The Premier League has been littered with amazing stars since its inception. But it’s also had some really nasty characters as well as men who managed to be both.
So, today we’re looking at the 10 dirtiest players in Premier League history based on red cards.
10. Steven Gerrard
This might surprise some, but not me. Stevie G was always a passionate player who wore his heart on his sleeve which is what made him such an inspiring skipper. But sometimes his passion led to rash moments such as when he was sent off against rivals Manchester United just moments into the second half having been brought on at the interval. In total he was shown a red card 6 times in the Premier League some of that will be down to the inevitability of time given the amount of games he played in the top-flight but some will be due to the emotional way he always played.
9. Gareth Barry
Like Gerrard, it was perhaps inevitable that Barry would pick up the odd red card and, like Gerrard, he ended his career with 6. The reason I say it’s inevitable is the fact Barry is the league’s all-time appearance maker. That said, the midfielder was someone who would not be bullied and brought a physical approach to the midfield battle. So, his dismissals aren’t just down to his longevity.
8. Joey Barton
One of the most controversial players in Premier League history, Barton was always going to make this list. He is perhaps the nastiest player to ever feature in the Prem and his six red cards speak to that. I’ll never forget his antics the day his former club Manchester City won the league as he hit Tevez to receive the red before before kicking Aguero to exacerbate the situation. If he could’ve been shown two red cards for the incident he would’ve been.
7. Alan Smith
The Leeds United striker stirred up a storm when he left the relegated Whites for rivals Manchester United. That wasn’t the only time he caused a storm as he was accustomed to doing so on the pitch as well as with transfers. Despite being prolific in front of goal, Smith accumulated 7 red cards over the course of his career.
6. Vinnie Jones
The footballer turned actor was one of the toughest men to play in the Premier League however that often translated to red cards. Like Smith, Jones racked up 7 red cards in the Premier League and no doubt the Wimbledon side he was the heart and soul of bore the brunt of his absence following those dismissals.
5. Roy Keane
The fact the former Manchester United skipper has 7 Premier League red cards doesn’t surprise me, in fact I’d expect it to be more. He was as no nonsense on the pitch as he now is as a pundit often slamming into tackles with real aggression. The most infamous of course was in a Manchester derby when he crunched down on the leg of Alf-Inge Haaland.
4. Lee Cattermole
With 7 red cards, Cattermole easily makes his way into this list but to be honest it surprises me that he doesn’t sit top of it. Had he played more games in the Premiership perhaps he would do given his astonishing record of once receiving 6 red cards in just 99 Sunderland appearances.
3. Patrick Vieira
Despite being the hub of some of Arsenal’s greatest teams, Vieira could be seen as a bit of a liability given his tendency to be sent off. In total the midfielder was shown 8 red cards in the Premier League and is one of many players who contributed to Arsenal’s status as the dirtiest team in Premier League history with 98 red cards.
2. Duncan Ferguson
Another man with 8 Premier League red cards, Ferguson was very accustomed to being dismissed from a top-tier game despite playing up front. His no nonsense style of play earned him cult hero status at Goodison Park as they somewhat overlooked his tendency to let his side down with a red card or two. That said, his passion, likely the reason he found himself sent for an early shower so often, was key to his game. Without it he might not have become such a hero to the Everton faithful.
1. Richard Dunne
With 8 red cards, Dunne joins Ferguson and Vieira as the most red carded players in Premier League history. Bizarrely, he’s the only defender to make this list. Dunne was a very competent centre half and one who settled into plenty of Premiership sides including Manchester City even as they began to establish themselves as a top club. That said, not only does he stand as one of the league’s most sent off players he’s also the man with the most Premier League own goals with 10. So, perhaps he wasn’t the safest centre back to have in your side after all.