Despite the efforts of football authorities and referees football is a contact sport. For the fan this is part of the attraction of the game. They love to watch the blood and thunder excitement of players sliding in and giving their all.
However, sometimes players can overdo it and this can result in serious injuries which can be career threatening or even lead to lifelong chronic problems. When they retire many players who have not been seriously injured tend to suffer from knee pain so footballers who get injured are unavoidably scarred for life.
This was one of the most shocking football injuries of recent seasons. Arsenal’s young Brazilian-born Croatian forward had started to make a name for himself in the team. He was scoring goals and getting headlines. The world, if you pardon the pun, was at his feet.
Then in a match with Birmingham City in February 2008 he suffered an awful tackle from Birmingham’s Martin Taylor. I remember watching it on Match of the Day and it truly was shocking to see the young man’s leg crumble underneath him.
He suffered a broken left fibula and dislocated his left ankle. It took a year for him to recover from this horrendous injury and he did eventually get back in the first team. He now plays for Shakhtar Donetsk.
The term ‘injury-jinxed’ is perhaps overused for some players but for Kieron Dyer it is apposite. It is the amount of time that he has not played because of injury that is as shocking as the injuries themselves.
I saw Kieren Dyer play in the flesh when he was at the start of his career at Ipswich Town and they were playing Stockport County. He was far and away the best player on the pitch that day and it was no surprise to me when Newcastle snapped him up.
His injury problems really started after his leg was broken in two places during a league cup match with Bristol Rovers for West Ham United. He did not play again that season and he made only 22 appearances for the club and never played a full ninety minutes. It was reported that it cost the club £450,000 for every match he played.
He is now at QPR where he is, unsurprisingly, out for the rest of the season with ligament problems after appearing for his new team for a mere three minutes. He must carry a first aid kit around with him everywhere he goes.
His injury was shocking not so much because of the seriousness of it (although he never played a full match again after he received it) but more the way it was caused.
Roy Keane was a tough competitor, it was part of the reason he and his team, Manchester United were so successful. Whether you were playing with him or against him you knew you were in a match when Keane was involved.
He was annoyed when he suffered a knee ligament injury and Haaland suggested he was faking it. Keane did not play for the rest of that season.
When they came face to face in the Manchester derby Keane admitted he wanted to hurt Haaland, “I… hit him hard…Take that… and don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries,” he said in his autobiography.
The pre-meditated nature of the incident remains one of the most shocking in the history of the game.