Not only can the beautiful game be an enticing one but it can also be cruel to some players. After all, no one wants to be struck down with a red card and be sent for an early bath. Whether an individual receives his marching orders for two yellow cards or a straight red, this can certainly turn a game. It can spell danger to the team who has just lost a man, whilst for the opposition it can mean they are able to pile on the pressure. This is especially the case if a side is down by a goal and can certainly throw caution to the wind. This is largely in part thanks to the extra man which many team can use to their own advantage.
There have been a number of different red cards down the years which have impacted both the team as well as the player. Take for example former Manchester United midfielder and Irishman Roy Keane. His controversial tackle on Manchester City’s Alf Inge Haaland in the Derby ensured the United legend was back in the dressing room. Meanwhile, Keane’s knee high tackle on the former Leeds player prematurely ended Haaland’s career pretty much.
On the other hand, who can forget Steven Gerrard’s dismissal? This took place after just only 38 seconds after coming on as a substitute against Manchester United this season. Another player who is resigned to the footballing history books was Kevin Moran. The ex Manchester United defender was the first player to be sent off in an FA Cup Final. Eventually United went on to win the 1985 Final by one goal to nil but it was fondly remembered for Moran’s contribution to proceedings. Yet there are those who are unable to keep their discipline in one way or another. Here is the rundown of the 15 quickest red cards of all time.
15. Oleksandr Kucher – 2 minutes, 39 seconds
While Cristiano Ronaldo was breaking the goalscoring record in the UEFA Champions League last month, Oleksandr Kucher was making his own unique contribution. This was for the fastest ever red card in one of the most famous knock out tournaments. The Shakhtar Donetsk defender was sent off after less than 160 seconds in Bayern Munich’s 7-0 mauling of Shakhtar. Unfortunately for Kucher, he was responsible for bringing down Mario Gotze for a penalty and the rest as they say is history.
14. Alan White – 90 seconds
Taking place in April 2009, Brentford were well on their way to becoming League Two champions. After around 90 seconds of play Alan White was sent off at the Darlington Arena after a head clash with Damian Spencer. As a result of this he was immediately shown the red card thanks to his misjudged elbow. Edwards was later to discover that Spencer had in fact suffered a fracture in his cheek bone which involved him being carried off the pitch.
13. Liam O’Brien – 85 seconds
Under the helm of Ron Atkinson at Old Trafford, Liam O’Brien was one of Big Ron’s last signings before he got the boot. Having made the move from Shamrock Rovers back in the 80’s, O’Brien came up against Southampton in the winter of 1987. When pitches were not always in prime condition, he was sent off after less than 90 seconds after a hefty challenge. This turned out to be the first of the match but this did not make any difference to the referee’s decision.
12. Tim Flowers – 72 seconds
For Tim Flowers, one game in particular did not get off to a great start. In fact the former England shot stopper who provided one of the finest clangers when the ball bobbled over him against Liverpool was sent off after just over a minute. This time, the ex Southampton goalkeeper was between the sticks for Blackburn Rovers. With the match barely into the second minute at Ewood Park, Flowers was given his orders after a trip on Brian Deane. The game ended in a draw and helped Rovers clinch their one and only maiden Premier League title.
11. Matt McClure – 70 seconds
The Wycombe Wanderers player only managed to last 70 seconds when he was heading for an early shower. After receiving his orders from the coach, McClure came off the bench and was soon on another bench in no time at all. This all happened in the 67th minute as he entered the field of play during a League Two fixture. However, after he caught an opposing player with a loose elbow, the 23-year-old was soon sent off. In spite of this change in the game, Wycombe were able to hang on and defeat Tranmere Rovers by two goals to one.
10. Jamie Moralee – 59 seconds
A soccer nomad, Jamie Moralee had played for a host of clubs such as Watford, Millwall and Brighton. It was while he was at the Seagulls when disaster struck for the striker and is now remembered for being shown the red card in less than sixty seconds. This specific incident took place during the 1998-99 season when he played against Scunthorpe United, After coming on from the bench with less than a minute to go of normal time, Moralee was sent off shortly after due to a punch against an opponent.
