Back in 2004, Manchester United legend, Dwight Yorke was plying his trade for Premier League side Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn Rovers, managed by Graeme Souness, had pulled off an unbelievable coup, bringing Yorke to Ewood Park. The Trinidad and Tobago captain had previously scored 65 goals in 147 appearances for Manchester United, with the move to Blackburn reuniting Yorke with his former strike partner from Manchester United Andrew Cole. In this article, we look at the incident that ensured Yorke's time at Blackburn Rovers was destined to be a disaster after a training ground fight with manager Graeme Souness- the incident leaving Yorke requiring stitches.
Yorke and Cole were a deadly duo for Manchester United, winning the Premier League and Champions League and FA Cup during their time at the club. When Yorke signed for the club, big things were expected of the Trinidad international, however, a bust-up with manager Graeme Souness was a key factor in Yorke leaving Blackburn for only £250,000 after only two seasons to join fellow Premier League side Birmingham City. Yorke managed 12 goals in his two seasons at Ewood Park.
At the time, former Sunderland defender Micky Gray was a teammate of Dwight Yorke and speaking on The Undr The Cosh podcast, Gray stated he was a "big fan of Graeme (Souness) and he was a top manager ", however, it appeared that Dwight Yorke was far from a 'big fan' of the current Sky Sports pundit.
Lifting the lid of the infamous fight between Yorke and Souness, Micky Gray recalled that the incident started during a 5-a-side training match. Dwight Yorke and Andrew Cole, both Champions League winners from their time at Manchester United, always used to ensure that the "champions were always on the same team" during training matches.
Gray revealed manager Graeme Souness, in an attempt to assert his dominance used to rile Dwight Yorke with comments such as "yeah, but have you won three European Cups like me?". As a player, Souness lifted the Champions League on three separate occasions for Liverpool. It was this comment in particular where Gray states 'the hatred between Yorke and Souness started'.
"Dwight (Yorke) even said to us all before training he was going to smash him (Graeme Souness). They absolutey hated eachother!" : Micky Gray, former Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland defender.
Gray stated that the issues being Dwight Yorke stemmed from the pair having "a complete personality clash", with Gray admitting he thought it might have been "an ego thing" from both parties. Souness and Yorke were constantly goading each other about what each had won during their playing careers before this point.
When talking about Graeme Souness, Gray admitted that he had "never seen a more competitive man" in his life, stating "he (Souness) does like to tell you what he has done and achieved in the game".
Recalling the incident between Yorke and Souness, Gray stated that first off "Souness did Dwight" with a horrendous tackle, causing Dwight Yorke "a huge cut right down his shin", which left Yorke needing "a couple of stitches", much to the shock of the Blackburn Rovers players and staff. After being told to return to the physio's room by Souness, Yorke refused and insisted he wanted to carry on.
What was particularly alarming was that Blackburn Rovers had a game two days after, and the manager (Graeme Souness) had just potentially injured Yorke, Blackburn's star striker.
Yorke then told his Blackburn teammates, but the players on the opposite side to him within the 5-a-side game to ensure they played a "dolly pass" to Souness when they next got the opportunity. Looking back on the incident, after the ball to Souness was left short, Gray revealed it was like watching "two rams" as Dwight Yorke flew in for a tackle and "chopped Souness in half, with his studs showing". The pair were then head-to-head, with the pair "raging". No punches were thrown but Gray admitted that this "was only because the players got in their first to split them up".
Speaking about Dwight Yorke, podcast host Jon Parkin stated that he "would have never have seen Yorke as a dirty player", with Gray admitting the former Manchester United striker "wasn't dirty" but Yorke and Souness just "hated each other". Yorke has recently blasted Souness, stating that Souness tried to injure him during the incident. It was revealed that Graeme Souness never joined in training again after the incident with Dwight Yorke.
Dwight Yorke only spent 2 more months at the club after the face-off with his manager Graeme Souness and generally failed to recapture his goalscoring form from his time at Manchester United. Yorke, now 49, retired from football in 2009 after a spell with Sunderland and is regularly works within the media for Talksport. Graeme Souness left Blackburn Rovers shortly after Dwight Yorke's departure to join Newcastle United but has not managed since 2006.
It was not only Dwight Yorke who was not impressed with Graeme Souness. Speaking on The Beautiful Game podcast, Yorke's former strike partner at Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers Andrew Cole, stated that Graeme Souness was a "bully" and that Souness is very "set in his ways".
The exerts from Micky Gray above were taken from the excellent Undr The Cosh podcast. If you are a fan of football podcasts, then we would highly recommend Undr The Cosh. If you would like to listen to the full Undr The Cosh podcast with Micky Gray, please click on the embedded Spotify link below.
We have reviewed a number of other football podcasts here at The Footy Gang such as The Honest Football Podcast and The Football Fanalytics podcast, both an excellent listen. We hope you enjoyed this article and if so, please head over to our Twitter @TheFootyGang and let us know.