’t tried hard enough.
What was it about Lionel Messi potentially struggling on a wet night against Stoke? We don’t really buy that dated logic about foreigners struggling to cope in English football but Bonetti’s performance was obviously the embodiment of that rather half-assed theory.
Anyway, a blazing row erupted between the pair in the dressing room afterwards, resulting in Laws throwing the nearest thing to his grasp - which just so happened to be a plate of chicken wings – in Bonetti’s direction, clocking him in the face and breaking his cheekbone in the process.
Dressing room tales can often grow legs (delicious chicken legs in this case) and soon be blown out of all proportion, but this one was no joke. Observe the extent of Bonetti’s injuries after the incident (see picture below), a far cry, we think you’ll agree, from the poncey bandage and alice band combo which David Beckham ensured gained massive exposure after his run-in with Fergie and the flailing boot.
Hilarious though it undoubtedly is, if a tad unfortunate for Bonetti, the incident raises a number of questions. How mad was Laws that he would fling a plate of food in another man’s direction? Did Bonetti do anything else to get his goat up and most importantly, what were a gang of professional footballers doing eating greasy chicken wings of all things?
As Paddy Kenny found out after having a chunk of his face bitten off outside of an Indian restaurant and as we were to learn from 'Pizzagate' a few years back, fast food and professional footballers is a recipe for absolute disaster.