When The Two Hardest Men In Football Collided: Jaap Stam Vs Duncan Ferguson
Manchester United colossus Jaap Stam fighting for the ball with Newcastle target man Duncan Ferguson is being hailed as the peak of Premier League hard men.
The two giants came together in a heavyweight clash 20 years ago, as Stam tried to muscle Ferguson off the ball when the striker ran through on goal. But Dunc wasn't going anywhere and it ended with both beasts on the turf - and neither wanted it to stop.
"Imagine these two against Neymar now he would literally faint," observed one commenter on the video captioned: 'Big Dunc vs The Dutch Monster'.
There were several times a modern player might have appealed to the referee - when Stam tried to barge Ferguson off the ball or when Newcastle's striker tried to literally go through Stam to get the ball back - but the only complaint comes from Ferguson to the referee when he finally blows his whistle to stop them. The stone-faced Stam appeals for nothing.
"You can tell both players enjoyed this by their body language, they relished the challenge of each other. No handbags at the end or arguing," observed another fan on YouTube.
"Proper men having a tussle and moving on. That was the football I was growing up watching," said another.
Duncan Ferguson meets Jaap Stam. pic.twitter.com/iAGVqovjSx- Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) September 25, 2020
I'm going to go:- Cantona's Collar :flag_ye: (@CantonaCollars) April 30, 2020
1 Duncan Ferguson
2 Jaap Stam
3 John Fashanu (wildcard)
With an honourable mention to Keane, McGrath, Gravison, Halford & Vieira.
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Everton legend Ferguson - nicknamed 'Duncan Disorderly' for a past that saw him sentenced to three months in prison when he headbutted an opponent playing for Rangers - is arguably the Premier League's most fearsome striker.
But shaven-headed, 6ft 3in Skeletor lookalike Stam wasn't intimidated by any mortal man.
Both Roy Keane - seen briefly snarling in the background - and underrated hard man Alan Shearer played in the February 2000 fixture at St James' Park. But Ferguson vs Stam was the heavyweight main event.
Clearly Duncan felt fired up by the confrontation, as he actually escaped Stam to lash in a sensational, swiveling volley from outside the box to open the scoring soon afterwards. A KO blow.
Keane was sent off in the second half, while Shearer scored a double to give the Magpies a 3-0 victory. Although Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United went on to win the league that season by 18 points. Of course they did.
Neither Duncan Ferguson nor Stam actually lasted much longer at either club. Ferguson went back to his beloved Everton in the summer, while Jaap was sold to Lazio in 2001 (a move Sir Alex later admitted was a rare error in judgment from himself).
All we know is that if you approach a bar any time in the future, and the two bouncers on the door look like Ferguson and Stam, it's perhaps best to turn around, walk back home and get into bed.
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