9. Jose Batista – 56 seconds
Uruguay’s Jose Batista returned to the dressing room after just 56 seconds during the 1986 World Cup. Furthermore, he is also the proud owner of receiving one of the quickest red cards to be ever recorded at the World Cup. This was down to a horrific tackle on Scottish forward Gordon Strachan who was poleaxed after the challenge. The match itself was uneventful as Scotland and Uruguay played out a goalless draw. Uruguay did qualify for the next round only to be defeated by eventual winners Argentina featuring a baby faced Diego Maradona.
8. Jason Crowe – 33 seconds
Turing back the footballing clock to 1997 and the next quick red comes from the league cup tie between Birmingham City and Arsenal. Who knows what went through the mind of youngster Jason Crowe that evening, but he certainly made an impact. However, this was to be for all the wrong reasons as Arsene Wenger’s protege was to given his marching orders after 33 seconds. Crowe featured in this particular match as an extra time sub but after flying into a tackle he was soon off the pitch again.
7. Mark Smith – 19 seconds
Another fast dismissal happened to Mark Smith who flies into the top 10. At the time, Smith was keeping goal for Crewe Alexandra and has catapulted his way for his professional foul on a player. The guilty party this time was a Darlington player and the referee had no choice but to show Smith the red card. This was even more impressive as it took place just 19 seconds into the actual game. Perhaps he had an early movie he wanted to catch.
6. Kevin Pressmann – 13 seconds
One of the best goalkeepers in the Owls history, Kevin Pressman was prone to the odd error during his playing career. The former Sheffield Wednesday number barely lasted 10 seconds when he was dismissed with immediate effect. This was thanks to handling outside the penalty box and subsequently the referee instantly dismissed him. Fortunately, he had hardly worked up a sweat before he swanned back into the dressing room.
5. Keith Gillespie – 12.5 seconds
Some of the quickest red cards have involved Mark Halsey including Kevin Pressman’s dismissal. Here, he is involved in another episode as Keith Gillespie was sent off pretty quickly. This took place when Gillespie was playing for Sheffield United. After starting on the bench, the former Manchester United starlet took to the field. Yet, after he threw his arm directly into a Reading player’s face he was soon on his way.
4. Preston Edwards – 12 seconds
With an impressive 12 seconds on the clock, Preston Edwards makes it with ease on to the list. Edwards was playing in goal for Ebbsfleet United in 2011 against Farnborough Town. With just a few seconds on the clock shortly after kick off he was left with a one on one situation. For Edwards, he had little choice but to bring the oncoming striker down. This came after a misplaced back pass from one of his defenders that ended up with him leaving the field.
3. Giuseppe Lorenzo – 10 seconds
When Paul Gascoigne was lighting up the Stadio Olympico for Lazio during the 1990s, Giuseppe Lorenzo was creating headlines of his own. Back in 1990 and just after the highly engaging World Cup that year, Lorenzo was sent off after just 10 seconds of play. Ultimately, he paid the highest footballing crime as he launched an unprovoked assault on another player. It’s the fastest sending off in professional football history.
2. David Pratt – 3 seconds
Considered to be one of the quickest red cards of the lot involved unlikely hero David Pratt. In 2009, it took Pratt a third of what Usain Bolt can run in order to get himself sent off. After just a staggering three seconds, Pratt launched himself into a two footed challenged. Unfortunately this was deemed to be dangerous play and the Chippenham player was relieved of his playing duties for the afternoon.
1. Lee Todd – 2 seconds
If three seconds was quick then how about two seconds? This is exactly what happened to Lee Todd who holds the record for the fastest red card in history. It was definitely worth waiting for as Todd who was playing for Cross Park Farm Celtic was sent off as quick as he came on to the field. The reason for the almost instant dismissal was down to foul and abusive language. Todd was given a red card after he was taken aback by the ref’s whistle as he blew for the start of the game by proclaiming ‘F** me, that was loud’.
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