Keiron Dyer vs Lee Bowyer: The shocking fight – and how they had to play together again

The clash between Newcastle United and Aston Villa in April 2005 should have paled into insignificance.

It was a run-of-the-mill Premier League match between two sides without much to play for as the season entered its final stages.

But with 10 minutes to play, an incident occurred that shocked the football world – and ensured the fixture would never, ever be forgotten.

Newcastle teammates Keiron Dyer and Lee Bowyer inexplicably began fighting with each other, as the Toon chased the game.

The fight was broadcast around the world and is still considered one of the most shocking incidents in Premier League history.

Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer
Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer of Newcastle come to blows

But what happened, why did it happen and what happened in the aftermath of the fight?

Ahead of West Ham vs Newcastle this weekend, two clubs where the pair were teammates, we remember the famous fight…

What happened?

The match was certainly not going as Newcastle hoped. By the 80th minute, Villa led 3-0 and Magpies defender Steven Taylor had been sent of for a handball on the line.

As the ball was in play, TV cameras caught Bowyer approaching Dyer menacingly and leaning his head into his teammate’s face.

A grapple followed, with Dyer appearing to make the first aggressive arm movement – only for furious Bowyer to react by throwing two punches.

Dyer then reacted, before both players were forcefully dragged away from each other by members of both teams, stunned about what had occurred.

Kieron Dyer of Newcastle is sent off after a fight with Lee Bowyer
Kieron Dyer of Newcastle is sent off after a fight with Lee Bowyer

Lee Bowyer is pictured with a torn shirt after fighting with team-mate Kieron Dyer

Bowyer was pictured with a ripped shirt as he walked away from the incident.

Both fighters were understandably sent off, leaving Newcastle, captained by a furious Alan Shearer, to finish the match with eight players.

The game finished 0-3.

Why did the fight occur?

It was a frustrating afternoon for Newcastle. They conceded two penalties and had a promising academy starlet sent off.

Eventually it proved too much for Bowyer, who confronted Dyer, believing that he was intentionally not giving him the ball, when perhaps it had looked like he could have done.

With around 10 minutes to go, Bowyer confronted Dyer, who allegedly responded by saying: “The reason I don’t pass to you is because you’re s***?, basically.”

Bowyer walks off after being sent off for his involvement in the fight

What happened after they were sent off?

Dyer and Bowyer continued the spat down the tunnel and had to be continuously separated.

It was later revealed by Dyer that teammate Jean Alain Boumsong told the pair to fight it out in the dressing room as tensions continued to rise.

After the game, manager Graeme Souness reportedly asked them to fight him if they thought they were so big and clever. They both refused.

Immediately after the match, Newcastle arranged a press conference to allow Bowyer and Dyer to apologise. Souness sat in between the pair.

Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer
Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer shake hands after being sent off for fighting each other

“I would just like to apologise to the fans, the chairman, the managing staff, all the players and everybody that is connected to Newcastle, my family, and everybody that witnessed what happened today on the football pitch,” Bowyer said.

“I will touch on the same as well,” Dyer added. “I would like to apologise to my teammates, the manager, the chairman, and the fans, and everyone connected with the club as well.”

Moving on… and an unlikely reunion

Manager Souness told the media that he was happy for the two midfielders to stay on at the club, even as the players received their inevitable bans: three matches for Dyer and four for Bowyer, who had been dismissed earlier in the season.

Bowyer went on to be fined a record £210,000 by chairman Freddy Shepherd who said that he should go “down on his hands and knees” for forgiveness.

Bowyer would play one more season with the Magpies, netting two league goals before returning to West Ham in June 2006.

Dyer would last a season longer before an inexplicable move… joining Bowyer at West Ham!

Thankfully for the pair, the wounds healed quickly and there were no more high profile clashes. In 2014, Dyer said his relationship with Bowyer was as healthy as could be.

“That’s just the way Lee was,” he said of the infamous fight. “But I still want to beat him up.”

Read More

Mirror Football’s Top Stories


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.