Before the start of the 2004-2005 Premier League campaign, a new Fair Play initiative began. Rather than teams enter the field of play and head straight to their half of the pitch, both sides line-up together, then all players shake each other’s hands as a sign of respect ahead of the battle ahead over the course of the next 90 minutes.
This proved to be rather unremarkable at the start of a match until February 2010 when Chelsea played host to Manchester City at Stamford Bridge. The centrepiece was the spat that had occurred between former Chelsea teammates, John Terry and Wayne Bridge.
They were close friends when they played together for the Blues between 2004 and 2008. However, recent tabloid revelations had revealed that Terry had been having an affair with Bridge’s girlfriend at the time, Vanessa Perroncel. Realising his name was about to be outed, Terry attempted to take out a superinjuction but failed and the damaging publicity would cost him the England captaincy as Fabio Capello felt he wasn’t the role model that he expected. Bridge later retired from international football as a result, feeling he simply couldn’t play in the same team with the man who had been playing away behind his back.
Now, their domestic clubs were about to clash with one another for the first time since the affair had become public knowledge. Never had a potential handshake garnered so much attention from TV broadcasts, internet forums and newspaper columns. Would the pair shake hands?
They didn’t. Terry put his hand out but Bridge snubbed him in a public show of anger and disgust. Jeered all afternoon by supporters who used to cheer him on, it was Bridge who had the last laugh as Manchester City won 4-2 and Chelsea finished with nine men.