By Jack Beresford
On a sunny September afternoon back in 1993, Wycombe Wanderers defender Jason Cousins literally launched himself into the history books with what is widely regarded to be the worst tackle in the history of English football.
The Chairboys were facing off against Doncaster Rovers at the time. With the clock ticking down towards the break, a Wycombe attack down the right wing broke down, with the ball ping-ponging between the two teams for a few seconds.
Then, out of nowhere, Cousins took to the skies.
Gracefully crashing into the mix like a wounded swan, he launched into an accelerated two-footed flying tackle on Doncaster’s Dave Moss that left the attacker in a crumpled heap.
A manoeuvre more traditionally associated with Kamikaze pilots, the tackle sparked pandemonium with Cousins earning his marching orders and confirming the veracity of his ‘Psycho’ nickname in the process.
Wycombe were enjoying their first season in the Second Division at the time, having earned promotion from the Conference under then-manager Martin O’Neill – and he was unimpressed.
Recalling the incident many years later, Cousins told BBC Sport:
I have always had an excellent relationship with Martin, but my one regret was that horror challenge in our first season in the Football League.
Just before half-time I was showering away, and he came steaming in. I was obviously stark naked. He threw me out of the shower and out of the changing rooms.
I was left out in the corridor with nothing on, soap in my eyes, and he ended up banning me from the club for a week.
Some sections of the supporters wanted me thrown out of the club altogether – it was quite a nasty tackle and something that I deeply regret.
*Quite* a nasty one, yes.
Thankfully, Moss escaped from the incident largely unscathed while Cousins was stripped of the club captaincy and served a four-game ban that gave him plenty of time to reflect on things.
He went on to become a club legend, winning Wycombe’s Player of the Year award on two occasions and playing a key role in the team’s march to the semi-finals of the FA Cup in 2001.