This beautiful game has been blessed with the mesmeric talents of players such as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But with the light must come the dark, and it’s also had its fair share of scandals to accompany it.
Whether it be tampering or spying, it’s fair to say there have been a fair few immoral measures taken by clubs and individuals alike.
And following this weekend’s news that Liverpool paid £1m in a settlement with Manchester City after being accused of breaking into their scouting network, this feels like just the right time to delve into some of the more bizarre cases in the English game.
Leeds United (2019)
A suspicious man is reported at Derby’s Training Ground.
♂ Derby confirm the man found was a Leeds United employee.
Marcelo Bielsa admits he sent a man to spy on training.
✅ Leeds 2-0 Derby
路♂️ Plan worked. pic.twitter.com/maiu65iqth
— SPORF (@Sporf) January 11, 2019
In January 2019, Marcelo Bielsa sent a member of his staff to Derby County’s training ground ahead of an upcoming clash between the two in the Championship.
Bielsa has a bit of a history for this sort of thing and the Argentine confirmed that he did indeed send a member to go and watch their next opponents. As a result of his wrongdoing, Leeds United
England vs USA (2019)
The Women’s World Cup saw England in with a chance of going all the way. This, of course, didn’t happen – with the Lionesses eventually being knocked out by the United States in the semi-finals.
However, there was bags of drama in the build up to the match – notably when two members of the USA staffing team were spotted walking through a private area of England’s hotel. The team immediately denied any spying or wrongdoing, but the controversy was there nonetheless.
The following day, a man was spotted in the bushes above England’s training facilities. Security chased him but appeared unable to get to him.
Coincidence? We’ll leave it up to you on that one.
Liverpool and Manchester City have formed a fierce rivalry with one another over the past few seasons, with the two battling it out for the major honours.
The pair are set to face off against each other in the Premier League on 10th November and it appears as though there will be another layer of tension and rivalry for the upcoming contest, following the recent news.
The scandal involved three former Manchester City employees who went on to join Liverpool’s scouting network, including the club’s current sporting director Michael Edwards. It was believed that the Reds accessed their rivals’ Scout7 database on ‘hundreds of occasions’ – with Liverpool ending up paying £1m in settlement.
You can check out the full story here.
Huddersfield Town (2004)
Nothing new this spygate lark. I remember a certain game for Lincoln away against Huddersfield before I signed there. Big Keith was giving his halftime talk and one of the polystyrene tiles cracked and fell down. The sight of Brooky the Kitman trying to back up was hilarious.
— Gary Taylor-Fletcher (@GTF_12) January 12, 2019
Sheffield United (2001)
The enigmatic Neil Warnock is the centre of this one. Then-Burnley manager Stan Ternent accused Warnock of sending someone to listen in to a team-talk – in a match which Sheffield United won 2-0 to leave Burnley unable to reach the play-offs.
Warnock vehemently denied any wrongdoing and even encouraged Ternent to report him. Whether it was all handbags or if there was truth to it, it’s clear the pair didn’t see eye-to-eye.