The Rundown

Six of the best: Sporting feuds

The Rundown

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With Alex Ferguson finally having ended his seven-year feud with the BBC, we look at some of the best feuds from the world of sport.

Alex Ferguson and the BBC

Back in
2004 the BBC's Panorama programme put out a documentary alleging that Alex
Ferguson's football agent son Jason had exploited his father's position and
fame in order to set up transfer deals.

Fergie Sr
hit the roof about the documentary - which was called "Father and
son" - calling the Beeb "arrogant beyond belief" and blasting
their "inabbility to apologise".

did a story about my son that was whole lot of nonsense," he explained. "It
was all made-up stuff and 'brown paper bags' and all that kind of carry-on. It
was a horrible attack on my son's honour and he should never have been accused
of that. But it is such a huge organisation that they will never apologise."

retaliated by refusing to grant interviews to any BBC journalist, and insisted
that until he and his son received an apology he would never do so.

Even when
new Premier League rules obliged him to do so as part of the BBC's TV highlights
rights deal Ferguson refused to budge, and Manchester United agreed to pay
whatever fines the League threw at their man.

finally broke out this month following a meeting between the Manchester United Ferguson
boss and BBC director general Mark Thompson. No apology was issued - publicly,
at any rate - and neither party will speak about what was said.

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Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole

The intrepid strike partnership led the line for Manchester United for four
seasons - but the pair loathed each other so much that they never spoke throughout.

The feud was apparently sparked when Sheringham failed to shake Cole's
hand when Cole came on to replace him during an England match in 1995 -
something that Cole felt was unforgivable, given that it was his debut for the
national side.

Sheringham joined Cole at Manchester United two years later, yet despite
playing alongside each other they pair never spoke - despite the fact that they
both played starring roles for the Red Devils during the treble-winning 1998-99

Even now, Cole still harbours a grudge. "I'd rather sit and have a
cuppa with Neil Ruddock, who broke my leg in two places in 1996, than with
Teddy -- who I've pretty much detested for the past 15 years," he wrote in
his newspaper column last year.

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Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank

British super middleweights Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Michael Watson were
world-class fighters who passed belts back and forth during the late 1980s and
early '90s in a series of scintillating fights.

But while both Benn and Eubank got on well with Watson, down-to-earth Benn
and highly-eccentric Eubank loathed each other with a passion which simply poured
out of the pair of them, whether inside the ring or out. From the cold stares
they gave each other to the dirty tricks they tried to use to win their bouts.

Yet beneath - deep beneath - all the bad blood there was respect.

"I do detest Chris Eubank but I can't knock him," Benn
admitted after losing one of their fights. "Whatever I may think of Chris
Eubank I have nothing but respect for the way he worked tonight."

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Daley Thompson and Jurgen Hingsen

The two greatest decathletes of the late 20th century dominated the
multi-discipline event for years, and passed the world record back and forth as
they did so.

Yet rather than compete in the spirit of mutual respect for a talented a
dedicated opponent, Thompson and Hingsen simply hated each others' guts - and
rarely lost a chance to needle each other in public with trash talking that is
more akin to what you find in WWE wrestling than Olympic competition.

"There are only two ways he is going to bring a gold medal home;
he'll have to steal mine or win another event," Thompson said of Hingsen
before the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Thompson was right - he won the event,
and then 'celebrated' by turning up at the post-event press conference wearing
a t-shirt asking "
Is the world's second-greatest athlete gay?".

Over time, however, the relationship thawed - and by the time of the
next Olympics, Thompson even helped the in-decline Hingsen qualify for the

"We became very close friends," Hingsen said later. "I
always have a good time with Daley. It is a pleasure being with him. Daley, to
me, was always the greatest athlete of all time."

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Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost

From 1985 up until Senna's tragic death in 1994, all but two of the
Formula One World Championships were won by either Prost or Senna.

The rivalry between the pair first intensified when Senna joined Prost
at McLaren ahead of the 1988 season. The then twice world champion Prost was
expected to be the main man, but Senna had other ideas: during that year's
Portuguese Grand Prix Senna tried to block an overtaking attempt from Prost
that nearly ran the Frenchman into a wall.

Prost managed to get past and win the race but was annoyed with Senna,
and it was the Brazilian who eventually went on to win the championship.

In 1989 things got nastier still; Senna broke an agreement that the two
would stay out of each other's way in the San Marino Grand Prix, while at the
final and deciding race in Suzaka the pair collided at a chicane when Prost
blocked an attempted pass from Senna.

The Brazilian was able to finish and win the race, but was later
disqualified and banned for illegally racing through the chicane - meaning
Prost won the championship. There were further clashes between the two after
Prost had moved to Ferrari, but despite all that needle on the track, the pair
had a huge mutual respect for each other.

Prost was a pallbearer at Senna's funeral in 1994 and said that the day
Senna died in a horrible crash at Imola "part of myself died also".

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Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

Muhammad Ali's astonishing powers of eloquence always seemed to desert
him when the subject of Joe Frazier came up.

He resorted to branding him "dumb", and "Uncle Tom",
and laid into his appearance on more than one occasion: "Frazier is so
ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife," was
just one such epithet, adding on another occasion: "Joe Frazier is so ugly,
his mother told me that, when Joe was a little boy, every time he cried, the
tears would stop, turn around, and go down the back of his head."

After their third and final fight - the 'Thriller in Manila' - Ali finally
offerd some kind words to Frazier. He described the bout as "the closest
thing to dying", adding: "He is the toughest man in the world. I
couldn't have taken the punches he took. I would have given in long

Frazier has never forgiven Ali for his cruelty, feeling that he lashed him
so mercilessly that his public image was tarnished forever.  He has explained his feelings in his later
years with chilling sincerity.

"I hated Ali," Frazier said in 1990. "God might not like
me talking that way, but it's in my heart. I know things would have been
different for me if he hadn't been around. I'd have gotten a lot more respect.
I'd have had more appreciation from my own kind. Twenty years I've been
fighting Ali, and I still want to take him apart piece by piece and send him
back to Jesus...

"Look at him now. He's damaged goods. I know it; you know it.
Everyone knows it; they just don't want to say. God has shut him down. He can't
talk no more because he was saying the wrong things. He was always making fun
of me. I'm the dummy; I'm the one getting hit in the head. Tell me now. Him or
me; which one talks worse now?"


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