Five reasons not to mess with Joe Jordan

editorial image
Have your say

AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso expressed his deep regret for his attack on Tottenham first-team coach Joe Jordan after last night’s explosive Champions League clash at the San Siro. Part of that may be his realisation that in Jordan, he picked the wrong target.

We look at five reasons why.


Early in his career at Leeds, the Scot lost four front teeth playing in a reserve match. The result was a frightening smile that quickly helped him earn the nickname ‘Jaws’, a moniker that fitted his fearsome playing style. Looking back on his career recently, Jordan said of the name: “I didn’t see myself as a caricature in any way. I was what I was, but I look back and I had seven years at Leeds, who were one of the top teams in Europe, then I got a transfer to Manchester United, then a transfer to AC Milan. These are top clubs, and I had opportunities to go to Liverpool, Arsenal, Ajax. I’m not saying that to brag; if those teams thought I had something to offer, it was more than having no teeth. I was just unfortunate not to have any teeth.”


Jordan did not stand for nonsense on the pitch, highlighted by an incident in a Manchester United FA cup third round replay at Old Trafford against Tottenham in 1980, when he wiped out goalkeeper Milja Aleksic, who had been charging at him on corners. Aleksic, who played only a small number of games for Spurs, suffered a dislocated jaw in the incident.


If Jordan’s reputation at home had escaped Gattuso, he should have known more of the history of the club he captains. “He obviously hadn’t done his homework,” Harry Redknapp said last night. Had he done so, Gattuso would have known that Jordan, who joined Milan in 1981, was known in Italy as “The Shark”, a local twist on the Jaws theme.


In 2007, The Times named Jordan as the 34th hardest man in the history of the game. For the record, Milan’s attack dog Gattuso, who has the nickname Ringhio (‘’growl’), did not register in the top 50, suggesting his bark is louder than his bite - even when he was in his prime.


Jordan is not living off fading memories either. Since joining Tottenham in 2008, he has been involved in numerous touchline dust-ups. In his first two weeks at the club he clashed with Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and Blackburn boss Paul Ince. Earlier this season, he challenged Newcastle goalkeeping coach Andy Woodman following Younes Kaboul’s dismissal, screaming “Any time you like, any f****** time you like”.