Kieron Dyer has lifted the lid on his punch up with Lee Bowyer almost 13 years on from the infamous incident at St James’ Park, explaining just how he and the hot-headed former NUFC midfielder came to throw blows in front of 52,000 fans that day.
As it turns out, Bowyer felt like he was constantly being ignored by Dyer, who was consistently failing to pass the ball to his fellow midfielder – only for Dyer to tell him that the reason he doesn’t pass to him is because he’s “f*****g s**t”. And that was the final straw for Bowyer and the reason things quickly turned ugly.
It was Saturday 2nd April 2005. We were 3-0 down to Aston Villa and with just 10 minutes to play, it didn’t seem like the day could get any worse. Boy how it did.
We were already down to 10 men and had not long gone 3-0 down thanks to Gareth Barry’s second penalty of the day. And then this happened..
Writing for the Daily Mail in his latest piece this week, Kieron Dyer has opened up about what actually went down the day.
Here’s what he’s day to say:
“I could see him marching towards me, eyes bulging. Graeme Souness was shouting ‘don’t do it’ from the touchline but Lee Bowyer kept on coming.
“I grabbed him by the shoulders and the neck to keep him off me and then he started raining in punches. It was like slow motion. When the punches were hitting me in the head, I was thinking: ‘I cannot believe he is hitting me in front of 52,000 people. What the f*** is he thinking?’
“I was trying to let him punch himself out. I thought it was just going to be handbags. It’s the kind of thing that might happen in training but not in a match. No one in their right mind would do that — but Bow had lost his mind.
“I think he hit me four times. The punches didn’t hurt but by the time the fourth punch came in, I thought ‘f*** this’ and launched one back at him.
“Gareth Barry rushed in to restrain Bow and drag him away. Bow’s shirt was ripped down to his chest and he was still snarling and snapping and trying to get himself free.
“I was relatively calm, but I looked over at Bow again and he was frothing and raging. I didn’t realise that you could get sent off for fighting your team-mate.
“The referee came over and showed me the red card. Then he sent Bow off, too.
“The crowd had been on our case because we were 3-0 down at home to Aston Villa. On the pitch, tempers were fraying.
“Bowyer had come to show for the ball. He was available, but I thought there were better options and passed to another team-mate.
“Bowyer went crazy. ‘F****** pass me the ball,’ he screamed. ‘What are you talking about?’ I said. ‘You never pass me the ball,’ he said. I told him to do one but he chuntered a bit more.
“A few minutes later, he wanted me to lay it square to him. I thought there were better options. It wasn’t personal. Bow went absolutely nuts. ‘F****** hell,’ he yelled, ‘you never pass me the ball.’ ‘The reason I don’t pass you the ball,’ I said, ‘is because you’re f****** s***.’
“His whole demeanour changed. He had gone and I knew he had gone. I’d always got on well with him. I still do. The media have portrayed him in a certain way, and sure, he had his moments.
“But Frank Lampard had his moments, too, and people say he was the perfect role model. It helps that Frank fulfilled his potential and that he was an unbelievable player. That encourages people to forget his past misdemeanours.
“Bow did have a nasty temper. He was quite laid back in many ways, but once he went, he really went.
“Sometimes, he boiled over, and when he did, you just had to stand back and watch the show.”
A moment that will go down in Premier League history, but for all the wrong reasons.
Either way, this is a fascinating insight from Dyer, whose comments to Bowyer clearly caused tempers to boil over that day.
Who was at the game that day and what did you make of it all at the time?!