Dublin’s head-butt (March 2003)

The 2002-2003 Premier League season was the first campaign that brought Second City rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham City together in the same league since the 1980s. Birmingham had won the first game 3-0 at St Andrew’s, helped by a calamitous goalkeeping error from Peter Enckelman. Villa were looking for revenge in the return fixture at Villa Park in March 2003.

It was 0-0 early in the second half when Dion Dublin lost his cool and composure in the heat of battle. Robbie Savage had just received possession when Dublin made a sudden charge and clattered Savage with a heavy challenge. The Birmingham midfielder was tempted to react but Mark Halsey came across quickly to try and defuse the situation.

Words were clearly exchanged between the pair and whatever Savage said seemed to irritate Dublin spectacularly who head-butted Savage right infront of the referee. A mass brawl broke out but Dion had given Halsey no option but to send him off.

Birmingham went on to win the match 2-0 and complete a memorable league double for the Blues supporters against a nine-man Villa who also had Joey Gudjonsson sent off late on in a bad-tempered encounter.

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