Tag Archives: tostao

The Saturday debate: Who is the toughest tackler you have ever witnessed in action?

The Saturday debate: Who is the toughest tackler you have ever witnessed in action

Nigel Reo-Coker intimated earlier this week that Premier League players do not know how to tackle, so Sportsmail asked out panel of experts who is the toughest tackler they have witnessed in action.

Uncompromising: Stuart Pearce

Uncompromising: Stuart Pearce


Stuart Pearce. When Stuart Pearce
went into a tackle for England it was as if he was tackling for me, the
bloke sitting next to me, my next door neighbour – and the whole


Gerson. No-one in this country wanted
to be on the wrong end of tackles from Ron Harris, John Giles, Peter
Storey, Bobby Collins, Paddy Crerand or Graeme Souness, while Bryan
Robson and Dave Mackay were among our most prolific and cleanest

But the most ferocious tackler of them all was also a cultured exponent of the most beautiful game.

Gerson was the link between the
defence and attack of the greatest team of all time – Brazil's 1970
World Cup winners – and such was his mastery of the ball and midfield
that he was voted above Pele, Carlos Alberto, Tostao, Rivellno and
Jairzinho as the man of that magical final against Italy.

Gerson's ruthlessness in the tackle,
however, was best expressed by the 100,000 fans in Rio's Maracana
stadium who clicked their fingers in unison whenever he went into the
tackle. It created the noise of a leg breaking.

It was the most unnerving sound – most of all for the opponent about to be challenged by Brazil's enforcer-in-chief.


Billy Whitehurst. My strongest memory is going into a tackle with Billy Whitehurst when I was at Aston Villa for which he was favourite and then, all of a sudden, I was favourite.

He let me get the ball and then clattered into me deliberately afterwards. I had scars down my shins for 18 months.

Combative: Vinne Jones

Combative: Vinne Jones


Vinnie Jones. A no-contest. It seemed Jones could be nasty, evil and wicked on the football field, as vindictive as they come.

For evidence, check out his assault on Manchester City's Peter Reid five seconds into an FA Cup tie back in 1991 on YouTube, or his scandalous challenge on Steve McMahon in the first few minutes of Wimbledon's 1988 FA Cup final victory over Liverpool.

There were no apologies and certainly no prisoners where Jones was concerned.


Souness. Has there ever been a harder man on a football pitch He might
be the cultured, sophisticated, articulate face of football punditry
now, but Souness was as tough as they come and a wonderful, wonderful
player, too. He was a winner. He won the ball and usually the match.

Hardman: Norman Hunter 'tackles' Jim Cannon of Crystal Palace

Hardman: Norman Hunter 'tackles' Jim Cannon of Crystal Palace

Wild streaK: Terry Hurlock

Wild streaK: Terry Hurlock


Norman Hunter. One video was played to death in my house through the 1990s. My dad eventually broke that cassette after rewinding a clip of Hunter one too many times. It was from 1968 when he left an Everton player flat-out, unconscious. For a 12-year-old lad it was both brutal and beautiful.


Smith. Bill Shankly said: 'Tommy Smith wasn't born, he was quarried.'
He was a more frightening sight than those hard men of Leeds – Bremner,
Hunter and Giles.


Terry Hurlock. I first saw him playing for Brentford at Chesterfield when he was an immense midfield presence, if slightly wild. Fans connected with him.