Andy Cole recalls memorable tunnel fight between Steve Bruce and Ian Wright
"Wrighty punched Brucey square on the chin!"
In a recent interview on the Reggie Yates Podcast, former Manchester United striker Andy Cole recalled a tunnel fight between former teammate and United captain Steve Bruce and ex-England and Arsenal striker Ian Wright.
United and Arsenal had the fiercest rivalry in English football towards the end of the 1990s and tempers often flared when the two sides met on the pitch, and Cole recalled one particular occasion at Old Trafford where Wright allegedly landed a punch on Bruce's chin during an incident just after half-time.
"When I was at Manchester United Brucey, Steve Bruce, and Wrighty went off," Cole said.
"It's in the tunnel. The Old Trafford tunnel is huge and really wide as well. It's gone off on the pitch, the referee has blown for half-time and there's a big commotion. I can remember Wrighty saying to Brucey 'alright then, tunnel, I am the fucking tunnel man!'
"Wrighty said it to Brucey and I thought 'what's going on there?' And then it's all gone off. Wrighty punched Brucey square on the chin!"
When Andy Cole @vancole9 came on the podcast and told the ‘TUNNEL MAN’ story about @IanWright0 having a scrap with Manchester United, we literally fell over laughing! To watch Episode 7 head to https://t.co/cWhfZEWvLk pic.twitter.com/lJbuHoV8BN
— REGYATES (@REGYATES) February 6, 2019
Former Arsenal defender Lee Dixon said on the Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? podcast that trouble often followed Wright on the field and that ex-teammate John Hartson frequently acted as somewhat of a bodyguard for the former Gunners striker.
"Wrighty was the most horrible, annoying player you could ever play against,” Dixon says. “He was like that when he was at Palace but when he came to Arsenal it was great to have him because he just used to really wind everybody up.
“He wound Steve Bruce up in this Old Trafford game so much that he went, ‘I’m just going to knock you out at half-time.’ Wrighty went, ‘Right, let’s have it then.’
“If there was any trouble going on, or if he got himself in trouble, which he did on a regular basis, he’d want a bit of help.
“John Hartson was his minder basically. If John was playing, his cue that he might be getting duffed up at half-time was, ‘John, put the kettle on at half-time.’
“I don’t think John was playing in that particular game, so he just ran down the tunnel and Steve Bruce ran after him, and I can remember Wrighty going, ‘Brucey, Brucey, come on, calm down, let’s just calm down.’
“And Brucey goes, ‘Alright.’ And then bang! [Wright] threw this little right hook and dashed off into the dressing room.
“I couldn’t stop laughing. I think Brucey said something like, ‘Is that your best shot?’ And Wrighty said, ‘Have a look at your eye when you get yourself in the dressing room.’
“He chased him around the pitch for the second half trying to get hold of him.”