Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor's clash with Arsenal's Robin van Persie last week has been festering since last season. The News of the World says the roots of their confrontation stretch back to the final day of last season when Adebayor scooped up boots and kit from the Arsenal dressing room.
The former Gunners striker walked into the home changing room at the Emirates with a bin liner and filled it with the boots of first team players.
Van Persie, who had scored twice in a 4-1 win against Stoke and intended to give his boots to friends as a momento, was livid.
He was stunned when a kitman told him that Adebayor had taken all the players' boots before leaving the Emirates for the last time.
Arsenal confirmed last night that Adebayor, who missed the game through injury, had taken the boots of several players.
A club official said: "Adebayor took all the boots from the dressing room without permission. He swept the dressing room."
Van Persie, along with skipper Cesc Fabregas and other Arsenal stars were told about the amazing incident by the kit men. By then Adebayor had already left the stadium with the boots and other items of kit that he had picked up off the dressing room floor.
Arsenal's backroom staff witnessed the extraordinary scenes, but were powerless to act.
And an Arsenal source said: "Normally at the end of the season players give their boots away to friends, family or a charity, but they couldn't because Ade had taken the lot. We never saw him - or the boots - again.
"Robin was going mad. They couldn't believe a team-mate earning £80,000 a week would do that."
When quizzed about the incident, Adebayor's agent Stephane Courbis claimed last night: "At the end of the season it is usual for players to take the materials they will not be using any more.
"A lot of African players take kit back to their country because the facilities and conditions in Africa are not the same as they are in England."