Nine coins scattered at the feet of Manchester United's celebrating players…. the picture that shows the danger facing stars in derby hothouse
14:33 GMT, 10 December 2012
The sight of blood running down the face of Rio Ferdinand after this weekend’s Manchester derby has marred the outcome of what was a crowd-pleasing display of football.
There have been similar incidents where players have had to cower under a hailstorm of bottles and coins.
Craig Bellamy suffered in another clash between the Manchester rivals, when they met in the Carling Cup semi-final in 2010.
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Rio Ferdinand nurses his head after being pelted with coins by Manchester City supporters
He fell to the ground after being hit in the back of the head whilst taking a corner kick for City.
Controversy also erupted in October this year when a steward required pitch-side treatment after a number of objects, including the back of a chair, were launched onto the pitch during a match between Chelsea and Manchester United.
But while a hailing of coins and other metal objects with the intent to harm has no place in football, there is a strong tradition of fans trying to send a message with what they throw onto the field.
For the most part these unwelcome gifts for the players, while at times unpleasant, tend to be harmless.
One of the best-known examples of this was in 2002, when disgruntled Barcelona fans launched a severed pig’s head onto the pitch as a show of disgust for Luis Figo’s abandonment.
Blood runs down Rio Ferdinand's cheek at the Etihad Stadium after Manchester United's 3-2 win over Manchester City
Craig Bellamy has also suffered a hail of bottles and coins during a Manchester derby
The Portuguese star had spent five years
at Barca, and during that time had become one of their most adored
players, before he made the controversial move to Real Madrid in 2000.
On his return to Camp Nou, playing for Real in El Clasico, Barca fans
made sure he felt unwelcome, pelting him with bottles, lighters and the
novel addition of the pig’s head.
The game had to be halted for 13 minutes in order to let the crowds cool off.
Inter Milan fans were even more creative, or perhaps it should be called opportunistic, with their selection of missile materials.
In 2002 angry Barcelona fans launched a pig's head onto the pitch to show Luis Figo their disgust at his move from Barcelona to Real Madrid
The hardcore Italian fans are known for their tendency to cause mayhem at matches, but this particular stunt didn’t quite have the impact they were looking for.
After managing to smuggle a moped into the San Siro stadium during a match against Atalanta, supporters then hurled it over the railings. Their aim wasn’t clear, but the scooter never made it to the pitch, instead bouncing into empty stands.
No-one was harmed by Omonia fans either, though the unfortunate animal they made use of didn’t make it through the ordeal.
After having labelled rival Apoel fans ‘the orange rabbits,’ they set loose a spray-painted rabbit on the pitch.
The incident was taken very seriously by the Cypriot police, who sought out the Omonia fan on a charge of torturing an animal to death after the rabbit died.
Blackburn Rovers fans also made use of animals earlier this year. In a protest against club owners, who also owned chicken farms, supporters released a hen onto the pitch.
Players saw the funny side and the hapless bird was eventually caught by Wigan goalkeeper Al Habsi.
One of the more humour-fuelled stunts was pulled by Celtic supporters in 2003. In an effort to taunt Rangers over their early Europe exit, the Celtic fans combined efforts to pelt the pitch with hundreds of beach balls.
They chanted ‘While you’re watching the bill, we’ll be in Seville’ in reference to Celtic’s upcoming appearance in the Uefa Cup final in the Andalucan city.
A much more serious incident occurred earlier this year, when a grenade was thrown onto the pitch in an Asian Champions League quarterfinal match between Sepahan and al-Ahl. It was tossed aside by a player, who was unaware of what the object was, but then exploded into flames yards from the corner flag.
Rio is hit in the face
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Inter Milan fans launch a scooter into empty stands
Celtic fans pelt the pitch with beach balls
Luis Figo suffers a hailstorm of rubbish while taking a corner