Roberto Mancini came into the dressing room, ready for war. Manchester City had lost away to Dynamo Kiev, 2-0, in March 2011. The second goal we conceded could have been avoided.
Vincent Kompany missed a header, the ball dropped between us and Oleh Gusev got a run on me to score. Vinny should have cleared the ball, but Mancini knew who he wanted to blame afterwards. I was his target.
As he began shouting, I was absolutely flabbergasted, but then the red mist descended. I turned into the Incredible Hulk and was ready to go for it with Mancini.
Micah Richards (right) had a row with Roberto Mancini (left) during his time at Manchester City
I thought I was justified but the commotion was calmed down as David Platt and Joleon Lescott got in between us.
You won’t have heard that story — just as you won’t have heard about the eruption, again in our dressing room, after we had lost 3-1 to Racing Santander in December 2008.
There was a frank exchange between players and coaches that night as voices were raised and fingers were pointed.
There is a reason you’ve never heard either of those stories until now. Things like that happen at nearly every club, every week. Steve Bruce even said so on Friday.
Steve Bruce admitted he had a training-ground row with Matt Ritchie (right) earlier this week
I could give you more examples. Some, involving Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Jerome Boateng, you may know about. Others you won’t. But once they happened, we dealt with it, moved on and didn’t let anything fester.
Fights are nothing new. I thought about this all week following the news of Steve Bruce and Matt Ritchie at Newcastle.
It is an interesting story, one which has been widely discussed, but there is something about it that made me feel very uneasy about their prospects for the rest of the season.
When news such as this starts coming out of a club, it is a worry. We had a rule at City that if ever a story appeared in a newspaper that hinted at troubles behind the scenes, we sat down on a Monday morning without fail and it was addressed. What happened inside stayed inside.
I could never have passed on information like that to destabilise things. I’d have been embarrassed to cause a storm. And whoever is behind this story should be embarrassed because this could be the difference between Newcastle staying up and going down.
Sportsmail’s Craig Hope exclusively revealed Bruce’s bust-up with Ritchie earlier this week
I’m not being overly dramatic. There has been a cloud hanging over Newcastle all season. We know the issues they have faced but now it feels like a full-on storm has arrived. Every team facing them, starting with West Brom on Sunday, is aware this group has divisions.
If I’d been a player at Fulham or Brighton, I’d have been rubbing my hands with glee when I saw Thursday morning’s Sportsmail back page. In-fighting at one of our rivals? That will do us nicely — let’s take advantage
The tension and pressure are all around St James’ Park. The two clubs sitting either side of Newcastle in the table can quietly tick along, happy the spotlight is elsewhere. This is a time when strong leadership is required in Newcastle’s squad but it remains to be seen whether they can provide it.
Part of me wonders why Bruce, at 60, is putting himself through this. I worked with him at Aston Villa a couple of years ago and I always found his sessions, which he put on with Steve Agnew and Stephen Clemence, to be top class. Some of them were the most enjoyable I ever experienced.
Bruce called out a number of his players for their part in Wolves’ equaliser last Saturday
Ritchie replaced Emil Krafth in the 72nd minute and Newcastle conceded 60 seconds later
I sometimes used to wonder why he favoured a more conservative approach.
We had talented players such as Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia. John Terry was at the back — we had enough strength not to be worried about other teams in the Championship, but Steve could be pragmatic.
It struck a chord with me last month when he said it was time to take the ‘shackles off’ — if you trained with him, you would see that he loves attacking football, how it is all about goals.
His teams can play that way, too, and I associate Newcastle with that style.
I grew up watching Les Ferdinand, Rob Lee, Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola and Alan Shearer. Newcastle, as I most enjoyed seeing them, were a club who were all about fun, good times and entertainment. Now it feels almost toxic there and I have huge sympathy for the fans.
Wor Flags, a Newcastle fan group, have used banners to protest against Bruce and Mike Ashley
They must sometimes feel like everyone is laughing at them, that every piece of bad news is another sign of how bad the club has become. It isn’t right, it isn’t fair on them and they have the added challenge of fighting relegation without their four best players: Fabian Schar, Allan Saint- Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson.
Wilson’s loss, in particular, is huge. He’s scored 10 goals this season that have led directly to nine of Newcastle’s 26 points. You take a figure of such importance out of a team and it’s going to have an impact.
When injuries are mounting, the last thing a manager needs is unrest. As soon as fractures in a squad of this nature emerge, it is very difficult to heal. Bruce has to create an environment where there is trust. It is vital he releases the tension. Newcastle’s survival depends on it.
MANCHESTER WILL BE BLUE… I CAN’T SEE ANY OTHER RESULT
So a team with 21 straight wins hosts a team that is undefeated in 21 away games — which record will disappear?
It would be sod’s law for Manchester United to stop Manchester City in their tracks.
I’ve seen so many things in football that it wouldn’t surprise me if United escaped the Etihad Stadium with something to show for their efforts.
Manchester City are on a tear with 21 consecutive wins as they prepare to face Man United
But then I think about how detailed Pep Guardiola has been in his coaching, the way he has guided City to almost have one hand on the title already, and I would be amazed if City do not win.
This spree has been on a par with how the team played when they got to 100 points.
Provided they do not get caught up in the emotion, Manchester should be blue again on Sunday night. It would be difficult to take the Reds bringing this run to a halt!
MICAH’S MAN OF THE WEEK
Steven Gerrard — what a guy! He is within touching distance of winning the Scottish Premiership.
I have tried to think of the right word to describe his achievement with Rangers and the one I landed on was ‘inspirational’.
Celtic are having a difficult season but they are still a good side. They haven’t been able to live with Rangers, though, and that is down to Gerrard’s outstanding work.
Am I surprised he is becoming a top manager? No way. He is personable, commands respect and knows the game inside out.
Gerrard has all the tools to get to wherever he wants. Good luck to him — I’m delighted for him.
Steven Gerrard is within touching distance of winning the Scottish Premiership with Rangers