Shaun Derry, Kevin Davies and Guy Branston blog about red cards, brawls and their biggest rival... is going to get inside the minds of the players this season..

As well as a weekly blog from Crystal Palace striker Kevin Phillips, we will also be speaking to three seasoned campaigners in the Football League.

On-loan Millwall midfielder Shaun Derry, Preston frontman Kevin Davies and Plymouth defender Guy Branston - who all appear on Sky Sports News Radio's Football League Hour - will be chatting to us about all manner of footballing issues.

Fernando Torres was sent off at the weekend, but it wasn't for controversially scratching Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen in the face for which he faced no further action; this week with our bloggers we get really stuck in to topic of sending offs, 20-man brawls and dodgy tackles.


One red card stands out to me. I'd just returned back from Leeds to Crystal Palace and we were playing Burnley at home. After 20 minutes James Scowcroft our centre-forward got sent off for an elbow on one of their central defenders and Neil Warnock, our manager at the time, thought it was a harsh decision, so he shouted to me as his captain to come over and he said: 'get in the referees ear and tell him what a bad decision that was'.

So following the manager's instructions I actually ran straight to the ref and told him in no uncertain terms that he'd made a bad decision and subsequently I was booked for remonstrating. Fast-forward ten minutes and the first tackle for the game for me was contentious and the referee deemed it necessary to book me again and I was then sent off after 40 minutes of the game!

Into the changing room I went with my tail between my legs and at half time Warnock came in absolutely ranting and raving at me saying how'd I'd let the team down and I went: 'Well hang on a minute you're the one that told me to go to the ref!'

As I've got older I've definitely managed to curtail my tongue towards the officials. When I was a younger player and I saw things going wrong I would abuse them a lot more than I do now. But I think with experience that comes your way.

Whenever I've played against the Sheffield United captain Michael Doyle it's been a real dirty game. He likes pinching and grabbing hold of you and grappling and all the naughty things that go off on a pitch and I think if I were to do the same back to him he would be an even harder opponent because he would have got one up on me. He's probably the dirtiest opponent I've come across.


I think I've been sent of three times. The first one was with Chesterfield; I got involved in a bit of a 20-man brawl, but I was only a young, I think I was 19 at the time and it was against Plymouth.

But a lot of people will my remember my red card for Bolton when I was elbowed and got a broken cheek in the first half, which Hermann Hreidarsson was sent off for; then in the second half I went up for a challenge and I caught Charlton's Amady Faye and he went down and rolled all over the place and made a meal of it. Then I got sent off as well - the referee sort of balanced the books a little bit and I went off and had an operation on my broken cheek bone a couple of days later.

You can tell when someone is trying to seriously hurt someone and when I look back at the footage of the Hreidarsson sending off - you could clearly see, there's a certain way of jumping and your arms naturally go a certain way when you're trying to help yourself jump. But there are certain movements that you can tell are done with intent and when I saw it back you could see clearly that he just knew where I was, swung the elbow and broke my cheek.

It's been quite highlighted that myself and Patrice Evra have had quite a few coming together over the years in derbies, but I've never been one to try and get in to somebody's head and play those games. I've always just tried to have a good battle on the pitch and have a handshake afterwards. Whoever won that battle fair enough, I look forward to the next one. When there's been history between two players on the pitch it will often follow in to the next game when you play again. I always enjoyed the battle against Evra and I've seen him out since then and we had a bit of chat and a laugh about it when we bumped in to each other in Manchester.

It's been well documented how many fouls I've committed, but I've been on the receiving end of a fair few myself! I've had the fractures, the cuts and the stitches to prove it, but it's a contact sport and I enjoy that side of it and I know I've caused a few cuts myself.


I've been sent off 23 times in my career! Back in the day against Hull City I kicked out at a player that stamped on me, went up the tunnel and punched a door. I'd been sent off for violent conduct, but then it cost me in the long-run because I ended up having 70 stitches in my arm. But that was when I had just turned 20 and was the one I regretted most.

It kind of gave me a name with the fans for being a bit of a psycho - which I wasn't. I was just genuinely annoyed about getting sent off for being stamped on - the referee missed the stamp, but saw me kicking out, which is sometimes the problem because the referee can't see everything

I don't get a flash of rage, I know what I'm doing when I'm going in for a tackle and genuinely I'm going out there to win the ball. I'm never going out there to take any one out. Back in the day when I first started it was about being strong in the tackle, now it's about staying on your feet and not really tackling. The game has changed for the better and it has kind of diffused the male element of the game that predominantly I grew up with. The heroes I grew up with were big strong characters and big strong men who won football matches by sheer brutally and the fans loved them for it. Now it's flipped round and it's more won by skill and pace which I'm a big fan of as well.

My battle on the pitch was always with Adebayo Akinfenwa. We always kept it really amicable, we liked each other off the pitch and we liked each other on the pitch, but we went full tooth and nail to beat each other up on the pitch. It was a brilliant old-school exchange of elbows, kicks, bruises and shoves, and the referee kind of let it go because it was two lads at it and both were mutually accepting what the other had to offer. With Adebayo Akinfenwa - back in the day - it was big centre-forwards that you knew you were in for a clash, bang wallop kind of game.

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