Seeing Red

Last updated : 19 April 2011 By Jim Bonner
Portsmouth may be hit with a £50,000 fine from the Football League for their disciplinary record.

Nine red cards have been shown to Pompey players over the course of the season, a record which sees them only second in the dismissal league to Sheffield United, who have ten.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for the manner in which the majority of these red cards were received.

Whilst Hayden Mullins and Jonathan Hogg may feel hard done by for being dismissed for handballs, the other seven red cards have been received for stupidity or overly aggressive play.

Richard Hughes was sent off for swearing at the referee in the Carling Cup game with Leicester whilst Liam Lawrence saw red for continously protesting to the assistant referee after an incorrect penalty decision against QPR.

Those were two needless and stupid red cards but whilst those players may have an excuse for feeling hard done by, those who were sent off for violent conduct have no excuse.

Dave Kitson, Greg Halford and Ricardo Rocha have all been sent for an early bath for violent conduct. Rocha's was last weekend for moving his head towards Jay Bothroyd whilst Halford did the same thing at Watford to Andrew Taylor.

Kitson decided he'd be able to get away with a good old fashioned elbow/punch as a free kick was about to be taken at Brighton, which again is utter stupidity.

As for the other dismissals, Rocha's red card at Reading was a professional foul and could consider himself slightly unfortunate but there can be no excuses made for Carl Dickinson's late challenge on Doncaster's James Hayter.

These rash and stupid actions will end up costing the club money they could really do with at the moment and it's up to Steve Cotterill to restore some discipline to his squad.

He needs to tell his players to keep their emotions in check and take responsibility for their own actions when decisions go against them. It's not like the referee is going to change his mind so knuckle down and get on with the game instead of squinnying all the time.

The Pompey manager also needs to teach the players to keep a cool head to avoid future red cards for violent conduct which result in lengthy suspensions. That is something he could really do without next season when he'll be struggling to build a competitive squad once again.

Time to clean up your act, Pompey.