You're Off! - The Top 10 fastest red cards of all-time

Sunderland midfielder David Meyler made the headlines for all the wrong reasons on Tuesday night when he was sent off just two minutes after coming on as a substitute against Portsmouth .

Pretty impressive, huh? Pah, don't you believe it, that's nothing. Just check out these ten fellas who took no time at all to see red...

10) Liam O'Brien (Man United) - 85 seconds
Irishman O'Brien is the 'proud' holder of two Old Trafford records. He was Ron Atkinson's last signing - for £50,000 from Shamrock Rovers in October 1986 - and was the recipient of the Red Devils' quickest ever red card when he was dismissed after less than a minute and a half against Southampton in January 1987. He recalls: "I still think it was harsh. It was the first tackle of the game. I was devastated as it was the first live game shown in Ireland and all my family and friends were watching it."

9) Tim Flowers (Blackburn) - 72 seconds
At the time, this was the fastest red card in Premier League history and was shown to the Rovers' keeper for a foul on Leeds striker Brian Deane. Despite losing their gloves man in only the second minute, Blackburn held on for a 1-1 draw to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points over Manchester United. As for referee Rodger Gifford, his reward at the end of the game was to have a Blackburn fan try to attack him!

8) Jose Batista (Uruguay) - 55 seconds
It would be fair to say that the Uruguayans have 'previous' in World Cup tournaments. But Batista took levels of South American thuggery to new levels of achievement when he saw red for a brutal challenge on Scotland's Gordon Strachan after less than minute in a group game at Mexico '86 - a World Cup finals record. Is that what they call a Montevideo nasty...?

7) Jason Crowe (Arsenal) - 33 seconds
All young players are desperate to make their mark on their debuts, aren't they? But few can have attained the notoriety managed by Jason Crowe on his Gunners' bow in October 1997. The 20-year-old was introduced into the action in extra-time of a League Cup tie against Birmingham, was adjudged by referee Uriah Rennie to have committed a dangerously high foul on Martin O'Connor in his first involvement and was back in the dressing room before Arsene Wenger could say: 'I did not see ze incident."

6) Mark Smith (Crewe) - 19 seconds
Crewe keeper Smith was, at the time, the recipient of the fastest ever red card in Football League history. He was afforded first use of the bath when he was dismissed for a professional foul against Darlington in March 1994. Well, maybe he knew there wasn't going to be a lot of hat water...

5) Kevin Pressman (Sheffield Wednesday) - 13 seconds
Yet another goalkeeper in our Hall of Shame - there's something of a theme going on here - Pressman usurped Smith as the holder of the Football League's speediest red. He was dismissed for handling outside the area against Wolves in August 2000. He claimed he would appeal as the ball hit him in the chest, but a League spokesman dashed those hopes when he confirmed: "You only have right of appeal on mistaken identity, violent conduct and serious foul play." Oh well...

4) Keith Gillespie (Sheffield United) - 12 seconds
Sunderland's Meyler may have had a night to forget at Fratton Park when he was dismissed just two minutes after coming off the bench, but that's putting in a proper 'shift' compared to Gillespie's effort against Reading in January 2007. The Irish wide man came on in the 53rd minute and, after elbowing Stephen Hunt as the pair tussled ahead of a throw-in, was heading back down the tunnel just 12 seconds later. And as the ball hadn't even been thrown in, he was technically sent off after zero seconds of play!

3) Giuseppe Lorenzo (Bologna) - 10 seconds
Now we know there's quite often a bit of rough and tumble and a few fisticuffs in Italian football, but getting red carded after just 10 seconds takes some doing. it was no problem for Lorenzo though. He knew the solution. Simply smack a Parma player in the mush. Job done...!

2) David Pratt (Chippenham Town) - 3 seconds
Pratt lived up to his name when he launched a two-footed tackle on Bashley forward Christopher Knowles directly from the kick-off in their British Gas Premier Division game in December 2009. And that, as they say, was that. Bemused Chippenham secretary George McCaffrey said: "David's jumped in straight from kick-off and it is one of those where the referee has got to make a decision. You are always running the risk of injuring someone like that. You could normally not meet a more milder man but he just lost it on this occasion."

1) Lee Todd (Cross Farm Park Celtic ) - 2 seconds
Now in his defence - such as it can be - at least Pratt was sent off for a dangerous tackle. But spare a thought for Todd who felt the ref's wrath just two seconds into a match against Taunton East Reach Wanderers, after being startled by the whistle to signal the game's kick-off. "F**k me, that was loud," he announced. But the whistler in question wasn't amused and promptly sent him off! "I wasn't swearing at the ref or anyone else," protested Todd afterwards. "Anyone else would have done the same - he nearly blew my ear off!"

Fancy winning £3,000 for FREE this month? Play Mirror Football Streak for your chance to win cash prizes! Start predicting now!

williamhill.com

Your comments

Blogs & Categories