Long throwing legend Rory Delap has revealed that Gianfranco Zola has apologized to him because “illegal” attempts to stop Stoke had driven boss Tony Pulis “insane”.
Delap says Burnley placed billboards too close to the pitch to stem throw-ins, while Zola’s West Ham also overstepped the bounds of the rules.
Stoke’s standard tactics unsettled their big rivals after Pulis guided them to the Premier League in 2008.
And then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was particularly upset.
But Delap believes it was the Clarets who literally crossed the line, and the Hammers tested their limits too.
The former Republic of Ireland midfielder, 46, said Sports Bible: “West Ham did it and Burnley did it.
“I think Burnley was the first to do that but he put them too close to the pitch and the referee had to move them back about half a meter I think.”
“You know, all I could remember was Tony Pulis going nuts in the dressing rooms and saying, ‘You can’t do that, it’s illegal’.”
But Delap says such an opposition plan backfired after a billboard fell.
He used a “little gap in the billboard” to find space to sling the ball in, allowing Tuncay to score.
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And of the Hammers, he added: “I think Zola was the manager back then. And he came and apologized.”
“He said, ‘Look, I have nothing to do with this. It’s a club thing’ and genuinely apologized. I didn’t know he knew my name, but that was another bizarre incident.”
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